[vworld-tech] Ultimate MMO Platform

J C Lawrence claw at kanga.nu
Sun Apr 11 17:05:40 PDT 2004

On Mon, 12 Apr 2004 00:00:50 +0100 
Dave  <fear at planetquake.com> wrote:

> I dont believe the idea of a "consensual reality" will work in the
> context of an MMO.  The real world has constraints. There are physical
> laws such as gravity, limits on resources and so on. To create a world
> you do need a set of constrains and something to enforce them. Players
> need security if you expect them to invest any time in a system. If
> you cant provide this stability you won't get the players. In fact all
> distributed systems have these constraints. Just look at file
> sharing. Most file sharing networks are polluted with fakes, poor
> quality files Trojans and worms. What is required is a trusted source,
> such as bit torrent tracker, a file hash website and so on, you find
> the file that you want and then download it. Of course in these
> systems you can choose to ignore these constraints, at your own risk.

Wouldn't the notions of quorum mechanics, such as the degenerate cases
where both ends of a transaction cross-check/sanity_check the results of
a computation or current game state directly contradict this?  They are
'consensual systems' which yet offer (potentially) strong definition and
correctness controls[1].

> The Ultimate MMO Platform should share this quality, as should all
> distributed systems. You should be able to choose who you
> trust. Whether that be a cluster of nodes, that you pay to provide
> this reliability (E.g. traditional MMORPGs, i tunes, etc), or to the
> other extreme a free, free-for-all (gnutella, kazaa, etc).

The difference of course is that in such quorum systems, instead of
trusting network graph nodes (cf "people"), instead you trust state
transitions.  An underlieing assumption is that nodes are inherently
untrustworthy[2], if only for the fact that node identity is soft and
unreliable, but that computation can be trusted as it can be side
checked and related state changes sanity checked[1] thus providing a
more reliable trust metric.

> Most of the research (and for that matter most of the systems) in p2p
> applications are about identifying and distributing resources. This is
> not the case in MMOs. An MMO is about interactions between players,
> whether that be chatting or killing goblins. The topology can not be
> the same as traditional file sharing networks. The ultimate MMO will
> have a topology which self organises to provide the required
> connectivity with the minimum of latency.

An interesting comparative thought model for the space is large NUMA
machines and the migration of processes and data about such a cluster,
aggregating in working-set groups, around physical resources, etc.

> The ultimate MMO should...

Frankly I'd start out by dropping "ultimate" and "should" from all
discussions.  Neither term will help useful discussion or progress.

  [1] cf S/360 and other designs which use parallel CPUs doing the same
  computations and quorum mechanics to cross-check the CPU pool's

  [2] eg forgery/collision of node identities or compromise of node
  integrity by third parties (worms, trojans, crackers, flawed
  patches/upgrades etc)

J C Lawrence
---------(*)                Satan, oscillate my metallic sonatas.
claw at kanga.nu               He lived as a devil, eh?
http://www.kanga.nu/~claw/  Evil is a name of a foeman, as I live.

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