03-02-2003, 04:27 PM
Interesting peak into future online gaming sites:
03-05-2003, 10:51 PM
No comments on lag free gaming?
Here's the article for those who didn't feel like going to the link.
I personally think this is going be very cool for a lot of us gamers.
NEW YORK - Hold on to your handsets, folks: Online gaming is about to go grid.
The only thing worse than dying a horrible death in an online game is being knocked offline in mid-battle, but Sony says it is creating a network to solve just that problem.
NO HASSLE NETWORK
The grid was designed to allow millions of users to play online PlayStation 2 games at the same time - without a hitch. Traditionally, online games have segmented players onto separate servers, limiting the number of players.
The Japanese electronics giant said it has partnered computer giant IBM and Butterfly.net Inc to put PlayStation 2 games on a souped-up version of the Internet.
West Virginia-based Butterfly.net has tapped into grid computing, formerly the realm of academics and researchers, to dramatically increase the capacity and quality of online games, representatives say.
'You're going to have gamers treating computing as an extreme sport,' said Mr Scott Penberthy, vice-president of business development for IBM.
Imagine blasting through medieval forts without fear of your online role-playing game crashing too, or proposing to a virtual girlfriend without waiting through lag time for her answer.
Gaming demand is huge and growing, and 'massively multi-player' online games - where teams of people on separate computers can wage virtual battles, go on quests or build simulated communities - have a substantial following.
But current versions are not glitch-free.
Online gamers are often frustrated by the consequences of gaming frenzy. Too many players on a game at once can slow down a system considerably, or shut down a game altogether.
Grids, developers say, will change that.
Originally developed to distribute huge research tasks among academic institutions, grids are computers linked together to combine their individual processing power into one coordinated system.
Think of television screens tiled together to produce one large image. In the grid version, if one screen blows out, another takes its place seamlessly.
Grids can sense when a gaming server becomes overloaded and can automatically transfer players to computers with lighter loads - all without the gamer sensing a thing. There is no lag time and a player is never kicked off.
Butterfly.net has designed software based on a public, universal grid language that game developers can use to create grid-compatible games.
IBM's part of the bargain is to provide hardware in the form of high-powered computer servers, databases for tracking gamers and other infrastructure components designed to carry heavy loads.
Gamers are now using the same databases that banks use for clearing transactions and securities, IBM's Mr Penberthy said.
The benefit to online game developers, analysts say, is that they will no longer have to worry about the networking and infrastructure aspects of creating a new game.
IBM and Butterfly are hoping that by outsourcing their ready-made grid infrastructure, they will encourage game developers to create programs for mainstream Internet users.
Consumers should see the first few grid-based games next year.
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