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EVE sees thousand-player battles

Server upgrades winning "war on lag".

More sick tech from the fearless nerds at Icelandic developer CCP: following server upgrades, EVE Online is now capable of "entirely playable" 1000-player fleet battles.

An in-depth presentation on network infrastructure at the EVE Fanfest in Reykjavik today revealed recent progress made in a struggle close to all EVE players' hearts: the "war on lag".

Since EVE is an 'unsharded', single-universe MMO, the numbers of players involved in battles and trading in the same space can often be extremely high. This causes severe latency problems.

A CCP developer said that this time last year, a fleet battle could only be considered playable if it featured no more than 400 pilots. Following the first upgrades to CCP's network, recent battles have successfully involved 1000 pilots.

Meanwhile, command delays in busy mission hubs have been reduced from 20 or 30 seconds to just 2 or 3 seconds in the last year. The number of players occupying the Jita trading hub simultaneously has also reached as many as 850, with no complaints from players. In November 2007, 600 players in the region would cause an avalanche of complaints to customer support.

There was an awful lot of talk about HPC, or high-performance computing, that in all honesty we didn't understand very well. The upshot is that CCP is employing the kind of super-computing technology normally reserved for the likes of academia and the aerospace industry in a complete revision of its game servers.

The final goal of the drive to move EVE's infrastructure to HPC is to allow the game world to support 100,000 concurrent players - in other words, some 40 per cent of EVE's total player-base in a single universe.

That's some hard science there. We'll bring you more of this sort of thing from Fanfest tomorrow.