Promising something along the lines of a mouth-watering combination between EVE Online and Minecraft, Dual Universe is an in-development MMO. Looking to do something rather unique in the genre however, developer Novaquark put together a quick walkthrough of the technology behind the ambitious game.
Like EVE Online, Dual Universe is aiming to be a single-shard MMO, meaning every player in the world will be in the same, single universe. Where things get tricky is when you start adding construction to the mix. Players can build everything from small structures and ships to entire cities and gigantic space stations. Due to this, the single-shard must be “continuous,” apposed to the “traditional zone-based single-shard approach,” Novaquark President Jean-Christophe Baillie explains in a post on the game’s website.
“A city cannot a priori be broken down into zones, simply because a city is player-made and does not have a formal existence in the game. Where would you draw the line then? So if you imagine to have tens of thousands of people living in approximately the same area, you need a continuous single-shard technology, which is what we have developed.”
Going on to emphasize the effect a single-shard universe can have on such a game, he adds, “Imagine that you build a fantastic imperial palace in Minecraft. You can show it on YouTube, invite a few friends to see it. But, ultimately, what is the meaning of this creation, what’s the point?
“Now, instead, imagine that this imperial palace will actually become the headquarters of a powerful organization within a vast network of empires in a unique universe. That changes everything. What you do has more value, it makes sense, it matters.”
As for how this is achieved, Baillie walks through the particulars in the video above. But a large part of it is connected to a sever technology Novaquark calls Dynamic Area Splitting. The universe is dynamically partitioned into cubic cells that change in size according to the number of players in each, maintaining an average, maximum number of players. Within the game however, none of this is visible on the surface.
The other important factor is then what the developer calls Dynamic Frequency Updating. While other players are visible nearby and far away, the game automatically prioritizes the closer players, updating their information at a faster rate than players far away.
Simply put, Novaquark is building Dual Universe to be immersive, massive, and undeniably impressive. “We are thrilled to pioneer an exciting new era of the MMO genre,” Baillie says in a press release. For more, including a quick look at the game’s building mechanics, you can check out the Dual Universe E3 teaser and recent pre-alpha gameplay.