I play a fair bit of Destiny, a space-themed video game. Actually, a lot. (It's an amount my husband calls "too much".) I enjoy the game not just for its great story and space-age shooting gameplay, but also for the social interaction. It's a massively-multiplayer game: you're always online, and you'll continually run into other players in the game world. Some parts of the game even require teams of 3 or 6 people to complete. As a result, I often play with real-world friends, and my Xbox friends list is now full of people I've met online playing the game. This social aspect is quite a unique feature of Destiny, and has led to a large yet close-knit community. It's even produced things like this in-game tribute to a player who died of cystic fybrosis last year.
Only a truly social game where you can wander through the virtual world at will, join up with friends, and meet others along the way could sustain this kind of community spirit, and as it turns out a lot of work went on behind the scenes to make this a possibility. I just discovered this presentation by an employee of Destiny developer Bungie, describing the underlying console, networking and cloud infrastructure that makes a game like this possible. The concept is built around "bubbles", a simulation of a small part of the world, hosted by one of the players that inhabits it.
The magic comes in how Destiny handles creating and deactivating bubbles as players move around the world, and what happens when a player suddenly quits, meaning that the bubble hosting has to be moved to another player while maintaining consistent state in the game world. If you're at all interested about the networking aspects behind online games, it's well worth a read.
That's all from us this week. Have a great weekend, and we'll see you back here on Monday!