Well, good news and bad news. The good news is: EVE Online, in conjunction with London-based start-up Hadean, was able to host a 14,000-ship battle on the Aether engine. The bad news: The gameplay was glitchy as all get out, frame rates were falling through the floor, and the entire scenario was painful to watch.
So, it didn't crash the server, but it was a long ways from being playable. And it was crashing players, if YouTuber Reload's video is any indication. Granted, the amount of stress that a 14,000-ship battle creates is unfathomable. Another important disclosure is that this stress test was conducted by 6,000 concurrent players (that's crazy!) plus 8,000 bots pumping up the numbers (also crazy!). But the ships are spread way out. I'm only seeing a few dozen ships on the screen at a time. Actual EVE Online battles involve indecipherable blobs of ships. They're pointed in every direction and they're shooting in every direction. So the battle demonstrated on this Aether engine is trying to create some cool screenshots with one team seemingly lined up on one side, and another team seemingly lined up on the other. But again, real EVE battles are a complete cluster that look like you're trying to photograph a school of tuna fish on meth.
To my untrained eye, looks like a bunch of smoke and mirrors. This newfangled Aether engine is interesting, but it doesn't look ready for prime time at all. Or, if it is, then maybe it should've gone for a few hundred ships to battle, not thousands. No player could keep up with what's going on onscreen, and apparently Hadean's computers couldn't really keep up either. Torpedoes are crosshatching the screen in an insane fashion, but they're coming out of nowhere and not really going anywhere in particular. Ships appearing and disappearing in thin air. Stuff is shaking, info isn't registering, explosions are missing, all of it is kind of hosed.
Interesting stress test, Aether engine. I hope it spells good things for EVE Online in the future. Needs a lot of work, though.
EVE: Aether Wars Successfully Achieves Groundbreaking 14,000-Ship Battle Live At GDC
More than 3,850 players joined the astonishing achievement in large-scale multiplayer gaming
21 March 2019 – London, United Kingdom – London-based tech start-up Hadean and CCP Games, the creators of the in-depth and uniquely player-driven spaceship MMO game EVE Online, have successfully hosted a battle with 10,000 ships taking part, through their EVE: Aether Wars tech demo.
Taking place live on the first morning of Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, 3,852 players from across the globe battled each other for an hour in EVE: Aether Wars, with AI-connected clients joining the clash and pushing overall ships total to 14,274. Concurrent combatants peaked at 10,412, but it wouldn't be a battle worthy of EVE Online without an epic list of casualties and EVE: Aether Wars didn't disappoint, with 88,988 ships destroyed.
It's a huge milestone in the EVE: Aether Wars project between Hadean and CCP Games, as part of the continued drive to explore the future of large-scale multiplayer simulation.
EVE: Aether Wars was created to showcase the power of Hadean's Aether Engine, the world's first distributed simulation engine. Powered by Microsoft Azure, the Aether Engine allows developers to seamlessly scale their applications at increased speed and ease across the cloud.
CCP Games provided Hadean with EVE Online and EVE: Valkyrie assets for use in the EVE: Aether Wars tech demo, along with its own industry-leading games development expertise. This allowed Hadean to focus on solving the technical challenges faced by developers within large-scale online multiplayer environments. The ongoing collaboration between the two companies will seek to explore the potential for substantial changes to the technical infrastructure of EVE Online.
The EVE Online community currently holds the Guinness World Record for "most concurrent players simultaneously involved in a single multiplayer PvP videogame battle" with 6,142 players on 23rd January 2018.
"We are thrilled to have successfully debuted the Aether Engine with EVE: Aether Wars," said Craig Beddis, Hadean's CEO. "A deathmatch of this magnitude couldn't have been achieved without the support of CCP and EVE Online's amazing community. After such an incredible showing at GDC, we're even more excited about the possibilities our partnership presents to push the technological boundaries of what's possible in the MMO space."
"We knew that Hadean's tech held massive potential, and I'm ecstatic to see that potential realised for the first time with EVE: Aether Wars," said Hilmar V. Pétursson, CCP Games' CEO. "I remain convinced that our partnership will continue break new ground in virtual worlds, and we will continue to explore creative and exciting opportunities that ensure EVE will outlive us all!"
Hadean will host an 'offline' version of EVE: Aether Wars at its stand, S366 in South Hall, for the remainder of GDC. This will enable players to get a feel for how the technology works as they battle against hundreds of AI-controlled clients and against the other EVE: Aether Wars station at Hadean's stand. Attendees will also have the opportunity to chat with the engineering team behind the Aether Engine, who will be on-hand to answer questions about the project and Hadean's technology.
For further details on Hadean and the Aether Engine, visit www.hadean.com and www.aetherengine.io.