Swedish network technology company PikkoTekk is trying to set a world record by creating a first-person shooter that can support up to 1000 players on one map. As seen in this video, the game will be playable in a browser and feature two teams: Tanks vs. Robots.
"About one year ago, we were talking with CCP and we came up with this idea that if we made a MMO FPS in Unity, the technical achievement would be of such magnitude that it would even impress random women in bars," PikkoTekk’s Christian Lönnholm told Rock Paper Shotgun.
According to this pdf and this pdf, the purpose of the game is to demo the capabilities of the Pikko Server load balancing product. By using the software, game developers can supposedly build any kind of high-player density MMO game that can handle up to 1000 players on one specific map across eight cell servers. It also supports eleven actions per second (10 movements plus 1 fire), a total bandwidth downstream per player of 420 kbit/s and more.
"The Pikko architecture consists of Pikko Server and several cell servers working together," the company explained. "Players in an online multiplayer game connect to Pikko Server, which handles load balancing between the cell servers. The cell servers handle physics, game logic and more."
PikkoTekk said that each cell server handles only its asigned activity in a small portion of the virtual world. "The cell servers can be seen as cells in a virtual mobile phone network," the company added. "When a person with a mobile phone moves in the real world, the phone will switch to the closest base station without the mobile phone user noticing it. In the same way, a player moving around in a virtual game world will switch completely seamlessly between the different cell servers."
As an example, a virtual world could be distributed across multiple cell servers (rather than residing on just one). Although the cell servers only handle a specific portion of the realm, the coverage overlaps each other to ensure a fluid, seamless environment. The server software also supports multi-core CPUs, meaning that cell servers can exist on a single core each. Instead of using multi-threading techniques, cell servers can be programmed single-threaded and identical to the other cell servers which in turn makes them easier to program.
For now it's unknown when Tanks vs. Robots will go live. However, the ultimate 1000-player deathmatch will take place for one day only sometime in the near future.