Persistent Entity Streaming

From the Star Citizen Wiki, the fidelity™ encyclopedia

Persistent Entity Streaming (PES) is a new ground-breaking technology developed by Cloud Imperium Games (CIG). It is considered one of the core technological requirements to Star Citizen and was introduced in patch 3.18. PES allows everything within the game's server instance (shard) i.e., bodies, player items, ships, destroyed ship debris etc. to continue existing within that shard even when players leave the area or log out of the game. The goal of this technology is to make the universe feel more alive and impacted by player actions.[1]

While other games commonly create the illusion of persistence, this tech will be the first time that it has actually been accomplished on such a massive scale.

PES interacts with almost every aspect of the game in such a way that has completely changed how the game operates. These changes have allowed for the expansion or debut of new in-game careers such as salvage gameplay which was also introduced in 3.18 and pave the way for the future of server meshing and other technologies scheduled for development.

Affected Gameplay Loops

PES affects almost every aspect of the game for better or worse. It has added a certain level of cohesion to existing missions and mundane tasks. It has created the propensity for garbage & debris to pile up around the system. And it has exposed new, albeit smaller challenges to development. It has allowed for the expansion or debut of new in-game careers such as salvage gameplay which was also introduced in 3.18.

Missions as simple as delivering packages have benefited greatly from the tech. In theory (requires more testing to verify that this works consistently) players can pick up packages, log out, and return to complete the mission at a later time.

Players can now utilize storage & weapon lockers on their ships more effectively even when logging in & out on them.

PES opens the doors to more effectively storing ships within other ships as well.

Shards & Servers - How Do They Affect Persistence?

Within each server, there are smaller servers referred to as "shards." These smaller servers exist within each region and act as their own universe.

When a player places something in the universe that they want to return to at a later date, they would need to join the same shard to experience the persistence. Unfortunately, there is no predictable way for solo players to select which shard to join at the present time, beyond multiple attempts rejoin until you get the right server ID.

A function to select the appropriate server IDs will be added in future iterations of PES & server meshing.

The Future of Persistent Entity Streaming

Persistent Entity Streaming was not only created for the salvage gameplay loop, but also as a stepping stone for the implementation of a feature called Server Meshing. Server Meshing is the technology which allows for multiple servers to work together to host players in a way that a player may move from server to server without differentiating which server they left and which server they entered. This comes in two modes. Static Server Meshing, which allows for different locations to be hosted by different servers (e.g., Stanton and Pyro each being on their own servers), and Dynamic Server Meshing, which would dynamically host players in a continuous environment which would be able to handle a massive capacity for players which a single server wouldn't be able to handle.

Presently, Static Server Meshing is in development and planned to be released near the release of Star Citizen 4.0.

See also

References

  1. Server Meshing and Persistent Streaming Q&A. Transmission - Comm-Link
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