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KSP2 multiplayer: a competitive space-race team-based MMO with trade and contracts


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1 minute ago, Bej Kerman said:

You can see the KSC easily from low orbit, so I don't see where this is coming from.

yep, you can see some pixels, from a vantage point from an illumination perspective, but he's talking about discerning details. 

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1 minute ago, Master39 said:
4 minutes ago, Bej Kerman said:

You can see the KSC easily from low orbit, so I don't see where this is coming from.

yep, you can see some pixels, from a vantage point from an illumination perspective, but he's talking about discerning details. 

Probably wouldn't take much zoom to discern details. 2x or 3x would probably be sufficient to see an engine light up and make more than one pixel glow, but stock KSP can zoom in even further. 

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4 hours ago, Bej Kerman said:

Probably wouldn't take much zoom to discern details. 2x or 3x would probably be sufficient to see an engine light up and make more than one pixel glow, but stock KSP can zoom in even further. 

That's KSP1. Meanwhile, KSP2 with it's orion drives and antimatter engines...

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4 hours ago, Vl3d said:

The idea is not new, it's just an attempt to have a more grounded description of the edge cases.

 

Funny how this is called a solution when it sounds more like an axe to the knees of KSP. Timewarp will always be a requirement.

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On 4/7/2022 at 3:21 PM, Bej Kerman said:

Debatable.

Ok, Lets debate!

 

First Argument:  Its a Kerbal Game

 

Second Argument:   It the sequel and will be better because more development money and time.   (Also alot of modders working on it)

 

Thirst Argument:   Interstellar Travel

 

Need I say more?

 

 

Spoiler

This is mostly a Joke so no one take this to seriously and get angry.  :wink:

 

 

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19 minutes ago, Tundra said:

This is mostly a Joke so no one take this to seriously and get angry.  :wink:

I don't see where the joke is, this is just a few sentences with no bearing on the original topic. Usually a joke satirises the subject instead of being a massive non-sequitur.

 

Spoiler

This is just a joke. Keep your pitchforks to yourself.

This is also just my opinion; any counterpoints will be met with "it's just my opinion, you aren't allowed to criticise it".

 

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Updated the Q&A. Also I put together an image using my very basic GIMP skills that I hope represents the idea of real-time multiplayer. Perspective is probably not very realistic. I do not own the rights to any photo. What do you think?

Build-Fly-Dream-Together.png

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Posted (edited)

Q&A: "How many players per server?"

Kerbin has a total surface area of 4,523,893.4 km^2. Excluding water based colonies, the land surface area is roughly half of that. But let's exclude mountains and steep hills and say 40%. Kerbin usable land surface area: ~ 1,800,000 km^2.

We should also account for the fact that not being near the equator makes the game harder for players. That would again put a limit of probably 40% on the practical usable land area for better balance.

Kerbin surface area of land practical for orbital launches: ~ 720,000 km^2.

The KSC plateau is about 25 km^2 (from the wiki). But let's say a 1-4 kerbal agency would need 100 km^2.

That's a maximum of 7,200 individual space agencies and a maximum of 28,800 players on Kerbin.

Steam-Charts says the peak player count for KSP1 was 19,079. And currently on average there are 3,500 players online at any given moment.

But in order to avoid latency issues and overcrowding the players should be split in multiple servers per region.

My estimate for optimized gameplay would be a maximum of 1,000 space agencies per server, meaning anywhere from 1,000 to 4,000 players per server.

Edited by Vl3d
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Posted (edited)

I am also willing to bring arguments to the table that dismantle my ideas. For example, I don't know if many of you saw this message from Mr. Paul Furio, the Senior Engineering Manager at Private Division.

"An update on Kerbal Space Program 2 and how we're enabling players to travel from planet A orbiting star B to planet C orbiting star D, continuously, without any loading screens, pauses, faked out transitions, "warp drives", or other trickery. We're simulating a multi-light-year spanning 3D volume at a sub-millimeter level of resolution, and enabling players to travel to any point in that space if they can build a ship capable of making the journey. Unprecedented in gaming."

https://www.linkedin.com/posts/paul-furio_kerbal-space-program-2-episode-5-interstellar-activity-6920089169021014016-J_5I

Well if that's the case for multiplayer, it kind of cancels a lot of solutions for syncing to the local server controlled multiplayer real-time bubbles.

But!

Also look at this interesting talk of Mr. Furio from 2011 about MMO games and how to improve massive social interactions in the same persistent world using NoSql and P2P.

"A talk from the Login 2011 conference on how to build games that connect hundreds of thousands of players in the same experience, using NoSQL, OSS tools & tech, and good planning."

Later edit:

Not mentioning any specific names that have not been formally made public in marketing material in order to respect privacy:

Intercept literally has a MMO economy expert in the software engineering team that worked on Rift, UpperDeckU (card trading game), casino-type multiplayer games.

"Computer game designer and developer specializing in online games. Extensive background in MMOG development, including AAA titles..."

Not to mention an ex-Roblox UI/UX designer.

Edited by Vl3d
extended
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3 hours ago, Vl3d said:

Well if that's the case for multiplayer, it kind of cancels a lot of solutions for syncing to the local server controlled multiplayer real-time bubbles.

Yeah, the faked-out transitions are difficult to get rid of with timewarping systems.
 

3 hours ago, Vl3d said:

Also look at this interesting talk of Mr. Furio from 2011 about MMO games and how to improve massive social interactions in the same persistent world using NoSql and P2P.

"A talk from the Login 2011 conference on how to build games that connect hundreds of thousands of players in the same experience, using NoSQL, OSS tools & tech, and good planning."

Later edit:

Not mentioning any specific names that have not been formally made public in marketing material in order to respect privacy:

Intercept literally has a MMO economy expert in the software engineering team that worked on Rift, UpperDeckU (card trading game), casino-type multiplayer games.

"Computer game designer and developer specializing in online games. Extensive background in MMOG development, including AAA titles..."

Not to mention an ex-Roblox UI/UX designer.

 So, the title of the slideshow says it all. Massively social does not mean massively multiplayer. Here, Paul Furio is discussing a type of game like what Roblox has (Roblox as in the entire platform) where players are social without necessarily always playing together. There’s the friends screen, the cosmetics screen, probably a chat screen, all of which are separate from the individual game instances. In a game server, Roblox can probably only host a few dozen people, but across the full network, they can host millions, just not really playing in multiplayer with all these other people at once. He also mentioned that this is good for harvesting massive amounts of data to sell to the highest bidder. Not sure that KSP is going to follow in the footsteps of Clash of Clans and Farming Simulator. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, t_v said:

harvesting massive amounts of data to sell to the highest bidder

Well I'm sure it's a double edge sword we should keep an eye on.

1 hour ago, t_v said:

Massively social does not mean massively multiplayer.

Yes, but he is talking about 3 things: creating a persistent world with RDB + using social for async interfaces with very big number of players + creating huge group interactions with P2P and NoSQL. It's all of them together. And KSP2 is perfect for that.

Edited by Vl3d
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This has been brought up before, but: Managing surface colonies will he hard.  If any significant fraction of all players are in the same game, equatorial land on every world will be snapped up very fast, so most people will have to make do with high-latitude land.   That assuming the game perfectly prevents colonies being built in the same place in different time-warps.  Plus players would probably have to wait for launchpad access on Kerbin.

If KSP2 does go with big server groups, I think they should be kept at a few hundred members at most.  It's still a lot, but these problems should be more manageable in a smaller server,  while still having enough players to keep things interesting.

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Q&A: How could players collaborate inside the persistent world?

 (1) playing co-op with max 3 other players inside a single space agency (using extended single player mechanics)

(2) seeing other players crafts, stations and colonies but having limited (approval based) interactions with them

(3) having a contracts and trading system and market interface that allows multiple space agencies to indirectly interact: ex. you ask for a satellite with some specs and pay another agency to build and/or launch it etc.

(4) having a "grand projects" system that allows multiple space agencies to interact directly by building together or contributing (kerbals, designs, craft, station segments, resources etc.) ex. a huge space station or interstellar mission.

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This whole idea has been discussed, and for the most part taken apart, in a separate thread already. So again I will say. KSP does not have a good foundation to be an mmo. I would much rather see a couple things that a specific group of my friends made all together in ksp than the hundreds of random things other people made on their own.  If I wanted to look at other people's stuff I would go watch youtube, and if I wanted to interact with other people it would only be my friends, or I would play a game built around mmo interaction. There are a hundred reasons why this "mmo" idea doesn't work with ksp and that is just the most major one for me.

Essentially, if I wanted to see hundreds of people doing space things and feel like I was a part of a big space community I would go play Eve or one of the other large scale multiplayer space games. Heck, even X4 with its AI would provide a better "wow look at all those spaceships" feeling than ksp could. It's not ksp's field. Am I saying it wouldn't be cool? No, it definitely would. But the negative ramifications of attempting to make multiplayer into an mmo would vastly outweigh that coolness.

Additionally, you cannot just say "it's ok there will be private servers too". Those would have an entirely different server structure, and would be immensely handicapped by your way of dealing with time warp. Thus the devs would have to make two different server structures and two different time warp mechanics which is way more work for and idea which would struggle to function as it is.

That's my two cents, I've seen this idea thrown around a lot recently and no matter how many times people say it doesn't work it always comes back. So I'm just laying as much out there as I can in this post and hoping it sticks this time.

 

No offense intended by this post, it is just my raw opinion. I know you all genuinely love the game and want the best, I just think some of you are missing some things which are devastating to your idea.

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this is a great idea, but from my view of ksp2 multiplayer that I have, I imagine my friends and I cooperating rather than competing, some of my friends are better at doing certain things. For example some are better to use airplanes and some is better at using rovers

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On 4/7/2022 at 9:58 AM, Vl3d said:

Imagine being on Kerbin, looking up at the sky and seeing in real-time how a giant interstellar ship is being pulled out of spaceport by small tugs. It orients to fly past the Mun and then lights it's nuclear engine to start anew. All while other players are flying jets in formation above, 3 huge rockets are taking off, capsules leave firy reentry trails in the distance and you're doing buggy ramp jumps with friends.

Do I have your attention? Good. I've thought it through a little and I (hope) I have found a straight-forward way to circumvent the annoying time-warp problem. Just get rid of manually controlling it on / in-proximity-of celestial bodies and mostly play real-time:

  • Have planetary sphere-of-influence sized real-time bubbles that auto-sync.
  • Players can't manually control time warp inside the multiplayer real-time bubble.
  • Instead they use a maneuver node journey planner (map view) to go from A (start) to B (destination).
  • After starting the journey players can control time warp (outside non-team multiplayer).
  • During the journey players cannot directly interact if not on the same craft.
  • The game / server alone manages the planetary bodies configurations in the solar systems.
  • Multiplayer de-sync is done when waiting for a launch window and when starting a journey.
  • Multiplayer re-sync is done when time is cyclic and flexible: when arriving in the destination's orbit, after landing or when on approach (space station type bubble). You can also easily re-sync if you cancel leaving on the journey.

I think this solution leads me to what I think is my greatest wish and suggestion. Make KSP2 multiplayer a competitive space-race team-based persistent-world MMO with inter-agency contracts and trade.

  • Servers would be public, permanent, multiple per region with max. 1000 players each.
  • What you build never gets lost or there would be very rare resets.
  • You can also set-up private servers and edit the rules.
  • Maybe you can even invite players into your single player campaign.
  • Each agency can have 1-4 co-op players, you can build / fly / do missions together.
  • Each player controls a kerbal per mission (although you can switch). You can switch to your space agency's crafts anytime you want.
  • Space agencies can also do contracts for other space agencies.
  • Space agencies can collaborate with each other on huge projects.
  • You can physically interact with other players space stations or colonies only by requesting permissions to dock or land. But otherwise you can trade, emote and communicate.
  • Craft of competing space agencies are all visible in normal view but are pass-through (can't interact physically - for gameplay and performance reasons). They are hidden in map view to avoid clutter, but you can select what you see in orbit.

This is my dream for the greatest game ever made.

Build-Fly-Dream-Together.png

Q&A:

"Can it still be KSP with realistic space travel even as a MMO type game?"

Yes. You gain big multiplayer by just giving up being able to manually control time-warp on / in-proximity-of a celestial body because you don't want to desync the players.

Each place in the universe has its own simultaneity bubble where time flows regularly. You cannot travel to the future unless you are in a cyclic loop or static.

Causality must always be preserved. The speed of light is constant in any frame of reference. You cannot send information to the past. If you switch colonies or vessels, you are moving in space AND time.

But that's the key to the system: you ignore the fact that central-universal-synced time doesn't exist. All solar systems are looped when on rails. You hide temporal internal information and just sync positional configuration.


"Would there be big differences compared to KSP1 gameplay?"

If I can see you from the ground or low orbit, you would be inside the local real-time multiplayer bubble. Once you get to orbit you can plan maneuver nodes and start the inter-celestial-body journey.

You exit large multiplayer when you start a journey. You keep team-based co-op multiplayer by being able to interact with the players on your craft. While on a journey time-warping is enabled and you can edit maneuver nodes and the destination.

The server syncs you to the local SOI real-time bubble and system configuration when you arrive at your destination in order to re-enter large multiplayer. It's like waiting for transfer windows, but the abstraction is reversed.


"What does "the server controls the local time and configuration of the celestial body system" mean?"

It means that you don't control the local positions of celestial bodies by time warping. It's the same system configuration for everyone in that specific local real-time bubble, as defined by the server.


"Where would manually controlling time-warp be disabled?"

There would be real-time gameplay on / in-proximity-of the celestial body. In space you could have special / local real-time bubbles for stations, asteroids and comets. You can warp during journeys.


"You can't play without manually controlling physics warp. Every player needs it."

You can't have large scale multiplayer with physics warp. You would just see people popping in and out of existence as if they are using hyper-speed wall-hack cheats. It breaks immersion. You couldn't have space-races or races of any kind.

Besides, devs said: no warp drives (that's what real-time warping actually means, not to mention desyncs and causality problems).

I'm sure there are other solutions if you really are that impatient.


"Why do you say travel between SOIs is virtual?

It's virtual because it's outside of server defined time. During the journey you can interact only with players that are already in your craft.


"What about mid-course corrections?"

When you are on a journey you are outside of objective time bubbles. You make course corrections as usual, you can change destination without any issue. You go from maneuver node to maneuver node or pause the journey and create new maneuver nodes. But non-team multiplayer only exists after you arrive in the destination time bubble and auto-sync to the local system time and configuration set by the server."


"How do you account for moons or star positions as seen planet-side?"

When on a planet you see the moons and sun positions. You go to orbit, circularize, set maneuver nodes to travel to the moon, press go. When you arrive you auto-sync with a server defined local time in-proximity-of the moon.

The problem you have now is that, if you switch colonies or vessels, you see different solar system configuration for each SOI. But it's irrelevant for gameplay, it's just like being in different time zones. You sync to where you are.


"The map view is supposed to be a direct reflection of the world you're in. What do you mean when you imply that the normal view is real and the map view is virtual?"

Map view only represents the system configuration you are playing in. When you start a journey, map view shows you a system configuration starting with the time of the transfer window, but it does not represent any server-defined real-time bubble system state. It's virtual during a journey, outside of time and outside of non-team multiplayer. When you arrive, server syncs the map view to the local configuration.


"What if I get bored of waiting to ... circularize at apoapsis / rendezvous / land with parachutes ... in real-time?"

Use basic automation as software modules and simple conditional triggers. Create the maneuver in advance and allow smart-parts or a minimal autopilot to do the final burn / do the approach or dock / trigger the parachutes and the landing legs.

And/or set an alarm and go do something else meanwhile. You don't have to micromanage or babysit. Unload manual controls to the rocket design process.


"What if I want to quickly meet up with my friends?"

Meet in the middle. Travel to your nearest colony. Switch to / spawn at your favorite colony. Then takeoff together.


"Was KSP envisioned to be multiplayer from the beginning?"

I personally sincerely believe that. There is no official confirmation, but there are some signs.

  • planting flags so others that come later find them (this is not a single player or co-op team-only feature)
  • leaving custom messages on plaques that can only be read by getting physically close to them (not single player or co-op team-only feature)
  • having agency contracts, rescue missions, (submodules) testing missions, tourism
  • the huge empty world where we all could build colonies and space stations
  • no cities or signs of Kerbal civilization on Kerbin
  • being able to build cool rockets that we can admire, trade or share
  • directly controlling kerbals (that will be able to emote)

I  think game design, tech levels and funding didn't allow the dream to be realized. Until now!


"Doesn't your solution desync celestial bodies from the universal time?"

Yes, universal time would cease to exist. You would only exist in regional-time or in virtual journey-time. Better yet think about it this way: instead of traveling in time, you travel from one positional configuration to another.
 

"Doesn't the lack of universal time break resource management?"

First of all you need to set up resupply loops. Secondly, to preserve resource management causality there could also be a timer used internally by the simulation to calculate "resources depletion estimated time". The thing is that it doesn't really impact multiplayer. Other players can't see inside your craft or colony to check if your resources are depleted.


How do we prevent the visual shift in map view or in normal view when syncing to the real-time multiplayer bubble?

When you arrive at your target the server sets the configuration you play in and politely hides any sudden jumps using the places where events are cyclical and time is flexible: while in orbit, while on approach, while landed. Some solutions:

  • in map view: getting spun around in orbit (like a reverse warp-to-transfer window)
  • in map view:  limiting view of other celestial bodies by zooming in close to my craft and then zooming out
  • in normal view: seeing your craft third person and correctly positioning the sun and moons during time-warp to target.
  • in normal view: seeing an arrival-at-target cut-scene
  • in map or normal view: if going directly into a suborbital trajectory without circularizing (entering atmosphere or landing) there might be a jump in the positions of the moons or day-time/night-time. To sync you (and only you) see an animation of some day / night cycles after landing. The players already in the multiplayer bubble see you arrive in real-time.

 

"How many players per server?"

Kerbin has a total surface area of 4,523,893.4 km^2. Excluding water based colonies, the land surface area is roughly half of that. But let's exclude mountains and steep hills and say 40%. Kerbin usable land surface area: ~ 1,800,000 km^2.

We should also account for the fact that not being near the equator makes the game harder for players. That would again put a limit of probably 40% on the practical usable land area for better balance.

Kerbin surface area of land practical for orbital launches: ~ 720,000 km^2.

The KSC plateau is about 25 km^2 (from the wiki). But let's say a 1-4 kerbal agency would need 100 km^2.

That's a maximum of 7,200 individual space agencies and a maximum of 28,800 players on Kerbin.

Steam-Charts says the peak player count for KSP1 was 19,079. And currently on average there are 3,500 players online at any given moment.

But in order to avoid latency issues and overcrowding the players should be split in multiple servers per region.

My estimate for optimized gameplay would be a maximum of 1,000 space agencies per server, meaning anywhere from 1,000 to 4,000 players per server.


"The players with Space Centers on / near the Kerbin equator have an unfair advantage over other players because of orbital inclination change costs."

This could be a difficulty setting you choose when joining a server. If you want to play on easy, join a server that has free space near the equator.


"Couldn't all the players build and fly in the same persistent world?"

They could if dynamic instancing was used for some celestial bodies (mainly in the Kerbollar system). The further players explore, the fewer they are, so there's not really the problem of colonial overcrowding on planets and moons that are far away from Kerbin.

And there would be a server rule that each instance always had enough room for new player colonies, while maintaining a healthy density and interesting older / bigger colonies. We would only see / interact with max N number of players on each world, but more advanced players would converge the farther away they travel.


How could players collaborate inside the persistent world?

 (1) playing co-op with max 3 other players inside a single space agency (using extended single player mechanics)

(2) seeing other players crafts, stations and colonies but having limited (approval based) interactions with them

(3) having a contracts and trading system and market interface that allows multiple space agencies to indirectly interact: ex. you ask for a satellite with some specs and pay another agency to build and/or launch it etc.

(4) having a "grand projects" system that allows multiple space agencies to interact directly by building together or contributing (kerbals, designs, craft, station segments, resources etc.) ex. a huge space station or interstellar mission.

There should be multiple modes. One being sandbox multiplayer, another being career multiplayer, the third being science multiplayer, and the fourth being this.

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On 4/7/2022 at 8:58 AM, Vl3d said:

Imagine being on Kerbin, looking up at the sky and seeing in real-time how a giant interstellar ship is being pulled out of spaceport by small tugs. It orients to fly past the Mun and then lights it's nuclear engine to start anew. All while other players are flying jets in formation above, 3 huge rockets are taking off, capsules leave firy reentry trails in the distance and you're doing buggy ramp jumps with friends.

Do I have your attention? Good. I've thought it through a little and I (hope) I have found a straight-forward way to circumvent the annoying time-warp problem. Just get rid of manually controlling it on / in-proximity-of celestial bodies and mostly play real-time:

  • Have planetary sphere-of-influence sized real-time bubbles that auto-sync.
  • Players can't manually control time warp inside the multiplayer real-time bubble.
  • Instead they use a maneuver node journey planner (map view) to go from A (start) to B (destination).
  • After starting the journey players can control time warp (outside non-team multiplayer).
  • During the journey players cannot directly interact if not on the same craft.
  • The game / server alone manages the planetary bodies configurations in the solar systems.
  • Multiplayer de-sync is done when waiting for a launch window and when starting a journey.
  • Multiplayer re-sync is done when time is cyclic and flexible: when arriving in the destination's orbit, after landing or when on approach (space station type bubble). You can also easily re-sync if you cancel leaving on the journey.

I think this solution leads me to what I think is my greatest wish and suggestion. Make KSP2 multiplayer a competitive space-race team-based persistent-world MMO with inter-agency contracts and trade.

  • Servers would be public, permanent, multiple per region with max. 1000 players each.
  • What you build never gets lost or there would be very rare resets.
  • You can also set-up private servers and edit the rules.
  • Maybe you can even invite players into your single player campaign.
  • Each agency can have 1-4 co-op players, you can build / fly / do missions together.
  • Each player controls a kerbal per mission (although you can switch). You can switch to your space agency's crafts anytime you want.
  • Space agencies can also do contracts for other space agencies.
  • Space agencies can collaborate with each other on huge projects.
  • You can physically interact with other players space stations or colonies only by requesting permissions to dock or land. But otherwise you can trade, emote and communicate.
  • Craft of competing space agencies are all visible in normal view but are pass-through (can't interact physically - for gameplay and performance reasons). They are hidden in map view to avoid clutter, but you can select what you see in orbit.

This is my dream for the greatest game ever made.

Build-Fly-Dream-Together.png

Q&A:

"Can it still be KSP with realistic space travel even as a MMO type game?"

Yes. You gain big multiplayer by just giving up being able to manually control time-warp on / in-proximity-of a celestial body because you don't want to desync the players.

Each place in the universe has its own simultaneity bubble where time flows regularly. You cannot travel to the future unless you are in a cyclic loop or static.

Causality must always be preserved. The speed of light is constant in any frame of reference. You cannot send information to the past. If you switch colonies or vessels, you are moving in space AND time.

But that's the key to the system: you ignore the fact that central-universal-synced time doesn't exist. All solar systems are looped when on rails. You hide temporal internal information and just sync positional configuration.


"Would there be big differences compared to KSP1 gameplay?"

If I can see you from the ground or low orbit, you would be inside the local real-time multiplayer bubble. Once you get to orbit you can plan maneuver nodes and start the inter-celestial-body journey.

You exit large multiplayer when you start a journey. You keep team-based co-op multiplayer by being able to interact with the players on your craft. While on a journey time-warping is enabled and you can edit maneuver nodes and the destination.

The server syncs you to the local SOI real-time bubble and system configuration when you arrive at your destination in order to re-enter large multiplayer. It's like waiting for transfer windows, but the abstraction is reversed.


"What does "the server controls the local time and configuration of the celestial body system" mean?"

It means that you don't control the local positions of celestial bodies by time warping. It's the same system configuration for everyone in that specific local real-time bubble, as defined by the server.


"Where would manually controlling time-warp be disabled?"

There would be real-time gameplay on / in-proximity-of the celestial body. In space you could have special / local real-time bubbles for stations, asteroids and comets. You can warp during journeys.


"You can't play without manually controlling physics warp. Every player needs it."

You can't have large scale multiplayer with physics warp. You would just see people popping in and out of existence as if they are using hyper-speed wall-hack cheats. It breaks immersion. You couldn't have space-races or races of any kind.

Besides, devs said: no warp drives (that's what real-time warping actually means, not to mention desyncs and causality problems).

I'm sure there are other solutions if you really are that impatient.


"Why do you say travel between SOIs is virtual?

It's virtual because it's outside of server defined time. During the journey you can interact only with players that are already in your craft.


"What about mid-course corrections?"

When you are on a journey you are outside of objective time bubbles. You make course corrections as usual, you can change destination without any issue. You go from maneuver node to maneuver node or pause the journey and create new maneuver nodes. But non-team multiplayer only exists after you arrive in the destination time bubble and auto-sync to the local system time and configuration set by the server."


"How do you account for moons or star positions as seen planet-side?"

When on a planet you see the moons and sun positions. You go to orbit, circularize, set maneuver nodes to travel to the moon, press go. When you arrive you auto-sync with a server defined local time in-proximity-of the moon.

The problem you have now is that, if you switch colonies or vessels, you see different solar system configuration for each SOI. But it's irrelevant for gameplay, it's just like being in different time zones. You sync to where you are.


"The map view is supposed to be a direct reflection of the world you're in. What do you mean when you imply that the normal view is real and the map view is virtual?"

Map view only represents the system configuration you are playing in. When you start a journey, map view shows you a system configuration starting with the time of the transfer window, but it does not represent any server-defined real-time bubble system state. It's virtual during a journey, outside of time and outside of non-team multiplayer. When you arrive, server syncs the map view to the local configuration.


"What if I get bored of waiting to ... circularize at apoapsis / rendezvous / land with parachutes ... in real-time?"

Use basic automation as software modules and simple conditional triggers. Create the maneuver in advance and allow smart-parts or a minimal autopilot to do the final burn / do the approach or dock / trigger the parachutes and the landing legs.

And/or set an alarm and go do something else meanwhile. You don't have to micromanage or babysit. Unload manual controls to the rocket design process.


"What if I want to quickly meet up with my friends?"

Meet in the middle. Travel to your nearest colony. Switch to / spawn at your favorite colony. Then takeoff together.


"Was KSP envisioned to be multiplayer from the beginning?"

I personally sincerely believe that. There is no official confirmation, but there are some signs.

  • planting flags so others that come later find them (this is not a single player or co-op team-only feature)
  • leaving custom messages on plaques that can only be read by getting physically close to them (not single player or co-op team-only feature)
  • having agency contracts, rescue missions, (submodules) testing missions, tourism
  • the huge empty world where we all could build colonies and space stations
  • no cities or signs of Kerbal civilization on Kerbin
  • being able to build cool rockets that we can admire, trade or share
  • directly controlling kerbals (that will be able to emote)

I  think game design, tech levels and funding didn't allow the dream to be realized. Until now!


"Doesn't your solution desync celestial bodies from the universal time?"

Yes, universal time would cease to exist. You would only exist in regional-time or in virtual journey-time. Better yet think about it this way: instead of traveling in time, you travel from one positional configuration to another.
 

"Doesn't the lack of universal time break resource management?"

First of all you need to set up resupply loops. Secondly, to preserve resource management causality there could also be a timer used internally by the simulation to calculate "resources depletion estimated time". The thing is that it doesn't really impact multiplayer. Other players can't see inside your craft or colony to check if your resources are depleted.


How do we prevent the visual shift in map view or in normal view when syncing to the real-time multiplayer bubble?

When you arrive at your target the server sets the configuration you play in and politely hides any sudden jumps using the places where events are cyclical and time is flexible: while in orbit, while on approach, while landed. Some solutions:

  • in map view: getting spun around in orbit (like a reverse warp-to-transfer window)
  • in map view:  limiting view of other celestial bodies by zooming in close to my craft and then zooming out
  • in normal view: seeing your craft third person and correctly positioning the sun and moons during time-warp to target.
  • in normal view: seeing an arrival-at-target cut-scene
  • in map or normal view: if going directly into a suborbital trajectory without circularizing (entering atmosphere or landing) there might be a jump in the positions of the moons or day-time/night-time. To sync you (and only you) see an animation of some day / night cycles after landing. The players already in the multiplayer bubble see you arrive in real-time.

 

"How many players per server?"

Kerbin has a total surface area of 4,523,893.4 km^2. Excluding water based colonies, the land surface area is roughly half of that. But let's exclude mountains and steep hills and say 40%. Kerbin usable land surface area: ~ 1,800,000 km^2.

We should also account for the fact that not being near the equator makes the game harder for players. That would again put a limit of probably 40% on the practical usable land area for better balance.

Kerbin surface area of land practical for orbital launches: ~ 720,000 km^2.

The KSC plateau is about 25 km^2 (from the wiki). But let's say a 1-4 kerbal agency would need 100 km^2.

That's a maximum of 7,200 individual space agencies and a maximum of 28,800 players on Kerbin.

Steam-Charts says the peak player count for KSP1 was 19,079. And currently on average there are 3,500 players online at any given moment.

But in order to avoid latency issues and overcrowding the players should be split in multiple servers per region.

My estimate for optimized gameplay would be a maximum of 1,000 space agencies per server, meaning anywhere from 1,000 to 4,000 players per server.


"The players with Space Centers on / near the Kerbin equator have an unfair advantage over other players because of orbital inclination change costs."

This could be a difficulty setting you choose when joining a server. If you want to play on easy, join a server that has free space near the equator.


"Couldn't all the players build and fly in the same persistent world?"

They could if dynamic instancing was used for some celestial bodies (mainly in the Kerbollar system). The further players explore, the fewer they are, so there's not really the problem of colonial overcrowding on planets and moons that are far away from Kerbin.

And there would be a server rule that each instance always had enough room for new player colonies, while maintaining a healthy density and interesting older / bigger colonies. We would only see / interact with max N number of players on each world, but more advanced players would converge the farther away they travel.


How could players collaborate inside the persistent world?

 (1) playing co-op with max 3 other players inside a single space agency (using extended single player mechanics)

(2) seeing other players crafts, stations and colonies but having limited (approval based) interactions with them

(3) having a contracts and trading system and market interface that allows multiple space agencies to indirectly interact: ex. you ask for a satellite with some specs and pay another agency to build and/or launch it etc.

(4) having a "grand projects" system that allows multiple space agencies to interact directly by building together or contributing (kerbals, designs, craft, station segments, resources etc.) ex. a huge space station or interstellar mission.

Meh... go play Space Engineers... or Empyrion. Enjoy... :-)

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  • 2 weeks later...

The experience you describe would be inescapable, like as a good thing, I wouldn't be able to play anything else - I'm almost positive the multiplayer experience will be less than this at launch, but once we have an idea of how it all works, well, the modding community is strong and this vision of yours is a real possibility. Keep on dreamin'!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I feel like @Vl3d is just describing Star Citizen with the addition of orbital mechanics and ship building. Go watch the CitizenCon videos, specifically the "state of persistence" and the "building a dynamic universe" that shows off the Quantum simulation system. You'll see a lot of similarities at a high level in regards to what the OP is suggesting. Given that has taken more than 10 years with a budget of over $450 million thus far and still isn't complete, and it isn't simulating realistic-ish orbital mechanics, I'd argue that this dream is a pipe-dream. Especially given what they've said about how they've re-built the simulation engine at the scale of multi-lightyears with sub-millimeter precision specifically in order to enable extremely long burns during long physics warp.

I tend to agree with @Master39 and others regarding making KSP2 into an MMO. Definitely not interested in that in the slightest. I am however interested in being able to hop into a session with a couple of friends and work on designing different craft together, or a few of us working on different portions of a larger goal.

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