Ever wanted to play Minecraft on a server with 10000 other users? This might soon become a common occurence - a group of very talented modders have succeeded in unifying over 70 servers via a Bukkit plugin, creating a giant server connected through a lobby. This isn't just a technological triumph, it is also a very encouraging sign that MMO Minecraft servers might become a thing soon enough. Read on for details on how it works and what it means to you.
First off, let's detail how it works. Basically, a bunch of servers, in this case over 70, are connected into a single network that has their combined capacity. A central lobby is created where players are spawned when they connect. This lobby is very small, and doesn't display players to other players so it's visually empty to you, but you still can read chat. Because of this it doesn't have to load chunks as players move and can support a huge amount of players at a time. The lobby also contains portals that lead to regions or more precisely servers, divided by game modes. This is done via a Bukkit plugin called BungeeCord.
If a player doesn't know exactly what server he's looking for, he can quickjoin a server by right-clicking a sign in the lobby. “Half a second later, you are in that server ready to play” say the creators claiming the transition is almost seamless and a player can hardly notice a server shift took place. There are of course systems in place to display errors and return players to the lobby in case of an error. There's even a lounge server where PvP is turned off and players can hang out, talk and enjoy.
The player joins the network, walks around a lobby, picks a server and joins it. “Big deal, so what, it's a glorified server list.”, you might think to yourself, and you would be right. For now. This system shows huge promise for the creation of giant seamless networks with servers that aren't connected with portals, but where players are automatically and seamlessly transferred when they enter a new region. As HighlifeTTU, a modder working on the project put it:
I think it is already possible. We use portals and signs for connecting, but it is entirely possible to do it based on coordinates. It would be like how the first Everquest worked. You walk through a canyon or other area, and then load into another server / part of the world.
This means that we could soon see many amazing server networks acting as a united MMO server for thousands upon thousands of players to play on. There's still work to be done, but it is entirely possible even with what we have today. The possibilites are nearly endless. Each server could have their own mods installed, creating diverse gameplay across regions of the world. This technology doesn't stop at classic MMO gameplay either, there could easily be networks made featuring numerous amazing builds all into one convenient mega server package, making for easy exploration by players.
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Are you excited about the prospect and possibilities this new system offers? What would you use it for? Let us know in the comment section below.