EVE's anti-lag Time Dilation concept explained

Lag and server performance have always been important issues for MMO developers, but they've always had a special significance for EVE Online developer CCP Games. With EVE's entire population living on one non-instanced server, CCP needs to support scenarios in which a large percentage of them get together in one place. Back in August, CCP published a series of devblogs detailing the issues inherent in combating lag and what was being done to combat it. Though developments like the thin client and character nodes have proven very successful, the server still struggles when massive battles take place in nullsec.

In a new devblog, CCP Veritas explains a potentially revolutionary idea for resolving lag in massive battles -- Time Dilation. Commands on the server are currently added to a queue and processed in order. If the load is more than the server can process, this queue grows at an alarming rate and the server is unable to catch up. Under time dilation, actions in the game such as firing weapons or moving would be slowed down to ensure the queue remains short and so the server stays under its maximum load. Instead of fights becoming laggy and unplayable, the entire battle would go into slow motion and remain responsive. It's no silver bullet with which to kill the lag monster, but time dilation could make massive battles a lot more playable. For more details on how the system will work, head over to the official devblog.
This article was originally published on Massively.