Making online, 256-player battles unfold without lag or disconnection issues is nothing short of pure techno-wizardry. However, according to producer Alan Van Slyke, who recently spoke with us at a PAX preview event, that's exactly what MAG will bring to the table thanks to a groundbreaking new form of server architecture.
"Before we started working on the front-end client technology, we started building the servers. We wiped the slate clean and asked 'what do we need to do to scale to these numbers to make sure it's not laggy, and make sure people can't exploit,'" Van Slyke explained. What they decided was that peer-to-peer hosting was insufficient -- instead, the MAG team created their own networking solution which would host and authenticate game data from a (presumably beefy) central server.
Van Slyke couldn't reveal the specifics of the technology (the patent for which is still pending), but promised that it would reduce latency and completely eliminate connection griefing which has plagued other multiplayer shooters in the past. In addition, he said Zipper's not worried about having its servers crushed by a day-one rush of new recruits, explaining that "we've invested a lot in our server technology and our load test harnesses and the things we can do to replicate the scalability of it to ensure that it's stable and rock solid."