MAG Could Support More Than 256 players – Zipper

Speaking over on the official MAG blog, Zipper Interactive’s Mike Nicolino and Nate Klee have reveled that, if they wanted to, MAG could support an even greater number of players than the 256 it currently does. It’s an interesting claim, especially considering MAG’s prodigious concurrent player number is probably its most lauded quality.

Of course, though possible, such a hike in player count would not be without its drawbacks.

Nate claims:

We built a technology that can support a huge number of players — we picked 256 because of gameplay balance, how we divide squads up, etc. But with our infrastructure, we can increase the number of players to beyond even 256 if we wanted to. There are trade-offs that would have to be made, of course, but the technology supports even more players if the need was there.

The interview is chock full of interesting titbits, including the guys’ thoughts on working on the PS3. Along with the usual “it’s really powerful” statement, the two developers also reiterate the hackneyed and somewhat bold claim that “only on PS3” really has some meaning in this case. Nate continues:

That’s why MAG only runs on the PS3 […] – because the system’s SPUs are so powerful that they give us the technical capability to simultaneously run 256 players in the way we do.

Speaking of 256 players, it’s especially interesting to hear the moment the team knew the whole concept was even possible – when they could do it with beachballs.

Anyone for beachball?

Nate describes the moment:

After we had the technology working, the next task was transforming these beach balls into people and spending a lot of time on game performance.

Not sure about you, but there’s something about 256 beachballs bouncing around a map trying to kill one another that’s quite amusing.

MAG launches next month.