Dynamic Scalable Network Area of interest management for Virtual Worlds
Wathen, Michael S.
Capps, Michael V.
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A major performance challenge in developing a massively multi-user virtual world is network scalability. This is because the network over which entities communicate can quickly develop into a bottleneck. Three critical factors: bandwidth usage, packets per second, and network-related CPU usage, should be governed by the number of entities a given user is interested in, not the total number of entities in the world. The challenge then is to allow a virtual world to scale to any size without an appreciable drop in system performance. To address these concerns, this thesis describes a novel Area of Interest Manager (AOIM) built atop the NPSNET-V virtual environment system. It is a dynamically sized, geographical region based, senderside interest manager that supports dynamic entity discovery and peer-to-peer entity communication. The AOIM also makes use of tools provided by the NPSNET-V system, such as variable resolution protocols and variable data transmission rate. Performance tests have shown conclusively that these interest management techniques are able to produce dramatic savings in network bandwidth usage in a peer-to-peer virtual environment. In one test, this AOIM produced a 92% drop in network traffic, with a simultaneous 500% increase in world population.
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