Ciaran has the article Project Sansar To Offer Instancing And Perhaps A Different Approach To Branding Experiences posted. Ciaran has put together a set of clues and come to a conclusion. His reasoning seems plausible. So, what is instancing?
Ciaran gives a quick answer. I’ll go a bit deeper. First let’s look at how Second Life™ works. We have a region running in a server. Technically we may have more than one region running in a server, but for our purposes here I’ll ignore that aspect. If you stand in an adjoining region, you can look into the neighboring region and see what is happening in real time. You can also walk up to the region boundary and cross into the adjacent region. This is when we see region lag. That lag is caused by the time it takes to transfer all your avatar related data from the server you left to the server you entered. It is a good size chunk of data. The Lindens have done a bunch of work optimizing the process. But, it’s a lot of data and takes a finite amount of time.
Plus all the group chat connection information and SL server to your workstation connections have to change. Basically a lot has to happen. But, you can talk to any friend that is anywhere in SL. But, if you go some place and your friend goes to the same place, you will always see each other.
For instance you and I independently decide to go to Fishergate (an SL region) since there is only one instance of Fishergate, we will see each other. The SL servers are running only one region named Fishergate.
The term instancing is about running an instance of a region, but generally denotes the possibility of running more than one copy/instance. So, the Lab could run multiple copies of Fishergate. I could go to Fishergate instance 2 and you might arrive in Fishergate instance 4. We will not see each other. We are in different servers and as far as the servers are concerned we are in different regions that just happen to look identical.
There are worlds that run on the multiple instance model. Uru Live, a Myst game, mixed the two styles. There were public instances of places that worked like our region do. There was only ever one copy of the place running and every one arrived at the same place and could wave at each other and talk in basically local chat.
Other places were private or semi-private. The servers would start up an instance of those places when someone went into them. I would go to my instance and you would go to your instance and we would both be alone but in the same place… sort of. We were likely in different servers, but the places looked identical. We had to take special steps to talk to each other. It was sort of like group chat in SL. In local chat we couldn’t talk.
The idea was while there might be 1,000 people in game there were only ever about 100 or less in any one server, much like it is in SL. In SL the regions fill up and we can’t get in. In an instanced world you can always get in because another server starts up with a copy of the destination. But, if your friend is in a different instance, you can’t hook up.
So, if Sansar is an instanced world, would that work for you?
I can’t argue with Ciaran’s thinking that it looks like Sansar may be instanced. What he is quoting has that sound. Ciaran acknowledged he is reaching. But, I hope that is not only way that Sansar will appear. Using instancing to handle larger numbers of people in a single location is not what I consider a real solution. It feels more like a bait-and-switch.
But for some applications I think instancing would be great.
Since Ebbe has spoken of having large numbers of people at an event, I am hoping they are doing something Like Microsoft and OpenSim did where they could have 1,000+ people in a region will little lag.