IBM announces gameframe servers for MMORPGs

April 27th, 2007

Today’s New York Times has an article, Sun and IBM to Offer New Class of High-End Servers, on new specialized high-end servers recently announced by both Sun and IBM. While Sun’s new machines are aimed at managing high-volumes streams of data (e.g., video), IBM’s is designed to support MMORPG games and virtual worlds.

“I.B.M. said its new video game server, which it is calling a “gameframe,” is being designed in collaboration with Hoplon Infotainment, a Brazilian game developer interested in creating a software layer it calls a “bitverse” to support virtual online worlds.
    There are already multiplayer games that support hundreds of thousands of simultaneous players, but the I.B.M. system will add an unparalleled level of realism to visual interactions, Mr. Meyerson said.
    He argued that in addition to gaming applications, this kind of technology could be used to enhance the performance and scalability of existing virtual worlds like Second Life, an Internet-based service that crosses the boundary between online entertainment and workplace collaboration.”

Hoplon Infotainment runs its Taikodom, a space-based, sci-fi massive multiplayer online game, on conventional IBM Z-series servers. The new IBM “gameframe” machines will combine high-performance features of mainframe computers with the parallel processing capabilities of IBM’s Cell Broadband Engine chip currently being used in the Sony PlayStation 3 game console.

The computer game industry needs software engineers that understand how to take advantage of the new classes of parallel processors that are being developed. As part of our effort to support the GAIM tracks, we plan to offer CMSC483 (Parallel and Distributed Processing) every year.