I've noticed that the default Minecraft Server properties file has max players = 20. So, the software is capable of at least that (and I've seen servers with higher, too). So, say I was playing on a private server I set up just for myself, the girlfriend, maybe a guest or two. The max users we'll have is 4, which seems a waste, if the server can handle 20 or more.
Then I had an idea.
A lot of cool minecart (or redstone) systems have a big flaw- if a cart or station, or even some redstone circuits get too far away, the chunk they are in unloads, and they cease to work. Now, if a player was standing there next to them, the chunk (and the surrounding chunks) would remain active. I'm sure I can find lots of people willing to pay 15Euros to stand where I tell them and not go anywhere. ::roll eyes::
But, wait a second... what about 'phantom players'? Non-real 'players' that can be 'placed' by the server admin wherever he needs to keep chunks active. If the server can handle 20 real players (including sending out chunk updates to each of them, etc) then surely it can handle 4 real players and 16 'phantom players' (that don't need any updates at all!).
The 'phantoms' could even be configurable- have a 50x50 block area you want to be active? Set down a 'small' phantom that keeps just a 2 chunk (32 block) radius active. Need a long redstone circuit active? Set down a 'rectangular' phantom that's only 1 chunk (16 blocks) wide, but 20 chunks (320 blocks) long. And so on.
So, what's everyone think?
I think it would be easier to give admins some sort of command to keep a chunk from dying (if it needed to keep alive for making a long railway or something). There's not really any need for these phantom players.
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