- Persistent world
A persistent world (PW) is a
virtual worldthat continues to exist even after a user exits the world and that user-made changes to its state are, to some extent, permanent. [cite web | url=http://www.journalism.wisc.edu/~mjchen/spring2007/david/doom.htm | title=Gamer Culture: A Brief History of Community and Digital Games |author=Deal, David |date=2007 |accessdate=2008-04-06] [cite web | url=http://nwn.bioware.com/players/pw_guide.html |title=Neverwinter Nights: Player's Guide to Persistent Worlds |author=Marcellino, Bill |accessdate=2008-04-06] The term is frequently used in the definition of the massively multiplayer online video games and can be considered synonymous with that class of games.cite web | url = http://www.igda.org/online/IGDA_PSW_Whitepaper_2004.pdf | title = 2004 Persistent Worlds Whitepaper | publisher=IGDA |date=2004 |author=James, Daniel (Ed.) |coauthors= Gordon Walton(Ed.) | accessdate=2008-04-06]
The persistence comes from maintaining and developing the state of the world in the game around the clock. Quite unlike other types of games, the plot and events in a persistent world game continue to develop even while some of the players are not playing their characters. That aspect is similar to the
real worldwhere events do occur regardless if they are directly or indirectly related to a person, as they continue to happen while a person is asleep, etc. Conversely, a player's character can also influence and change a persistent world. The degree to which a character affects a world varies from game to game. Since the game does not pause or create player-accessible back-up files, a character's actions will have consequences that the player must deal with.
Elements of persistent worlds can be found in computer games from as early as the 1980s, including "
Trade Wars" (1984) and " Orb Wars" (1989). [cite web |url=http://www.raphkoster.com/gaming/mudtimeline.shtml |title=Online World Timeline |author=Koster, Raph |date=2002-02-20 |accessdate=2008-04-06] The term gained popularity in the late 1990s with the growth in popularity of MMORPGs. The term is also frequently used by players of " Neverwinter Nights" (2002) to refer to MMORPG-like online environments, such as Arkazand Arelith, created using the game's toolkit.
Persistent worlds can be simulated in offline games, such as in the "Animal Crossing" series. Even though nothing happens while the game is off (due to the obvious technical constraint), the illusion of persistence is created by advancing events as soon as the game is turned on. The game generates events that could have happened during the real-world time in which the game was inactive.
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