Mojang Studios used Minecraft and the experimental Aether Engine to create a 1,024 player server

Savannah village
Savannah village (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Minecraft has a very active multiplayer community, with thousands of private and public servers set up for the game.
  • The Aether Engine by Hadean allows games to use dynamic servers that can drastically improve performance and reliability in servers.
  • Using the experimental Aether Engine, a Mojang Studios developer was able to get a 1,024 player server running in Minecraft in three days.
  • The Aether Engine could mean big things for MMO games, if developers start to utilize its unique advantages.

Minecraft has thousands of servers at its disposal, with varying levels of popularity, and even allow you to rent private servers known as Realms for your friends and families. However, as with pretty much any massive multiplayer online (MMO) game, performance and reliability begin to tank the more players you have in a single place. If you look at the starting areas for games like Destiny 2, World of Warcraft, and many others, you may notice reduced framerates, increased latency, and other performance issues. The Aether Engine by Hadean aims to solve this problem with a unique spin on server technology.

Using the Aether Engine, Mojang Studios was able to create a server that can reliably support up to 1,024 unique players in just three days, and that was without any prior experience with the Aether Engine or knowledge on how to properly optimize for it. What makes the Aether Engine unique is that it can dyanmically scale up to match larger loads or down to free up resources during smaller loads. This means isolated areas in an online game will run the same as much more populated areas, because the Aether Engine can scale to allocate exactly what each area needs to run smoothly.

This also means new games that can't forsee how popular they'll become right after launch (Fall Guys is a recent example) won't suffer from not having the resources necessary to support those players, leading to long load times, lag, and misconnections. The Aether Engine can respond to these surges in real time, so the number of players shouldn't affect the performance of the game overall.

The Aether Engine has far more use cases than just video games, but allowing companies like Mojang Studios to use and test out the engine gives Hadean the data they need to improve it for other scenarios, and to get the product out in the real world. It's quite possible that the near future could mean even larger MMO experiences, and much more intricate Minecraft servers for us all to enjoy.

Zachary Boddy
Staff Writer

Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer for Windows Central, primarily focused on covering the latest news in tech and gaming, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting Windows and Xbox hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life starting with the original Xbox, and started out as a freelancer for Windows Central and its sister sites in 2019. Now a full-fledged Staff Writer, Zachary has expanded from only writing about all things Minecraft to covering practically everything on which Windows Central is an expert, especially when it comes to Microsoft. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.