Persistent world

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In video games, a persistent world or persistent state world (PSW) is a virtual world which (ideally) continues to exist even after users have exited the world and where changes made to the world state by its users remain intact.[1][2] The term is frequently used in relation to massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs)[2] and pervasive games.[3] The concept of world persistence should not be confused with similar persistence concepts such as persistent network connectivity or data persistence.


A persistent world can be achieved by developing and maintaining a single or dynamic instance state of the game world that is shared and viewed by all players 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. The real world is persistent, always available and where changes made by a particular person remain even in their absence. In pervasive games, we can speak of physical persistence[4] where the game world is persistent in the physical world.

To give the illusion that the game world is always available, persistent worlds can be simulated. This can be achieved by scheduling when players are allowed to play, around times when the world is offline, or as in the Animal Crossing series, having the game generate events that could have happened during the period of inactivity. Aside from virtual worlds, the simulation of a persistent world is also possible in single player games. In Noctis, players are advised to turn off the game while refueling because it takes so long. In addition, if a player who has landed on a planet stops playing and then after a while resumes, he or she can see visible changes in the sea level or the daytime/nighttime cycle.[citation needed] In Metal Gear Solid 3. If one stops playing long enough during the fight of Snake with "The End", he will die of old age.[5] Another form of simulated persistence has been referred to as pseudo-persistent worlds, in which the game world is shared between computer systems giving the impression of persistence when a user comes in contact with particular system again with which they previously interacted.[3]


The term 'persistent world' is frequently used by players of Neverwinter Nights (2002) and Neverwinter Nights 2 (2006) to refer to MMORPG-like online environments created using the toolkits of games such as Arkaz, Avlis, Dasaria, The Known Lands and Realms of Trinity.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Marcellino, Bill. "Neverwinter Nights: Player's Guide to Persistent Worlds". Archived from the original on 2008-04-08. Retrieved 2014-01-21. 
  2. ^ a b Daniel James, Gordon Walton, Brian Robbins, Elonka Dunin Greg Mills John Welch, Jeferson Valadares, Jon Estanislao, Steven DeBenedictis (2004). "2004 Persistent Worlds Whitepaper" (PDF). IGDA. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-02-28. Retrieved 2013-11-12. 
  3. ^ a b de Souza e Silva, Adriana; Sutko, Daniel M. (2009). Digital Cityscapes: merging digital and urban playspaces. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc. 
  4. ^ Nieuwdorp, E. (2007). "The pervasive discourse". Computers in Entertainment 5 (2): 13. doi:10.1145/1279540.1279553.  edit
  5. ^ Metal Gear Solid 3 HD | The End Dies Of Old Age (Hidden Cutscenes) HD (YouTube). Edsta713TX. 14 January 2012.