Container-based game backend architecture - Games Industry Lens

Container-based game backend architecture

This section outlines a container-based game backend architecture


            Reference architecture diagram showing how to host a game backend using
              containers.
Hosting a game backend using containers
  1. Players access the game using game client software, which can be distributed to them through a gaming platform, a digital storefront, or a direct download from a content delivery network (CDN), such as Amazon CloudFront. CDNs provide caching at edge locations to accelerate the performance for users downloading content. For example, CloudFront can be used to distribute the game client software to your players as well as the game assets and other content.

  2. Global Accelerator provides traffic acceleration and customizable controls for routing traffic from player game clients to your load balancers as well as routing traffic across Regions for multi-Region and failover purposes. The custom domain names for your game backend REST APIs are configured in Route 53 to route traffic to Global Accelerator endpoints. Shield Advanced provides DDoS mitigation for your accelerator and game backend.

  3. NAT Gateway and Application Load Balancer are deployed to public subnets in each of the Availability Zones used by the game backend to help ensure high availability with the Region. Web Application Firewall is deployed on the Application Load Balancer to provide layer-7 web traffic filtering.

  4. The game backend is hosted as a collection of individual container-based microservices deployed into an Amazon EKS cluster in private subnets spread across Availability Zones for resiliency. Automatic scaling dynamically adjusts the capacity of the services and cluster nodes based on resource utilization, which is typically correlated with player demand. Whereas Cluster Autoscaler automatically adjusts the number of nodes in the cluster, the Horizontal Pod Autoscaler automatically scales the pods deployed into the cluster.

  5. Game and player data is stored in backend databases and caches that are deployed into private subnets across Availability Zones with replication between primary and replica nodes. Aurora is a popular choice for use cases such as player profiles, entitlements, and in-game purchasing, which can have more complex querying requirements and may benefit from the relational data modeling capabilities of MySQL and PostgreSQL. ElastiCache for Redis is useful for building high-performance leaderboards, pub/sub messaging, and for caching frequently accessed data to reduce latency and load on databases. DynamoDB is a fully managed NoSQL data store that is ideal for unpredictable access patterns and the ability to scale to virtually unlimited throughput for use cases such as player and game state data, session data, inventory and item stores, or use cases where you want a global database with minimal overhead.

  6. Asynchronous processing workflows should be used to perform work that can be done in the background, such as updating leaderboards or sending friend requests. Configure your game backend to push this type of work into Amazon SQS queues to help you scale as your game grows, or consider using Amazon SNS topics to distribute the work between many consumer application queues for parallel processing. Use Lambda functions to perform the processing in an event-driven manner to reduce your compute infrastructure costs and management overhead. For workflows that are long-lived or require task coordination with multiple steps, consider orchestrating the entire workflow using Step Functions. Amazon EventBridge can be used to initiate functions to respond to AWS service and custom application events.