Game hosting for real-time synchronous gameplay - Games Industry Lens

Game hosting for real-time synchronous gameplay

Real-time synchronous gameplay allows for two or more players to participate and interact in a game simultaneously where the state of the gameplay is shared between the connected players to create a real-time experience. Examples of synchronous games include first-person shooters, massively multiplayer online games (MMOG), sports and action games, or any online game where two or more players must be connected in order to share the play experience in real time.

Characteristics of real-time synchronous gameplay architectures include:

  • Games are hosted as game sessions through game server processes that run on game servers. Game servers are hosted in multiple data centers and AWS Regions globally.

  • Game clients can join a game session either by requesting a match from a centralized matchmaking service hosted in the game backend platform, or by selecting a match from a predefined list of available game servers. The game client is provided with an IP address and port to connect to.

  • Many synchronous games are latency sensitive, for example, first-person shooters and massively multiplayer online games. These games typically have a pre-defined latency tolerance that is carefully measured and optimized to reduce the lag experience that can sometimes occur for players in high-latency situations. This latency information is determined by instrumenting game clients to ping the available game server locations to capture metrics such as latency, network jitter, and other important metrics for the gameplay experience. These metrics are sent to a central metrics collection service in the game backend platform so that live operations teams can monitor game health. During the matchmaking process, game clients can provide their current latency data as one of the request parameters when requesting a match, and the matchmaking service uses can use that latency data as one of the variables when selecting a game server to host the player.

  • Typically, the gameplay is conducted over a mix of protocols — game servers using faster UDP-based messaging, and matchmaking, authentication, and other client-server traffic using HTTPS.

  • Game servers are frequent targets for malicious activities and should be protected with a DDoS protection solution like AWS Shield Advanced.