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Server-side development for real-time iOS multiplayer games


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#1 JDX_John   Members   -  Reputation: 284

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 03:14 AM

Are there any server-side APIs/libraries/services which are considered some sort of standard for creating multiplayer games for iOS, maybe even some part of the iOS/XCode technology stack? Or would every real-time multiplayer game typically have a bespoke server just like PC games would?

What about handling players in different locations around the world, etc - is it up to the developers to have multiple servers or do Apple provide any server facilities as part of deploying your game on the app-store?

 

My impression is that an iOS game is nothing special, it's just a program which talks to a server via typical network communication, so I could have Android players playing against iOS players... but you rarely seem to see this scenario which made me wonder if there are some lock-ins on the technology.

 

If anyone has worked on a multiplayer iOS game I'd love to hear how you approached this.


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#2 Felix Ungman   Members   -  Reputation: 1052

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 05:16 AM

GameKit is the official iOS framework for handling players, matchmaking, networking, leaderboards, and achievements. It supports both real-time and turn-based games. For turn-based games, Apply will store up to 64K data per turn. For real-time games you can use either peer-to-peer or client-server communication models. For the client-server model Apple does not provide any game server services so you have to host your own.

 

GameKit / GameCenter is limited to iOS and Mac so you can not play against Android players, in that case you have to basically duplicate the matchmaking functionality yourself.

 

https://developer.apple.com/library/ios/documentation/NetworkingInternet/Conceptual/GameKit_Guide/Introduction/Introduction.html


Edited by Felix Ungman, 27 November 2013 - 05:21 AM.

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#3 JDX_John   Members   -  Reputation: 284

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 05:22 AM

I never heard of that, thanks a lot. If if supports client-server but Apple provides no server services, this must mean the protocol is totally open...meaning you could write a connector to your existing server or an existing server middleware API?


www.simulatedmedicine.com - medical simulation software

Looking to find experienced Ogre & shader developers/artists. PM me or contact through website with a contact email address if interested.


#4 rpiller   Members   -  Reputation: 690

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 05:47 AM

If you are working in C++ instead of Objective-C then you can use lower level libraries like RakNet. They aren't hard to work with and it would give you the ability to have any platform play against any platform. Windows, Linux, Mac, iOS, Android, Playstation, XBox (I think). Now that would be cool and make your servers seem much more full and alive.



#5 Felix Ungman   Members   -  Reputation: 1052

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 06:41 AM

I never heard of that, thanks a lot. If if supports client-server but Apple provides no server services, this must mean the protocol is totally open...meaning you could write a connector to your existing server or an existing server middleware API?

 

Once you've prepared a match request and the GameCenter matchmaker has found players, what you get is a network connection where you can send and receive blocks of bytes (either to a specific player or to all of them at once). So for both peer-to-peer and client-server, it is up to you to implement a protocol that interpret these blocks of bytes and deals with the specific objects and mechanics of your games.


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#6 Buster2000   Members   -  Reputation: 1732

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 06:46 AM

I also managed to create a real time muliplayer iOS game using pubnub.com.  It just depends on  how complex your game is, how many players and what you actually intend your server to do.



#7 JDX_John   Members   -  Reputation: 284

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 06:48 AM

And presumably if you have a server app, 

 

 

I never heard of that, thanks a lot. If if supports client-server but Apple provides no server services, this must mean the protocol is totally open...meaning you could write a connector to your existing server or an existing server middleware API?

 

Once you've prepared a match request and the GameCenter matchmaker has found players, what you get is a network connection where you can send and receive blocks of bytes (either to a specific player or to all of them at once). So for both peer-to-peer and client-server, it is up to you to implement a protocol that interpret these blocks of bytes and deals with the specific objects and mechanics of your games.

 

Ah, and if you write a server app you just need to implement a way to open the connection without using iOS API - which presumably they explain in the docs - as most servers are not going to be running on OSX.

 

Thanks.


www.simulatedmedicine.com - medical simulation software

Looking to find experienced Ogre & shader developers/artists. PM me or contact through website with a contact email address if interested.


#8 ddudek   Members   -  Reputation: 129

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 04:20 AM

Try considering Photon from exitgames (http://www.exitgames.com/) - server side is C#, and can run on any windows server. If you don't need any server logic, just simple standard matching, rooms, etc - you can use their cloud solution. It's also free for start (on your own server up to 100 concurrent users, cloud solution also have some small free plan). I'd had a quite nice experience with it.



#9 JDX_John   Members   -  Reputation: 284

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 04:23 AM

Thanks for the link - however if I was going to use an off-the-shelf server middle ware tool, I'd go for SmartFoxServer (Java based), purely because I've worked with it on multiple projects in the past.


www.simulatedmedicine.com - medical simulation software

Looking to find experienced Ogre & shader developers/artists. PM me or contact through website with a contact email address if interested.


#10 ddudek   Members   -  Reputation: 129

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 08:17 AM

Looks nice :)


Edited by ddudek, 28 November 2013 - 08:24 AM.


#11 stupid_programmer   Members   -  Reputation: 1181

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 09:22 PM

Thanks for the link - however if I was going to use an off-the-shelf server middle ware tool, I'd go for SmartFoxServer (Java based), purely because I've worked with it on multiple projects in the past.

 

We use ElectroServer at work for connecting iOS and Android clients to the same game.  There is nothing special going on because they are mobile devices.  Client and server interaction is the same as if you were on a PC.  Our games are a regular socket connection to the server as well as a few HTTP calls for some non game related services.

 

SmartFox has both iOS and Android clients, is pretty well battle tested, and is designed for real time games in mind.  There any reason not to go that route other then the hefty license cost?



#12 Nextpeer   Members   -  Reputation: 101

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Posted 29 November 2013 - 05:15 AM

Hello! I just wanted to let you know that my company, Nextpeer, provides an amazing real-time iOS multiplayer solution. We have perfected it over the past few years and now you can integrate it into all your games for FREE. We allow users to see other players, we have a system in place in case users aren't online that you can play against a recording of a past performance and much much more. 

 

If you have any question please email our team at support@nextpeer.com and we will happily assist you with anything you need.

 

 






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