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What are the costs of hosting a web game like?

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I did a search on the net but without any experience hosting games I have no idea what I am looking for. I am thinking of a Java browser based game for 100-200 players online during peak hours. (it is actually still in development, ETA 1 year, but I am looking up the costs now to plan ahead) Thanks!

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It really depends on the data transfer. There is really NO way to know until you do some benchmarks. An "online" game could range from a few DB queries per hour (5-10kb per hour per player), all the way to having streaming content, voice chat, etc, etc (100mb+ per hour per player).

So you really need to provide more info for any sort of accurate estimate.

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Quote:
Original post by godsenddeath
or you could set up your own server, which, if you have a lot of players, and a large data transfer per person, will pay for itself in not too long


I don't mean to be rude, but this sounds like a fairly un-informed response. Where would the bandwidth come from, and how would it pay for itself?

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Have you considered using a Virtual Server? A quick google should show the prices(I found one for ~25 USD/month), depending on the specs you need.

If you don't plan on having many/any images, you might want to look into just getting a MySQL(or other) database hosting, though they may or may not have fine print about the number of times you access them. I've not done research on them, but I know that 1&1's hosting has policies against using the database for games/ads and pretty much anything else that might result in several queries at a time.

Maybe you want virtual servers instead...[disturbed].

[Edit] Urgh. Didn't comprehend the "Java" bit until I had read TacticalPenguin's post and then reread the OP.

[Edited by - nerd_boy on November 16, 2008 8:19:48 PM]

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Lets say the game itself is 5MB to download.

Then it transfers an average of 5kBps while being played.

If an average of 1000 players play each day and 100 are online at any given time, then:

1000*5 = 5,000MB in game downloads per day
86400*100*5 = 43,200,000KB in data transfer per day
Thats about 48GB per day

Meaning about 1.45TB per month

A hefty server with plenty of processing power and bandwidth to do all this would cost a few hundred per month. One in particular I have noticed is Slicehost, which offers massive virtual private servers with the kind of setup you would want; the core crap is managed for you but you have freedom to write and run whatever server side software you want with plenty of space to do it. Network Redux is another good host. Another is Webfaction which has good dedicated servers and support and all, but steep prices.

First I would see if making the game completely peer to peer is at all possible; if it is, you could run it on a small VPS for $100 or less per month. If not, itll cost you a few bones. However, if it is popular enough to need such hosting, you should be able to pull in plenty of money to cover the costs.

A small VPS in the $25 range will not come close to the hosting requirements of a game like you're talking about.

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Quote:
Original post by TacticalPenguin
Lets say the game itself is 5MB to download.

Then it transfers an average of 5kBps while being played.

If an average of 1000 players play each day and 100 are online at any given time, then:

1000*5 = 5,000MB in game downloads per day
86400*100*5 = 43,200,000KB in data transfer per day
Thats about 48GB per day

Meaning about 1.45TB per month


Whoa! 5KB per second per player is enormous! Especially for what is probably a fairly simple browser-based game. I'd say 100-200 bytes per second is more reasonable.

Secondly, you're unlikely going to have 100 players online 24 hours a day. Let's say it's more like 100 players 10 hours per day. That makes the calculations:

100 * 10 = 1000 player-hours per day.
150 * 3600 = 540KB/hour per player.
540 * 1000 = 540MB/day.

That's about 16GB per month, which even then seem a little high to me.

I'd suggest you look into Amazon's EC2 service. You basically get a Linux image and they charge you based on how much you actually use. So in the beginning, it'll be really cheap, but as your game gets more popular, the hosting costs will go up linearly.

Pricing starts at $0.10 per hour for CPU time and $0.10 per GB of data transfer. It's very reasonable, IMO.

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If it is a large game with several players in one room with information for each player constantly going back and forth between every other player in the room, 5KBps is quite possible; if it is a game where synchronization is important, such as an RTS or something where 2 frames difference is death or not death in a battle, then data will be transferred at least 30 if not 60 times per second.

If it is an RTS, information about units etc must also be transferred. If it is a mmo racing game with say 40 players, nascar or something, then 40 players transferring what keys are being held down will easily add up to 5kB per person.

However, you do have a good point - a simple game that doesnt have hefty data transfer requirements and can use a good system of transferring only basic info and letting each client figure the rest out will indeed probably be able to use only a few hundred bytes per second.

But theres still the fixed download for each player, and if you do go by 100 players average at all times and 200Bps, you still end up with about 1.7GB of data transfer per day and 5GB of game downloads.


And he said 100-200 players during peak hours; peak hours may be when it is lunch to afternoon in the US and evening to night in EU, but it may have a significant userbase somewhere in the world playing at all times. 100 players average throughout the day is simply not trying to cut back to make him undershoot the cost requirements.

That comes to 6.7*30 = 201GB per month. And with all the constant processing and work that the server has to do to keep up with everything, you would still want a good strong hefty server to run it all.

I was just trying to be generous in my numbers.

For that matter, lets stop guessing and just ask - what type of game is this you are making and what data do you see being transferred and how often? And how large of a download do you expect the game to be?

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Quote:
Original post by intregus
Quote:
Original post by godsenddeath
or you could set up your own server, which, if you have a lot of players, and a large data transfer per person, will pay for itself in not too long


I don't mean to be rude, but this sounds like a fairly un-informed response. Where would the bandwidth come from, and how would it pay for itself?



extra bandwidth through an ISP costs a hell of a lot less than through a web host, so if it's costing you an extra 200 a month in bandwidth through your webhost, you might as well put a server together for a decent cost, and the savings from being your own web host would make up the difference of buying the computer used as a server, that's what i meant by "pay for itself"

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Quote:
Original post by godsenddeath
Quote:
Original post by intregus
Quote:
Original post by godsenddeath
or you could set up your own server, which, if you have a lot of players, and a large data transfer per person, will pay for itself in not too long


I don't mean to be rude, but this sounds like a fairly un-informed response. Where would the bandwidth come from, and how would it pay for itself?



extra bandwidth through an ISP costs a hell of a lot less than through a web host, so if it's costing you an extra 200 a month in bandwidth through your webhost, you might as well put a server together for a decent cost, and the savings from being your own web host would make up the difference of buying the computer used as a server, that's what i meant by "pay for itself"


But do you realize the cost of a connection good enough to run such an online game? Not to mention that a box at his house is a lot more prone to fail and put his game offline for hours than a blade server in a high level data center.

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http://www.kimsufi.com/ <--- don't you think a single of these can handle a peak of 100-200 players easily?
2 GB RAM and a 2GHZ dual core processor, unlimited bandwidth, what's the matter?
That's 20-40 million clock cycles per user, seems way enough for a browser-based game. Also, upwards of 7 MB of memory per character (assuming 500-600 MB for OS and server) should be plenty.

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