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duder673

PC game servers

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Hello, I was wondering what options I would have for creating a multiplayer game in terms of servers. If I make a "Game for Windows" would Windows supply all of the hosting or would I have to own, run, and maintain my own server for the games that I create? (Also, how hard would it be to make a game for Windows [approval process]?) Are there any alternatives to this? Steam for example? I am a Flash developer, and PC game dev is pretty foreign to me. Any suggestions are helpful.

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anyone can create games for windows without resitrictions. as for the certificate:
http://www.microsoft.com/games/en-us/aboutgfw/pages/forpublishers.aspx

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You do everything yourself. MS will host servers for you but they offer that as a service for which you pay dollars. I do not believe Valve offers a server hosting service. At any rate this is something you will have to pay for

"Games for Windows" is a branding thing for which you need to apply:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Games_for_Windows

Your best bet is probably to just make a game that runs on windows. You don't need any certification or anything; just make game -> publish game. publishing is it's own mini-game. To get on Steam or any online download service you have to basically apply; this is very hard to do if you aren't an already published developer.

Just make your game.

-me

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Ok, is there a "best option" for server hosting for PC games?

In Flash there are servers (red5) that basically do most of the server work for you, is there anything like that for PC? or do you pretty much have to write everything from scratch?

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"PC game" is a huge category. It depends on what your game is doing. What kind of multiplayer game is it? Just a little casual game? An FPS? An MMO? What kind of data does the server manage? Are you trying to keep persitant data or does the server just host the game? Do you actually need a server or is a system like unreal games use where any client can be the server a fitting solution?

I mean the short is that you have to write your own unless you're using third party tools for which solutions already exist. If you're just doing an Unreal mod or a Crysis mod or any other mod of an available engine then the peer to peer multi-player stuff is all taken care of for you. But whatever you're doing, there are probably tools available ranging from free to millions of dollars that are available to you that can help. More specifics of what your project is would be necessary to point you in the right direction.

It's really the same thing for flash. Red5 provides very specific tools. If you're writing a flash based multiplayer RPG, then Red5 doesn't help you at all.

-me

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I am going to create a fighting game (1on1 ala Street Fighter) and at a later time 4player.
I will need very good server response time in order to do this (which of course simply isn't available for Flash).

I think the peer hosting would be a great idea to avoid a server, other than the initial lobby for matchmaking.

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Quote:
Original post by duder673
I will need very good server response time in order to do this (which of course simply isn't available for Flash).


Well. The majority of the response time is the time it takes the traffic to cross the network between the clients. The technology you use shouldn't have an impact on that. A packet sent by flash in a browser will take just as long as a packet sent by C++ on a PC.

I'm not sure what counts for standard latency these days but I'd expect it's still in the 100ms range.

Personally, I'd suggest that if you're comfortable in flash that you could stick with flash assuming you can get the look you want in that environment. You can write your server logic in any language and just have the flash clients communicate with it. Probably... It's been a long time since I've done anything in flash but I thought they provided a full socket-style API.

Here's a quick result from a google search for "Flash Socket":
http://giantflyingsaucer.com/blog/?p=205

- me

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Yeah I already have a red5 server built, and a primitive fighter in Flash, which I have been testing on a localhost development server.

Flash doesn't really have true p2p yet, I believe they are adding that in CS5 along with iPhone development.

(PC) Are there any advantages to having the users be able to host a game themselves? example: Me not having to buy a higher end server, etc.

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Quote:
Original post by duder673
(PC) Are there any advantages to having the users be able to host a game themselves? example: Me not having to buy a higher end server, etc.


There are numerous advantages to this model. For a start, you only have one piece of software to debug. If you have a dedicated derver, you don't know if a bug is on the server or the client side.

Costs are cheaper for non-dedicated servers. You only need a (relatively) simple client matching system, so you would not need to spend the £70 or so per month on a dedicated server, a simple web hosting account supporting siomething like php or ASP would suffice.

There are disadvantages though. You would have to think more carefully about bandwidth issues as most consumer lines do not have huge upload speeds. You may also have to think about issues like host migration in the event the player serving disconnects.

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