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SillyCow

Can I use HTTP for a realtime multi-player server?

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I am building a multi-player server for a real-time strategy game.

The entire game-state is managed on a single machine ( No state negotiation ).
As such, a small lag is not a big problem. Where small ~= 1 sec .

Even though, the state is hefty, and ever-changing.

Would it be wise to build my multi-player server over HTTP?

For HTTP:
* Game runs on cell phones & HTTP is firewall friendly
* Easier to find hosting for HTTP ( PHP/Google )
* Game runs on cell phones no need to worry about connections being dropped
* Can consolidate several game packets into a single HTTP call

For TCP/IP:
* I am pretty proficient with TCP/IP (done many low-level communications).
* Making new connections over and over is really expensive on performance.
* Need to worry about reconnections after connection drops (cell-phone game)
* Cheap HTTP hosting might not be performant enough for my needs.
* If I ever want to make a peer 2 peer connection, I would need an HTTP server on one of the devices.

So what do you think is HTTP an option for a real time game?
Has any of you ever tried?

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I think u can use something like websockets using javascript through a webpage does that quality as using HTTP? See the most famous example of

http://browserquest.mozilla.org/
http://nodegames.blogspot.com/

The server is running node.js from what i understand.

-ddn

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I think u can use something like websockets using javascript through a webpage does that quality as using HTTP? See the most famous example of

http://browserquest.mozilla.org/
http://nodegames.blogspot.com/

The server is running node.js from what i understand.

-ddn


Thanks, I am not writing a web-app. I am writing a java app. That app can either open a TCP socket and communicate over that, or make HTTP requests. I am wondering if HTTP requests are any good for my needs.

Regardless of this, I have used web-sockets on another project of mine, and they are quite neat and straight forward. They are not HTTP though.

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Why do you think that HTTP won't have dropped connection issues? You either use persistent connections (which might drop anyways) or you open a new connection per HTTP request.

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With I allways reconnect between messages. It is not a special case. So if a user switched between 3g and wifi I wouldn't even care. I wouldn't have to keep alive on open sockets... etc'.

But the question is a More general one. Is http even feesable or would a overhead kill me?

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HTTP is a protocol on top of TCP/IP that is able to transport different content types as found while constructing a web-page content in HTML.
The server is able to use several optimizations and to take care on the capabilities of the client to send content in a way that leads to an always right presentation of the content.
So. If you use a kind of web-browser as the front-end it is OK to use HTTP.
If you use a special client as front-end any other protocol on top of TCP/IP will be a good choice.

HTTP and TCP/IP are different layers and so they are hardly comparable.

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Data transport doesn't have to be a single thing. You could build a system that provides the same data using TCP/IP, web sockets, and HTTP long-poll, depending on the capabilities of the client.

HTTP is very inefficient, as it has the sender send lots of header data for each request, and has the server respond with lots of header data in each response, too. Additionally, it forces you to re-establish credentials in each request, re-establish the underlying HTTP connection occasionally, etc.

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Thanks, I know about the difference between Http and tcp/ip. The main reason I am asking is because I hypothesize that:
Http hosting (port 80 tcp/ip with headers) is more common and cheaper. I can use some cheap php/java servelet host. Maybe try out google app engine.For tcp/ip i need a full virtual machine, which seems much more expensive.


I wanted to know if my assumptions have any hold in reality. I am trying to aproach this on a cost for value approach.

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There are relatively cheap virtual hosts available that allow you to run various software, especially if you choose unmanaged since you're not paying for supporting staff (though typically they charge extra for support calls, at least it's a 'pay for it only if you need it' kind of thing). Here's the one I've been looking at for my game (it's cheaper than my current host, and gives me more control), though I've only had a quick look through on reviews for them. The key things to keep an eye on are RAM and bandwidth usage, you want to try and stay below the dedicated RAM for the entire system or the VPS monitor will start killing processes and most hosts charge extra for going over bandwidth usage.

9 times out of 10, if you're considering HTTP for a non browser game, you need to look in to other options.

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HTTP is fine for batch operations and turn based games. HTTP *can work* for platforms that have no other option.
However, planning the networking for a game around cheap HTTP-based hosting is not how to go about a successful project.
If you have any kind of success with your game, you will presumably be able to make enough money to pay for real dedicated hosting as needed.

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