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Butabee

Client hosted game that seems lik an MMO

19 posts in this topic

I don't have the resources to pay for dedicated servers(and I'd rather not deal with paying and managing them) but I was thinking about how a game could be client hosted while seeming like an MMO.

 

I was thinking of having a very large city with loading zones or checking areas in between to give an illusion of a seamless world. Players would remain in a holding area when a new playing area is loading. It's a futuristic game, so it could make sense. Each area would be hosted by the best suited player in that area(the guy with the best connection).

 

If no one is hosting an area, the first player to enter becomes the host. Although I think I'd just make players on a 56k modem go somewhere else, lol.

 

 

If an area is full I could spawn another instance of that area with anymore players entering that the first instance could not handle.

 

 

I'm not sure how I'll handle cheating attempts though, any ideas?. Any other criticisms of the design?

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I just thought of something... instead of having a loading area where you'd mostly just sit there, I'd have a corridor the player walks through and is extended based on how long it takes connect/load. Could be filled with client generated NPCs that don't drop anything when killed, and are mostly just there as background noise.

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If you want to prevent cheating youd need to gave multiple people simulate a single area (or just parts of it) to do sanity checks on the hosts simulation.

Another problem is that some people cant host at alk due to restrictions imposed by their NAT. Even to get some players able to host you need an offixial server to do NAT punchthrough (unless you require the players to do port forwarding...)

So youd most likely end up with only a part of the players able to host.

Maybe it would work better if you allowed people to set up actual servers themselves instead of treating clients aa servers. Perhaos give them in game advantages for doing so. But you still have the cheating problem and the whole thing feels very fragile and error prone.
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I do some sanity checks on ther server atm, but player movement is mostly in control of the players.

Unity has a NAT punchthrough option when initializing a server so I hope no port forwarding has to happen.

 

I'm mostly concerned with players modifying thier character stats, and items.

 

If I can't use this idea I suppose I could try to get some money for dedicated servers from crowd funding.

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I think another option would be to get it on steam, so players would be reluctant to cheat since they could get VAT banned.

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You could buy one less package of smokes, or skip a Big Mac, and you should have enough for a cloud server :-)

 

But I like server-side way more any ways. 

 

Sounds to me like you need the players to download a server and run it for them selves.

A bit like DotA via Garena?

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From what I've read cloud servers are pretty laggy. Although I don't know a lot about how they work. I'm starting to lean away from this idea. There's just no way to prevent cheating with authority in the players hands.

 

 

I suppose I'll keep developing in hopes that I can get some crowd funding to acquire the hosting I need.

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I think I can still use this idea, but with all authorized servers.

 

It boggles my mind how games can handle so many players. What kinda voodoo do they use to support more than a couple hundread players in an area.... Now that I think of it I don't think any game does support more than a couple hundred in an immediate area.

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From what I've read cloud servers are pretty laggy

Which cloud servers, how laggy, under what circumstances? There are many cases where that statement could be true, and many more cases where that statement could be false. Specificity is great!

If your MMO is RPG-style and can get away with movement updates every half a second or less, that's a different situation than if you're playing Counter-Strike or Unreal Tournament.

Anyway, virtual worlds of various kinds with player-hosted or aggregate-majority servers have been researched for quite some time. You could look into Casey Muratori's article series on Gamasutra from 12 years ago, or you could look for the VAST peer-to-peer virtual world research project from the mid-2000s for examples.

The two main problems you have to solve are peer-to-peer connectivity (you need some kind of central server to "bootstrap" that mesh) and cheating (you may or may not care.)
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I was actually thinking of letting players also play unofficial servers too. Where it would pretty much just be a death match since they couldn't modify any of their stats on authorized servers.

 

Players would be able to play these game with their lastest stats since they played on an official server.

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I lowered the update rate to 2 for positions/rotations/scale(38 bytes) and am also sending 5(14 bytes) velocity updates a second and it feels pretty good...I'm also gonna need some updats for the two fire buttons. My position correction code needs some help though. right now it just snaps the position back if it's off by too much. It's especially noticable when the player makes sharp turns.

 

Even with these low update rates I'll only be able to support around 200 players on a 10Megabyte connection.

 

Can you recommend some good cloud hosting services?

Edited by Butabee
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Can you recommend some good cloud hosting services?

If you worry about "feel" as in "first person shooter feel" then you will want a dedicated server, not a virtual private server.
You can find Atom-based dedicated servers for about $50/month from places like interserver.net or simplyservers.com.
If you're OK with a role playing game feel, virtualization will probably be good enough, from places like linode or Amazon or whatever.
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Well, the player is in full control of their character movement... only a couple checks to see if they're trying to illegally teleport or trying to fly. So it feels good as far as movement goes, but some players might get annoying tryig to shoot guys that suddenly snap a meter away if they are moving erraticaly.

 

I have no movement prediction yet... players don't need it for themselves but I could use a little better system for handling other players.

 

The snapping of spazzy players is a little annoying but now sure how to fix it.

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The snapping of spazzy players is a little annoying but now sure how to fix it.

You don't need to display players exactly where you get the update. You can interpolate towards the position they're going to. Look into the <a href='http://www.mindcontrol.org/~hplus/epic/'>EPIC interpolation library,</a> for example.
You can also do server-side hit testing by letting the client send information about what *it* saw, and have the server check that that seems reasaonble. There's a trade-off between "un-cheatable" and "feels good on crappy networks" where you have to find your particular groove.
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I've started sending the yaw rotation of the player 5 times a second and the snapping has pretty much vanished.

 

I think I'll end up scaling the update rates with the amount of players in the area with my current settings being the lowest it goes. Although I'm not sure I'll have to, the movement is smooth as silk on the remote systems. First time I've had good movement on games I've tried making... It's been the main thing keeping me from progressing a multiplayer game. Hopefully I can finish this one now.

Edited by Butabee
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What I don't get is how you can get smooth movement with such a low update rate. At least I can't imagine it unless you make a game where you control a tank.

 

With most twitch based games you need to support spazzy movement and from what I know Team Fortress 2 server runs usually with 60fps to achieve that.

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Distributed server

 

For the cheating isse - who says a player who is the host has to be running the simulation for the zone they are in ?

 

If there are sufficient resources (for world  representation needed for the server simulations) beside the players client state (a different world representation) the hosting one player is doing need not be the same as the one THEY are in and thus  avouid most ofthe reasons players would cheat.

 

 

 

(you still have 14-year old mentality mind-sick griefers who want to screw up the game for anybody else and you would have to handle that case reguardless)

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You could still try to archive something like (early) battle.net and Guild Wars 1 (as far as I know). The concept is, that you have a global lobby server (GW1 these are the cities) and the gamers team up(4-8) to play mission/quests in shared instances. The trick is, that the instances runs only on the clients. As already mentioned, you get in trouble with P2P and cheating, but the bandwidth/power requirements are really low compared to a real MMORPG server architecture and are still quite successful when looking at GW1.

Edited by Ashaman73
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You could still try to archive something like (early) battle.net and Guild Wars 1 (as far as I know). The concept is, that you have a global lobby server (GW1 these are the cities) and the gamers team up(4-8) to play mission/quests in shared instances. The trick is, that the instances runs only on the clients. As already mentioned, you get in trouble with P2P and cheating, but the bandwidth/power requirements are really low compared to a real MMORPG server architecture and are still quite successful when looking at GW1.

 

Even if you use global servers for the game instances it would be a lot cheaper than a proper MMO architecture since the instancing to that level gives you linear scaling. (Double the number of servers and you can support double the player count)

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For the cheating isse - who says a player who is the host has to be running the simulation for the zone they are in ?

A determined cheater will just run more than one machine, and find one of them hosting some instance that one of his players is in, and then proceed to cheat from there.
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