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GameXplorer

Build your own multiplayer backend?

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GameXplorer    103

General question for all the great game developers out there. When you start out with the intention to make the most awesome multiplayer game ever, do you focus on the multiplayer backend too? Do most developers create their own backend to make the game truly multiplayer or do they rely on other service providers for the backend? Is it too expensive to use some other such service?

 

 

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GotGeek?    101

General question for all the great game developers out there. When you start out with the intention to make the most awesome multiplayer game ever, do you focus on the multiplayer backend too? Do most developers create their own backend to make the game truly multiplayer or do they rely on other service providers for the backend? Is it too expensive to use some other such service?

 

Common question.....but I will try to answer ...... Most developers (myself and posse included) are better at developing the game. Be it using Unity or something else. We are not good at the backend side of things......and know that creating our own backend will be expensive ..... so I think we will go with a service provider once we are done developing the game. Who do we go with is unknown at this point - byond.com comes to mind but not sure if they will just provide the leadeboard functionaloty or make it real deal multiplayer coz that's the real deal...My 2 cents but others may know better. me a noob.

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StirWars    102

 

General question for all the great game developers out there. When you start out with the intention to make the most awesome multiplayer game ever, do you focus on the multiplayer backend too? Do most developers create their own backend to make the game truly multiplayer or do they rely on other service providers for the backend? Is it too expensive to use some other such service?

 

Common question.....but I will try to answer ...... Most developers (myself and posse included) are better at developing the game. Be it using Unity or something else. We are not good at the backend side of things......and know that creating our own backend will be expensive ..... so I think we will go with a service provider once we are done developing the game. Who do we go with is unknown at this point - byond.com comes to mind but not sure if they will just provide the leadeboard functionaloty or make it real deal multiplayer coz that's the real deal...My 2 cents but others may know better. me a noob.

 

I don't know if I agree with gotgeek here. building your own backend is certainly tough but doable....besides I don't think there are any companies that will make your game multiplayer easily enough (or without taking most of the money away). It's not like someone has an easy to use API that will allow me to do that.

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GameXplorer    103

Thanks. I did come across byond.com and a few others like the reddwarf but just like you said it alnite, I am not sure if they deliver what they promise. I will have to check out SmartFox Server. hopefully we'll hear from someone who has firsthand experience with this. Everyone I've talked to has either a second hand information or is asking the same question leading me to believe that there isn't a real solution out there for this. But that sounds strange given the huge gaming community.

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StirWars    102

I was looking at this a while ago: SmartFox Server.

 

I don't have the first-hand experience, but it seems promising if it delivers that it advertises.

I did hear about Smartfox server from a friend ut nothing conclusive. A quick tour of their site gives a lot of information but doesn't answer this specific question. I am now curious myself. if there was such an API available at an affordable price (not sure how one can develop it) it would make my life much easier.

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GameXplorer    103

Depending on what sort of multiplayer you're doing (turn based vs twitch based real-time) it's relatively easy to roll your own. Something like Parse or Azure Mobile Services would go a long way to helping with this. 

Both Parse and Azure Mobile seem like a better fit for cloud storage and hosting. I don't think they provide a backend to make a game truly multiplayer unless I missed something. Have you ever used one of these apps for that purpose?

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tstrimp    1798

 

Depending on what sort of multiplayer you're doing (turn based vs twitch based real-time) it's relatively easy to roll your own. Something like Parse or Azure Mobile Services would go a long way to helping with this. 

Both Parse and Azure Mobile seem like a better fit for cloud storage and hosting. I don't think they provide a backend to make a game truly multiplayer unless I missed something. Have you ever used one of these apps for that purpose?

 

 

Like I said, depends on what sort of multiplayer you're doing. Both can be used for games where polling for updates is viable. If you need real duplex communication then these won't work at all really.

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GameXplorer    103

 

 

Depending on what sort of multiplayer you're doing (turn based vs twitch based real-time) it's relatively easy to roll your own. Something like Parse or Azure Mobile Services would go a long way to helping with this. 

Both Parse and Azure Mobile seem like a better fit for cloud storage and hosting. I don't think they provide a backend to make a game truly multiplayer unless I missed something. Have you ever used one of these apps for that purpose?

 

 

Like I said, depends on what sort of multiplayer you're doing. Both can be used for games where polling for updates is viable. If you need real duplex communication then these won't work at all really.

 

yes, what I need is a duplex communication. Let's say I have developed a multiplayer word game and need to hook up a backend that would allow multiple users from anywhere in the world to play the game simultaneously and I want the user and game data to be persisted in some DB and keep ongoing records. This would of course be coupled with leaderboard, user chat and other (social) functionality.

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tstrimp    1798

 

 

 

Depending on what sort of multiplayer you're doing (turn based vs twitch based real-time) it's relatively easy to roll your own. Something like Parse or Azure Mobile Services would go a long way to helping with this. 

Both Parse and Azure Mobile seem like a better fit for cloud storage and hosting. I don't think they provide a backend to make a game truly multiplayer unless I missed something. Have you ever used one of these apps for that purpose?

 

 

Like I said, depends on what sort of multiplayer you're doing. Both can be used for games where polling for updates is viable. If you need real duplex communication then these won't work at all really.

 

yes, what I need is a duplex communication. Let's say I have developed a multiplayer word game and need to hook up a backend that would allow multiple users from anywhere in the world to play the game simultaneously and I want the user and game data to be persisted in some DB and keep ongoing records. This would of course be coupled with leaderboard, user chat and other (social) functionality.

 

 

That doesn't necessarily need to be duplex communication. Especially the leader boards, chat and other "social" stuff! Can you elaborate on the game itself? I could provide some details on how I would implement it. For duplex stuff these days, I would probably go with node.js. Building network based applications is almost trivial in Node.

Edited by tstrimple

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I was looking at this a while ago: SmartFox Server.

 

I don't have the first-hand experience, but it seems promising if it delivers that it advertises.

 

We use ElectroServer at work (basically the same thing: Java based plugin server) and it gets the job done pretty well.  Some people might shy away from that kind of server because it has to be C++ or nothing.  But even for real time games the performance lost by it not being native code is offset by the safety of Java.  You may lose your sanity dealing with Java though.  Of course we aren't dealing with WoW type numbers so things might be a bit different at that scale.

 

ElectroServer and SmartFox are both around $5k for a unlimited license.  Certainly not cheap, but it would take more then two weeks for me to build all the services they offer and be reasonably bug free.  Both have a fully functional limited use license (~100 users) for free which is going to be more then enough for most hobby/indie games.

 

If you want to roll your own and don't mind being not native then Jetty or Node.js might be something to look at.  Since they handle all the really low level network stuff you can just deal with the actual server logic.

 

*edit*

I agree with tstrimple, with what you want you could probably even get away with posting data to some PHP scripts on a hosted domain.

Edited by stupid_programmer

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StubbornDuck    602

I'm using uLink and the UnityPark suite at work (Unity multiplayer toolset). The advantage is game servers can be written in the same environment as the clients and share the same data easily.

 

Wouldn't really consider rolling my own from scratch for real time games. For asynchronous games I might though.

Edited by StubbornDuck

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JDX_John    292

I've used SmartFox professionally in 3 serious projects before and would recommend it, IF you know how to code in Java :) For back-end stuff, Java is actually quite a good choice because you have so much better database and threading stuff in the standard libraries, and it's likely your game server will want to be doing a fair bit of DB work in a multiplayer game.

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