Taking control over networking

Hello game developers,

I have just got back from Casual Connect in Amsterdam. It was awesome. Among other things I met a lot of game developers and publishers, and cloud providers and in game advertisers, and soooooo on.

and we spoke about game networking

There were 2 types of attitude towards game networking

1. I will do it myself

2. I have tried doing it myself, and I don’t want to do it anymore

So let’s see what are the main differences between those two categories:

1. I will do it myself

Making game server sounds like an easy task. We just send messages back and forwards, some synchronized or async state and that is it. How hard can it be?

Well… It can be.

We participated on a presentation that literally said the following:

“we did our networking in house, because we had previous experience”.

“it took us only about 12 months”.

“we did it separately from the game” .

“at the end the game was not working with the server” .

“we have just figured it out and the investor closed the project”.

What I see in these sentences, that solving a problem that already has a solution can risk the project and eventually kill it. They never made it to production, so they have not seen the other risks – scalability, availability, support etc. All these issues are IT related and in my opinion a game studio must decide whether it is going to be a game studio or a technology company. Because both is a bit expensive and can lose the focus of the company.

Most of I-will-do-it-myself studios were with 1-2 games in their portfolio.

2. I have tried doing it myself, and I don’t want to do it anymore

The second group of game studios was the one that already have some previous experience and do not underestimate the hidden costs and risks of home grown solutions.

What did they shared about middleware:

– Choosing the right set of middleware is hard.

– Using middleware shortens the delivery time significantly.

– Using middleware greatly reduce the risks of scalability, availability and support issues.

– Also reduces the total number of needed human resource.

– By choosing the right platform for your game, you can still be in control.

Conclusions

As final words I would say that anyone is free to choose one’s own way, but you should not underestimate the hidden costs of home grown solutions and choosing middleware does not necessary mean that you loose control.

Happy coding and may the source be with you all.

Kalin

Game networking middleware
Game networking middleware

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