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Networking problems in games (Forums : Mobile Gaming : Networking problems in games) Post Reply
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Jan 7 2019 Anchor

I am looking for networking designs and tricks specific to games. I know about a few problems and I have some partial solutions to some of them but there can be problems I can't see yet. I think there is no definite answer to this but I will accept an answer I really like. I can think of 4 categories of problems.

Bad network

The messages sent by the clients take some time to reach the server. The server can't just process them FCFS because that is unfair against players with higher latency. A partial solution for this would be timestamps on the messages but you need 2 things for that:

  • Be able to trust the clients clock. (I think this is impossible.)
  • Constant latencies you can measure. What can you do about variable latency?

A lot of games use UDP which means messages can be lost. In that case they try to estimate the game state based on the information they already have. How do you know if the estimated state is correct or not after the connection is working again?

In MMO games the server handles a large amount of clients. What is the best way for distributing the load? Based on location in game? Bind a groups of clients to servers? Can you avoid sending everything through the server?

Players leaving

I have seen 2 different behaviours when this happens. In most FPS games if the player who hosted the game (I guess he is the server) leaves the others can't play. In most RTS games if any player leaves the others can continue playing without him. Psiphon for Android How is it possible without dedicated server? Does everyone know the full state? Are they transfering the role of the server somehow?

Access to information

The next problem can be solved by a dedicated server but I am curious if it can be done without one. In a lot of games the players should not know the full state of the game. Fog-of-war in RTS and walls in FPS are good examples. However, they need to know if an action is valid or not. (Eg. can you shoot me from there or are you on the other side of the map.) In this case clients need to validate changes to an unknown state. This sounds like something that can be solved with clever use of cryptographic primitives. Any ideas?


Some of the above problems are easy in a trusted client environment but that can not be assumed. Are there solutions which work for example in a 80% normal user - 20% cheater environment? Can you really make an anti-cheat software that works (and does not require ridiculous things like kernel modules)?

I did read this questions and some of the answers but other answers link to unavailable/restricted content. This is a platform/OS independent question but solutions for specific platforms/OSs are welcome as well.

Edited by: Daeky8868

Jan 11 2019 Anchor
Jan 17 2019 Anchor

There are a lot of different offline games so you don't need the network. Also, you won't have any problems which you mentioned before if you play offline games.

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