Google, Ubisoft Partner on Open-Source Game Server Project

Multiplayer game servers are notoriously difficult to build and maintain, but as the popularity of multiplayer games increases, Google Cloud aims to tackle the issue with the advent of Agones (Greek for “contest” or “gathering”), its new open source project developed through a partnership with French gaming company Ubisoft. Dedicated servers are important for multiplayer games to reduce delays, stop cheating in its tracks, and provide a better overall experience for those connecting to play. Google is currently seeking more partners for Agones.

According to VentureBeat, most popular online multiplayer games require a dedicated server in order for all to connect and for it to run smoothly. Agones represents “a solution for running software across thousands of machines,” said Mark Mandel, developer advocate for games at Google Cloud.

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The Agones game server hosting and scaling project was built on top of the Kubernetes platform, and “…over the past few years, Kubernetes has replaced proprietary solutions and emerged as an open-source, common standard for building complex workloads and distributed systems across multiple clouds and servers,” reports VentureBeat.

A recent and high-profile example of using Kubernetes to scale up quickly is Niantic Labs’ use of the platform for its “Pokémon Go” mobile AR game in order to ensure it handles large changes quickly. Agones will use Kubernetes “to host and scale dedicated game servers,” notes VentureBeat.

Because multiplayer games require that all players be connected and share in-game memory, having a single server makes sense and improves the overall experience.

“In a typical game server, players connect to some kind of matchmaker service, which groups them (often by skill level) to play a match,” VentureBeat explains. “Once players are matched for a game session, the matchmaker tells a game server manager to provide a dedicated game server process on a cluster of machines. The players connect directly to the dedicated game server process and play the multiplayer game against one another.”

Agones streamlines that process, using a Kubernetes cluster that is “able to provision a dedicated game server, as needed.” Thus, with Kubernetes, it’s a simplified process. And because it’s open source, companies can run it in their own data centers or through third-party companies as they see fit.

For more information on the Agones project, visit Mandel’s detailed post on the Google Cloud Platform Blog.