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Amazon GameLift

Skar
2017-05-10 10:15:20

Has anyone here done any experimentation with Amazon's new service GameLift? I'm curious if this could be used together with Photon in a good way. Possibly removing the need of a master server? Just use the GameLift SDK to request a game session and connect straight to a game server, or have the GameLift service work as a matchmaker/game browser?

Comments

Skar
2017-05-10 10:21:05

It could also be used purely for scaling the number of game servers needed at any time I guess.

chvetsov
2017-05-10 13:34:46

hi, @Skar
could you provide any link to description of this tech

best,
ilya

Skar
2017-05-10 17:17:29

Ah yes, sorry about that. Here is a link to the page. There's a techincal overview and a test example there as well.

chvetsov
2017-05-11 08:07:27

hi, @Skar
as i understand this solution from aws is all in one. so you do not need photon to use it. but if you like to use it, you may just adapt master server so that it will communicate with match making provided by this service and create and managed games for photon clients

best,
ilya

Skar
2017-05-11 10:45:35

I would still need my own game servers to use with GameLift though, so I couldn't go away from photon entirely. I guess it would work as a matchmaker / load balancer / auto scaler / which can already mostly be handled with photon. I think it's the scaling of game server instances and matchmaking that interests me the most.

Kaiserludi
2017-05-11 11:09:58

@chvetsov wrote:

hi, @Skar
as i understand this solution from aws is all in one. so you do not need photon to use it. but if you like to use it, you may just adapt master server so that it will communicate with match making provided by this service and create and managed games for photon clients

best,
ilya

I would not recommend to run all gameservers on those AWS instances. The server instance rent alone is already more than what we charge for Photon Cloud for the amount of CCU that they would be able to run on an AWS instance, but while Photon Cloud includes 3GB per month and CCU (so for 1,000 CCU that would mean 3TB of traffic per month free of charge), on Amazon there is only 1GB included per server instance and the prices for everything beyond that are considerably higher as with Photon. With 10Cent per GB (their cheapest regions are at 9Cent, the most expensive at 25Cent per GB for everything below 10TB) that means 100$ per TB - 300$ traffic cost for the first 3TB, which are included at Photon. After that they charge 170-190% (the exact value depends on the server regions) of what we do for additional traffic.
So running all the game servers on Amazon AWS does not make sense from an economic perspective.
Even if they self-host, from our experience bare-metal machines can handle a lot more players per buck than virtual server instances like the once on AWS.

3TB per month per CCU are not excessively high at all for fast-paced games, but quite realistic. Without proper optimization one might easily end up with twice that amount.

I rather see the use of virtual servers in handling user spikes as one can ramp them up and shut them down rather quickly and only has to pay for those couple of hours when actually using them, which is not possible with bare-metal servers.
So when self-hosting with Photon I would use base-metal servers to handle the amount of server capacity that is needed most of the day and kick in amazon instances to handle the additional amount server capacity that is only needed at those 2-3 hours a day when the game has the most traffic (so if most players are online in the evening, one would ramp up a few AWS instances in Europe when it's evening there, then a couple of hours later when it gets night in Europe and evening in the US, one would shut them down again and ramp up a few instances in the US and so on). Also AWS instances are interesting for handling additional traffic that only holds on for a couple of days right after a big promotion of the game.

PS:
Here is a comparison between GameLift, UNet and Photon:
http://blog.photonengine.com/2016/06/photon-pricing-explained/

Skar
2017-05-15 13:27:00

That's some very interesting information, thank you! I don't suppose you have any recommendations for providers of bare-metal servers?

Skar
2017-05-15 13:40:43

I see that you are hosting through SoftLayer, which is a bare-metal provider I've actually been looking at. Guess I might have to check it out then.

Kaiserludi
2017-05-15 14:22:10

We can recommend SoftLayer and Leaseweb:
https://doc.photonengine.com/en/onpremise/current/operations/hosting-photon-server.

Both have very competitive prices for hosting game servers (for which one needs to look at server instance prices and traffic prices - traffic prices usually make the difference on who can provide you the best deal as they are usually the major cost factor). We have hosted Cloud instances on both.

Note that one can get considerable volume discounts for renting hundreds or thousands of servers. So, when you aren't really really big (with player amounts in the dimensions of World of Warcraft, League of Legends or World of Tanks) you will have a really hard time trying to get a deal that could beat the prices of Photon Cloud even when using the same hosting providers as we do.

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