Tech Explained: How Do Gaming Servers Work?

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In the past decade online games have exploded, now it is almost expected for every AAA title to include some kind of online multiplayer. A single game can make nearly a billion dollar per year business. But how are we able to play with people from all over the world at the same time? Today we are going to explain the layers of networking that are the foundation of the internet itself and apply it real-time games and matchmaking.

Let’s start with a familiar situation, you are playing a standard multiplayer game like PUBG or Fortnite and are looking for a specific type of match, so you press play, and then an algorithm finds opponents and teammates for you. There will be people who are looking for the exact type of match and the selection may be based on a combination of factors like skill level and region.

Now you, your teammates and your opponents will connect to a dedicated server. The servers are essentially computers in warehouses that hold data which users and clients can request when needed like when you access a webpage.

But how does a video game server work and how is it different from a normal webpage server such as Google or Facebook? Well, a gaming server starts out just like any other server as physical server hardware either at a repository or connected to a company’s own server house hosted by itself.

So once this server space has been acquired by the developer company or an individual, they implement and put the game files onto this server. After that, they begin to run them to create a specific instance or environment of the video game on that server and once that environment has been started clients can connect to this server through that specific IP address that’s being listed.

Once it is done the client and the video game are able to interact with that server and apply input and receive output from the server that changes the game stage or the instance and thus is reflected on their screen via by video game on the console or the PC.

This is different from a normal web page because a standard HTTP protocol web page operates usually using one sort of protocol input which is GET meaning that you get the HTML file and then it’s rendered in a browser that you might have on your phone or device.

So from that server, the web page is loaded and rendered onto your device. Now this differs from the game server because it’s always constantly up with its state being changed whereas a web page stays in a static state and would not change that much.

For example; how often does the Google homepage change on a day to day basis without the special features? It generally stays at the same logo so the state does not change 100% of the time whereas a video game state is changing hundreds of times in a second.

Image by Game Forge

Now the input to a game server comes by a console or PC through the game itself or some other type of input translation from the keyboard and mouse. The computer or console converts this into readable input by the server. Some special allowances and custom game modes can be implemented on these specific game servers if a private company owns it.

Whereas you might not see large companies like valve having their own modded servers of their own game, like in counter-strike, a large first-person shooter franchise there is a there is a company called ESEA that hosts their own clients and they offer a lot of perks for a specific subscribed amount of money per month or however long a period that you choose.

Now this allows for the community to grow within the game allowing small-time programmer to bond and make mods for games. It allows for better community integration and workshops to spring up and generally allows for a greater not only ease of access but overall player enjoyment through the community.

This was all that you need to know about how the gaming servers work. I hope this article helped you and was informative. If you have any queries then make sure to drop down a comment below. Also stay connected with us for more exciting tech news and topics.

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