How to Pick the Perfect Game Server Backend (BaaS) For Multiplayer Video Games
Can you imagine a video game released without a multiplayer mode? No, right? Nowadays, nearly all modern games use online connectivity for multiplayer modes. It lets friends play online and even show scores on a global scoreboard.
PC and console games generated $45 billion in 2019 alone. World box-office revenue in the same year? $42 billion. In short, the gaming industry is massive.
So what makes a good game? Good backend code. You can use it to create leaderboard implementation, in-game currency creation, and social integration. No matter what sort of game you’re creating, your game needs a good backend.
Can You Make Your Own Backend?
You can make your backend, but it is crucial to remember that it can take about six to twelve months to build a scalable and feature-rich backend. Why is that? Well, it’s because creating backends is complicated process. Game backends demand a significant amount of concentrated effort and teamwork. You also need highly specialized knowledge and experience.
If you want to make your own backend, you need:
- A competent team
- A big enough budget
- An adequate skill-set & expertise
- Enough time.
Other Alternative: Backend-As-A-Service
What some gaming studios do is use a third-party BaaS (backend-as-a-service).
In other words, they use a third-party backend that another company has developed. Using BaaS can speed development, improve user experience, save money, and help when maintaining the backend.
You can focus on the game achieving its full potential with the help of a BaaS. It is worth noting that BaaS also allows you to scale when you grow your audience, if your game becomes successful. The bigger the audience, the bigger the demands on your backend.
How To Pick The Right BaaS For Your Game?
When choosing the right BaaS for you have to go through its features and its compatibility with your studio.
Game designers and developers often need several types of online features to build the game. So not only should you figure out what essential features you need right now…you should also think about the future.
- Online Leaderboard System: It is common in single-player games that contain a straightforward scoring system (like Sololearn’s Leaderboard). In addition, some online games (and learning apps) can track achievements over time and compare scores of individuals.
- Turn-Based Multiplayer: It works well for cards, boards, and strategy games. In this type of game, real-time communication is not required, but it still needs to avoid lagging when starting or ending a turn.
- Real-Time Multiplayer: Real-time multiplayer is prevalent in action games and role-playing games. A game demands real-time multiplayer when it needs to constantly update the positions of players involved in the game. The game client and the backend need efficient programming to minimize lag and provide players with an optimal experience.
SDK, Engine, & Platform Compatibility
A third-party BaaS needs to:
- Supports the engine on which you build your game
- Be compatible with other platforms you may roll out.
- Can integrate with the tools and services you regularly use
Things you should look out for:
Documentation: Documentation must give a 360-degree view of the BaaS in simple and thorough terms.
A Community: It’s great if it has an active user community, too (whether it’s in forums or even Discord).
An intuitive management: A great deal of your time gets consumed here, so watch out!
Check out what other successful games use your BaaS so you can see how well games are served with these backend services.
You’ll also find out if those games get stuck when they scale up.
Responsiveness from the BaaS you’ve chosen is crucial. Can you easily talk to someone from the company if you need help? Find out how responsive they are before signing up as a paying user.
Activity And Proactivity
Look at recently published blogs, social media activity, and active changelogs. You need to know if your chosen BaaS is engaged and proactive so it can assist when you need it.
Video Games Communication
Networking components are built into multiplayer game engines, developed from scratch, and created through a third-party networking library. What networking components is your BaaS using?
Game Engine Networking: It may have some built-in networking features. For example, engines like Source and CryEngine have a built-in networking stack for real-time multiplayer action games and first-person shooter games.
Build Your Own Networking: You might also need to build networking features yourself. But before you start building features yourself, you have pay attention to:
- protocols (TCP vs. UDP)
- Latency mitigation.
Use a Third-Party Library: A third-party networking library is another option for networking. Make sure that you choose the one compatible with your game engine and language.
Want to create the game of your dreams?
Whether you’re creating a backend yourself or using a BaaS, you’ll need some knowledge of how the backend of games work. At Sololearn, we’re on a mission to make learning tech skills fun and possible for anyone, anywhere.