Google has announced the availability of “Game Servers” in beta test mode. ‘Game Servers’ is a managed service offering using a service, called Agones, which is an open-source game server hosting and scaling project built on Kubernetes. This managed service provides game developers with the usual backend services for running their games, including multiplayer games, in the company’s cloud.
Explaining further, using Agones, game developers can provide critically needed servers for games to maintain great multiplayer experiences. Nowadays, game developers and publishers are completely relying on dedicated servers to deliver lag-free and high-fidelity gameplay for connecting players, but scaling in these environments can be a challenging task.
In reality, quite a few gaming companies have already built their on-premises server fleets and having hybrid-cloud capabilities is a must-have for a tool like this. In this case, Game Servers makes it easier to deploy, manage and scale servers based on demand. It is done by amplifying Agones’s ability to help achieve global multicluster game servers without the need to build out and host dedicated servers in data centres.
Using Agones, developers can group clusters into groups called “realms.”, which are logical groupings of Kubernetes clusters designed around gaming latency requirements. This usually is a fundamental necessity of many multiplayer games to provide the best multiplayer experience. Game server and scaling policies can therefore be considered to simplify fleet management across realms and the clusters within them depending on whatever granularity the developer needs and still maintain visibility and control.
Game Servers is also providing for A/B testing and canary tests, and, in future updates, it will include integrations with the Open Match match-making framework. Scott Van Woudenberg, product manager at Google Cloud, told the media that, while there are currently a few off-the-shelf solutions that provide basic game server management functionality, the compay saw an opportunity to help developers to simplify and control as well as in their flexibility and portability. He said, “To achieve this Game Servers beta will include management and scaling policies that allow developers to define with great specificity without having to deal with cumbersome or complex processes.”
It allows numerous types of scaling control, such as automated timed scaling to happen during expected peak hours during the day across different regions or to reserve capacity for planned events across specific date/time ranges. Using Game Servers with Agones, game developers can better automate scaling based on predicted numbers and help elastically prevent this sort of crunch.
To get started, developers still have to containerize their game servers. For those companies that already use Agones, that’s a pretty straightforward exercise, Van Woudenberg said. Others, though, need a bit more help with that, and Google is working with partners to walk them through this.