Multiplayer Game Hosting Deep Dive: Destiny 2

Jun 29, 2023

Hybrid Server Technologies in Gaming: A Deep Dive into Destiny 2's Networking Model

Key Takeaway: In Destiny 2 is an exemplary game that harnesses multiple online services for seamless gameplay. This blog post explores how Destiny effectively utilizes peer-to-peer (P2P) networking and authoritative servers to create an immersive multiplayer experience. Let's delve into the mechanics and benefits of each approach.

Introduction

Destiny 2, a marquee title by Bungie, utilizes a unique blend of two technologies, creating a hybrid networking model that sets it apart from the crowd.

Their solution combines the strengths of both traditional models while mitigating some of their inherent flaws. In this article, we'll delve into the intricacies of Destiny 2's unique networking model and explore the potential impact of emerging server orchestration technologies like Edgegap's Smart Fleet Manager.

Understanding Peer-to-peer and Client-Server Models

To truly appreciate the trailblazing efforts of Bungie, it's essential first to understand the fundamental building blocks of online gaming: the peer-to-peer and client-server models. Peer-to-peer networking is a form of direct communication where all clients (players) interact with one another without an intermediary (1). Its main advantage lies in its low latency. However, it often leads to security and privacy concerns, as we'll explore later.

On the other hand, the client-server model operates via a dedicated server that hosts the game, providing stability and consistency but potentially introducing latency due to geographical distance between players and servers (2).

Destiny 2’s Unique Hybrid Model

Bungie's Destiny 2 ingeniously combines these two models to create a seamless online world. Their goal was to blur the line between singleplayer and multiplayer experiences, allowing players to meet others simply by hitting "play Destiny" without traditional matchmaking and lobbies.

They managed to accomplish this by connecting peer-to-peer 'bubbles,’ creating a shared world shooter where you can encounter other players on your journey (3). Destiny leverages this decentralized approach to foster cooperative missions and intense player-versus-player battles. Explore how to direct player connections enhance responsiveness and create dynamic gameplay interactions.

Authoritative servers play a crucial role in Destiny 2's core gameplay mechanics. They act as central hubs, managing vital aspects such as loot distribution, character progression and ensuring fair play. These servers maintain game state integrity and prevent cheating, providing a balanced and enjoyable player experience.

Moreover, in the transition from Destiny 1 to Destiny 2, Bungie addressed one of the significant problems of peer-to-peer networking - host migration issues. They shifted the physics host from a player's console or PC to a dedicated server, thus bringing in elements of the client-server model to enhance gameplay stability (4).

Challenges of Destiny 2's Hybrid Model

Though unique and fascinating, Destiny 2's innovative networking model has challenges. The peer-to-peer component of the system exposes players' IP addresses, leading to potential privacy breaches and DDOS attacks (1). Furthermore, security issues arise when clients handle sensitive tasks like hit registration, making it harder to protect the game from hacks (3).

Network delay, or latency, is another challenge. Update rates from the different servers strongly impact the delay players experience during online gameplay, affecting the overall gaming experience (5).

The Potential for Distributed Relays

Distributed relays could solve some of these challenges, particularly those related to network address translation (NAT) issues. Although we need more detailed information on this aspect, it's intriguing to speculate about the potential benefits of distributed relays in improving player experiences.

Edgegap's Smart Fleet Manager: A Solution for AAA Server Orchestration

Emerging technologies like Edgegap's Smart Fleet Manager are pushing the boundaries of game server orchestration. This container-based solution offers efficient server capacity, and just-in-time deployment, and significantly reduces latency, providing a superior player experience. This innovative approach ensures that servers are deployed just in time as player demand increases, avoiding issues of overcapacity usage and "cold starts" that traditional methods often face (3).

Edgegap's platform automatically distributes the workload among its servers in over 615+ locations worldwide. This proximity hosting ensures that players are assigned to the server closest to them, reducing latency by up to 58% and creating a near-zero lag experience regardless of players' platform, location, or internet access type (6).

Conclusion

Game development is constantly evolving, and the hybrid networking model employed by Destiny 2 proves that innovation. It highlights the potential benefits of blending different server models while also underscoring the challenges that must be addressed.

Technologies like Edgegap's Smart Fleet Manager are vital in navigating this complex landscape, providing game developers with powerful tools for efficient game server orchestration and enhancing player experiences.

Whether you're an indie studio or a AAA developer, understanding these server models and their potential impact on your game can help you optimize your server architecture for the best player experience.

As the gaming industry evolves, so must our server technologies, and the hybrid model that Destiny 2 employs could be a glimpse into the future of online gaming.

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