Conference Paper

An empirical evaluation of TCP performance in online games.

DOI: 10.1145/1178823.1178830 Conference: Proceedings of the International Conference on Advances in Computer Entertainment Technology, ACE 2006, Hollywood, California, USA, June 14-16, 2006
Source: DBLP

ABSTRACT A fundamental design question to ask in the development of a network game is—Which transport protocol should be used—TCP, UDP, or some other protocols? Seeking an ob- jective answer to the choice of communication protocol for MMORPGs, we assess whether TCP, a popular choice, is suitable for MMORPGs based on empirical evidence. To the best of our knowledge, this work is the first evaluation of transport protocol performance using real-life game traces. We analyze a 1, 356-million-packet trace from ShenZhou Online, a TCP-based, commercial, mid-sized MMORPG. Our analysis indicates that TCP is unwieldy and inappropri- ate for MMORPGs. This is due to four distinctive charac- teristics of MMORPG traffic: 1) tiny packets, 2) low packet rate, 3) application-limited traffic generation, and 4) bi- directional traffic. We show that because TCP was origi- nally designed for unidirectional and network-limited bulk data transfers, it cannot adapt well to MMORPG traffic. In particular, the window-based congestion control and the fast retransmit algorithm for loss recovery are ineffective. Fur- thermore, TCP is overkill, as not every game packet needs to be transmitted in a reliably and orderly manner. We also show that the degraded network performance did impact users' willingness to continue a game. Finally, we discuss guidelines in designing transport protocols for online games.

Full-text

Available from: Kuan-Ta Chen, May 28, 2015
0 Followers
 · 
118 Views
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: With the growing popularity of online mobile games, the network traffic generated by them accounts for an increasingly significant proportion of mobile Internet traffic; however, the game's traffic characteristics have not been well studied. To understand more about such traffic, we analyze the network traffic of 9 online mobile games from 3 genres, namely, first-person shooting games, role-playing games, and racing games. Our results show that small payloads, high packet rates, and an excessive number of pure TCP ACK packets incur high traffic overheads. The payloads may have redundant content, which can be properly compressed. Given the increasing number of pay-by-volume and throttling 3G/4G data plans, gamers may not realize they are being overcharged due to such overheads. We find that the game traffic can be largely compressed even with small window sizes, which indicate that the packet payload tend to be redundant and may be reduced without compromising users' gaming experience.
    2013 12th Annual Workshop on Network and Systems Support for Games (NetGames); 12/2013
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The existing client-server architecture has certain limitations to support a large volume of users in the virtual environment. To broadcast all data to all users, the network traffic becomes very high when the number of users increased. Therefore, it takes longer time for data to transmit between clients and server and the performance of server decreased. In this project, a new approach based on interest management is proposed to solve the problems. A client-server communication system is developed based on interest management concept, region-based filtering, which enables scalability and reduces the amount of data communication. The system divides the game world into different regions. The players will be grouped based on the region. The system only broadcast the data to the players within the same group. The experiment results have demonstrated the effectiveness of the proposed approach.
    Signal Processing, Communication and Computing (ICSPCC), 2012 IEEE International Conference on; 01/2012
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: ManyMassivelyMultiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs) use TCP flows for communication between the server and the game clients. The utilization of TCP, which was not initially designed for (soft) real-time services, has many implications for the competing traffic flows. In this paper we present a series of studies which explore the competition between MMORPG and other traffic flows. For that aim, we first extend a source-based traffic model, based on player’s activities during the day, to also incorporate the impact of the number of players sharing a server (server population) on network traffic. Based on real traffic traces, we statisticallymodel the influence of the variation of the server’s player population on the network traffic, ending on the action categories (i.e., types of in-game player behaviour). Using the developed traffic model we prove that while server population only modifies specific action categories, this effect is significant enough to be observed on the overall traffic.We find that TCP Vegas is a good option for competing flows in order not to throttle the MMORPG flows and that TCP SACK is more respectful with game flows than other TCP variants, namely, Tahoe, Reno, and New Reno. Other tests show that MMORPG flows do not significantly reduce their sending window size when competing against UDP flows. Additionally, we study the effect of RTT unfairness between MMORPG flows, showing that it is less important than in the case of network-limited TCP flows.
    International Journal of Computer Games Technology 01/2014; 2014:17. DOI:10.1155/2014/602403