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.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Social media today play an increasingly important role in computer science, the information technologies industry and society at large, changing people's everyday communication and interaction. The domain of social media encompasses a variety of services, such as social networking services, collaborative projects, microblogging services and even virtual social worlds and virtual game worlds. There are long established principles, guidelines, and heuristics that apply to social media design and are part of the foundations of human-computer interaction (HCI). For example, in interaction design two set of goals guide the design of systems, usability goals and user experience goals.However, current design and development frameworks are still ill-equipped for the ever-changing online world. Ironically, they fail to take into account the social dimension of social media software. Cracks in the social fabric of a community operating under social media software may have devastating effects, not only to the evolution of the community but also to the longevity of the social media service. As such, social media cannot be developed in isolation, without taking into consideration the social experiences of users. Psychological and sociological principles should become part of the design process of modern social media. My research contributes to this endeavor by focusing on the design and engineering of social experiences on social media services. In my dissertation, I propose that an additional layer be added to the usability and user experience goals. The new layer includes social experience goals, which are further classified as desirable, undesirable and neutral. I produced a new definition for social interaction design that incorporates social experience goals. Building upon previously developed frameworks and models for interaction design, I demonstrated how social interaction design applies to activities such as needfinding, developing alternative designs using prototyping and modeling, developing interactive versions of design and evaluating designs. I presented the benefits of using such framework by focusing on two showcase phenomena deeply rooted in social behaviors - aggression and groupthink. The aim was to demonstrate that social media design and development could be driven by goals that aim to increase collaboration and decrease conflict in a community. I analyzed the effects of different features found in social media today in respect to aggression and groupthink, and found positive evidence to suggest that social interaction, behavior, attitudes and phenomena can be affected by social media design. By examining two vastly diverse social experience goals using quantitative as well as qualitative research methods currently used in HCI, I demonstrated the usefulness of social interaction design in various classifications of social media services such as collaborative projects, social networking sites and even virtual game worlds. In short, I argue that social experience could be engineered through software using the framework I provide for social interaction design.
    10/2012, Degree: PhD, Supervisor: Jiří Zlatuška
  • 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
  • 01/2009; Morgan & Claypool Publishers.