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Gamecenter vs Raknet for iOS multiplayer

09-03-2014, 04:26 PM
#1
Gamecenter vs Raknet for iOS multiplayer

I'm investigating adding multiplayer to my forthcoming iOS game (synchronous peer-to-peer multiplayer for an RTS which will run in lockstep).

GameCenter's matchmaking functionality looks pretty good, but I've got half an eye on a future Android port, so I'm thinking that the newly open sourced RakNet might be a better solution for me in the long run.

There's a few benefits to using Gamecenter though, so I wanted to gauge how important folk here think they are:

1. It supports Bluetooth. Does anyone have any data or hunches about how widely that's used. If you have a multiplayer game that supports Bluetooth, Local WiFi and Internet play, what sort of percent of the games would be Bluetooth?
2. How important do you think access to the Gamecenter friend lists, and the familiarity of the Gamecenter matchmaking UI is to the average user?

Thank you!
09-05-2014, 02:02 PM
#2
The biggest pro of GameCenter is a matchmaking infrastructure. You have little control over the MM but it comes for free. In raknet you need to rent or ooperate your own server infrastructure and make sure you do all the NAT punchthrough correctly.

OTOH, you don't lock yourself into iOS/Mac.

Gl with your game, and have a close eye on staying deterministic, I still remember hunting down desyncs in my last lockstep game.
09-05-2014, 02:55 PM
#3
Yeah - getting rid of the desyncs might be challenging, but I've built systems in from the very start to try and ease the pain (no floating point math in the sim, in debug builds simulation steps are repeated and checksums make sure there is no divergence). Catches most of the simple errors as I go along, but I'm sure there'll be some subtle ones hiding away.

I've seen that Raknet host a master matchmaking server which anyone can use apparently, but I've no idea how well it'll perform, what its uptime is like and how long it'll last now that no-ones paying licensing fees anymore.

Not having to worry about it is a definite plus in the Gamecenter camp.