Multiplayer Servers

PlayFab's multiplayer server hosting service allows you to operate a dynamically scaling pool of custom game servers in Azure.

All PlayFab customers can access the service and use a limited, free quota of multiplayer servers for product evaluation and testing.

There are three key concepts to PlayFab multiplayer servers:

  1. Game server executable. This is the application that you are running in Azure. This server may be a simple network repeater, a fully authoritative game server running physics and AI, or anything in between.
  2. Build. This is the game server executable, packaged with assets and certificates needed to run the game. This content can be uploaded as individual certificates, zip files, and/or a container image. If you do not need a custom container image, you can use PlayFab managed Windows containers.
  3. Game server. A container running your game server executable. There may be multiple servers running on a single virtual machine.

These are the typical steps for using the service:

  1. Author game server. Scaling your server requires integration with the PlayFab game server SDK (GSDK) and testing the server executable in a container. You can download a mock agent and the Windows container image PlayFab uses for local development.
  2. Upload game server executable and assets. Upload the server and manage builds through Game Manager or PlayFab APIs and SDKs.
  3. Scale game server build. Once you've uploaded server assets you can create builds. PlayFab dynamically creates and recycles virtual machines to fulfill player demand and maintain standing-by levels you specify.
  4. Measure player latency. When players initiate a multiplayer experience, send UDP messages to PlayFab quality-of-service (QoS) beacons to measure network latency to Azure.
  5. Request multiplayer server. When players need a multiplayer server, request one to be allocated from a build's standing-by pool. This request can come from a lobby or matchmaking service you operate, or directly from a client calling PlayFab.
  6. Connect and play. PlayFab will fulfill a server request within 1 second if standing-by servers are available. Once a server has been put into the active state, clients connect to the server and play.

PlayFab Multiplayer Server Hosting Service diagram

Reference Documentation and Tools

Game Server SDK

Game Server SDK Samples

Links navigate to PlayFab's sample repo in Github