, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 7-30

An Efficient Synchronization Mechanism for Mirrored Game Architectures

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Existing online multiplayer games typically use a client-server model, which introduces added latency as well as a single bottleneck and single point of failure to the game. Distributed multiplayer games minimize latency and remove the bottleneck, but require special synchronization mechanisms to provide a consistent game for all players. Current synchronization methods have been borrowed from distributed military simulations and are not optimized for the requirements of fast-paced multiplayer games. In this paper we present a new synchronization mechanism, trailing state synchronization (TSS), which is designed around the requirements of distributed first-person shooter games.

We look at TSS in the environment of a mirrored game architecture, which is a hybrid between traditional centralized architectures and the more scalable peer-to-peer architectures. Mirrored architectures allow for improved performance compared to client-server architectures while at the same time allowing for a greater degree of centralized administration than peer-to-peer architectures.

We evaluate the performance of TSS and other synchronization methods through simulation and examine heuristics for selecting the synchronization delays needed for TSS.