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From the December 2014 issue

Resource Allocation in a Client/Server System for Massive Multi-Player Online Games

By Luis Diego Briceño, Howard Jay Siegel, Anthony A. Maciejewski, Ye Hong, Brad Lock, Charles Panaccione, Fadi Wedyan, Mohammad Nayeem Teli, and Chen Zhang

Featured article thumbnail imageThe creation of a Massive Multi-Player On-line Game (MMOG) has significant costs, such as maintenance of server rooms, server administration, and customer service. The capacity of servers in a client/server MMOG is hard to scale and cannot adjust quickly to peaks in demand while maintaining the required response time. To handle these peaks in demand, we propose to employ users' computers as secondary servers. The introduction of users' computers as secondary servers allows the performance of the MMOG to support an increase in users. Here, we consider two cases: first, for the minimization of the response times from the server, we develop and implement five static heuristics to implement a secondary server scheme that reduces the time taken to compute the state of the MMOG. Second, for our study on fairness, the goal of the heuristics is to provide a "fair" environment for all the users (in terms of similar response times), and to be "robust" against the uncertainty of the number of new players that may join a given system configuration. The number of heterogeneous secondary servers, conversion of a player to a secondary server, and assignment of players to secondary servers are determined by the heuristics implemented in this study.

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