20070703 - Cost of Bandwidth
One obvious cost to factor into any online game is the cost of network bandwidth and hosting.
- Cost of network bandwidth (dedicated server) is about $0.25/GB/month.
In terms of handling peak bandwidth.
- One dedicated server peak bandwidth flows through a 100Mbps ethernet card.
- So peak bandwidth is 12.5 MB/s.
- Which is 204,800 packets/s of minimum sized UDP packets.
- Which is 10K cycles/packet on a 2GHz server.
- BOTTOM LINE, one server can handle peak bandwidth.
In terms of average bandwidth.
- Average bandwidth has to be well under peak levels (2% to 10%).
- Typical starting bandwidth is 640 GB/month (for $150/month).
- This is an average of 250 KB/s.
- Typical maximum bandwidth for one server is 3840 GB/month (for $775/month).
- This is an average of 1503 KB/s.
Given a server centric model (all traffic goes through server), taking in consideration a 1/9 online time factor
(players only play 11% of the time),
and a full 128 Kbps constant network connection, the maximum bandwidth case could only support 845 players, and would cost about $1/player/month for bandwidth.
BOTTOM LINE, server centric model cannot support a large number of high bandwidth connections.
Most current online FPS (first person shooter) games use server centric model with high bandwidth connections, and thus have a very limited number of players per server,
which can be seen in the max players/server chart
The FPS genre doesn't fit well with the MMOG (massively multiplayer online game) model,
since they are limited usually to 16-64 players interacting at one time. The limitations of central server bandwidth is sure to be a factor in why a majority of MMOGs are RPGs (roll playing games),
due to RPGs needing only a very low bandwidth connection to the players.
Atom however is going to have FPS interactivity with MMOG numbers of players, so a mix of P2P (peer to peer) and server centric network models is the only option.