Analyzing the Effect of TCP and Server Population on Massively Multiplayer Games
International Journal of Computer Games Technology
Many Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs) use TCP flows for communication between the server and the game clients. The utilization of TCP, which was not initially designed for (soft) real-time services, has many implications for the competing traffic flows. In this paper we present a series of studies which explore the competition between MMORPG and other traffic flows. For that aim, we first extend a source-based traffic model, based on player's activities during the day,
... es during the day, to also incorporate the impact of the number of players sharing a server (server population) on network traffic. Based on real traffic traces, we statistically model the influence of the variation of the server's player population on the network traffic, depending on the action categories (i.e., types of in-game player behaviour). Using the developed traffic model we prove that while server population only modifies specific action categories, this effect is significant enough to be observed on the overall traffic. We find that TCPVegasis a good option for competing flows in order not to throttle the MMORPG flows and that TCP SACK is more respectful with game flows than other TCP variants, namely,Tahoe, Reno,andNew Reno. Other tests show that MMORPG flows do not significantly reduce their sending window size when competing against UDP flows. Additionally, we study the effect of RTT unfairness between MMORPG flows, showing that it is less important than in the case of network-limited TCP flows.