sickshark avatar image
sickshark asked

Multiplayer for free tier

Your new service for Multiplayer is not available to the free tier?
I believe if you do a policy like photon does, you become the number one platform.
Photon gives you free 20 CCU! so little developers like me can launch it for free, and in case the game rocks, I can expand it to a paid tier! IT's INCREDIBLY useful like this, especially if you are not sure on the ecnonomic return. This makes people come close to the platform and make it learn! It's a perfect on-board feature!

Please tell me you have such kind of feature! I would like to do everything with Playfab but I need help in scaling and I need a free tier because the first months nobody will know the game and also mine is a freemium. I am willing to pay if the game grows and the user base expands!

Thank you!

PS. did you know that UNITY has blocked cloud services out of themselves in their agreement?

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brendan avatar image
brendan answered

That's a bit of an apples and oranges comparison. The 20 CCU Photon offering is for a relay service - it does not enable you to upload your own build and have it hosted in dedicated servers, which is what our multiplayer service is. In Photon Realtime (or PUN), your title is using shared server resources, since there's no title-specific logic required.

Specifically, there are two server hosting services in PlayFab:

1. The Multiplayer 2.0 service is in public preview right now, which is why it is not available to the free tier. Once it is in General Availability, our goal is to manage it the same way we do our original hosting service (see below).

2. In our original hosting service, which is available to you in the free tier, we provide you with a small number of server hours for free, so that you can do testing and make sure everything works well before going live.

But hosting a server which is dedicated to your title alone has a more significant cost than sharing VMs with other titles, and so we do have to pass along that cost (which is what we do - what we charge for hosting is not a revenue source, it's cost recovery).

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brendan avatar image brendan commented ·
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sickshark avatar image sickshark commented ·

Dear Brendan,

Maybe I don't get what is a relay service. I dont see what is the difference between yours and photon.
both are distributed in several countries. Except the rare event of an outage i know that shared Virtual servers are little it more exposed. but nothing more.

Secondly what do you mean that your multiplayer will foloow the original hosting service?
Will you provide it for the free tier as well as Gamespark?

I hope so really! I love Playfab UI and support, but I prefer the Gamespark business model. They give you everythig for free till 100000 MAU and if your game succeed you simply pay. thats it.

they offer at 360 degres all the possible services. you code once without worry and if the game succeeds the dev just pays. Instead i dont want to hassle into playfab+ photon then I am forced to upgrade both. I would like to have a one complete platform to learn so i dont need to re-code the app for new integrations.
Do you think you will do like them? If so, I am 100% with you.

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brendan avatar image brendan sickshark commented ·

A relay service is a socket server that connects players and enables packet exchange.

A custom game server hosting is one in which you can upload an executable that is then run in one or more servers, and which your game connects to, in order to have custom functionality for scenarios involving things like high frequency data needs and security of the game simulation.

PlayFab is neither of those things. PlayFab is a complete backend that provides for a wide range of pre-built functionality around many of the things games need, from basic data and leaderboards to commerce and analytics. We also provide custom game server hosting, and we provide it at cost.

I have never seen Gamesparks offer custom game server hosting for free. If you mean their "services for multiplayer", that's a relay service, as I said in the other thread where you've asked about this.

Can we please keep this discussion to one thread, for the sake of others who might be trying to follow this?

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sickshark avatar image
sickshark answered

Ahhh! Maybe I think I got it.
So correct me on this:

1) Playfab has a custom server service, the original one which has a separate cost and is not included nor in the free, the indie or the pro tier.

2) playfab has new custom game server service in preview and will be available partly to the free tier? if yes when?

3) a custom game server is an overkill in my case, essentially with that you can upload part of games data to be downloaded afterwards or perform extra logic, and that is what your new service does.

4)However the cloudscript is a logic that you provide to devs that do not need and entire custom game server, right?

5) The Matchmaking service is shown in the docs but you don't state if is free, how much and so on...

6) you said that in jan 2019 a Unity project using the multiplayer will be public available... is it coming soon?

7) So you just provide a custom game server options and not a simple relay service for matchmaking like photon? I would like you have it so I didn't need photon then... Or I hope you will release the custom servers for the free tier as well. I would like to code once, for example using the shared group or something similar and have an update rate of 2 seconds let's say. have it for free till 100000 MAU and if rockets just pay. exactly like Gamespark offers. So no code-rework needed. Instead if I manage to make an update rate of 12/10 seconds here and in the future I want it faster, I need to recode it.
This is why I am asking if you have a realy service for free like them, but I believe the answer is not and you tell me about photon which has a free tier on just 8000 MAU.

8) I left the other questions about the latency and the structure of the game in here:

9) your costs for the tier are not cristal clear. What does it mean indie tier 99 minimum? and pro tier 299 minimum per month? but you state 0.008 per MAU. what does it mean? 299+ 0.008 per MAU ? until which MAU number above which number? like if one has 3000 MAU one pays 300dollars plus 0.008*3000 MAU ?

Thank you! Hopefully Will help many others :)

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brendan avatar image brendan commented ·


1. No. We provide a small amount of custom game server hosting for free in all tiers in the current hosting service.

2. Yes, the new server hosting service will also have a small amount of free usage. If your question is, can you run a game that uses custom game servers for free, the answer is no.

3. If all you want to do is pass packets between players with no server-side authority, yes, you want a relay service, not server hosting.

4. Cloud Script can run server-side logic that you write, but it is not possible to use it for high-frequency data updates.

5. The matchmaker is for use with custom game server hosting and is part of the core service. It does not have additional cost on its own.

6. There are examples of custom game servers for both in C#:


New (preview):

7. Correct - PlayFab does not currently have a relay service. It is not possible to provide server hosting for free.

8. Replied in that thread.

9. Please check the FAQ on our pricing page. Indie is $99 flat rate. Pro is $299 or the MAU cost - higher of the two. For both, that's onlyafter you have 1,000 MAU or more.

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sickshark answered

Is the Matchmaker free to use with no restrictions? Could I use it in a P2P or Relayed architecture even not hosted with you? I mean, am I forced to use your custom game server service or am I free?

When the multiplayer 2.0 for free tier will be available? You said You are going to give some multiplayer features to the free tier. Like GameLift, or Multiplay.

As a indie studio, We are really just about to decide if we go with:
-playfab+photon using crc +some client code for anti-cheating where they mutually check each other+obfuscation+ rare check against the Cloudscript

-OR, Totally in playfab if you give a free or very convenient service like Gamelift or Multiplay like free hours ecc.. we would like something that is cost acceptable/free at the beginning

Or- totally on Gamespark, no hassle, everything free until 100000 MAU with no worries. But that is a relay service like Photon.

Ideally I would like to do everything in Playfab.

Finally, could you also estimate the price with your previous custom game server service? that is just 10% more on top of EC2 costs right? but with no free hours. right? So if my game reach 100000 MAU what would be the approximate costs? do you also make pay the traffic transfer? much more than 95 dollars of photon?


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brendan avatar image brendan commented ·

The current matchmaker is for use with hosted servers, but no, you don't have to host with us. This tutorial explains how to use other hosting:

Server 2.0 will be generally available by the end of the quarter. As stated above, and as with our legacy server hosting, we provide a small number of free hosting hours in the free tier, for testing purposes.

GameLift and Multiplay do not offer free server hosting, so it's not clear what you're referring to - can you clarify that question?

For our legacy server hosting, yes, it's the actual AWS costs - including data transfer - plus 10%. But how many instances of your custom game server can run on a server host machine and how many players each instance can host is going to be entirely up to you. Different game types will have vastly different numbers. For your game, you would need to test to determine how many players can be hosted by a server, so that you can work out what server type you need, which would tell you the cost. AWS provides a cost calculator on their site you can use for this.

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