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I've finished working on an RPG and it would seem so much more fun to make it multiplayer. SFML has a networking feature, I figured it's possible but then again, never in my life have I even tried something basic about networking, in fact my knowledge of it is very limited.

What would it take to make a multiplayer game resource-wise? I'm not talking about an MMO, more like a co-op type of game. Do I need mountains of cash to pay for hosting and servers and many many things to make one?

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We made most of our games work in a p2p scheme at first. All clients broadcast their presence (on wifi and bluetooth included). When a user selects another device the other user can accept him and so the server is chosen (more or less randomly). More peers can connect afterwards. Have a look at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero_configuration_networking to get inspired about peer discovery. –  Coyote Sep 28 '12 at 6:01
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5 Answers

up vote 11 down vote accepted

You can actually do this without any of your own servers at all. It would be a bit more work for your users however. One user can act as the server (with a separate server application or built into your game) or you can implement a peer-to-peer architecture. Consider, for example, Minecraft, there's no public server hosting games. Users create their own servers and their friends connect directly to it. Or back in the old days of Warcraft 2, users would use their modem to call the other player's modem and have a direct connection over the phone.

However, if you wanted to have a lobby system, that lists available servers, you'd need to invest in your own hardware.

Learn more about the options and decide what kind of structure you want to setup.

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Awesome examples, thanks. –  Bugster Sep 25 '12 at 17:44
    
Congrats on finishing your game. Good luck with the multiplayer! It'll be a challenge for an already completed game, but should be interesting. –  Byte56 Sep 25 '12 at 18:02
    
Thanks. A huge milestone for me :) –  Bugster Sep 25 '12 at 18:04
    
Yes, it's a great idea on paper but like you said, for matchmaking, lobby or leaderboard you need a central server. –  Rubber Mallet Sep 28 '12 at 1:43
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@RubberMallet The point is that those things aren't needed. It's a great idea in paper and in practice. There are a number of games that are multiplayer and don't have any kind of central server. This is particularly common in co-op games like the OP asks about. –  Byte56 Sep 28 '12 at 1:56
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Until you have hoards of users, you don't need mountains of severs. A domain name and a cloud server ought to be about $300/yr to start, but don't go for the lowest price, there are a lot of crappy providers out there.

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I don't think so. You can use "Cirrus" ( It's free ) from Adobe to make peer to peer based multiuser apps like chatting, and simple games ( not complex ofcourse, as that needs a server in between).

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People who invest in their own servers also can sell the data that the users will generate and can also analyze all the stats and infos more effectively; but servers and bandwidth are really not that cheap, so if you do not have enough money do not even start to think about this and follow the ideas given by the other answers.

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you could also consider services like player.io there are a few more, but that one comes to mind. Player IO and some others have a free plan.

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