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I'm making a card-playing game, similar to Magic Workstation. I've been looking into several options for networking. I have a working LAN version with the build in Unity networking, as well as Photon Cloud. Though I was now looking for a more decentralized way of doing multiplayer on the internet. It would be very very cool if there were no servers involved in finding other people. I would still let players host their own game-rooms others can join.

I Googled around for this, and everything I found was at least several years old. So I was wondering if anything new has popped up since then. I've seen several decentralized chat programs and even voice/video chat without any servers. But nothing for video games yet.

I did find some problems with this kind of networking. Mainly the lack of anti-cheat, but in my case the players check the moves themselves so this shouldn't be a problem. Other than that it's probably a bit slower, but card games are generally not very high-paced :P

Lastly, I'm making it in Unity using c#. I'll probably be running it in the webplayer (and later WebGL). So I'm mostly looking for c# library, or javascript. But any promising projects that do this are welcome.

Thanks a lot!

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  • \$\begingroup\$ There really isn't any way without some server(s) that let clients find each other - even in the most advanced p2p architectures such as bittorrent (uses trackers to connect peers to each other). I would be interested in looking at how any voice/video chat works without any servers. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 28, 2015 at 18:25

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The built-in Unity networking would be fine for this. Sure, someone has to be a "server", but this doesn't have to mean much at all depending on how you program it. Unity does give you complete freedom on how you distribute the work across the players, and how they're all synchronised.

Of course the only problem here is the master server. You do need a master server, but it's only purpose is to help find games. I don't see how this would really get in your way, you can host your own master server as well.

Really, the Unity networking is what you make it. Photon on the other hand is VERY limiting.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, the Unity networking works fine once in a game. Though as you said there would still need to be a master server to let people find each other. I was looking for something without a (master)server. \$\endgroup\$
    – The Oddler
    Aug 31, 2014 at 12:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ Why? What difference would it make to the user? \$\endgroup\$
    – Ben
    Aug 31, 2014 at 13:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ None at all. It's more a technical exercise to see if it's possible. \$\endgroup\$
    – The Oddler
    Aug 31, 2014 at 13:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ Without a master server, the user must know the connection details of the other user to be able to join his room. (Ever played Minecraft? Just like that: the user needs a IP and port) \$\endgroup\$
    – Kroltan
    Nov 29, 2014 at 23:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ben A master server is something that needs to be hosted and maintained, and possibly even needs to be protected against DDoS. It's an expense and a headache. It would be nice if the alternatives wouldn't be massive headaches in their own right. \$\endgroup\$
    – Peter
    Jun 27, 2015 at 19:26

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