Distributed Game Platform

The project will develop a network platform for collaborative applications that is scalable, efficient, reliable and secure

Large-scale collaborative applications have the potential to play a major role in defining the future of the digital economy. Collaborative applications have been used by organisations for activities ranging from online training and virtual conferencing to online gaming and social networking. Service providers use client-server architecture to provide these applications. Collaborative applications such as webcasting, video-on-demand and network gaming are often delivered to millions of internet users. This involves the use of one or more dedicated servers deployed at strategic locations in the network, which users connect to and request services. This approach has several drawbacks:

  • Strain network and server resources as more and more users join the application.
  • High deployment cost as new servers have to be installed to manage the increase in demand.
  • Central servers are a single point of failure and require constant maintenance.

 

These problems have forced telecommunications and service providers to explore alternative methods for managing the network in an effort to provide these services efficiently.

What will this research achieve?

The aim of this project (formerly known as the Peer-to-Peer project) is to explore the peer-to-peer paradigm as an alternative technique for network management and content delivery. It will attempt to solve the problems of the client-server approach so that service providers can offer large-scale collaborative services efficiently and economically. The project team has developed Badumna, a decentralised network engine for supporting scalable collaborative applications. Badumna's goal is to provide a network engine that is highly scalable, reliable, robust and secure.

Badumna enables the creation of highly scalable collaborative applications using minimal operator owned infrastructure and network resources by forming a peer-to-peer network of all the users and distributing the data processing across the network. Servers are only used for operations that require arbitration, authentication and intrusion detection.

Who will benefit?

Internet service providers will be able to deliver services more cost effectively and users will be able to access a wider variety of services. Badumna will be able to offer the following benefits to service providers:

  • Lower the operating cost of the application significantly.
  • Increase the number of users that can be supported by the application.
  • Improve the user experience.
  • Secure interface with fully encrypted data management.

Key features

  • Reduces hosting costs of MMO applications by upto 80%.
  • Automatic scaling as the application grows, therefore supports flash-crowds.
  • Lowers greenhouse gas emissions by eliminating the dependence on data centers.

Research outcomes

  • Decentralised interest management: An approach to synchronise game state information in the absence of a central index. It uses a three tiered approach to provide a highly scalable and efficient indexing mechanism to synchronise game state information. The tiered approach uses a combination of the following protocols: cell (fixed regions are mapped on to a distributed hash table); dynamic bounded regions (dynamic bounded regions are interest management regions that can grow and shrink in size, move in space, and cluster around entities); and gossip (neighbourhood interest management that uses neighbouring information to discover other peers).
  • Distributed multicasting: A highly efficient and scalable technique to broadcast messages to a large number of users. On an average it takes log(N) hops to broadcast the message to N users.
  • Structured peer-to-peer network: A method to form a structured peer-to-peer network that is scalable, reliable, and robust. The network is formed using the concept of a distributed hash table and utilises unique features that form a logical network using concentric rings and allows resources to be mapped into the entire 2D space as opposed to the ring. This approach ensures that the network can establish connectivity between any user in the network regardless of their connection (open, closed, NAT, etc).
  • Secure identity protocol: The protocol provides a means to establish user identity before establishing connection with a remote user. Based on the concept of PKI (public key infrastructure) it provides a scalable mechanism to establish the identity of users in a decentralised network.

Update on Badumna Network Suite and recent news

Most relevant publications

 

For details on theme activity in peer-to-peer networks and related publications, please visit the Peer-to-Peer Networks and Applications Group website.

Linkages and collaborations

The project has established a formal partnership and a licensing agreement with VastPark, a virtual worlds' platform company. Badumna has been fully integrated with VastPark's virtual world platform and is being field tested with their beta testers. It is currently being shipped along with their platform as a beta product.  

Research team

Santosh Kulkarni  (Project Leader)

Scott Douglas

David Churchill

Artem Vorobiev 

For more information, please contact Santosh Kulkarni: santosh.kulkarni  'at'  nicta.com.au