The distributed computing model eliminates the need for servers and associated costs by having peers communicate directly with each other. This provides an opportunity for significant savings – often exceeding millions of dollars. Furthermore, by eliminating the server round trip, the model improves latency, creating a more immersive gaming experience.
In a distributed computing model each peer is given authority for a portion of the data. In essence, the computing workload is distributed to all peers in the network. To reduce the risk of cheating, the system does not let a peer have authority on its own data. Thus there is no direct benefit to hacking which will deter many hackers, but there will still be those who see this as a challenge, and an opportunity to cause havoc to gain an unfair advantage on their opponents.
In order to employ complete security, we must employ fault tolerance. One such fault tolerant method is a dual authority system, in which two peers perform the same calculations. This identifies the peer being hacked, but does not allow us to correct the data in real time. An alternative model is the triple authority system, which allows for real-time correction of the data and the ability to identify the peer being hacked.
In essence, fault tolerant distributed computing addresses security from several perspectives: dynamic assignment of authority, conflict detection, self-correction and removal of conflicting peer from a position of authority.
We modify the game engine so that the distributed computing model can coexist with the client-server model. This allows the developer to dynamically select the client-server model or fault tolerant distributed computing networking model.
Fault tolerant distributed computing is a secure alternative to the client-server model. Thus the cost of supporting an online multiplayer game with a client-server model can now be eliminated or reduced greatly.
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