Switchboard: Microsoft Research Working on Matchmaking System for Multiplayer Mobile GamesJuly 5, 2011 No Comments
Microsoft Research is working on a system called Switchboard forÂ mobile devices. Â It’s a matchmaking system for multi-player mobile games. The way Switchboard works is as a matchmaker tool, finding potential game players and assigning them to a group most similar for each playerâ€™s phone and network connection.
â€œMultiplayer gaming on smartphones is a very challenging technical problem,â€ he says. â€œGamers move around, the wireless channel is hostile, the bandwidth you need is not always there, disconnections can happen, and smartphones are energy-constrained.”
â€œIf you just take a game and put it on a smartphone, it is not going to work.â€
â€œLetâ€™s say there are 20 candidates for a game,â€ Bahl says. â€œYou might find that some have very low battery levelsâ€”even if they wanted to play the game, they would be able to play for only a few minutes. Others might be moving around so much that lots of handoffs [between cell towers] will happen, resulting in disconnections, and they will not enjoy the game. Or some might be located in highly congested areas where a lot of people are using phones and the available network bandwidth is low.â€
Sharad Agarwal, Project Leader for Switchboard, also had a few details to add:
â€œThere are techniques for multiplayer games to handle â€˜jitterâ€™â€”occasional spikes in network delay,â€ Agarwal says. â€œWhen those techniques react to jitter, you may see a player or object jump from one spot to another. Such â€˜glitches in the matrixâ€™ become problematic if they happen frequently. A major challenge in this work is to predict what a playerâ€™s latency will look like for the foreseeable duration of a game and minimize such glitches.”
With the Mango update allowing multiplayer, Switchboard looks to be the future of what kind of multi-player games are possible. Maybe it’s this project that brings us closer to a future where Halo Matchmaking on a Windows Phone Â is possible.
Tags: Games, Matchmaking System, Microsoft Research, Multiplayer, Multiplayer Mobile Games, Switchboard, Windows Phone, windows phone 7, WP7Games, News