AuthorsK. Raaen, H. Espeland, H. K. Stensland, A. Petlund, P. Halvorsen and C. Griwodz
EditorsP. Balaji and H. Lin
TitleLEARS: a Lockless, Relaxed-Atomicity State Model for Parallel Execution of a Game Server Partition
AfilliationCommunication Systems, Communication Systems
Publication TypeProceedings, refereed
Year of Publication2012
Conference NameThe 41st International Conference on Parallel Processing Workshops
ISBN Number978-0-7695-4795-4

Supporting thousands of interacting players in a virtual world poses huge challenges with respect to processing. Existing work that addresses the challenge utilizes a variety of spatial partitioning algorithms to distribute the load. If, however, a large number of players needs to interact tightly across an area of the game world, spatial partitioning cannot subdivide this area without incurring massive communication costs, latency or inconsistency. It is a major challenge of game engines to scale such areas to the largest number of players possible; in a deviation from earlier thinking, parallelism on multi-core architectures is applied to increase scalability. In this paper, we evaluate the design and implementation of our game server architecture, called LEARS, which allows for lock-free parallel processing of a single spatial partition by considering every game cycle an atomic tick. Our prototype is evaluated using traces from live game sessions where we measure the server response time for all objects that need timely updates. We also measure how the response time for the multi-threaded implementation varies with the number of threads used. Our results show that the challenge of scaling up a game-server can be an embarrassingly parallel problem.


Published as part of the SRMPDS workshop proceedings

Citation Keysrmpds-lears