Microsoft Research is cooking a new gaming system designed to support large-scale, high-speed, peer-to-peer interaction among participants, according to the company. Dubbed as Donnybrook, the new technology is designed to break down the barriers associated with the volume of players capable of interacting simultaneously in the absence of provisioned dedicated servers. The product of a collaboration between Microsoft Research and the Carnegie Mellon University, the system was at the basis of simulation results involving battles of approximately 900 players interacting simultaneously. Via Donnybrook the bandwidth limits available to the machines participating in a gaming environment are no longer completely flooded by state updates, introducing the possibility of massive scalability to peer-to-peer gaming networks.
“First, it reduces bandwidth demand by estimating what players are paying attention to, thereby enabling it to reduce the frequency of sending less important state updates. Second, it overcomes resource and interest heterogeneity by disseminating updates via a multicast system designed for the special requirements of games: that they have multiple sources, are latency-sensitive, and have frequent group membership changes,” reveals an excerpt from the “Donnybrook: Enabling Large-Scale, High-Speed, Peer-to-Peer Games” whitepaper (PDF).