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Browser matchmaking

opinion

Since I'm kind of bored I figured I would make a thread dealing with the different types of online play we find on all of the platforms starting with server browsers.

Server browsers are the standard way of connecting to a multiplayer game. You get yourself a list of servers running the game, some details about each one, some filters to help you find one that is playable, and then you hit join. You are then connected to a server where all other players are connected. This server is dedicated to the game and does not give one player a major advantage. The only advantage players will see is if they are closer to the server than others.

Straight forward, gives a lot of options, servers can have custom map Browser matchmaking, servers can have custom rules, usually quick to connect, dedicated servers "Browser matchmaking" much prefered over P2P. Can be messy, can be broken, dedicated servers can Browser matchmaking custom rules that ruin the game, ping limits can be set on the servers, if there are no servers in your area you may be SOL.

The cross-game server browser offered...

Then we have traditional matchmaking. This really started back with the launch of Xbox Live back on the old Xbox.

Server browsers are clunky with a controller and low screen resolutions of a TV can make them difficult to see. Furthermore, dedicated servers for the consoles were more difficult to create and much Browser matchmaking difficult to manage. Therefore most games used a peer-to-peer connection where one of the players is selected to host the game from their machine.

Depending on how the player set up the game, or if the servers on the back-end set up playlists team deathmatch, CTF, ectpeople could join some Browser matchmaking of waiting room, a host would be selected, and then the game was created through the host.

Bungie actually came up with the automated game types and revolutionized online play on the consoles with a single game. Other games just had people create a game and wait for the room to be filled with others.

While this system was much easier to implement on the consoles, it had a significant drawback in terms of latency. Since the machine that was hosting the game was the console, there wasn't a lot of power to do all of the hosting calculations. Matchmaking did allow players of similar skill to be matched together.

This was most famous in Halo 2. This allowed newbies to play with "Browser matchmaking" newbies without being crushed. However these systems could also be exploited.

However matchmaking could be used to find co-op partners with random strangers allowing people to play co-op games without having to have their friends own the game. No dedicated servers, Browser matchmaking issues, host advantages, takes a bit longer to get into a game, skill matching could be taken advantage of.

Obviously it seems Browser matchmaking dedicated servers would be better, but there was a solution.