Okay, so I know my title was horribly punny, but forgive me because you're going to like what I've got to say!
The Microsoft Research team recently released information regarding their new project: Switchboard
. Switchboard is a matchmaking system for multiplayer mobile games, and MSR is going to release more official details
at MobiSys 2011
. A description of the project from Victor Bahl, the Mobile Computing Research Center at MSR director, is:
“Multiplayer gaming on smartphones is a very challenging technical problem,” he says. “Gamers move around, the wireless channel is hostile, the bandwidth you need is not always there, disconnections can happen, and smartphones are energy-constrained.
“If you just take a game and put it on a smartphone, it is not going to work.”
The key to Switchboard is that it works as a “matchmaker,” finding potential game players and assigning them to a group most similar for each player’s phone and network connection.
“Let’s say there are 20 candidates for a game,” Bahl says. “You might find that some have very low battery levels—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.”
Switchboard finds suitable game candidates by “pinging” their phones to estimate latency: the time needed to move a packet of data. Latency is important to gaming because a long lag time—in the hundreds of milliseconds—to move data can affect game play.
Switchboard points out very smart potential problems that could occur without it. I hadn't even thought about it, but then again I can't afford a smart phone!
What do you guys think? Pretty swells? And do you now/do you think you will play multiplayer mobile games? Seems like a whole new chapter in the wide world of gaming!
SOURCE: "Microsoft Research Working On Smartphone Multiplayer Gaming" // WM Power User
IMAGE SOURCE: Geek.com