Photon Special for Unite 2012

edited in General
Hey there folks my name is Alan and I'm a Visual Effects Specialist , I'm from SA and living in Abu Dhabi at the moment. With only a couple months of C# experience I am learning as I go with my own unity based game project among other things.

I'm fleshing the game out with features , its all been run of the mill stuff thus far but one of the things that I wanted to have was multiplayer functionality of the MMO , its kind of RPG at the moment but that's not what I'd like the final game to be.Now Unity has some multiplayer functionality but nothing near what you would need for MMO. So I did some searching around and found a few options compatible with Unity , the one that I liked the most was a product from called photon.

Exit Games Blog post

You can find my most recent video update here :

The price put me off a bit, until the other day when I came across a limited time offer that they're doing , a single Photon Indie server license with unlimited connections permitted for a once off $99 fee , I grabbed a license and have been hard at work coding a custom server in VC# Express. I wanted to give you guys a heads up in case some of you find it useful.

What experiences have you folks had with networking and Unity ?



  • Myself and a friend, explored the unity networking options earlier this year. I was pretty disappointed by the limitations of Unity's native networking.
    Photon has a pretty great API, though we had really high latency communicating with the server, up to 1 second. This might have just been the line we were working on.
    I remember being concerned at the time about the licence cost of Photon but $100 is definitely worth it.

    Other options that I have come across are and

    I would like to take another bash at networking sometime soon, its really interesting, albeit challenging. An MMO is a pretty epic undertaking, have made any networked games before?
  • What was the issue with Unity's networking? I was looking at it earlier this year and it seemed pretty solid. I really liked the whole master-server punch-through functionality, that's rad :)
  • The problem was that one of the clients has to act as server, as opposed to hosting the server on an actual server. Besides the security issues, it had no built in client-server handover support for the case when server player drops out.
    The NAT punchthrough is awesome though.
  • Wow, that Photon stuff looks really slick (if it does what it promises). With seemingly reasonable cloud hosting prices..

    I, for one, would be very interested in hearing more from people about the networking alternatives (other than rolling your own :P)? Pros and cons, real world difficulties, implementation side effects specifically around design decisions etc..

    It would be awesome if anyone was willing to share that kind of experience?
  • We (being Merrik and Creative360 really) tested out Proton in January. At that stage the service would cost about $700 per game for a server and unlimited Concurrently-Connected-Users. That was their Indie package then, and at the time we felt that was quite reasonable.

    The same thing is now $99. Which seems cheaper than renting an Amazon server and installing Unity's server on it.

    Proton works, and it allows for native drop in and play, which is a big feature for me personally, however their severs are in America I think, so the latency here was quite nasty. They were quite a new service at the time, my hope is that they've been setting up servers elsewhere.

    But to be clear, our internet was getting 1 second latency for Diablo3 as well, so I'm not worried about Photon's latency for international customers.

    I'm trying to work out what the advantage of getting the 3 server deal is... Would that be if you want to host 3 games? (I'm going to be getting at least one, considering the price)

    I'm not an expert in networking by any measure. My opinions are based off of the research done by Merrik and Creative360.

  • Hey folks.

    The $99 indie license gives you the server to run from your own hardware , so your latency would depend on your connection. I have got a 30 MB Fiber Optic line installed , though I have been testing using my LAN , I will be testing the connection over the net soon.

    In terms of networking experience , the only server experience I had was a few years back when I compiled a Mangos server for WoW , maintaining the database and using no-ip for dns.It certainly has been a very interesting experience getting my head wrapped around the whole networking experience , I did dabble with the Unity multiplayer side of things but just couldn't get anything working.

    I was looking for decent video tutorials for it and luckily I came across this gent's intro series to Photon 3.0.

    It takes you all the way through the process from beginning to end , which is key for a first time networker like myself.

    If you want to use their cloud based solution , they've made it free with a 100 connection limit , though the latency on that may be higher depending on your connection.

    My first milestone before I think about database manipulation , is to get two controllable player characters into the world ,using Photon as the vehicle of course.
  • edited
    Oh! So this deal isn't for the hosting. I guess the way to use it is install it on an Amazon server or something (I'm certainly not going to try host from within SA).

    That's a bit disappoint.

    Thanks for the vids!
  • They have a hosted option, which is also seems very attractive. 20 CCUs for free (so for testing), and seemingly reasonable monthly pricing.

    If the game takes off, you can always scale out. And if the economies of scale (in concurrent CCUs) start messing with you, then you can look at hosting your own servers?

  • I certainly prefer hosting my own server , even if the setup is a schlep once its done you can park it on a machine in the spare room , it works great if you're hosting for a local community or small international one.
  • You need to make sure your line can handle the player load, for instance with my line at home I can host a game for up to 20 players in TF2 (4mb uncapped shaped), whereas a friend of mine has the same line and account (4mb uncapped shaped same provider) and he can only manage around 16. If you mean small as in few players then great, but you need to take into account the amount of data you will be sending back and forth as well as what options there are for optimising your connectivity (it may be worth looking into what Supreme Commander does as an example).
  • edited
    You have a good point there edg3 , at some point there will have to be a transition from self hosted to a third party solution provider. Got the server up and running , logging , sending and receiving both Event codes and Operation Codes and interacting with a Unity Client.

    Before I dive head long into getting things setup to run over the network , I first have to restructure the game by sorting out Game States and cleaning up code , as well as get a few more things fleshed out(Stuff like day/night cycles and spawn timers).

    Thanks for such a warm welcome good convo folks !
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