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Video Game Traffic Profile. Glenn Harper Joseph Sanchez Everett Espinoza Anthony Baros. Video Gaming: A Burgeoning Industry. As of 2002, Video Gaming was a $30 Billion per year industry. Game sales rival CD, DVD, and Box Office sales. Example: Sony Playstation 2

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Video Game Traffic Profile

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Video Game Traffic Profile

Glenn Harper

Joseph Sanchez

Everett Espinoza

Anthony Baros


Video Gaming: A Burgeoning Industry

  • As of 2002, Video Gaming was a $30 Billion per year industry.

  • Game sales rival CD, DVD, and Box Office sales.

  • Example: Sony Playstation 2

  • 25 million consoles sold, 2.6 million connected (with separate adapter).


Online Gaming: The Next Big Thing

  • SCEA study has noted that the peak time for online play is between 5 and 11 pm

  • Nielsen (Television ratings) has noted a drop in the number of viewers among males 18-24 during the same time period.

  • The rise of online gaming and video gaming has had a huge impact on entertainment landscape.


Previous Work

  • Many previous studies have been done to measure Web or Multimedia traffic

  • Game traffic should be different: Low latency, small packet size, bursty traffic


A Challenge to the Existing Infrastructure of the Internet

  • Large amount of users requires a relatively high bandwidth, massively scalable method of connecting to servers.

  • How do gaming developers and system administrators meet this need?


Profiling Traffic from Online Gaming

Three focuses for our project:

  • What type of traffic is used to connect between clients and servers?

  • How many gamers are connecting, and how does the number change throughout the day?

  • What is the geographic distribution of online gamers?


Possible benefits of this study

  • Good data will allow the design of networks to better accommodate network gaming traffic “turbulence”

  • Provide data for more realistic network simulations


Type of Traffic

  • Hypothesis: mostly UDP, with TCP connection to tell server when clients join and disconnect.

  • Tested using network connection monitoring tool while observing an online game.


Number of Gamers

  • Hypothesis: Absolute number unknown, but peak should be between 5 and 11 pm, as per the SCEA study.

  • Test by looking at the number of gamers on “closest” servers at various times during the day.


Geographic Distribution

  • Hypothesis: Should see a normal distribution on a map of the Southwestern USA.

  • Means should be at cities (Albuquerque, Phoenix, San Antonio, Denver, etc.)

  • Test by taking IPs of servers with low lag, then plug those IPs into a location finder.


Test Procedures and Results:


Initially set up server, but no one connected.

  • Initially set up server, but no one connected.

    Took different approach:

  • Looked at servers with latency < 50, and servers located in southwest

  • Assumed these would be servers connecting to us.


STEAM Screenshot


Steam Screenshot with Server


Testing results for span of two weeks for

  • Number of Players

  • Number of Active servers

  • Types of network connections occuring during gaming

  • Locations of various servers


Results for individual days of the week:

  • Number of players

  • Number of active servers


Mechanism for determining types of gaming connections:

Used Netmon 1.1, which records the following:

  • Remote Address

  • Local address

  • Port number used

  • Type of protocol used


NETMON Screenshot


This software allowed us to determine the various types of connections utilized throughout game play


Sample of data file created by Netmon:


Types of connections determined:

  • There are TCP Connections to central Steam server. These connections perform basic control functions

  • Majority connection types are UDP, which contain the bulk of the data. UDP connection is the basic server-client connection.


Geographic Distribution

http://ws.arin.net/ was used to find out the organization which a IP address belonged to and thus the location of the server’s city


Sample Data:

OrgName: Game Daemons, Inc.

OrgID: GAMED

Address: P.O. Box 702

City: Midway

StateProv: UT

PostalCode: 84909

Country: US

NetRange: 69.12.8.0 - 69.12.9.255

OrgName: Cyberbasin Internet Services

OrgID: CIS-218

Address: 407 N Big Spring

City: Midland

StateProv: TX

PostalCode: 79702

Country: US

NetRange:65.164.136.0 - 65.164.139.255


After looking up the location of 50 IP addresses, this is the distribution:


Conclusions

  • Network games different than typical Internet applications

    • Very Interactive

    • Traffic flow profile consists mainly of small bursts of UDP packets

    • For Counter-strike game, we see burstier data rate depending upon action

    • Packet sizes for server depend upon action


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