Capcom recently released the highly-anticipated Street Fighter V to enthusiastic fans, following seven years of development. The Street Fighter franchise has evolved from head-to-head matches in the arcade to online matches that fans all over the world can enjoy, thanks to dazzling technologies.
Street Fighter V's global online multiplayer is where ProudNet comes into play. Developed by Nettention, ProudNet is a server and network engine used by Street Fighter V's online multiplayer mode. Nettention, a tools and middleware developer licensed by Sony, is now looking to push further into the console games market, as well as PC and mobile.
We've taken some time to answer basic questions to get to know ProudNet a little bit better.
The advantage of ProudNet is that even in complicated network environments like China or East Asia, the network connection is maintained to be stable. Some examples are as follows:
In China, one router is also connected to hundreds, even thousands of PCs. In this environment, errors may occur in UDP and P2P networking. Some NAT routers have limited port mapping entries, leading to old connections being lost when repeating P2P connections and disconnections. ProudNet uses a hole-punching recycling feature to reduce this problem.
In some PC environments, various anti-malware programs run in the background. During P2P or UDP networking, if a UDP packet is too large or the UDP socket is not closed at the right time, unexpected disconnections occur. ProudNet solves these problems with MTU fragmentation and a latent UDP close feature in the application layer.
When it switches from a wi-fi connection to a cellular network, it can also automatically do the connection handover without data loss. In addition, there are features such as reliable messaging between P2P connections and encrypted messaging between P2P connections.
PlayStation 4 quality management and policies are very strict, so a lot of work was done in keeping within the policies. The inexperience in how a console game development project runs and proceeds also led to more work later on.
A console game development project was quite different in some areas compared to online PC or mobile development. The milestones were different, stages of quality control were different, and stages of code freeze, where no modification is allowed, were very distinct. But though the project seemed like it would be a long ordeal, once we started to proceed, it was not long at all.
Applying ProudNet in Street Fighter V was a great way to learn about console game development.
ProudNet aims to maintain the best quality for real-time multiplayer networking. Several version upgrades were related to this.
Sometimes unknown errors happen in FPS games but not in RPG games, and sometimes the game would work in A’s network but not in B's network. When the game ran well within South Korea, it wouldn’t work in East Asia, and when it ran well in East Asia it wouldn’t work in China. All those problems were fixed. People would use ProudNet in unexpected ways, so a lot of work was put in to respond to those cases.
In South Korea the only platforms are Android, iPhone, and Windows PC, but many different platforms exist globally such as Windows phone, Mac, and consoles. Demand would rise in CCTV and IoT fields so updates were done to support these, and supported platforms continues to expand even now. In the future, the plan is to support various consoles.
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ProudNet is a server and network engine specialized in real-time multiplayer. With various service backgrounds, ProudNet can respond to different problems while providing a user-friendly interface. Therefore, the server development is easy even without a lot of online/mobile game experience.
ProudNet is used in 191 game projects, and currently runs servers in 13 countries including the U.S. and South Korea. In Korea, ProudNet is used in online PC games including Vindictus, S4 League and others, as well as and mobile games such as MARVEL Future Fight, Seven Knights, and more. ProudNet has now expanded into the console market with Street Fighter V.