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Status: idea

Branches Issues Main developers
grpc ? @aschaeffer

Decentralized Server List

How did the masterserver work in the past?

  • The masterserver controls the listed servers.
  • Each server registers itself to the masterserver.
  • Each game client requests a server list from the masterserver.

What are the problems with the original Sauerbraten masterserver?

  • Single point of failure (centralized server list)!
  • One person decides if a server is suitable or not!
  • Proprietary data format!

What we are about to change

  • No single point of failure (decentralized server list).
  • No centralized decisions about the "suitability" of servers.
  • Every server is welcome (including modified gameplay or altered user experiences)
  • Full transparency (highlighting modded servers).
  • Page-Rank like blacklist for malicious servers.
  • Open data format
  • **JSON **can be read by machines and humans!
  • Available (REST API).
  • No specifid language required (use whatever programming language you want to).
  • Information can be used everywhere (other servers, other clients, websites, "cube-server-lister"-like software).
  • Extendibility and backwards compatibility.
  • The information format can be extended with additional information.

Additionally, we want to implement a match-making service, to just join and launch a game together.

Server Identity

  • vendor (only alpha numeric, eg psl, dk, nl)
  • serverid ("[vendor][number]", only alpha numeric, e.g. "psl4", "dk1", "nl4")
  • ip
  • port

Server list storage

  • Each server stores the list of other servers in it's own Inexor Tree.
  • Each client stores the list of (all) servers in it's own Inexor Tree.

Server list synchronization

Between servers

  • At server startup
    • chooses some known servers randomly and fetches the server list -> the own server list is updated now.
    • then push information about itself to the known servers -> the remote server lists are updated now.
  • At server shutdown
    • The list of servers is written down locally, we need to know the list of servers during the next server startup.
  • During runtime
    • Regularly, each server pushes information about itself to the known servers (once per hour?).
    • If a server can't push information to a remote server multiple times, the remote server gets removed from the own server list.
  • Security
    • For security reasons, a server accepts changes from a remote server only if the sender IP matches the IP in the data package.
    • Blacklist
      • Malicious servers are blacklisted locally and changes from a remote server aren't accepted anymore.
      • If a remote server wants to push a change, the local server can check the malicious state on other remote servers.
      • Therefore the propagation about this server is stopped.
    • Whitelist
      • Servers can also whitelist remote servers which means they trust another known server.
      • Incoming changes from a whitelisted remote server are always accepted, even when other remote servers are blacklisting the remove server.

Between server and client

  • The client fetches the server list from randomly choosen servers using the Inexor Tree REST API.
  • As soon as a server is known by the client, it can directly fetch information from the known server.
  • Security
  • Clients can blacklist and whitelist servers locally.
  • Clients can check if a server is blacklisted or whitelisted by multiple remote servers.

Server capabilities

  • Game server provides information about his capabilities.
  • Once a client knows about a game server it can ask it for it's capabilities.
  • The list of capabilities is extensible (just extend the Inexor Tree with additional nodes).

Typical capabilities are:

  • available game modes
  • enabled game modes
  • maximum number of players
  • plugin extensions

Inexor Tree


Why not ENet?

ENet is fine for transferring the game data like position changes and other game events. Also, ENet is fast and has a low latency. But for some use cases it isn't necessary to have a low latency and enet makes things more complicated.

Server list propagation ("Masterserver") and server capabilities ("extinfo") are available globally and can be integrated in 3rd party apps (e.g. a homepage) easily.


An accepted solution is proposed on this https://github.com/inexorgame/code/wiki/Self-regulating-distributed-network article