Amazon Game Tech Blog

How nWay Minimizes Latency for Power Rangers Games using Amazon EC2

nWay is the San Francisco based developer and publisher behind competitive multiplayer games like Power Rangers: Legacy Wars, Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid, and ChronoBlade. And with over 50 million downloads for Power Rangers: Legacy Wars alone, nWay know a thing or two about real-time competitive games.

“All of our games feature or are completely dedicated to head-to-head combat,” said Taehoon Kim, CEO of nWay while speaking to AWS. “To give players a great experience, the game has to feel fast-paced and filled with action. And that means the inputs have to be hyper responsive.”

Fighting games are notoriously latency sensitive. Network latency and synchronization issues can literally put a drag on the experience, especially if matches are between players who are hundreds of miles apart. “The last thing you want is to see your opponent throwing a punch and when you try to block, your client doesn’t register,” said Taehoon.

To solve this, nWay built nWayPlay, a game service built on AWS that uses deterministic netcode that contains various gameplay components such as animation, collision detection, particle systems, and UI. “As long as the gameplay logic is written with deterministic gameplay components, nWayPlay was able to minimize any synchronization concerns,” he said.

For console and PC games with wired connections like Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid, network latency is typically low and reliable. But network conditions for mobile are much more challenging. “Latency is typically much higher and more inconsistent on mobile,” said Taehoon. “We designed nWayPlay’s netcode to support prediction-based simulation. This mitigates high latency issue even on mobile platforms. We also deployed PvP servers using Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) in AWS global regions to minimize latency among servers and PvP users,” he said.

Another major consideration for nWay’s game infrastructure was scale. “When our games are featured, or we make a marketing push, traffic spikes. In the case of Power Rangers Legacy Wars, we provided real-time matches reliably to all global users with a peak of over 2.2M DAU. With over 500 million real-time PvP matches under Legacy Wars’s belt, with the help of AWS, nWayPlay has 99.99% uptime.”

When building the backend infrastructure for their games, nWay had to carefully consider game genre, user experience, server development stack, and DevOps team experience. “To ensure the stability of nWayPlay, we tested various scenarios extensively, including four levels of unit testing, player scenario, peak traffic, and long surviving scenarios,” said Taehoon.

He continued, “Since the number of instances used and the network bandwidth varied across each test, we needed an infrastructure that can be easily set up. Utilizing AWS, nWayPlay ensures the stability of our games’ infrastructure by running a server farm consisting of as few as one, to as many as 20 stress client instances using Amazon EC2.”

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nWayPlay is now available for other game developers via their alpha partnership.