Q. What is Amazon GameLift?
Amazon GameLift is a managed service for deploying, operating, and scaling dedicated game servers for session-based multiplayer games. You can deploy your first game server in the cloud in just minutes, saving up to thousands of engineering hours in upfront software development and lowering the technical risks that often cause developers to cut multiplayer features from their designs. Built on AWS’s proven computing environment, Amazon GameLift lets you scale high-performance game servers up and down to meet player demand. You pay only for the capacity you use, so you can get started whether you’re working on a new game idea or running a game with millions of players.

Q. What types of game genres are recommended for use with Amazon GameLift?
Amazon GameLift works best with multiplayer games that have game sessions that begin and end within a specified time period. Typically, these are multiplayer games in genres like first person shooters, MOBAs, fighting, racing, or sports.

Q. Does Amazon GameLift work for latency-intolerant games, such as first-person shooters? Does Amazon GameLift add latency to my game?
Amazon GameLift is designed to work for latency-intolerant games. Amazon GameLift introduces no additional latency during gameplay.

When joining a game session, your game client communicates with the Amazon GameLift service to reserve a player slot and receive connection details. This step may take up to several seconds. However, once the player connects to a game server, all player-to-server communication is done directly between your game client and game server. Latency experienced during gameplay will depend upon the player's internet connection and their physical distance to the game server. You can further reduce latency by positioning game servers in regions that are as close as possible to your players. Amazon GameLift supports regions in North America, Europe, Asia and South America, so you can choose where to best deploy game servers for your players.

Q. How do I make suggestions or give feedback?
Please visit our GameDev Forums, or contact us.

Q. How much does Amazon GameLift cost?
You pay for the compute resources and bandwidth your games actually use, without monthly or annual contracts. Please see our pricing page for more information.

Q. When does billing of my Amazon GameLift games begin and end?
Billing begins when you allocate Amazon GameLift capacity and Amazon GameLift launches your game’s server binary for the first time on each instance. Billing concludes when you stop instances. Partial instance-hours consumed are billed as full hours. 

Q. Is there an additional charge for using FlexMatch?
No, not directly. However, please note that successful matches with FlexMatch automatically result in the creation of new game sessions. Depending on how you’re managing game server capacity, creating new game sessions may trigger additional server instances, for which you’ll be charged standard Amazon GameLift instance prices.

Q. How do I get started with Amazon GameLift?
First, integrate Amazon GameLift into your game client and server using the AWS SDK and the Amazon GameLift Server SDK. Then, upload your game server to Amazon GameLift in your AWS Account, and use the Amazon GameLift console to set up fleets of computing resources and deploy your game. When your players connect, you can monitor your fleet through the Amazon GameLift console. You can also integrate Amazon GameLift with your custom game services like identity or matchmaking using the AWS SDK.

Q. Is there a sample game I can use to test Amazon GameLift?
You can quickly test Amazon GameLift using our sample game. Download Amazon Lumberyard to get a sample multiplayer project called MultiplayerSample for you to evaluate and test Amazon GameLift.

Q. Can I use Amazon GameLift with any game engine?
Yes. Amazon GameLift supports Amazon Lumberyard, Unreal Engine, Unity, and custom C# and C++ game engines. Learn more about engine integration in the Amazon GameLift Developer Guide.

Q. Which server operating systems and programming languages are supported by Amazon GameLift?
The Amazon GameLift Server SDK contains C++ and C# versions of the Amazon GameLift Server SDK and an Unreal Engine plugin to accelerate integration into Unreal Engine game servers. Amazon GameLift supports game servers that run on Windows Server 2012 R2 or Amazon Linux.

Q. Which client devices and programming languages are supported by Amazon GameLift?
Amazon GameLift supports games built for major game platforms including Android, FireOS, iOS, Mac, PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. Game clients and game services (such as matchmaking or authentication) can use the Amazon GameLift functionality in the AWS SDK to communicate with the Amazon GameLift service and join players to games. The AWS SDK is available in C++, Java, .NET(C#), Go, Python, Ruby, PHP, JavaScript and other major languages.

Q. Do I have to authenticate players in order to access my Amazon GameLift game servers?
No, you are not required to authenticate players. However, you are required to provide a unique, non-personally identifiable player ID for each user. Learn more in the Integrating a Game Client section of the Amazon GameLift Developer Guide. Your game client must authenticate to your servers on Amazon GameLift using your AWS credentials. To learn more about how to set up and configure AWS credentials, please visit the Amazon GameLift Developer Guide.

Q. Can I use Amazon GameLift with platform services like Xbox Live, Steam and PlayStation Network?
Yes. Some services require communication from the game client to the game server to be encrypted. To assist with establishing this secure channel, Amazon GameLift provides a mechanism to deliver information like encryption keys directly to the game server. Learn more in the Amazon GameLift Developer Guide.

Q. What debugging tools does Amazon GameLift provide for game servers?

You can track performance and health metrics for your game servers to discover and investigate issues. You can debug fleets during build extraction, installation, and runtime validation by downloading fleet creation logs from the Events tab in the Amazon GameLift Console. You can also remotely access individual instances in a fleet to inspect status, debug problems, or connect debugging tools. To remotely access instances, you can use either Windows Remote Desktop for Windows or SSH for Linux. You can also use Amazon GameLift Local to emulate a subset of the Amazon GameLift API so you can debug game server code locally on your development machine. Visit our Amazon GameLift Developer Guide to learn more about debugging and Amazon GameLift Local.

Q. Does Amazon GameLift provide operational monitoring and alarming tools?
The Amazon GameLift Console provides real-time dashboards to help you understand your player’s experience. You can also use Amazon CloudWatch to monitor all of your Amazon GameLift resources and react to emergent issues. With CloudWatch, you can create at-a-glance dashboards and configure operational alarms to help identify issues before they impact your players. Amazon GameLift metrics are automatically available in CloudWatch as long as your fleet is active. Learn more about CloudWatch metrics in the Amazon GameLift Developer Guide.

Q: What is Amazon GameLift Local?
Amazon GameLift Local is a client-side debugging tool that emulates a subset of the Amazon GameLift API on your local development machine. With Amazon GameLift Local, you can verify code changes in seconds, without incurring any usage charges. Amazon GameLift Local is packaged in the Amazon GameLift Server SDK download, available for Windows and Linux desktops, and does not require a network connection to use. Learn more about Amazon GameLift Local in our Developer Guide.

Q: Can I simulate uploading a build, creating a fleet, or setting auto-scaling rules with Amazon GameLift Local? Can I use Amazon GameLift Local on my own server to host my game?
No. Amazon GameLift Local is a client-side debugging tool that only emulates the set of GameSession and PlayerSession client APIs needed to create games, connect players, and test your game server changes. Amazon GameLift Local does not emulate the additional Amazon GameLift client APIs (fleets, builds, aliases, scaling policies, etc.) required for hosting your game in production.

Q: Can I redistribute Amazon GameLift Local?
No. Amazon GameLift Local is intended to be used only for testing and debugging purposes and is not intended to be deployed into any production environment, on customer’s devices, or into cloud infrastructure. 

Q. Are logs collected in real-time?
Fleet-level aggregated data is generally available in the Amazon GameLift console within ten minutes of collection and server-level aggregated data is generally available within five minutes of collection.

Q. How can I help players find game sessions to join?
Amazon GameLift provides a search capability that helps you filter and sort game sessions by characteristics meaningful to your players. You can filter and sort game sessions on attributes like game session age, current player count, maximum players count, open slots, or your own custom game properties. Learn more in our Amazon GameLift Developer Guide.

Q. What matchmaking features does Amazon GameLift provide?
The Amazon GameLift matchmaking platform includes both FlexMatch and game session queues. FlexMatch lets you match players together based on rules you define. You can use FlexMatch to configure rule sets that group players together while balancing match quality and player wait time. FlexMatch results are automatically fed into a game session queue, which can intelligently select the closest available game server for the match based on each player’s location, giving players the lowest possible latency by leveraging AWS’s broad global footprint. Learn more about FlexMatch and game session queues in the Amazon GameLift Developer Guide.

Q. Can I use game session queues without using FlexMatch?
Yes. If you would like to use your own matchmaking system, you can feed match results into any game session queues that you define.

Q. Can I edit a FlexMatch rule set after I’ve created it?
No. Once you create a FlexMatch rule set, that rule set can’t be changed. To change a rule set, you must clone the rule set, give it a new name, and then create your changes. To change the rule set for a live matchmaker, you then update the matchmaker’s configuration to use the new rule set instead of the old one. Because a rules set may be used by one or more live matchmakers, this limitation guards against causing unintended consequences to live production systems.

Q. Can I get a history of Amazon GameLift API calls made on my account for security analysis and operational troubleshooting purposes?
Yes. To receive a history of Amazon GameLift API calls made on your account, you simply turn on CloudTrail in the AWS Management Console.

Q. What kind of support is available?
Every customer has access to documentation, tutorials, and forums. Additional support is available in AWS Premium Support packages.

Q. Which instance types does Amazon GameLift support?
Please see our pricing page for a full list of Amazon GameLift instances.

Q. How many server processes can I run on an Amazon GameLift instance?
Up to 50. The number of server processes depends on the performance requirements of your game servers and the instance type you choose for your fleet. When you set up a fleet, you will select an instance type and configure the fleet to concurrently run an optimum number of server processes. Running more processes on fewer instances can help you decrease costs. You can also configure your fleet to run multiple server builds or game configurations on each instance.

Q. How quickly can I add or remove new instances from my Amazon GameLift fleet?
Amazon GameLift provides a truly elastic computing environment. Amazon GameLift instances enable you to increase or decrease capacity within minutes, not hours or days. You can provision one, hundreds or even thousands of server instances simultaneously.

With Amazon GameLift’s autoscaling feature, you can minimize any delay in providing extra capacity to meet player demand, or conversely, quickly scale down to avoid paying for capacity you don’t need. To use autoscaling, you can define a set of rules that are based on real-time measures of game server capacity and player demand. For example, you could tell Amazon GameLift to scale down whenever the number of unused instances exceeds a certain number for a period of time or scale up whenever the number of available instances falls below a pre-set threshold. For more information, see the Autoscaling section of the Amazon GameLift Developer Guide.

You can also manually control the quantity of instances from the fleet details page in the Amazon GameLift console.

Q. How do I select the right instance type for my game?
The right instance type depends on your game’s server performance and the number of server processes you plan to run concurrently on each instance. The computational complexity of your game, optimization of your game and network code, and maximum number of players are the main drivers for the size of the instance that you will need. One of the advantages of Amazon GameLift is that you only pay for what you use, which makes it convenient and inexpensive to test the performance of your game on different instance families and types.

Q. What happens to my data when an Amazon GameLift instance terminates?
Amazon GameLift retains activity metrics. When you terminate an instance, any data generated by your game server and stored on the instance is lost. However, you can instruct Amazon GameLift to retain and store these data files for up to seven days after the instance has been terminated.

Q. What is a fleet?
A fleet is a set of Amazon GameLift instances in one region running one build of your game server. You can accommodate changes in player demand by increasing or decreasing the number of instances in your fleet. A fleet is configured to use a certain instance type, to deploy a build, and to run one or more server processes on each instance.

Q. How long does it take to create a fleet?
It typically takes less than an hour to set up the resources necessary to run your game, measured from the time you upload your game binary to when it is fully deployed and accessible to your players. This time is dependent on the size of your binary and the number of instances you are deploying.

Q. Can I access fleets and instances in real time?
Yes. You can remotely access an instance in a fleet that is in an activating, active, or error status. This is useful for debugging, inspecting player activity in real time, or connecting performance monitoring or benchmarking tools. You can modify your fleet’s port settings and protocols using either the AWS command line interface (CLI), or through the Amazon GameLift console.

Q. Does Amazon GameLift allow me to update a live production fleet, or revert to a previous fleet if there is a problem?
Yes, Amazon GameLift makes updating production fleets simple with its alias feature. An alias enables you to direct traffic to fleets without having to change the client end-point descriptor. After creating a new production fleet, you can edit an alias to point from an older fleet to this newer fleet, routing all connecting players to the new fleet alias feature.

Similarly, if you discover an issue with a fleet (e.g., you find an issue in your game code), you can edit an alias to redirect traffic from the new fleet to an older fleet.

Q. Which regions is Amazon GameLift available in?
Amazon GameLift is currently available in the following regions: US East (N. Virginia), US West (Oregon), EU Central (Frankfurt), EU West (Ireland), Asia Pacific South (Mumbai), Asia Pacific Northeast (Seoul and Tokyo), Asia Pacific Southeast (Singapore) and South America East (São Paulo). Please refer to the AWS Global Infrastructure Region Table for the current information on product and service availability by region.

Q. In which AWS regions can I place a FlexMatch matchmaker?
US East (N. Virginia), US West (Oregon), EU Central (Frankfurt), EU West (Ireland), and Asia Pacific Northeast (Seoul and Tokyo). When choosing one of the above regions to host a FlexMatch matchmaker, we recommend that you pick a region as close as possible to the player population that the matchmaker will service. We also recommend placing the matchmaker’s game session queue in the same region as the matchmaker. Learn more about FlexMatch region availability in our Amazon GameLift Developer Guide.

Q. What is the build catalog?
The build catalog is a record of all of your server builds that have been uploaded to Amazon GameLift. Builds in ready state are available for fleet creation at any time.

Q. Is there a limit to how many builds I can store in the build catalog?
The build catalog can store the maximum of 1,000 builds or 100GB of storage.

Q. How much storage does Amazon GameLift provide on each instance?
Amazon GameLift includes 50GB EBS General Purpose (SSD) Volume for each instance.

Q. Is there a limit to the number of fleets I can create?
Yes, by default, you are limited to 20 fleets per region. However, if you need more fleets, please contact us to request an increase.

Q. Is there a maximum number of allowed instances per fleet?
No, you are only limited by your AWS account limits.

Q. Is there a limit to the number of instances I can run in Amazon GameLift?
Yes, Amazon GameLift is limited by the number of instances available to your AWS account. If you need to raise this limit, you can do so via the service limits page in the Amazon GameLift console.

Q. Is there a maximum number of players per game session supported?
Yes, the maximum number of players per game session is 200. However, if you need more players per game session, contact us to request an increase.

Q. Is there a maximum number of players per instance supported?
No, the maximum number of players per instance is primarily dictated by your game design and game code.

Q. Is there a maximum number of players per fleet supported?

Q. What is an AMI?
An Amazon Machine Image (AMI) is a supported and maintained image provided by AWS for use on Amazon EC2. Amazon GameLift uses Windows 2012 R2 and Amazon Linux to run your game server. An AMI is designed to provide a stable, secure, and high performance execution environment for applications running on Amazon EC2. It also includes packages that enable easy integration with AWS, including launch configuration tools and many popular AWS libraries and tools. AWS provides ongoing security and maintenance updates to all instances running the Amazon AMI.

Q. Can anyone access the Amazon GameLift console?
No. Only your authorized users with the necessary AWS credentials can access the Amazon GameLift console. You can use AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) to securely share AWS credentials across a team. Please see Creating IAM Policies for Amazon GameLift for more details.

Q. Where can I find more information about security and running applications on AWS?
For more information about securing AWS resources, see the AWS Security Center.

Amazon GameLift offers a step-by-step Amazon GameLift Developer Guide, an Amazon GameLift API Reference Guide, and Amazon GameLift SDKs. You can also see for yourself how easy it is to test Amazon GameLift using our sample game.

Get Started with Amazon GameLift

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