How game servers connect millions of players

Those of you who have played one of our games knows that a big part of the experience is interacting with others – whether by cooperating in alliances or by facing off in battles. Our games currently have a total of 300 million registered players, with Goodgame Empire alone boasting 80 million users at the moment.

All these people are able to interact with each other thanks to our game servers. It doesn’t matter where a player is located – as long as their computer is online, they can open Goodgame Empire in their browser. Keep reading to find out how exactly this works.

A game server is comprised of two components: one software component and one hardware component. If you compare that to a normal PC, the hardware server is the computer. The software server is the application written by the developers – for a PC, this would be the program running on it.

Connecting to the game

If a player starts Goodgame Empire in their browser, our server software accepts the connection. This means that it registers that the player has logged in. Then the software provides the game logic, meaning the game itself, so the player can see how many soldiers they’ve recruited, how much gold they own, or that they are currently being attacked by an opponent. During the game, the program controls the interaction between the players, for instance when player A sends his soldiers to castle B, the server registers this move and sends the information to player B, who can then prepare his defense.

The server hardware provides the processing power for the server software, i.e. disk space, CPU, and memory. These computers are located in large data centers and leased only by us. We have spread them across the globe in order to offer the best possible player experience to players from all around the world. We operate this complex server network from Hamburg, but our largest data centers are located in Holland, the United States, Singapore, and Japan.

Main server locations

Our IT department is responsible for the server hardware, while the game technology team and game developers take care of the server software. A whole range of experts therefore ensure that our servers run as smoothly as possible and that our games remain available for our players 24/7.

We hope that this extremely simplified explanation of how our game servers work gives you an idea of how an MMO game like Empire works when an unimaginable number of castle lords from a wide variety of countries play against and with each other simultaneously. In the next blog, we will expand upon this basic knowledge and explain why game servers can occasionally crash.