Several years ago, Google introduced its new augmented reality Android game Ingress. Years later, Pokemon Go was introduced and became an obsession for millions of users. These apps use a variety of technology including dynamic pictures and GPS data. Every time a user moves, GPS and image data must update and this can be difficult for a single origin server to handle. Because traveling is a main goal in the game, data is constantly changing due to user location movements. Instead of millions of users connecting to one server, with a game CDN augmented reality developers can use a content delivery network for faster updates and better performance.
How Do Augmented Reality Games Work?
Augmented reality games place digital elements over live views on a smartphone or tablet, and give users the ability to interact with these overlaid images. Imagine that you lay a pane of glass and you’re looking outside in from the outdoors. Through the pane, colors and light are “augmented” in a way that makes the inside of the house look different than reality. This is the way AR games work except the pane of glass is a digital layer that integrates with mapping technology on a smartphone.
Google Ingress Map
Google Ingress used the tech giant’s mapping software to change the way a regular map is viewed and turned it into a digital landscape where you destroyed towers. Pokemon Go uses image overlays where players capture digital creatures only seen using a smartphone.
As a developer for these apps, images and GPS data must be accurate or players would have choppy views and interference during game play.
How a Game CDN Improves Performance
Because AR games are played in real-time, developers need fast content delivered every second that the game is active. The gaming CDN stores cached meta content on the CDN’s edge servers. This meta content is usually an XML file that provides the object images and GPS location that is then consumed and used by the AR game’s engine.
AR games not only retrieve data from a CDN server frequently, but users are also sending data back to the gaming server. Users interact with the game’s content, and usually it requires distribution of changes to every other player on the network. Two players can potentially be in the same location fighting for the same content, so updates from smartphones to the developer’s system must also be fast.
A game CDN edge server is located in close proximity to the user, so changes in user gaming content can be sent back to the system and distributed quickly across all other data centers. With traditional hosting, a user 1000 miles away could potentially lose to a user only 50 miles away just from a race condition due to geographic location.
Developers working with game CDNs bring better performance to their augmented reality users, and provide better experiences in a competitive environment. Gaming CDNs offer numerous other advantages for developers that need performance and delivery of content that would otherwise crash origin servers and create resource degradation.