Making a multiplayer game is exciting! Producing something enjoyable to unite people across the globe pushing forward a lot of developers. But soon you can meet a problem you might not have thought about before: when the game is done, how can your players establish the connection? Maybe your game is peer to peer, then one client can connect directly to another one. But more likely you went for a dedicated host option as it is more reliable and simple for your users. And now the question is where should you take this dedicated host?
Big hosting companies
If you don’t want to have your own running server at home you should go for a cloud hosting. The first option is to choose big and well-established companies like Google, Microsoft or Amazon. All of them have cloud services and all of them charge you for core-hours. This means that you have to pay as soon as the machine in on. And when the game is launched or you are in a test phase, you want your servers to always be on and available for your players. This together with very complicated dashboards (because there are hundreds of services one can choose from) makes big cloud companies not a good choice for small studious and indie developers.
Another option is to choose more game oriented solutions like Unity game services.
Smaller game-oriented companies
Unity game services are still under development. They promise us to provide a lot of useful futures for game dev, but only some are available at the moment. Luckily, server deployment is one of them. The hosting they provide is not a dedicated server, but a relay one. This is a peer to peer connection, but with the help of the third party. It is a cheap and simple solution. But if your game uses the dedicated server topology, then you cannot go for this option without fully reworking your multiplayer. But even if you have a peer-to-peer game to make it work with Unity game services you should use Unity Netcode — means you have to change your code.
There are also other platforms for multiplayer games similar to what Unity is building.
One is called Beamable. They are very similar to Unity hosting and also offer relay servers which means the same problem with code reworking.
Another platform is AcceleratXR which targets experienced developers and AA studios and not free (very cheap though). Thus AcceleratXR neither cheap nor easy solution for indie developers and studios.
We also found Normcore who provides dedicated servers. Even though the deployment procedure is easy, they don’t return IP and port number but their own key. This means that you have to modify your code for the client to be able to perform the connection.
PlayFlow was the only one platform we found who gives you a free start and can deploy your server giving back the IP (URL actually) and port to connect. This is a good service for hosting your game server.
Unordinal also offers you hosting and deployment solutions. It is free while developing and testing. You pay only when you release the game and get users. The one-click Unity plugin for server deployment is as simple to use as it sounds. When deployment is done you get the IP and port number to connect your clients. No need to change anything in your code regardless of the multiplayer netcore you use. You can try Unordinal right away without paying anything and without modifying a single line of your code, no matter if your game is finished or not.
In addition we have other features which you might need and like. Matchmaker, one-click client build and distribute (convenient if you want to test your multiplayer game with friends) and others. We are actively working on the platform and value the feedback of every user. Join our Discord to stay in touch!