I've got a turn-based tablet game that's almost complete for single-player, and now I'm adding MP. This is a personal project, so it's got to be VERY low maintenance and MINIMAL EFFORT to develop. I expect to launch with a free or very cheap server, and if it does well pay for something a bit better. If it does very well, I'd write something custom - but otherwise I wouldn't bother.
Does anyone here have recent experience with 3rd party game servers, especially SaaS?
So far, I've been looking at:
- Apple's GameCenter
- Amazon S3
- Amazon EC3
Pros/Cons I've seen so far:
- unofficially, they've dropped their gameserver product. It's still listed in their marketing blurb, but they've removed all the links from their website. So, um. Yeah, I wouldn't trust them an inch.http://parse.com
- API + hosting all from one company
- it's a key/value store, trivial to work with
- ...but has NO high-level mechanics, requires you to write all game mechanics
- everything has to be written client-side, or you have to write a second server that queries Parse
- billing model is "per method call" (ouch!)).
- They assume you'll use lots of storage, and do few method calls - which is the opposite of a non-MMO online game - so their pricing isn't greathttp://www.smartfoxserver.com
- some (very minor!) support for game mechanics - looks like about 10-20% ?
- low lifetime cost (3k euro to unlock unlimited use)
- lets you write a custom server, in Java
- iOS only (no Android - would have to launch as iPad only, then start again for Android)
- provides 95% of game mechanics
- only allows one player to take a turn at once
- Like Parse, there's no active server - it's just a shared data store - so you have to write everything client-side
- cheap and easy and very well known
- less effort than maintaining a dedicated server, but otherwise "you have to do everything yourself"