Saturday, November 12, 2016

Socket parallel processing illusion

While I'm currently writing this, I'm also watching the official trailer of  the up coming Nintendo Switch and at the same time chatting to some of my friends on Google+, Oh yeah, and there's a lot of other application currently open at my desktop, including visual studio where I'm currently working on my communicator project. Wow! so this is what they call multitasking on windows, running multiple applications at the same time

Nah, I don't think all of those things are running at the same time. My perception is that the OS just slices up the processor's time to process each task, giving each and every active program application to run in it's own slice time for a given period, say per second and since I'm currently using an old computer station that does not have a multi-core processor, basically the computer is just doing it's tasks so fast, repeatedly, giving an illusion that everything is happening simultaneously.

So, How's all the above babbling related to networking? the thing is a .NET program can also be consider like a virtual machine, in the sense that it can handle multiple tasks and gets some slice of processor's time, Coz "usually we don't want to performs socket processing operation to block our main application logic for running continously". The .NET Frameworks gave us the ability to do multi-threading for our application, whether it's a dedicated thread or an asynchronous events using it's CLR thread pool.

If your using .NET technology on windows platform, well, your in luck, whether  you are using a dual core/ tri core or quad core processors, you don't have to do a thing or tweak anything in the code, the OS will managed all the threading stuff to work on different cores automagically.

Apparently from my previous post, the SenderMode does not have an option for dedicated thread, while both AcceptorMode and ReceiverMode has the ability to do it's processing on a dedicated thread. Normally, the application has a full control when sending data, unlike listening for incomming connection or waiting for data to arrive, we cannot exactly tell when the data will arrive, So basically, as much as possible we really need to monitor all incomming connection or data at all time, we dont want to miss a single incomming packet, dont we?

So, what is the best method for socket processing? again, in my implementation, it really depends on the nature of the application objectives or game type, the following diagram for socket processing scheme are just some of the variety that can be implemented by just changing the socket core's enumerated processing mode for Listening, Receiving and  Sending data.

I'll post next the some image of   Managed Network's Socket Processing Scheme features.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Interchangeable network technology

it's a daunting task to design, develop and implement a robust Managed Game Network Library, can be totally mind boggling and may cause loss of hair :-D, but when you really need something specific to suits your different needs or if you think you can do better implementation than using the tools that are already available in the wild and least but not last curiosity and for educational purposes alone, you force yourself to code from scratch or at least you try to roll your own implementation. 

Of course, I know the notion of  'reinventing the wheel' and I'm also aware that there are lots of great network library project already been created out there and ready to use, but most of them I've seen so far, only offers a single network implementation or using only a one specific .NET network technology features and you feel like your still working at the socket level. This is one of the main reason I wanted to try and create my own network library to find out which network technology and socket processing scheme will be best suited to different types of multi-user applications. What I really wanted to do, is to develop a network library which is interchangeable with ease of use and to be able to test other networking technology and different kinds of socket processing scheme in the simplest form.

A configurable network computing implementation seems to be a good idea to start designing a network library, and here's my implementation on how to configure the server side that uses different kinds of enumerated network technology and socket processing scheme. The port  is the only one that needs to be set manually, other implementations are all enumerated to lessen the hard-coding hassle, whether I wanted to use IPv4 or IPv6, UDP or TCP, .NetClients or  Raw Socket Berkely, IPv4-Broadcasting or IPv4/IPv6-Multicasting and other network settings. The most interesting part in this project so far, it can choose what type of socket processing scheme for a specific application requirements or game type by selecting socket cores processing mode to work Synchronously, Asynchronously, IOCP model, OVERLAPPED I/O model, Per player thread, Per player asynchronous mode or a single thread for Socket selecting or Polling mode with or without Asynchronous IOCP or OVERLAPPED I/O events.

Before starting listening for connecting clients, first It needs to set the Network Setting parameters when creating  a new Lobby Server instance and sets the Server configuration parameters when starting a lobby service, that's it and the server is ready to start listening to any incoming client connection.

The code snippet below used the following using directives.

Using  ZNC  = ZGDK.Net.Core;
Using  ZNE  = ZGDK.Net.Enum;
Using  ZNH  = ZGDK.Net.Helper;

Network setting codes implementation:

//--> Creating lobby server network settings.
ZNC.SNetSetting m_NetSetting = new ZNC.SNetSetting(); 

//--> Frequencies and latency in Ms.
m_NetSetting.Frequencies.SendingFrequency     =  200; 
m_NetSetting.Frequencies.ResendFrequency      =  400;         
m_NetSetting.Frequencies.KeepAliveFrequency   = 3000;         

//--> MpTU   Maximum payload Transmission Unit
m_NetSetting.MpTU.Small   = 1400; //  7KBps-for- 56kbps
m_NetSetting.MpTU.Medium  = 2800; // 14KBps-for-128kbps
m_NetSetting.MpTU.Larger  = 5600; // 28KBps-for-256kbps and above

//--> Intervals in Ms
m_NetSetting.Intervals.SelectPollReadWait      = 32;
m_NetSetting.Intervals.SyncronouseSendTimeOut  = 5000;
m_NetSetting.Intervals.MaxPlayerIdleTime       = 15000;
m_NetSetting.Intervals.PlayerRemovalCountDown  = 4000;

//--> Initial table capacity
m_NetSetting.Thresholds.MaxNumberOfGames       = 1;          
m_NetSetting.Thresholds.ReceivedQueTblSize     = 16;
m_NetSetting.Thresholds.MessageQueTblSize      = 32;
m_NetSetting.Thresholds.SendQueTblSize         = 64;

//--> Max fails alert before disconnecting client 
m_NetSetting.FailsAlerts.MaxPlayerResendFailsCount  = 16;            
m_NetSetting.FailsAlerts.MaxPlayerSendFailsCount    = 12; 
m_NetSetting.FailsAlerts.MaxPlayerReceiveFailsCount = 24; 
m_NetSetting.FailsAlerts.MaxPlayerGarbageFailsCount = 32; 
//--> Logger Debugger
m_NetSetting.LoggerConsole.Enable                   = true;
m_NetSetting.LoggerConsole.EchoEnable               = true;
m_NetSetting.LoggerConsole.ShowReceivePacketInfo    = false;
m_NetSetting.LoggerConsole.ShowSendPacketInfo       = false;
m_NetSetting.LoggerConsole.ShowPlayerTrafficFlow    = false;

Server configuration codes implementation:

//--> Preparing server configuration
ZNC.ServerConfig m_ServerConfig   = new ZNC.ServerConfig();  
m_ServerConfig.ApplicationName    = "Super Game Server";
m_ServerConfig.LobbyName          = "Dexter Z Channel";
m_ServerConfig.EnableIPv6         = false;
m_ServerConfig.Connection         = ZNE.ConnectionType.Internet;
m_ServerConfig.Protocol           = ZNE.Protocol.UDP;
m_ServerConfig.SocketType         = ZNE.SocketType.Berkely; 
m_ServerConfig.IPAddress          = ZNH.GetMachineLocalIP(ZNE.IPVersion.IPv4);  
m_ServerConfig.ServerPort         = 60055;
m_ServerConfig.CasterPort         = 60057;
m_ServerConfig.CasterType         = ZNE.CasterType.Multicast;
m_ServerConfig.CasterGroup        = ZNE.CasterGroup.IPv4_WORKGROUP;
m_ServerConfig.AcceptorMode       = ZNE.SAcceptorMode.UsingUDP;
m_ServerConfig.ReceiverMode       = ZNE.SReceiverMode.UdpThreadOnly;
m_ServerConfig.SenderMode         = ZNE.SenderMode.AsyncIOCP;

Finally server creation codes using the above Network settings and Server settings :

//--> Lobby server creation with preferred network settings.
ZNC.LobbyServer _Server = new ZNC.LobbyServer( m_NetSetting );
//--> Start lobby server service with  prefered server settings.
_Server.StartLobbyService( m_ServerConfig );

//--> Start accepting new client connection.


Application Name

Why I need to specify the name of the application in server configuration? though, this is irrelevant when using connection type over the internet, but working on local area network the client needs to specify the game or application name when searching for available games accross the local subnet.

m_ServerConfig.ApplicationName = "Super Gsme Server";

The client should retrieves all available machine's hosting "Super Game Server" game as an example on the local sub-net.  I will ellaborate more on this later on when I tackle my implementation for Boadcasting and Multicasting messages accross the local sub-net and how game sessions can be automatically discover.

ZNC.LocalGames[] m_LocalGames = ZNH.SearchLocalGames( "Super Game Server",1000);

Lobby name

Whether hosting a game over the internet or on the local sub-net, assigning a lobby name is one way to identify the host machine, for instance multiple machine created a game session, the client looking for available games, should retrieve all created game sessions along with lobby name for host distinction, though, from using over the internet I intend to use Lobby name as a Server channel description hosting the same game over the internet using different server machine.

m_ServerConfig.LobbyName = "Dexter Z Channel";

Internet Protocol Version

I may say  socket  works  through  a  network layers like the Internet Protocol (IP), IP is the main core that  provides to transport data in various network environment such as local area network (LAN) and  wide  area network (WAN) particularly the internet. The two well known network layers  Internet  Protocol  version  are IPv4 and IPv6. I will not tackle here what ever happened to the IPv5, but the next generation Internet Protocol is IPv6 and it's the latest version  of the Internet  Protocol. I'm  supporting  both IPv4 and IPv6 on my network library, I believe it's a good decision to add a support to IPv6 rather than to deal with it later on, the functionality of my network library works on both Internet Protocol version 4 and 6.

m_ServerConfig.EnableIPv6 = false// Using IPv4 only

Network connection type

The more, the merrier! playing games on LAN (Local area network) is definitely cool and imagine how much fun it would be to play the same game you are playing on LAN that can also be played by others over the internet. Though, connection type should only be configured on the client end, the server end in my implementation also need to know what connection type you are intend to use for internal setting.

m_ServerConfig.Connection = ZNE.ConnectionType.Internet;

Network Protocol

The two well known Network Protocol in  computer networking are  Transport Connection Protocol (TCP) and the Unrealiable Datagram Protocol... Oppps! my bad, the correct one is User Datagram Protocol (UDP). TCP and UPD are the dominant protocols lurking over the internet and to most networking environments. TCP and UDP should be supported in my implementation, although  some  may say that if you can implement a robust reliable UDP messaging scheme there's no need for a TCP implementation, because it will just overkill the design, but never the less I'm still supporting the use of TCP protocol. The .NET framework Remoting features in my design plan will be drop due to my own implementation on sending and updating of on object remotely.

m_ServerConfig.Protocol = ZNE.Protocol.UDP;

Socket type

The .NET framework offers UdpClient, TcpClient, TcpListener and Raw Socket Berkely for it's socket interface, but which one is better and more effecient? well, the best thing to do is to run the the application and choose which socket type works best for your application. Luckily, both socket interface are supported in my implementation.

m_ServerConfig.SocketType = ZNE.SocketType.Berkely;

IP Address

Exchanging messages needs to agree with the same protocol, whether you are using a TCP or UDP, each message has to contain the address of it's destination just like a telegrams. Shame on me, if I still need to manually hardcoded the machine's local IP address everytime I transfer and use different station to run the server application, creating a simple method that returns machine's local IP address is very handy.

m_ServerConfig.IPAddress  = ZNH.GetMachineLocalIP(  ZNE.IPVerion.IPv4 );

Listener port

How many ports should I need to open on the server end? In my implementation whenever the announcer is enable which will only works on the local subnet but not over the internet, a new UDP socket and port will be open and created whether the core socket is using TCP or UDP protocol.  The core socket using UDP or TCP,  a  single server listener port is only needed.

m_ServerConfig.ListernerPort  = 60055;

Broadcasting and Multicasting

The option for sending messages to all other machines across the local sub-net or group of host at the same time should not be taken for granted, implementing broadcasting or multicasting features are also included in my implementation, which can surely save a lot of bandwidht, more details on this when I discuss about the role of  caster manager and it's functionality in my implementation. The following are the options to configure broadcast messaging.

m_ServerConfig.CasterPort  = 60057;

m_ServerConfig.CasterType  = ZNE.CasterType.Multicast;

m_ServerConfig.CasterGroup = ZNE.CasterGroup.IPv4_WORKGROUP;

Here's the complete enumeration for caster group ( ZNE.CasterGroup ) address :


Socket processing scheme

Socket processing scheme is the most important aspect in network implementation IMO. I will tackle this part on my next post including some diagram for each processing scheme that can that can be acquire by just changing the socket core processing mode.
m_ServerConfig.AcceptorMode = ZNE.SAcceptorMode.Thread;

m_ServerConfig.ReceiverMode = ZNE.SReceiverMode.TcpThreadPollOnly;

m_ServerConfig.SenderMode = ZNE.SenderMode.Synchronous;

But of course by just leaving the default values setting of Network and Server configuration without tweaking some parameters, a lobby server creation can be done in  just 5 lines of codes.

//--> 1. Creating lobby server network settings with default values.
ZNC.SNetSetting m_NetSetting = new ZNC.SNetSetting(); 
//--> 2. Creating server configuration with default values.
ZNC.ServerConfig m_ServerConfig = new ZNC.ServerConfig();  

//--> 3. Lobby server creation with preferred network settings.
ZNC.LobbyServer _Server = new ZNC.LobbyServer( m_NetSetting );
//--> 4. Start lobby server service with  prefered server settings.
_Server.StartLobbyService( m_ServerConfig );

//--> 5. Start accepting new client connection.

Basically this is just the tip of the iceberg from the whole network implementation and  I can't wait to discuss the full functionality on the server side like sender frequency tuning, error handling, buffer overrun monitoring and the following lobby server managers:  

#TCP #UPD #GameNetwork #CSharp #Socket

Saturday, August 13, 2016



The .NET Framework is invading the world of software development and it's coming  and spreading very fast,  Waging it's high performance development tools and armed with loads of support  and  goodies  and it's  now reaching most of developers today, .NET framework is a very essential tool additional to a developer's toolbox.

What's  really  my  area  of  interest  from  the  .NET  frameworks  are  it's network programming  features,  it  has  helped me a lot to solved many of  my  networking  problems (socket)  by  using  C#  and  it's  socket  functionality particularly the Berkely raw Socket, UdpClient, TcpClient and TcpListener.

Since the .NET Framework  Socket classes are built on top of  Winsock 2.0, there's no  need  or  reason  for  me  to find a non managed or a third party native network library and try to work on it. The high performance socket API of the .NET Framework can handle most of  sending and receiving task for handling
data across the wire whether it's a LAN base or over the internet, and there's a new always added features to the Socket class in the .NET Framework  on every .NET releases, which enables much greater throughput than previous versions with every new programming API.


The  aim  of  this  project is to create a socket peers communication network library  that can be applicable  both for  transaction  application and at the same time served  as a network engine for games, local area or over the internet,  handling  data  messages  through socket peers only without using ODBC/
OLEDB/ ADO/ ADO.NET  and  not directly connected to any heavy weight databases.

Once the data is fetch and arrives to host or at the endpoint that is the time I will  save the  data  locally to any type of storage I wanted to use,  whether  save  it  to a databases  such as  mySQL,  MS SQL  Server  or  just  save  it  to  a  flat  file  such XML/JSON or Access/FoxPro and of course to my own under development Managed Dbf (Database file),  which I think is much more secure and fast  than let the user directly connect to the database itself remotely, .although I  know  this  approach  is  not  suited for other  kinds  of transaction base application,  but  for  anything  lite and  simple where performance  is needed like games for instance, I believe working directly with sockets will do the job right.


Since I’m  still heavily working on this technology there will be a stiff  learning curve and heavy research for this project, and I don’t guarantee that everything I will  mentioned and posted down from here is technically accurate and correct, what I have here is based on my research, interpretation and understanding to the Socket networking subject and should not be consider as facts or best approach, so better take my posts with a grain of salt and BTW English is not my first language.


Blog contents related to it's development may be modified from time to time to comply with library's latest revision and for future referencing. 

There you go my first post, so hello reader!

#.NET #CSharp #GameNetwork #Socket #NetworkLibrary