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A closer look at Game Backend

March 11, 2022 in Games | 8 min. read
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Welcome back to our explainer series running through everything Unity Gaming Services has to offer and what it means for developers. In this second piece, we’ll be focusing on our Game Backend category, which includes Authentication, Cloud Save, Economy, and Cloud Code. 

By combining existing cloud infrastructure tools with a new suite of beta products, you can build server authoritative game systems quickly and seamlessly. Focus on the business logic of your game, and take advantage of our expertise to manage backend infrastructure.

Here’s what’s available in your game’s backend product arsenal with UGS:

Chart showing which tools fall under Backend

Authentication

What is it? Authentication allows you to assign an account to players coming into your game and attach all the data generated by the backend products to each player. Authentication is currently in beta. 

What problems does it solve? 

  • Provides authentication through SDK and API calls, enabling you to focus on doing what you do best: Creating games
  • Integrates with other UGS products to offer a wide range of abilities, such as cross-platform play, consistent player experiences, P2P networking, and more

How does it work? Apps and games typically need to know the identity of each user to provide a variety of features and services to both game developers and players; this is to ensure security, consistency, and safety with every interaction. 

What Unity’s Authentication service provides is anonymous and platform-specific authentication solutions for supported platforms, including mobile and PC.

When a returning or new player logs into your app, Unity Authentication generates the following tokens and ID: A PlayerID used to identify returning and new players, a session token to re-authenticate the user, and an authentication token that contains the PlayerID. The tokens and the PlayerID allow Unity products and games to capture player information during authentication. 

Authentication can be integrated with other Unity Gaming Services products for several applications

By using Analytics and Remote Config with Authentication, you can capture player information during authentication as well as gameplay. This data can help you fine-tune your engagement strategies and make sure you’re offering the right experience to the right player. For example, you can modify the difficulty curve for certain segments, or determine the best moment to offer in-game rewards. 

How do I get started? Join the beta or visit our documentation site.

Cloud Save

What is it? Cloud Save allows you to track and store player data including player abilities, statistics, and more, enabling cross-device accounts for your players. Cloud Save is currently in beta. 

What problems does it solve? 

  • Improves security by storing game data on the server rather than on client devices
  • Improves player experience with cross-device accounts that save progress for players 

How does it work? Cloud Save can store any kind of player-specific data from your game, like data that is tied to a specific player and doesn't need to be searched for or updated by other players. The saved data exists on Unity servers and the information is accessible from the Unity Dashboard. You can retrieve the data on any device, so your game can support cross-platform play. 

By using Cloud Save, you can determine each of your players’ specific profiles and personalize their experience accordingly. Using Cloud Save with other Game Backend tools allows for many applications: Creating customized rewards for specific players, keeping track of players across different devices, delivering a consistent gaming experience, and more. 

How do I get started? Join the beta or visit our documentation site. You can also get started with our collection of Gaming Operations samples that demonstrate how to use Cloud Save with other Game Backend products.

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Economy

What is it? Unity’s Economy service provides you with an easy way to create, manage, and publish an in-game economy system. Economy is currently in beta. 

What problems does it solve? 

  • Allows you to make your game world more robust by defining the resources of your in-game economy
  • Stores currency balances and item ownership for your players
  • Allows you to update your economy in real-time without updating the game client

How does it work? Economy includes in-game currencies, inventory items, and player purchases – either virtual purchases in the game, or real-life purchases of in-game currencies or items. To enable real-life purchases of in-game elements, you’ll need to use an IAP plugin

You can configure all these elements in a centralized dashboard and publish any modifications that respect the parameters you define. There, you can create and set values for each resource, like in-game items available for purchase for a specific price.

You can also create values for items that can be sold in the store, depending on the type of economy you want to create. For example, certain items can be traded for in-game currency or other items. 

By using Economy with Cloud Code, you can offer daily rewards to players and by using it with Cloud Save you can offer time-based content like seasonal items or starter packs for new players.

How do I get started? Join the beta or visit our documentation site. You can also get started with our collection of Gaming Operations samples that demonstrate how to use Economy with other Game Backend products.

Cloud Code

What is it? Cloud Code allows you to write stateless server-side code on a fully managed infrastructure and isolate your game logic away from the client device. Cloud Code is currently in beta. 

What problems does it solve? 

  • Allows you to use components such as an in-game economy, player data storage, and dynamic settings configuration on the cloud 
  • Mitigates security issues and complexity rising from running in-game components from a player device 
  • Updates the game logic instantly without requiring players to update their installed version
  • Prevents malicious players from altering the client code, cheating, or reverse-engineering your game logic

How does it work? Cloud Code automatically provisions server capacity based on load so you can ensure that your players have minimal lag or downtime. This also ensures that you only pay for what you use, because there are never any wasted resources when the game is not receiving traffic. 

​​Seamless integration with other Unity services allows you to write code that ties in multiple components without having to worry about authentication or compatibility. You can instantly deploy code to live games without the need to roll out a client update.

You can use Cloud Code to offer players daily rewards. This can be done by defining items and currencies in Economy, probabilities in Remote Config, and writing the underlying algorithm in Cloud Code. Click here to learn more about other Cloud Code use cases, including simple server time anti-cheat and redeemable coupons. 

How do I get started? Join the beta or visit our documentation site. You can also get started with our collection of Gaming Operations samples that demonstrate how to use Cloud Code with other Game Backend products.

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Build your backend stack

Get started with our Unity Gaming Services by picking and choosing what you need from the Unity Dashboard, or check out our pricing information. Note that beta products are free to use, and you will only be charged for them once they leave beta.

To stay in the loop with the rest of the series, follow our new UGS channels on Twitter and Facebook or visit our new Unity Gaming Services Forums.

March 11, 2022 in Games | 8 min. read
Topics covered