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Massive Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs) are growing exponentially due to advances in the generation of engaging immersive content and the availability of high speed and capacity networks. One of the main characteristics of the MMOGs is that they enable users to become members of active communities with common interests, shared adventures and common objectives. Enabling thousands of users to communicate with each other in a 3D online world creates large network demands, in terms of required bandwidth and low latency for the users to have a rewarding experience.

CNG intends to enhance collaborative activities between online gamers by developing new tools for the generation and distribution of UGC within existing MMOGs. CNG team will research and develop in-game community activities using in-game graphical insertion technology (IGIT) and a P2P (peer-to-peer) architecture for the distribution of video and other UGC. Current MMOG architecture typically relies on each object within a game being stored on central servers. These servers therefore host millions of items and share them to users upon request. The key innovation within the CNG project is the development of an architecture to run in parallel with the current MMOG client-server architecture. The new architecture will share a high volume of user generated content between multiple users of an MMOG game via P2P. This UGC P2P content delivery will occur without interrupting the MMOG data flow and the need to upload the user generated data to a MMOG server. Since UGC may be a heavy multimedia content, the network indirectly benefits from the use of P2P to distribute this content which is not streamed through the MMOG server.

The project intends to research and develop new sophisticated techniques for P2P 3D/Video streaming that are “friendly” to the MMOG client server traffic. Additionally, the Community Network Game project will support and enhance community activities between gamers which may be enhancing many current MMOGs, without the need to redevelop their game code. For this purpose, the InGame Graphics Insertion Technology (IGIT) can be used to change existing game graphics and to add additional windows on demand (e.g., browser, chat, etc.) that can be inserted floating on or out of the game area. CNG, with the use of IGIT, will allow the addition of new engaging community services without a need to change the game code, and without adding new processing or network loads to the MMOGs’ central servers.

Here is a short video of CNG and its main features.

The CNG project is funded under the ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) priority of the European Union’s FP7 (Seventh Framework Programme). The project is a STREP for 30 months.