Open Match is an open source game matchmaking framework designed to allow game creators to build matchmakers of any size easily and with as much possibility for sharing and code re-use as possible. It’s designed to be flexible (run it anywhere Kubernetes runs), extensible (match logic can be customized to work for any game), and scalable.
Matchmaking is a complicated process, and when large player populations are involved, many popular matchmaking approaches touch on significant areas of computer science including graph theory and massively concurrent processing. Open Match is an effort to provide a foundation upon which these difficult problems can be addressed by the wider game development community. As Josh Menke — famous for working on matchmaking for many popular triple-A franchises — put it:
"Matchmaking, a lot of it actually really is just really good engineering. There's a lot of really hard networking and plumbing problems that need to be solved, depending on the size of your audience."
This project attempts to solve the networking and plumbing problems, so game developers can focus on the logic to match players into great games.
This software is currently alpha, and subject to change. Although Open Match has already been used to run production workloads within Google, but it's still early days on the way to our final goal. There's plenty left to write and we welcome contributions. We strongly encourage you to engage with the community through the Slack or Mailing lists if you're considering using Open Match in production before the 1.0 release, as the documentation is likely to lag behind the latest version a bit while we focus on getting out of alpha/beta as soon as possible.
The current stable version in master is 0.3.1 (alpha). At this time only bugfixes and doc update pull requests will be considered. Version 0.4.0 is in active development; please target code changes to the 040wip branch.
Open Match is designed to support massively concurrent matchmaking, and to be scalable to player populations of hundreds of millions or more. It attempts to apply stateless web tech microservices patterns to game matchmaking. If you're not sure what that means, that's okay — it is fully open source and designed to be customizable to fit into your online game architecture — so have a look a the code and modify it as you see fit.
- DGS — Dedicated game server
- Client — The game client program the player uses when playing the game
- Session — In Open Match, players are matched together, then assigned to a server which hosts the game session. Depending on context, this may be referred to as a match, map, or just game elsewhere in the industry.
- Component — One of the discrete processes in an Open Match deployment. Open Match is composed of multiple scalable microservices called components.
- State Storage — The storage software used by Open Match to hold all the matchmaking state. Open Match ships with Redis as the default state storage.
- MMFOrc — Matchmaker function orchestrator. This Open Match core component is in charge of kicking off custom matchmaking functions (MMFs) and evaluator processes.
- MMF — Matchmaking function. This is the customizable matchmaking logic.
- MMLogic API — An API that provides MMF SDK functionality. It is optional - you can also do all the state storage read and write operations yourself if you have a good reason to do so.
- Director — The software you (as a developer) write against the Open Match Backend API. The Director decides which MMFs to run, and is responsible for sending MMF results to a DGS to host the session.
- Player — An ID and list of attributes with values for a player who wants to participate in matchmaking.
- Roster — A list of player objects. Used to hold all the players on a single team.
- Filter — A filter is used to narrow down the players to only those who have an attribute value within a certain integer range. All attributes are integer values in Open Match because that is how indices are implemented. A filter is defined in a player pool.
- Player Pool — A list of all the players who fit all the filters defined in the pool.
- Match Object — A protobuffer message format that contains the profile and the results of the matchmaking function. Sent to the backend API from your game backend with the roster(s) empty and then returned from your MMF with the matchmaking results filled in.
- Profile — The json blob containing all the parameters used by your MMF to select which players go into a roster together.
- Assignment — Refers to assigning a player or group of players to a dedicated game server instance. Open Match offers a path to send dedicated game server connection details from your backend to your game clients after a match has been made.
- Ignore List — Removing players from matchmaking consideration is accomplished using ignore lists. They contain lists of player IDs that your MMF should not include when making matches.
- Kubernetes cluster — tested with version 1.9.
- Redis 4+ — tested with 4.0.11.
- Open Match is compiled against the latest release of Golang — tested with 1.10.9.
Open Match is a set of processes designed to run on Kubernetes. It contains these core components:
- Frontend API
- Backend API
- Matchmaker Function Orchestrator (MMFOrc) (may be deprecated in future versions)
It includes these optional (but recommended) components:
- Matchmaking Logic (MMLogic) API
It also explicitly depends on these two customizable components.
- Matchmaking "Function" (MMF)
- Evaluator (may be optional in future versions)
While core components are fully open source and can be modified, they are designed to support the majority of matchmaking scenarios without need to change the source code. The Open Match repository ships with simple customizable MMF and Evaluator examples, but it is expected that most users will want full control over the logic in these, so they have been designed to be as easy to modify or replace as possible.
The Frontend API accepts the player data and puts it in state storage so your Matchmaking Function (MMF) can access it.
The Frontend API is a server application that implements the gRPC service defined in
api/protobuf-spec/frontend.proto. At the most basic level, it expects clients to connect and send:
- A unique ID for the group of players (the group can contain any number of players, including only one).
- A json blob containing all player-related data you want to use in your matchmaking function.
The client is expected to maintain a connection, waiting for an update from the API that contains the details required to connect to a dedicated game server instance (an 'assignment'). There are also basic functions for removing an ID from the matchmaking pool or an existing match.
The Backend API writes match objects to state storage which the Matchmaking Functions (MMFs) access to decide which players should be matched. It returns the results from those MMFs.
The Backend API is a server application that implements the gRPC service defined in
api/protobuf-spec/backend.proto. At the most basic level, it expects to be connected to your online infrastructure (probably to your server scaling manager or director, or even directly to a dedicated game server), and to receive:
- A unique ID for a matchmaking profile.
- A json blob containing all the matching-related data and filters you want to use in your matchmaking function.
- An optional list of rosters to hold the resulting teams chosen by your matchmaking function.
- An optional set of filters that define player pools your matchmaking function will choose players from.
Your game backend is expected to maintain a connection, waiting for 'filled' match objects containing a roster of players. The Backend API also provides a return path for your game backend to return dedicated game server connection details (an 'assignment') to the game client, and to delete these 'assignments'.
Matchmaking Function Orchestrator (MMFOrc)
The MMFOrc kicks off your custom matchmaking function (MMF) for every unique profile submitted to the Backend API in a match object. It also runs the Evaluator to resolve conflicts in case more than one of your profiles matched the same players.
The MMFOrc exists to orchestrate/schedule your custom components, running them as often as required to meet the demands of your game. MMFOrc runs in an endless loop, submitting MMFs and Evaluator jobs to Kubernetes.
Matchmaking Logic (MMLogic) API
The MMLogic API provides a series of gRPC functions that act as a Matchmaking Function SDK. Much of the basic, boilerplate code for an MMF is the same regardless of what players you want to match together. The MMLogic API offers a gRPC interface for many common MMF tasks, such as:
- Reading a profile from state storage.
- Running filters on players in state strorage. It automatically removes players on ignore lists as well!
- Removing chosen players from consideration by other MMFs (by adding them to an ignore list). It does it automatically for you when writing your results!
- Writing the matchmaking results to state storage.
- (Optional, NYI) Exporting MMF stats for metrics collection.
More details about the available gRPC calls can be found in the API Specification.
Note: using the MMLogic API is optional. It tries to simplify the development of MMFs, but if you want to take care of these tasks on your own, you can make few or no calls to the MMLogic API as long as your MMF still completes all the required tasks. Read the Matchmaking Functions section for more details of what work an MMF must do.
The Evaluator resolves conflicts when multiple MMFs select the same player(s).
The Evaluator is a component run by the Matchmaker Function Orchestrator (MMFOrc) after the matchmaker functions have been run, and some proposed results are available. The Evaluator looks at all the proposals, and if multiple proposals contain the same player(s), it breaks the tie. In many simple matchmaking setups with only a few game modes and well-tuned matchmaking functions, the Evaluator may functionally be a no-op or first-in-first-out algorithm. In complex matchmaking setups where, for example, a player can queue for multiple types of matches, the Evaluator provides the critical customizability to evaluate all available proposals and approve those that will passed to your game servers.
Large-scale concurrent matchmaking functions is a complex topic, and users who wish to do this are encouraged to engage with the Open Match community about patterns and best practices.
Matchmaking Functions (MMFs)
Matchmaking Functions (MMFs) are run by the Matchmaker Function Orchestrator (MMFOrc) — once per profile it sees in state storage. The MMF is run as a Job in Kubernetes, and has full access to read and write from state storage. At a high level, the encouraged pattern is to write a MMF in whatever language you are comfortable in that can do the following things:
- Be packaged in a (Linux) Docker container.
- Read/write from the Open Match state storage — Open Match ships with Redis as the default state storage.
- Read a profile you wrote to state storage using the Backend API.
- Select from the player data you wrote to state storage using the Frontend API. It must respect all the ignore lists defined in the matchmaker config.
- Run your custom logic to try to find a match.
- Write the match object it creates to state storage at a specified key.
- Remove the players it selected from consideration by other MMFs by adding them to the appropriate ignore list.
- Notify the MMFOrc of completion.
- (Optional, but recommended) Export stats for metrics collection.
Open Match offers matchmaking logic API calls for handling the checked items, as long as you are able to format your input and output in the data schema Open Match expects (defined in the protobuf messages). You can to do this work yourself if you don't want to or can't use the data schema Open Match is looking for. However, the data formats expected by Open Match are pretty generalized and will work with most common matchmaking scenarios and game types. If you have questions about how to fit your data into the formats specified, feel free to ask us in the Slack or mailing group.
Example MMFs are provided in these languages:
- C# (doesn't use the MMLogic API)
- Python3 (MMLogic API enabled)
- PHP (MMLogic API enabled)
- golang (doesn't use the MMLogic API)
Open Source Software integrations
Logging for Open Match uses the Golang logrus module to provide structured logs. Logs are output to
stdout in each component, as expected by Docker and Kubernetes. Level and format are configurable via config/matchmaker_config.json. If you have a specific log aggregator as your final destination, we recommend you have a look at the logrus documentation as there is probably a log formatter that plays nicely with your stack.
Instrumentation for metrics
Open Match uses OpenCensus for metrics instrumentation. The gRPC integrations are built-in, and Golang redigo module integrations are incoming, but haven't been merged into the official repo. All of the core components expose HTTP
/metrics endpoints on the port defined in
config/matchmaker_config.json (default: 9555) for Prometheus to scrape. If you would like to export to a different metrics aggregation platform, we suggest you have a look at the OpenCensus documentation — there may be one written for you already, and switching to it may be as simple as changing a few lines of code.
Note: A standard for instrumentation of MMFs is planned.
By default, Open Match expects you to run Redis somewhere. Connection information can be put in the config file (
matchmaker_config.json) for any Redis instance reachable from the Kubernetes namespace. By default, Open Match sensibly runs in the Kubernetes
default namespace. In most instances, we expect users will run a copy of Redis in a pod in Kubernetes, with a service pointing to it.
- HA configurations for Redis aren't implemented by the provided Kubernetes resource definition files, but Open Match expects the Redis service to be named
redis, which provides an easier path to multi-instance deployments.
Note: These examples will be expanded on in future releases.
The following examples of how to call the APIs are provided in the repository. Both have a
cloudbuild.yaml files in their respective directories:
test/cmd/frontendclient/main.goacts as a client to the the Frontend API, putting a player into the queue with simulated latencies from major metropolitan cities and a couple of other matchmaking attributes. It then waits for you to manually put a value in Redis to simulate a server connection string being written using the backend API 'CreateAssignments' call, and displays that value on stdout for you to verify.
examples/backendclient/main.gocalls the Backend API and passes in the profile found in
ListMatchesAPI endpoint, then continually prints the results until you exit, or there are insufficient players to make a match based on the profile..
Documentation and usage guides on how to set up and customize Open Match.
Precompiled container images
Once we reach a 1.0 release, we plan to produce publicly available (Linux) Docker container images of major releases in a public image registry. Until then, refer to the 'Compiling from source' section below.
Compiling from source
All components of Open Match produce (Linux) Docker container images as artifacts, and there are included
Dockerfiles for each. Google Cloud Platform Cloud Build users will also find
cloudbuild.yaml files for each component in the corresponding
All the core components for Open Match are written in Golang and use the Dockerfile multistage builder pattern. This pattern uses intermediate Docker containers as a Golang build environment while producing lightweight, minimized container images as final build artifacts. When the project is ready for production, we will modify the
Dockerfiles to uncomment the last build stage. Although this pattern is great for production container images, it removes most of the utilities required to troubleshoot issues during development.
Currently, each component reads a local config file
matchmaker_config.json, and all components assume they have the same configuration. To this end, there is a single centralized config file located in the
<REPO_ROOT>/config/ which is symlinked to each component's subdirectory for convenience when building locally. When
docker building the component container images, the Dockerfile copies the centralized config file into the component directory.
We plan to replace this with a Kubernetes-managed config with dynamic reloading, please join the discussion in Issue #42.
- Production guide Lots of best practices to be written here before 1.0 release, right now it's a scattered collection of notes. WIP
- Development guide
Code of Conduct
Participation in this project comes under the Contributor Covenant Code of Conduct
Development and Contribution
Please read the contributing guide for directions on submitting Pull Requests to Open Match.
See the Development guide for documentation for development and building Open Match from source.
The Release Process documentation displays the project's upcoming release calendar and release process. (NYI)
Open Match is in active development - we would love your help in shaping its future!
This all sounds great, but can you explain Docker and/or Kubernetes to me?
- You should totally read this comic, and interactive tutorial
- Katacoda's free, interactive Kubernetes course
See the provisional roadmap for more information on upcoming releases.
- “Writing your first matchmaker” getting started guide will be included in an upcoming version.
- Documentation for using the example customizable components and the
frontendstubapplications to do an end-to-end (e2e) test will be written. This all works now, but needs to be written up.
- Documentation on release process and release calendar.
- All state storage operations should be isolated from core components into the
statestorage/modules. This is necessary precursor work to enabling Open Match state storage to use software other than Redis.
- The Redis deployment should have an example HA configuration
- Redis watch should be unified to watch a hash and stream updates. The code for this is written and validated but not committed yet.
- We don't want to support two redis watcher code paths, but we will until golang protobuf reflection is a bit more usable. Design doc, github issue
- Player/Group records generated when a client enters the matchmaking pool need to be removed after a certain amount of time with no activity. When using Redis, this will be implemented as a expiration on the player record.
Instrumentation / Metrics / Analytics
- Instrumentation of MMFs is in the planning stages. Since MMFs are by design meant to be completely customizable (to the point of allowing any process that can be packaged in a Docker container), metrics/stats will need to have an expected format and formalized outgoing pathway. Currently the thought is that it might be that the metrics should be written to a particular key in statestorage in a format compatible with opencensus, and will be collected, aggreggated, and exported to Prometheus using another process.
- OpenCensus tracing will be implemented in an upcoming version. This is likely going to require knative.
- Read logrus logging configuration from matchmaker_config.json.
- The Kubernetes service account used by the MMFOrc should be updated to have min required permissions. Issue 52
- Autoscaling isn't turned on for the Frontend or Backend API Kubernetes deployments by default.
- A Helm chart to stand up Open Match may be provided in an upcoming version. For now just use the installation YAMLs.
- A knative-based implementation of MMFs is in the planning stages.
CI / CD / Build
- We plan to host 'official' docker images for all release versions of the core components in publicly available docker registries soon. This is tracked in Issue #45 and is blocked by Issue 42.
- CI/CD for this repo and the associated status tags are planned.
- Golang unit tests will be shipped in an upcoming version.
- A full load-testing and e2e testing suite will be included in an upcoming version.
Will not Implement
- Defining multiple images inside a profile for the purposes of experimentation adds another layer of complexity into profiles that can instead be handled outside of open match with custom match functions in collaboration with a director (thing that calls backend to schedule matchmaking)
- Thanks to https://jbt.github.io/markdown-editor/ for help in marking this document down.