GGZ Gaming Zone Architecture

Revision: 0.1
Date: 26.02.2005
Author: Josef Spillner <josef at ggzgamingzone dot org>

The uncountable number of GGZ libraries, programmes, games, tools and scripts can be confusing for many. The architecture documentation provides the big picture needed to understand where each component of GGZ has its place.

Design and implementation

A lot of care is spent on separating the design from the actual implementation. For example, the GGZ protocol is formally specified, and its handling is implemented by the ggzcore library on the client side, and the ggzd daemon (the GGZ server) on the server side. Likewise, game protocols can be handled by multiple game clients and servers. And finally, code is often bundled in libraries to ease the creation of programming language wrappers.

The following explanation of existing structures relates to a full GGZ installation. As can be read in the GGZ Hosting Guide, only some parts of all this is considered essential.

GGZ system construction (runtime structure)

The illustration below outlines the relation of client versus server side, and identifies child processes (arrows) and network connections (straight lines).

Client-server architecture

A GGZ server, which stores its player and game history information in a database, is running on a server, ready to launch some game servers. In parallel, a telnet process waits for chatters so it can act as a pseudo-client and connect to the server. Likewise, the chatbot performs some pseudo-client duties. The meta server is queried by clients and gets its data from running ggzds. The community pages handle web access to all database contents, and its scripts are periodically running in the background in order to lower performance penalties.

On the client side, a core client is launched and connects to the GGZ server. From time to time a game is played, resulting in launching it from the core client. Additional tools such as Competition Calendar improve the level of GGZ integration on the desktop.

Communication protocols

The protocols between game servers and game clients are very specific and not subject of this document. The other connections however are using well-defined protocols, and together with their reference implementation the schema looks like the following:

Communication protocols

Of interesting note is that both the ggzmod and the ggzdmod library contain the code for the game as well as the core client/server, and can be initialized to work in either game or GGZ mode. All libraries involved in the above schema provide a callback-based abstraction to the underlying protocols, and although their usage is strongly recommended, it is in no way required.

Dependencies (compile-time structure)

More interesting to the developer is the implementation side. This is displayed in the following illustration.

Dependencies

As can be seen, four base libraries exist of which some come with wrappers for various programming languages. In vertical direction, programmes or games which depend on the libraries can be seen.

Detailed view

The abovementioned protocols between server and core client, server and game server as well as core client and game client are all formalized in the respective protocol specifications.

There is also more information available on the following topics: Chatbot (grubby) architecture, server (ggzd) architecture and server database documentation, and core clients architecture.

Game developers should refer to the GGZ Game Development Guide, as well as to the game feature matrix page. Individual games like ggzboard and ggzcards come with proper design documents.

All of the base libraries (libggz, ggzmod, ggzdmod, ggzcore) come with API documentation is several formats.