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Going Multiplayer With Kafka

« Current 2022

Today we’ll walk through building multi-user and multiplayer spaces for games, collaboration, and for creation, leveraging Apache Kafka® for state management, and stream processing to handle conflicts and atomic edits.

We’re not building the metaverse! But as technology matures, ideas jump between disciplines, from ReactJS using ideas from game rendering, to the recent innovations in ECS patterns that borrow heavily from column stores in databases - there’s never been a better time to bring ideas from one sector of software engineering to another. Apache Kafka® makes event management simple so what can we borrow to make it collaborative?

Starting with a simple chat application and working into cursor sharing, collaborative editing and even a multiplayer game, we’ll walk through how to collect and manage user inputs,, and how backing onto an event log allows for version control, undos and time travel. We’ll also explore the various ways you can build up a canonical source of truth in a distributed system, from snapshots, to lockstep sync, to eventual consistency. Along the way we’ll learn a bit about CRDTs (conflict-free replicated data types), mergeable data structures and some of the ways to manage this complexity effectively.

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