Made for Steam
Easily develop multiplayer games with Unity. Photon Bolt is the best choice when targeting for Steam and PC. Our upcoming 'Bolt for Steam' SDK will provide you with the benefits from Bolt's and Steamworks' API. Best of both worlds in one package.
If you are building an authoritative game you will enjoy the built in solutions. Look for both authoritative movement with client-side prediction and lag compensated ray-casting. You won't find this feature anywhere else.
Master Client & Listen Server
Bolt supports the classic dedicated server and listen servers where the server is just another player aka Master Client. Sweet: session discovery allows your game to automatically find servers running on a local LAN or WiFi.
Replicate game object transforms and user-definable properties automatically without the need for any code. Everything is neatly accessible through a visual editor which lets you define and customize properties at a detailed level.
Mecanim animations replicate automatically over the network. Find all your character animations perfectly synchronized without any custom code being required.
Powerful Event System
Bolt has a built-in event system which distributes the event to the correct receivers, highly configurable and automatically, of course. Events can also be targeted at a specific game object or raised globally. Finetune delivery of events in three modes: Unreliable, Unreliable Synced and Reliable.
Networked Scene Loading
Networked scene-loading gives you an easy way to load scenes in Unity over the network and assures that you know when all players are loaded into the map.
Cloud Matchmaking (Upcoming)
Match players into games randomly or by parameterized searches. Create a list of open rooms and let players pick one.
Cloud Relay (Upcoming)
No player will get lost with Bolt's Cloud Relay. Whenever a game client cannot connect directly, the connection will be established seamlessly via the Cloud Relay. Guaranteed.
Photon Bolt Unity Asset Store Packages
BOLT is our peer2peer networking engine. We recommend it for Steam games and to use Steamworks' network relay service or to build a client-2-server architecture. Enjoy a powerful event system, authoritative movement, mecanim replication and much more.
Zeus ... connect easily to your friends without worrying about NAT issues etc. Download for free!
Photon Bolt Architecture
Bolt is a so called 'listen server'.
A listen server works like a dedicated server, but runs in the same process as the game client (Master Client).
Any communication is routed via the Master Client.
Doing so provides similar advantages (no costs for dedicated servers, low latency) and avoids typical disadvantages (difficult synchronization of peers, player with worst connection sets latency for all players) of a peer-2-peer architecture.
Photon Bolt is perfectly suited for room based games with dozens of players. The Master Client's internet connection is a bottle-neck for e.g. an MMO - see Photon Server instead.
This architecture does not require any game servers so hosting and operations is limited to Zeus, Bolt's matchmaking & NAT-punchthrough server.
Bolt can be setup without Zeus server in a pure client to server architecture as well. This would require to develop your own components for matchmaking and scaling.
While connecting and matching clients is easy in a local network, it becomes extremely complex for online games.
Photon Bolt's integrated matchmaking and NAT-punchtrough server 'Zeus' eliminates connection issues and matches players easily.
In case a client cannot be connected with the Master Client via NAT-punchthrough, a relay service is needed. Only with a relay service, e.g. from Steamworks or our upcoming Photon Cloud Relay, it is guaranteed that all your players can connect.
Photon Bolt for Steam
Our Bolt for Steam SDK will leverage Steamworks' feature-set to any developer whether you are a pro or beginner.
Steamworks' matchmaking, punchthrough & relay features will be super easy to integrate with Bolt's high-level API without messing around with Steamworks' low-level API.
Access to Steamworks API is granted to greenlit games only, but you can start to develop multiplayer features and test these with Bolt and Zeus.
Photon Bolt for Steam is used by The Forest, a survival horror FPS that sold 2 million copies on Steam.
In case a game client cannot be connected to the Master Client via NAT-punchthrough, the connection will be created via the Photon Relay (upcoming) or via Steamworks' relay service.
Especially in mobile networks a relay service is mandatory to guarantee that any player can connect to the Master Client.
LAN & WiFi Games Love Photon Bolt
Listen servers do not require any special infrastructure or forward planning to set up, which makes them perfect for LAN games. Photon Bolt's session discovery finds servers running on a local LAN or WiFi automatically, so connecting & matching players is a breeze.