Carrier is a Kubernetes controller for running and scaling game servers on Kubernetes.

This project is inspired by agones.


Generally speaking, the online multiplayer games such as competitive FPSs and MOBAs, require a Dedicated Game Server(DS) which simulating game worlds, and players connect to the server with separate client programs, then playing within it.

Dedicated game servers are stateful applications that retain the full game simulation in memory. But unlike other stateful applications, such as databases, they have a short lifetime. Rather than running for months or years, a dedicated game server process will exit when a game is over, which usually lasts a few minutes or hours.

The Kubernetes Statefulset workload does not manage such applications well. Carrier communicates with the game server through the SDK, and dedicated server can notify the Carrier when no player whthin it, then the Carrier can delete the Pod safely. Conversely, when scaling down the Kubernetes cluster, Carrier can also notify the game server through the SDK, which allows the Carrier to better running and scaling the game server.

Main Features

Good Scalability

Carrier provides many extensions to communicate with game server and services out of K8s clusters.

  • SDK

    communicate with game server directly, which enables game server runtime fetching the GameServer status running in K8s, e.g. LB Status, Labels and Annotations.

  • Webhook(Readiness/Deletable)

    this extension helps user to define when a GameServer is ready or can be deleted. Carrier will fetch the GameServer status from webhook servers developed by users according to the protocol.

Scale down GameServers in order

There are many players on different GameServer. Since carrier do not allow scaling down a GameServer when it is not deletable, carrier should scale down the GameServers in order to avoid waiting long time. An annotation named is used for helping sort the GameServers. This annotation can be added by SDK or set to enable fetching metrics to set

Update Policy

We support some policies to Update Squad.

  • Recreate
  • RollingUpdate
  • CanaryUpdate
  • InPlaceUpdate

Application architecture based on Carrier

Here’s an example of dedicated game server architecture based on Carrier.

The overall game server architecture

  • MatchMaker Responsible for match making (developed by the application)

  • Dscenter Responsible for Dedicated Server management and allocation (developed by the application)

  • Dedicated Server Corresponds to a GameServer, manages multiple DS processes, and reports ds information to Dscenter. Dedicated Server and Carrier-SDK as a whole are deployed in the same K8s Pod

  • Carrier Controller Manage a group of GameServers(include create, update, delete) and maintain a certain number of replicas of the DS cluster

  • Autoscaler Calculate and adjust the number of replicas of the DS cluster according to application metrics, events, time, etc.

Quick Start

Build and deploy the Carrier.


# make container


# # change the image version if you would like to deploy a specified version(default: latest).

# kubectl apply -f manifeasts/crd.yaml
# kubectl apply -f manifeasts/deploy.yaml


You can view the full documentation from the website.


Carrier is licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0. See LICENSE for the full license text.