PlayCanvas backend recommendations

Hi, I’m developing a nodejs-based backend for my PlayCanvas online project and I’ve reached the point where I need to perform collision detection (bullets, player colliding with other objects, etc).

I’m wondering if using PlayCanvas Engine in the backend would be a good or a bad idea. Using the same code base and API for physics and server-side collision detection would be awesome, but I don’t want the server to “draw” anything, as I’d just need to run a “light” version (basically physics on low-poly entities) of the game scene.

What do you think? Is this something feasible? Can you use PlayCanvas without actually rendering anything?


@devMidgard Did you use a headless version of the PlayCanvas engine in the backend for some of your IO games?

Ah, here we go: Need Help With An Authoritative WebSocket Server

Thanks for the hint @yaustar, that seems a little bit tricky but might work. I’ll explore JSDOM and similar ways of mocking the browser in a server.

I was hoping that there was an option in the engine that “turns off” the rendering or something like that. Something like what you mentioned here: Is the engine viable for multiplayer? where can we find that “no render” flag?


This disables the rendering but doesn’t remove it: Application | PlayCanvas API Reference

Now that the engine has moved to ES6 modules, it might be easier now to remove the rendering part of the engine so it’s worth a look to see if that is possible.

1 Like

Been there, done that.

If you want to squeeze the max out of your servers, forget about using the PlayCanvas engine. It’s better to start with a blank nodejs app and just build into it.

My suggestion is grab PlayCanvas’ Physics Engine (AmmoJS), slap it into nodejs (like I do) and put also uWS into it. Boom, you suddenly get a full fledged Physics Engine on server side to do your world simulation at, and you also get the best network lib there is for nodejs.