This is a bit of an ambitious move, but it's exactly what I've always wanted, and it's how the game has been designed from the start.
The player will still be able to play against the computer/bots in a offline mode.
I'm going to use RakNet for the networking library, it's not feasible for me to write my own, and there would be no point. RakNet has been used in a few commercial games and I've run some tests using their example programs and it looks like a very feasible option.
I ran it by my publisher and they're alright with it, and I havn't been this excited about my game in a very long time :-D
From the perspective of a lone-developer overcoming the challanges of implementing 6-player multiplay in a RTS game, is a lot easier than to create 25 stand alone single player missions with unique artwork, voiceovers, characters, etc.
Plus this will be a lot more fun :-D
I'm going to create a bunch of different gameplay modes to kep it fresh like capture the flag, command point control, serach and destroy, deathmatch, etc.
- Handling the physics over a network.
- Managing the 1000s of civilian/traffic cars.
- Nobody being around/online to play the multiplayer.
I've got a few solutions already lined up for the first two problems, and the last one is shared with every other indie multiplayer game, at least I'm not trying to make the next best MMORPG right?
I've got some clever ideas about how to solve the physics problem, and thankfully the way I designed the maps is very well suited to fixing the 2nd problem.
I've got my work cut out for me over the next few days, I've almost got chat going in-game (those RakNet guys weren't lying when they said it takes an hour to get their library in-game!) and I've tested their examples over my LAN, and a few of them over the 'NET.
I did have to setup a virtual server to forward the packets through my router, but that's a problem all video games face these days.
This will be cool because you'll be able to give orders to your gangsters, and then you can jump down and take contorl of one of them...the other players won't know which one you are! It's going to be great.
Any tips will be appreciated, and if anyone has experience (good or bad) with RakNet I'd like to hear it. And any ideas/kinks you guys can throw into my idea would be appreciated :-D