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network middleware, do we need it?

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Hi, I''m new to network programming and I''m going to work on a MMOG project. I wonder if it''s a good decision to use a existing network midleware like ICE. Is it a very complex task to work out a network engine from scratch? It sounds reasonable to use a preexisting 3d engine since that might cause you years to develop otherwise. But for network part, will it cause me more to fit it into my project than do it myself (or by a network expert). Thanks.

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It''s an excellent idea to use an existing networking middleware. Yes it is difficult writing your own from scratch, unless you''re already an expert in TCP/IP and UDP.

The same thing applies for Networking libraries as for Graphics engines.

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Listen to stodge =)

Middleware is your friend. There are some absolutely wicked middleware packages available and contrary to what you might think do not let the $10-20k pricetag scare you. Although they are worth every penny, most of them offer some kind of developer license or bundle for testing.

My recomendation would be that you get feedback, based on your planned datastreams and server architecture, and have your coders choose the platform that most efficiently accomodates your design. Approach the middle ware developer and I am quite confident that if your project has merrit (IE it''s something you''ve been working on for more than 2 months and has a sound background.) they would be thrilled to set you up with some kind of package.

A word of wisdom though: Try and be conciderate of those who will follow behind you. Don''t waste a developers time or efforts for something that truly is going no where. All it does is make them less likely to assist the next person to request their software. My project is... two and a half years old now and I have been approached by 3 very generous and cooperative network middleware developers all of whom I have declined to take up on their offer. Not because their product wasnt good enough but moreso because I was not ready for it and couldnt do it justice. Last thing they need is someone butchering their product and them telling a bunch of othe rup and coming programers how trashy engine is. =)

Think long, think hard, and tread lightly. When you''ve got as much time invested in your project as they have invested in their middleware I think you would probably be safe to approach them about a developer license.

All the best.

Sly

Aakrana: The Forgotten Lands
If you have C++ experience and wish to
assist in the alpha development of our network
transport using very easy middleware, please contact me.

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