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Dark_Oppressor

To network, or not to network

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I am unsure if this is the correct place to post this, but my question is kind of hard to define using the available forum titles. Regardless...

I have been making little games on my own for a while now, most of which are pretty simple and singleplayer. A ton of my "games" are just half-finished prototypes, but I've also finished several. Only one is (networked) multiplayer, actually, and I haven't ever released it thus far. The point is, I've made some games, and I know how to make a networked multiplayer game. However, I've reached a point where I want some opinions from other developers/designers. I have a game I really want to make that I've been designing/coding little bits of for some time. I've got its design pretty well fleshed out. Currently, it is a multiplayer game. However, I have found that I loath network coding, and I am just not sure if I want to do the massive up-front work of getting my game running in a networked environment. I have this partially implemented already, but there is still lots to do. I'm considering just chucking the whole multiplayer aspect and making this a singleplayer game. The game is of a sort that it could go either way and be great.

Has anyone else ever been in this position? Where a game design could go either the SP or MP route? The frustrating thing is that if I just chucked MP, I could quickly have a pretty fleshed out game coded up. I'm really just musing here, I guess, but it would be cool to hear from someone else who has made this decision.

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Depends on what you trully want for the game. You could prototype it in a jiffy using Unity, as it has all the networking stuff handled and easy to access via scripts. Based on that, it will be simpler for you to decide if you'd rather have the game a multiplayer or single-player experience.

Each variant, SP and MP, has its pros and cons, apart from the difficulty and number of code lines. If the game is okay for both, try taking the faster, SP path, and maybe come back to it later and expand it into MP, as you see fit.

I generally vote in favour of multiplayer, as that extends the life-span of a game due to he number of possible plays (with AI there is very little variety, and with player you can even invent a new way to play the game). But it really does depend solely on your judgement, given you did not provide us with any details of how the game would work in the presented modes.

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I will answer as a programmer.
You loathe coding multiplayer, will you be able to make it work? Is it a multiplayer like PBEM where performance is not important? Can you code it minimal/bad way? If you need to make it a realtime intense networking requiring heavy optimization... do you believe you would be able to pull it off without being excited about the subject?

I can see it working in 3 scenarios:
- it is a very basic PBEM style multiplayer
- you get another coder who likes multiplayer to code that part for you
- you are ready to extend the project time significantly (things you loathe to code tend to get a ridiculous time to finish)

Anyway, we both know you wish deep down in your heart that we "give you permission" to dump the multiplayer and do the singleplayer you love :)

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[quote name='Acharis' timestamp='1317812159' post='4869343']
I will answer as a programmer.
You loathe coding multiplayer, will you be able to make it work? Is it a multiplayer like PBEM where performance is not important? Can you code it minimal/bad way? If you need to make it a realtime intense networking requiring heavy optimization... do you believe you would be able to pull it off without being excited about the subject?

I can see it working in 3 scenarios:
- it is a very basic PBEM style multiplayer
- you get another coder who likes multiplayer to code that part for you
- you are ready to extend the project time significantly (things you loathe to code tend to get a ridiculous time to finish)

Anyway, we both know you wish deep down in your heart that we "give you permission" to dump the multiplayer and do the singleplayer you love :)
[/quote]

You are correct, sir! Deep down, that is what I want :-)


It's a 2D rpg(ish) game, with elements of roguelikes, and a big open random world with cities, etc. For networking, it currently works with a modern fps model, meaning it takes the relevant inputs from clients, and sends them relevant things to display at a given time. And the clients do some prediction to smooth things out. So not exactly basic (at least it doesn't seem basic to me!)

The fact that I hate network coding, and the fact that things you hate to code take longer, is the real reason I am seriously entertaining my "if only it were just singleplayer" dream. I do wish to finish the game sometime this century. However, on the other hand, if I continue pressing on through the networking junk, I could conceivably finish it soon. That would mean (theoretically) it would be trivial to add new features later, even with multiplayer.

The game would be fun either way, and I agree that multiplayer would be all around "better." That thought and my programming-laziness/want-to-finish-this-someday are at odds! I could always add multiplayer later, but that would turn it into a much greater pain when I DO finally address it.

Thanks for the advice/thoughts everyone, it's given me more to think about. For today, I am going to take another look at the networking code, and see how much farther away the light at the end of the tunnel really is.

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