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Flavioli

Recommended frameworks, libraries etc. for a client-server style game?

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Hi all. I have a reasonable amount of client-server networking experience, mostly in C# .NET (non-game related) and in C++ (some of it game-related), and I also have a pretty decent amount of game development experience with multiple engines including pygame (for python) and with simple, mostly hand-crafted engines using DirectX in C++. However, I'm interested in finding a framework, engine or set of libraries that can lift some of the burden of doing much of the low-level work, especially in the networking front...

I want to make a game with a persistent server in which at most a handful of clients can connect simultaneously (similar to Minecraft's multiplayer model). The game will be mostly text-based (kind of like a MUD). I'm looking for the tools and frameworks that the community recommends the most for this type of thing... however, I put more priority on a set of tools that work well and have been tried-and-tested than on tools that are less well-known but are more built to accomplish exact kind of task I mention. I have very little familiarity with what's available to game developers, even when it comes to the more well-known tools. With that said, the recommendations I'm hoping for would be for a multi-purpose framework that can handle this task and has lots of flexibility and documentation and/or online support, as opposed to, say, a little-known tool that specifically makes MUDs. What does the community recommend? I'd prefer to work in C#, if that's what's recommended, and would prefer to steer away from C++ as much as possible.

I'd like to be able to do most of the computations server-side and pass messages to the clients to display status information... the client should mostly pass commands to the server such as "move north" or "buy this", and the server should process the commands. If possible, it would be nice if I could store world data in a sql database (I have a good amount of experience with this) but if there's better methods of doing this out there that could work too... all the games I've made before this stored save data in text files so I think I can do better than that. I can give more details about what I hope to accomplish if that would help to bring out better suggestions.

Thanks in advance! =)
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Networking typically comes in low-level "connectivity" libraries, like Enet, or RakNet, or Lidgren. If you want "game engine" type libraries, they will typically also include an object model, a graphics renderer, physics, and a bunch of other things. Panda3D, Unity3D, UDK, C4 Engine, ... they all give you "everything" including networking.

Another option might be to write your server in node.js. It's pretty easy to get started with, and if all you do is text commands, it could be very rewarding.
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Thank you very much, this is extremely helpful! I'll look into these in detail.

If I want to write my server in C# (or possibly a language of a similar level), what is the recommended setup for networking? Should I use networking libraries like the ones you named and do the game-loop logic myself, or are there libraries that can help me with both the server's game-loop and the networking (and if so, would I use the same libraries for both the client and server)? Sorry if these questions are a bit naive... I don't really have much experience with using game libraries, much less in client-server setups.

Thanks again for your advice!
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Oh, one more thing... if I plan on eventually providing a very light 2D client interface with buttons (maybe with some very simple pixelated, graphics as well), are there any recommended libraries that are better suited for drawing 2D graphics and interfaces? The ones you suggested seem more geared towards 3D developments. Just making sure to touch all bases to figure out what tool is best to learn for the long run =).

Thanks!
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[quote]are there any recommended libraries that are better suited for drawing 2D graphics and interfaces?[/quote]

The best interface for images, buttons, and text is HTML5 and JavaScript. It's an interface that's supported on all OS-es everywhere in the world. The networking stack behind it is a bit dumb, though -- mainly, long-polling over XMLHttpRequest ("AJAX") if you want to be highly compatible.
A library that helps with this is socket.io, assuming your server runs node.js. It provides a message/event based system on top of whatever happens to be available in the browser, from websockets through flash plugins down to AJAX long-polling.
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[quote name='Flavioli' timestamp='1350498256' post='4991212']
Oh, one more thing... if I plan on eventually providing a very light 2D client interface with buttons (maybe with some very simple pixelated, graphics as well), are there any recommended libraries that are better suited for drawing 2D graphics and interfaces? The ones you suggested seem more geared towards 3D developments. Just making sure to touch all bases to figure out what tool is best to learn for the long run =).

Thanks!
[/quote]

I mostly use pygame for my 2d needs (python), I also recently used orx, it's very cool too (it uses C).

If you want to follow hplus' advice and still use a game engine, some of them (such as panda3D) interface with librocket which allows you to create an UI with html/js. Edited by KnolanCross
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