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tatousolitaire

Novice Question regarding Online Games

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Not really. In my experience, shoe-horning multplayer into a single player game after the fact is more difficult than designing it with multiplayer in mind in advance.

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Would it be simpler/efficient to build a working single player version of a game and then expand it to feature network play if that was your goal all along?

Single player is multiplayer where n=1.

Build it with an understanding that n >= 1.

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If you already know that your game will be multiplayer, it is much simpler (and better) to design it multiplayer in the first place.
You have to organize your entities and relations in a way that makes sense in the multiplayer universe. Otherwise you will end up doing a lot of reengineering at the end, which is much more unpleasant.

Now, if you game features 2 modes -- a single player and multiplayer that are very different and independent -- you can start with a prototype of the single player mode just to test your concept.
Still, keep in mind what we learn in Software Engineering about prototypes: once the prototype is "finished" and tested, throw it away and start writing the game itself from ground zero.

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