Designing Multiplayer Online Games Using the Real-Time Framework

Designing Multiplayer Online Games Using the Real-Time Framework

Sergei Gorlatch (University of Muenster, Germany), Frank Glinka (University of Muenster, Germany), Alexander Ploss (University of Muenster, Germany) and Dominik Meiländer (University of Muenster, Germany)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1634-9.ch012
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This chapter describes a novel, high-level approach to designing and executing online computer games. The approach is based on our Real-Time Framework (RTF) and suits a wide spectrum of online games including Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOG) and First-Person Shooters (FPS). The authors address major design issues like data structures and Area of Interest (AoI), with a special focus on the scalability of games implemented on multiple servers, including distribution of the game state, inter-server communication, object serialization and migration, etc. The chapter illustrates the approach with two case studies: the design of a new multi-player online game and bringing the single-server commercial game Quake 3 to multiple servers in order to increase the number of simultaneous players. The authors show the place of their approach in the taxonomy of game development approaches, and they report experimental results on the performance of games developed using RTF.
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Game Development Approaches

The majority of today's online games simulate a spatial virtual world which is conceptually separated into a static part and a dynamic part. The static part covers, e.g., environmental properties like the landscape, buildings and other non-changeable objects. Since the static part is pre-known, no information exchange about its state is required between servers and players. The dynamic part covers entities like avatars, non- playing characters (NPCs) controlled by the computer, items that can be collected by players or, generally, objects that can change their state. Both parts, together, build the game state which represents the game world at a certain point of time.

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