From the Trenches: Part 1

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I’m in ‘networking land’ for the next several weeks/months for Hex Gambit as we try to start getting this game up and running for online multiplayer. While a lot of the ‘big features’ are now largely known, I wanted to share over the next few weeks a few of the tiny features ¬†we’re implementing into Hex Gambit that I think some of our more dedicated fans might appreciate. But first, a quick history lesson:

Outwitters was our first major online game. Since then we’ve heavily updated it, launched Space Food Truck, and then over-hauled the online system for SFT as well.

Not every update networking-wise has been ideal, but with each subsequent release we’ve learned a ton and have been able to improve the fundamentals. Outwitters never really had truly ‘live play’ (or what some of our forum regulars call blitz play). We were able to update the notification system for faster response times, but limitations of the system kept it from really achieving that goal.

Space Food Truck finally was able to achieve seamless real-time play with asynchronous fall-back. A huge upgrade to how things use to work. But we weren’t satisfied 100% with the user-experience due to more technical limitations on getting the asynchronous play to ‘play nicely’ with real-time servers. Not to mention, stability was harder to achieve in this system than in Outwitters.

Now with that bit of background out of the way, what does that mean for Hex Gambit? With this being our 4th-ish iteration of online turn-based play we’re confident we can finally meld the two modes together in a way that feels good and looks good and is responsive.

So one of the tiny things Outwitters/SFT fans may pick up on when playing Hex Gambit for the first time is if you leave your game mid-turn, you won’t have to redo your turn from the beginning. Why? In Outwitters and Space Food Truck, entire turns were sent to the server. In Hex Gambit, each action a player takes will be sent instead. This does complicate a few implementation details, but this approach leads into another¬†minor detail that Outwitters fans will appreciate that I’ll go into next time.

Categories: Hex Gambit

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