Multiplayer gaming isn't going anywhere. For as long as people like to play with each other when not sitting on the same couch, there will be multiplayer gaming. However, the process of implementing networked multiplayer into a game is not an easy process, nor a convenient one. Well, that used to be the case.
From today forward, Unity Technology – the esteemed creators of the Unity Engine – have made it known that developers will no longer have to trudge through the battlefield of network multiplayer programming. They are offering a much easier solution for newbs and pros alike.
As mentioned on the Unity blog...
“As you all know, the Unity vision is to Democratize Game Development. The Unity Networking team wants to specifically Democratize Multiplayer Game Development. We want all game developers to be able to build multiplayer games for any type of game with any number of players.”
This new multiplayer endeavor will take place over the course of three phases. Each phase represents Unity's goal to help big and small developers alike attain the kind of quality information systems necessary implement the multiplayer they see fit for the game. In other words, whether you want to make a discreet four-player deathmatch game or an MMO-sized shooter, they're working to make the tools available for teams of all sizes.
The first phase is all about feature compatibility and utilization, while the second phase is about server simulation and the third phase is about bringing it all together under a Master Simulation Server. Nevertheless, Unity plans to roll out more information on this in the near future, but for now you can check out what the first phase entails, below.
1.) High performance transport layer based on UDP to support all game types
2.) Low Level API (LLAPI) provides complete control through a socket like interface
3.) High Level API (HLAPI) provides simple and secure client/server network model
4.) Matchmaker Service provides basic functionality for creating rooms and helping players find others to play with
5.)Relay Server solves connectivity problems for players trying to connect to each other behind firewalls
I wonder how well this would be able to work with local multiplayer plus online multiplayer? Sort of like a lot of the Wii and Wii U games out there that let local players tag-team online? That would be pretty cool.
Anyway, the phase 1 features are all about the different types of interfaces that designers can use to maximize the efficiency, throughput and execution of network server infrastructures.
In simple terms, it means that those of you want to implement more advanced multiplayer modules into your games either for casual or tournament level play, will be able to do so with a much greater level of ease than before.
This means more high quality Unity games like Endless Space and Aztez, as well as better online multiplayer functionality to help bring these games to life with fans who would love to connect and compete the world around.
If you thought it was an exciting time to be a gamer, it's just as exciting if you're into game development. You can learn more about Unity's new UNET three phase technology by paying a visit to their official website.