Ok, I need some feedback on this, and I can’t shut up about it any longer. Here are my plans for multi player GSB, and they are going quite nicely in terms of being almost playable already…
GSB is a single player game with a number of scenarios each of which has a normal, hard and expert AI fleet to fight against. You will probably play each scenario several times, trying to reconfigure your fleet each time to beat the opposition. You will also gradually unlock new races, so there will be the urge to beat every scenario with every race eventually.
However, nothing beats going up against the brains of another player. The problems with a mutiplayer version are:
- This isnt a real-time game, so you would sit there for ages waiting for the other guy to design his fleet.
- Indie games dont have big sales, so finding people to play against is hard.
The solution is PBEM (play by email) but WITHOUT the email. Basically it works like this:
You load up a scenario as usual, having selected your race, and probably already with a big bank of pre-designed ships from battles against the AI. You probably have an uber-fleet that kicks ass against the expert AI already. You then click the ‘challenge’ button. This takes you to a screen where you type in the username of the other GSB player (someone you know, who has the full game), and a taunt to tell them how their pathetic space fleet will be ground to dust by your mighty lasers. You click send.
That uploads a tiny data file onto my server, where it’s stored in a database. The next time your friend launches the game, and clicks ‘refresh challenges’ he/she will see your challenge, with taunt in all its glory. He/she can then download that challenge file and play against your fleet in their own free time. Eventually, they should find a fleet that beats your fleet, and no doubt they will then challenge you back.
Obviously its possible to see how many of your challenges have been beaten, and to even track how many attempts it took. There are also tons of high score and metagame possibilities, as are the theoretical possibility of me posting ‘open’ challenges’ which get sent to everyone.
This is tons of work, especially for a net-coding n00b, but it’s in and working at the server side, I’m just tweaking client-side UI code to get it to work smoothly.