kuarepoti-dju - the josef multilingual blogosphere


Multiplayer scenario

Categories: — josef @ 13:54

Somewhen after midnight last night GGZ 0.99.2 snapshot was uploaded. Just a few hours after, the next cool patch was created. Development runs at high speed at the moment, even though I’m still busy drawing presentation slides like a dull ODP monkey for my 2nd job (lecturer).

After my two FOSDEM presentations and some chatting after each I think that while the software required to achieve high-quality free multiplayer gaming isn’t there yet, the individual puzzle pieces already let us forebode a scenario of some sort, as a guide of what shall (or will) be possible. We have GSoC 2008 proposals coming up for those who want to help out.

The scenario goes like this: Bob wants to play Chess with Eve. (He used to play with Alice but they broke up, just to introduce some dramatic content here.) He might be logged into his GGZ core client already, possibly lurking at the Chess or Freeciv room, or he might hang around on Jabber. As soon as he finds Eve, he’ll launch a game of Chess and selects his favourite client, e.g. GGZBoard. Eve then joins this game using Tagua since she’s on KDE 4. Hurray for protocol compatibility!

Alice joins as a spectator and is totally jealous of the two players. She decides to found a player club called Toxic Pawns and invites tons of people. She’s a good club leader and also a helpful, above-average player and thus gets granted host status, which gives her privileges such as kicking players and sending private table messages, and of course hosting tournaments. In order to accomodate those players who came up with a new set of rules called Rookymotion Chess, who are believed to prefer playing audio files over playing games but like Chess nevertheless, she requests a new room from the community administrator who easily sets one up based on existing room templates through the community web frontend.

Meanwhile, Bob and Eve continue playing individual games, although Eve’s DSL connection often breaks for no reason. Of course, she can regain her abandoned game seat after a reconnection. One day, the server goes down, yet after a reboot all games are being restored. No data is lost, and no data is being leaked due to encrypted connections. The player’s personal page also features a privacy section which Eve prefers a lot to the ad-driven, privacy-invading other social networking sites she knows. Trust is important in online gaming, since technical efforts to prevent cheating can and will always be defeated at some point. But with karma points, veteran status and other community relationship indicators, Eve can rest assured that Bob’s friends are trustworthy people.

So much for the community-oriented view on all the technology which is currently on the work bench. Except for a few shameless plugs, the presentation should have shown that the software is making great progress and it’s about time to think about community and player-oriented concepts. Gaming is still one of the areas where free software isn’t #1, and changing that requires some vision beside the daily coding. Send comments to any game list I’m subscribed to.


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