Technology

Published on November 7th, 2013 | by EditorOne

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Building Multiplayer Gaming Apps

Once, playing computer games was the territory of the lonely PC geek, holed up in their bedrooms, chasing pixels around a screen until 3am every morning. The Internet changed all that, as it allowed players to connect with each other, compete with each other and opened up whole new sociable avenues.

Advances in hardware and the speed of Internet traffic means impressively-realised multiplayer games have been viable since 2003. If you’ve ever been in a Call of Duty skirmish, you’ll know just how much information the CPUs of dedicated gaming machines can now handle.

Multiplayer games do not have to be fiendishly complex. You can play traditional turned-based games like chess, backgammon and poker with online opponents as well. If you have the desire to build your own multiplayer online gaming app, you’ll be surprised to find out that it’s not quite as complex as you might think.

Firstly comes the game itself. The Internet is awash with tools that allow you to build your own gaming environment complete with hundreds of customisable tools and image libraries. As a decent primer, you could learn to create 2D games as a first step, using Cocos2D.

The easiest way to turn your one player game into a multiplayer game is to use a service provider that will perform all the necessary technical bits for you. One example of this is Apple’s Game Center.

The first step in doing this is to create an App ID for your app. Log on to the iOS Dev Center, and from there onto the iOS Provisioning Portal. Select the App IDs tab then create a new App ID for your application. You’ll also need to create a Bundle identifier. The easiest way to create a unique Bundle identifier is to create a ‘company name’ for your software, and to give your app a name. For example, if your company is called ‘Attasoft’ and your game ‘Zombie Race’ the identifier com.attasoft.zombie racer would be a good choice.

Once you’ve done all that click Submit. Then open your game’s Xcode project, select \Info.plist and set your new Bundle identifier accordingly.

Your next step is to log on to iTunes Connect and create an entry for your new app. Select ‘Manage Your Applications’ and ‘Add New App’. Enter the name of your app, a SKU (Stock-keeping unit) number (for example, for ‘Zombie Race’ this could be ZR1) and your Bundle ID. A series of questions about your app will then pop up. Answer them the best you can but you can change your answers at a later date.

Once you have completed the Game Center process, you need to go back to your game and make changes to the code to enable it to use Game Center. Help in doing this will be available via tutorials and support via your chosen application platform. The real beauty of using Game Center is that a lot of the real tricky stuff, such as match-making to find a random opponent or opponents, is already available, minimising the amount of code you’re required to write.

Once you’ve mastered the art of building Multiplayer Gaming Apps, who knows, soon you could be creating Apps for the likes of major online gaming companies.


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