Monday, November 13, 2006

Child Steps across the Network

After spending 25 hours of coding in just two days during weekend, I have developed first operational network events.

Server is now operational. Clients can connect at any time. Once connected, they are sent appropriate Id for vehicle and robot for the new player, and those same Id's are sent to existing players. Thus, all players are now replicated.

Current event cover all tank movements, tank's tower rotation, and missile firing. All such events are now broadcasted across the network.

Overall, I had a blast this past weekend. It has been a while, since I made an awesome progress with URumble. And this one was hard earned, but was well worth it. I can feel pride kicking in again. This means I can push harder then before to develop more and more features into the project. I may have a working demo within months now. And possibly a beta for the New Year's Eve! :D

That would be the best gift I ever had.


OK, I have a few technical comments as well. The entire network code runs on RakNet library. It is GPL licensed for free projects, such as mine. Many thanks go to the creator of RakNet for the free version of his library.

RakNet is not a high-level library. It does provide a tons of low level features, and a few medium-level ones, but overall, I had to built an entire event framework on top of RakNet. I will probably release my framework at some point in the future as GPL or similar license.

I first tested the connection on my wireless at home, between my desktop and laptop. I had a really bad lag, though, from 0.25s - 0.5 seconds. This is really bad. I was stunned. I suspected that my wireless connection is really bad, so I tested at my university on 1Gbit LAN. Oh, man, what a difference, I could not notice any lag at all with my eyes. It must have been in the order of a few milliseconds!

Other than that, developing events has been very easy. One thing though is that I have create a new class for every event (by implementing an abstract interface), as well as adding a new type Id for the event, and adding a few lines to EventFactory, so it knows about this new type, and appropriate new class. This is rather annoying. I'll think about a better solution in the future.

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