Networking is an essential part of distributed interactive real-time applications. There are three categories of such application: military simulations, networked virtual environments, and multiplayer computer games. This article will focus on multiplayer games.
Over the years, scientific research has shifted to MCGs. The entertainment industry is largely responsible for fueling this drive, as online gaming has really gained a foothold in the real-time application sector. While some games are simulations that in concept resemble military simulations, and others (like first person shooters) resemble networked virtual environments, some games have become very abstract and don’t fit into either grouping. Because the playability of multiplayer games depends largely on networking, there is a big initiative towards understanding the underlying infrastructure of MCGs in both physical and logical respects.
The physical platform of MCGs alters resource limitations like bandwidth and latency through factors like network cabling and hardware. There is not much one can do, but develop and invest in better hardware. On the logical side, design of architecture for communication, data, and control is the basis of a MCGs success. The first releases of Battlefield 1942 experienced major networking issues that made multiplayer play buggy. Often people would complain about the “netcode.” The Counter-Strike mod for Half-Life is an extremely old game. Today, Counter-Strike is one of the best and most refined MCGs, because of how long it has been around, and how well Half-Life‘s multiplayer gaming was to begin with. The fact that many people are still playing the game is evidence of this.
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