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- Game Center Tutorial for iOS: How To Make A Simple Multiplayer Game: Part 2/2?
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There are a few simple tips which can help you to develop a good multiplayer game. First, you should always handle network disruptions properly, especially on mobile devices or when using a mobile network. These will definitely occur!
Second, you should send packages to your partner at the lowest frequency possible. That means that you should only send data when it is really needed and you should not send the same information twice or even more often! Remember, your game updates the game scene at 30 or even 60 fps, but the network code should not! Moreover you should use the smallest package size possible, for example if you have a value between 1 and 10, you can represent it with only 4 bits instead of using a 32 bit NSInteger.
You should also send the data only to players who really need it.
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The Peer-to-peer solution is the easiest to implement, but it also has the most network traffic. Client-server and Ring topologies are more complex to implement, but try to save network traffic. We now want to adapt a simple SpaceInvaders game to a real time multiplayer game which supports two players. Player one controls the spaceship at the bottom of the screen and player two can spawn new aliens by touching on the screen.
Player one than, has to try to avoid these aliens. As said in the introduction, we want to support the Game Center and the MultipeerConnectivity Framework to be able to play with other people. Therefore we need some strategy to support both Frameworks at the same time. The solution to this is very simple but also very elegant. We are using a simple strategy pattern. Using this approach our MultiPlayerHelper , which by the way is a singleton, is completely independent from a specific communication implementation.
We can even change this communication easily at runtime! Debug builds are using the Sandbox environment of Game Center. That means we are actually not testing on the real Game Center servers, the Apps from the App Store are using.
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That makes sense because we are still in development and do not want to publish information about our game and Apple does not want us to test things on the production servers. The only problem with the Sandbox is that it is sometimes offline and then we are not able to test our game over the Game Center. You can check the online status of the sandbox with the link in the section Helpful link. The examples in this tutorial are based on an example application you can download here. All our exercises are marked with warnings TODOs so you can easily jump to them using the Xcode error window.
There are three important classes you have to know about when searching a match in Game Center. The class GKMatch then represents the actual match which was found. The GKMatchRequest holds important information about how the match should look like. The two properties maxPlayers and minPlayers for example describe the amount of players your game support. These two properties have to be set.
Setting Up Real-Time Matchmaking
The are many more, we will not use. But you can also implement your own ViewController to find a match, if the look and feel of the standard ViewController does not fit into your game for example. The GKMatch provides a peer-to-peer network between a group of players. You can send and receive game or voice data with an instance of GKMatch. In the UML diagram you can see the structure and interaction of the classes with each other. They both tell the GameCenterCommunication class about certain events via delegation.
It has two required properties, minPlayers and maxPlayers. To find players in Game Center the Frameworks provides, like already stated above, a standard ViewController for us which is very easy to use. Here you can see a screenshot of this ViewController:. NSLog "Searching a match As you can see the first thing we do is, initializing a GKMatchRequest.
Then we are setting the required properties. We only support two players so we needed at least minPlayers two but not more maxPlayers.
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We have to set the delegate to self , because we want to get notified about certain events. Then we just show the ViewController to the user. This is already done in the example application, but we should shortly have a look at it. NSLog "matchmaking cancelled" ;. NSLog "Error finding match: There are three required methods to be implemented. The first one tells us whether the user clicked the cancel button. We then just dismiss the ViewController and tell our presenting game scene about this event. When an error occurs we do exactly the same. In a real game you should maybe tell the user about the exact error and give some hints to solve the problem, but for this example application we want to keep things simple.
The last method is the most important, it tells us when a match could be found. We also dismiss the ViewController, cache the GKMatch for later use sending data , and set the delegate, because we want to be notified if new data was received or the player disconnected. After that we just look up the name of our opponent. If you now run the game you should see the ViewController if you click on play in the main menu.
If you for example cancel the matchmaking you should also see the appropriate message on the console output window in Xcode. Now it is time to implement the communication between the devices. These bytes represent the data which shall be transmitted. Here your knowledge from the section Network Layer is useful. Receiving data can be achieved via setting the delegate property of the class GKMatch. Then the method match: The interesting thing is that this method is independent of the sending mode. That means you do not know if the data was sent reliable or not.
As you know reliable sending guarantees the delivery and avoids out of order packages. Thus it is very easy to use. You do not have to bother about things like retransmission or reordering packages. The only disadvantage is that it may be slower than unreliable sending. Hence it should be used for infrequent messages which must reach their destination.
Unreliable sending is mostly faster than reliable sending and has a lower latency. But there is now guaranteed delivery, so messages can get lost and never reach it's destination. It also can happen that packages will not be delivered in the other they were sent. As a consequence it should be used for real time updates, like position updates of a player. Now we are coming to our next exercise TODO 2. This message will tell the other player which alien and where it has spawned. First thing we do is getting the relative position. This is needed because we want to support different display families, for example iPad and iPad Retina.
Thus we cannot just send the position we get from the touch! Then we instantiate a EnemySpawned message with the information we got passed into our method. After that we call a helper method to send out message. This message is sent reliable! After that we have to implement the other side. That means we have to parse the message and notify our presenting scene about the changes.