Multiplayer golf

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Christof Firlus and Torsten Simon kindly took the time to answer a few questions for this month's interview.


Q: Can you tell us a few words about your teamís members?

A: Our main team consists of two people: Christof (22) and Torsten (16). Torsten is the programmer and texture artist, he also programs some tools for our own games. Christof is the level designer and always has some great ideas. Unfortunately, we don't have any good modeler.


Q: How did you learn c-script?

A: Well, I have to say that learning a programming language isn't as easy as most of us think. You need a lot of time and have to be interested in programming to get good skills. The best thing is: experiment, experiment and experiment! Try to challenge yourself at all times, but don't pick a challenge that you can't handle.


Q: Which were the biggest problems youíve encountered while you were developing the game?

A: The biggest problems we've had and still have (just a little bit) is to save the game sequence, especially online at high latency. It's also hard to know how to transfer as little data as needed, because sometimes you don't know if this variable or string must be sent or not.


Q: Can you explain what data is sent over the network and how?

A: First of all, I have to say that we don't use the engine's entity transfer system - we've programmed our own transfer system. The current player sends a position of the game object (the golf ball) and the other players create a dummy entity at this position. It's also important for the server to send the positions to all the clients. There are already 6 variables (position + orientation ) which have to be sent every frame. Then we transfer some "alive" variables to check whether a player has get a timeout and have to be removed from the game or not. We're also transferring strings for the chat system. Ahh, and of course, we transfer the number of hits a player has needed in order to show them on the score-board.


Q: Did you test your game over the internet? Does it work smoothly?

A: Yeah, of course, mostly we test it only over the internet (we join our own ip address or play against each other). With pings lower than 150-200 ms it works smoothly. If the ping is higher than 200 ms, you have some "lags" as you can see at any other online games.


Q: Are you using some freeware or low cost game development tools? Please give us a few names...

A: Of course. We're using Easy Particles 3 (who doesn't use it? ;-) ), Blender, Vue 5 Easel (for logos or something else) and GIMP.


Q: What engine feature are you missing? What would you like to see implemented in the near future?

A: It would be great if every client who has joined a server could get an identification number (like 1,2,3....), allowing us to send vars or strings just to this client. Also it should be a great feature to send a var to all clients excepting the specified one. The kick function could be better; we'd like to see an (ip)-ban function.


Q: Please give us a few tips for the beginners.

A: You shouldn't start building a complex game. Try some small code snippets, build some easy models or a level at first. Then, when you get better, try to make an easy game and don't try to clone a game like Crysis ;-)


Thank you a lot.