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NetPlay & Multiplayer++

 
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NetPlay & Multiplayer++ - 12/25/2011 9:57:01 PM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

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MWIF will use the Multiplayer++ (MP++) system that Matrix Games and Slitherine have used for other games. The purpose of MP++ is to enable players to enter a private forum for the given game and solicit opponents to play that game over the internet (or via PBEM in some cases).

Upon entering the NetPlay forum (which is the name I will use herein), the player sees who else is currently logged in and, more importantly, a list of games where players are seeking opponents. The player can response to a request or he can post his own request for an opponent.

The screenshot shows my first pass on the form for the private MWIF NetPlay forum. This was developed with input from the beta testers, but I would like to get your opinion on this too. Getting things fixed at this stage (before any code has been written) is a lot easier that ripping apart existing code later to make improvements.

Clicking on View My Games will bring up a list of the player's games, optionally filtered as All or Active.

For the optional rules column I expect to use the defaults sets: Novice, Standard, and Advanced. Those can include suffices of +/-. For instance, Novice+, Advanced-, and so on. Clicking on the Optional Rules column will bring up the entire list of optional rules (80+). My idea here is to let you see at a glance what the player proposes for optional rules, with the ability to examine them extensively if you so desire.

===

Whadda ya think?




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RE: NetPlay & Multiplayer++ - 12/25/2011 10:51:04 PM   
Krec


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AWESOME!!

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RE: NetPlay & Multiplayer++ - 12/26/2011 12:16:42 PM   
Centuur


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It looks good, indeed. I do have some questions and a request, however.

The first one is, is it possible to send an e-mail to the player offering a game? Also I would want to bargain if we're talking about using which optional rules. I don't like fixed settings to be used (however useful they are for starting players...). Mailing or chatting at that point could be very helpful for this.
The second one is if it is possible to get the bidding system in this. That's the "official" way the game is played, bidding for MP (or sides, in case of a two player game)...

I presume the country which is stated is the country the player lives in? If so, wouldn't it be possible to add timezones or states for very large countries (Steve lives in the U.S.A. If I'm going to play him from Europe, we never are going to be able to get a lot of time together on the net. However, Red Prince is also living in the U.S.A., but hey, that is a timedifference we could probably be able to deal with...)



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RE: NetPlay & Multiplayer++ - 12/26/2011 5:44:44 PM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Centuur

It looks good, indeed. I do have some questions and a request, however.

The first one is, is it possible to send an e-mail to the player offering a game? Also I would want to bargain if we're talking about using which optional rules. I don't like fixed settings to be used (however useful they are for starting players...). Mailing or chatting at that point could be very helpful for this.
The second one is if it is possible to get the bidding system in this. That's the "official" way the game is played, bidding for MP (or sides, in case of a two player game)...

I presume the country which is stated is the country the player lives in? If so, wouldn't it be possible to add timezones or states for very large countries (Steve lives in the U.S.A. If I'm going to play him from Europe, we never are going to be able to get a lot of time together on the net. However, Red Prince is also living in the U.S.A., but hey, that is a timedifference we could probably be able to deal with...)



Bidding will be handled after the players agree to a game. This 'forum' is mostly for lining up opponents. Once a game is started, the forum is not involved in the actual game play.

Clicking on a line in Seeking Opponent lets you reply to the 'post'. Actually, there is a separate 'thread' devoted to each line entry, containing a series of messages exchanged back and forth.

The point about Standard+ is to give you a general idea, not to limit your selection of optional rules in any way. Think of it as being similar to the number of pages in a book. If I tell you a novel has less that 100 pages, or more than 800, you will have some idea about the novel based on that alone. With the optional rules label, you should get an even better idea.

Of course the players will 'negotiate' which optional rules they'll use. Internally I store the optional rules as a string of zeroes and ones. When I display them for the players to review/modify, they appears as shown in this screen shot. Left click on a rule displays the text from the Players Manual describing the rule. Right click toggles the rule ON/OFF. Rules that are OFF have nothing following their title/label.

So, you can look at what a player has proposed and modify his settings as your counter-proposal. The internal strings are easy to store and transmit while the players see something that is easy to understand and manipulate.

Country is the best I could come up with as a column label to describe where a person lives. I would be happy to improve upon it if someone has a better word. For the US the person could put in US-ME or US-HI for Maine and Hawaii respectively. I don't expect to provide a drop-down list for players to choose from, but let them type in whatever they think is best.

Exchanging email is up to the players - they can include their email address in the messages attached to the Seeking Opponent thread. For instance, you could post a request for an opponent and then immediately reply to your own post with a text message providing more details (should you so desire). I don't think it is really necessary to exchange email addresses until a game has started.




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RE: NetPlay & Multiplayer++ - 12/26/2011 11:22:44 PM   
composer99


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Arguably time zone is more important information than country. Perhaps country and time zone (e.g. USA GMT-5) would work?

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RE: NetPlay & Multiplayer++ - 1/1/2012 9:47:11 PM   
gridley

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: composer99

Arguably time zone is more important information than country. Perhaps country and time zone (e.g. USA GMT-5) would work?



I agree, Time Zone is the most important. In which case a drop down menu is probably a good idea.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Shannon V. OKeets

Country is the best I could come up with as a column label to describe where a person lives. I would be happy to improve upon it if someone has a better word. For the US the person could put in US-ME or US-HI for Maine and Hawaii respectively. I don't expect to provide a drop-down list for players to choose from, but let them type in whatever they think is best.



I think leaving it up to us to type in what we think is best...well, it could get confusing.

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RE: NetPlay & Multiplayer++ - 1/29/2012 10:38:24 PM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

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1st in a series of 4 posts.

I have been mostly working on NetPlay this month. Here is some of the documentation I am writing for that. The documentation is needed by the beta testers and the Editor is going to want the text and screen shots soon, so I am alternating between writing and debugging code and writing documentation for NetPlay.

===
Matrix Games/Slitherine Games provides a dedicated server to support a private forum for World in Flames NetPlay games. Herein the abbreviation NPF is used to reference the NetPlay Private Forum. The purpose of NPF is to enable players to find opponents, chat with other players about NetPlay games, and begin NetPlay game sessions.

Besides the obvious advantage of encouraging the creation of a community of World in Flames internet players, the NPF also simplifies setting up an internet session by automating some technical details. For example, the players don’t need to type in their own or other players’ IP addresses.

The NPF is only accessible by clicking on the button labeled Private WIF NetPlay Forum on the Opening Splash Screen (see figure 6.3.1.A). When you click on the button, the program attempts to log you in to the forum. First up, it validates your serial number. Then it either displays a registration form (see figure 6.3.1.B) or, if you have already registered your copy of the game, brings up the NPF form so you can see what if happening in the forum (see figure 6.3.1.C).


Here is the registration form (figure 6.3.1.B).




EDIT: Open_Sesame has an underscore between the two words that doesn't display in this jpg screenshot.

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< Message edited by Shannon V. OKeets -- 1/29/2012 10:40:29 PM >


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RE: NetPlay & Multiplayer++ - 1/29/2012 10:43:50 PM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

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2nd in a series of 4 posts.

Here is one of the 3 main form views. The left side shows the players currently online (i.e., in the forum). Just me for the moment. The parts of this that aren't obvious I'll describe in the next couple of posts.




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RE: NetPlay & Multiplayer++ - 1/29/2012 10:48:39 PM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

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3rd in a series of 4 posts.

The large panel in the upper right will be a list of Seeking Opponent posts (once I get that code working). Let's call these Requests. Clicking on any request in the list will bring up the associated replies to that request/post in the panel in the lower right. You can write your own reply in the lower right. I need to add a button here so your reply can include your counter-proposal as to which optional rule should be used. There's more about that in my last post in this series.






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RE: NetPlay & Multiplayer++ - 1/29/2012 10:52:38 PM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

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4th and last in a series of 4 posts.

If you click on New Post radio button the form on the left is displayed. I think it is self-explanatory.

Clicking on the button labeled Specific Optional Rules brings up the form shown on the right. You can then click on any optional rule to toggle it On/Off. I've shown the Novice and Standard default sets here. If you have your own favorite set, then you can save it (using the Start New Game form) and reference it here by clicking on the Personal Set button.




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Steve

Perfection is an elusive goal.

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RE: NetPlay & Multiplayer++ - 1/30/2012 5:55:01 PM   
micheljq


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RE: NetPlay & Multiplayer++ - 1/31/2012 5:25:32 AM   
NeverMan

 

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Visually clunky, if not grotesque, but seems functional enough.

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RE: NetPlay & Multiplayer++ - 4/24/2012 9:05:55 PM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

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Just a note to say that a couple of the beta testers (in Michigan and California) were able to run Global War through completing setup the other day. By my estimate that means at least half the code is both tested and working for NetPlay [setting up a game requires a ton of code to be executed].

The bugs I've been finding related specifically to NetPlay are mostly about keeping multiple copies of the game synchronized. A common occurrence is that one copy of the game runs ahead of the other. Once I get the hang of how to keep them in check, I should be able to get all 152 phases/subphases/sub-subphases, and digressions to stay in lockstep on all the computers.

There is one code module devoted to figuring this out for all modes of play: Who Needs To Decide. It's 1050 lines of code. Of course the modules for each phase of the game also have to make the correct calls to WhoNeedsToDecide. But in the end, that module sets the values for which major powers are currently making decisions and whether the local player controls any of those major powers.

The screenshot shows that the local major power controls the Allied side and the remote player controls the Axis. This is indicated by the Axis flags (Germany, Italy, Japan, and Vichy France) having a border around them, making the flag image smaller. The Allied flags fill the space allocated to the button. That the Axis flags are bold/clear/sharp indicates that those 4 major powers need to make decisions to end the phase. Meanwhile the 5 Allied flags are faded, indicating that the major powers have no decisions to make at the moment. The green indicates that the local major power is the United States.




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Perfection is an elusive goal.

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RE: NetPlay & Multiplayer++ - 4/25/2012 4:08:17 PM   
micheljq


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Yeah!!! I like that too

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Michel Desjardins,
"Patriotism is a virtue of the vicious" - Oscar Wilde
"History is a set of lies agreed upon" - Napoleon Bonaparte after the battle of Waterloo, june 18th, 1815

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RE: NetPlay & Multiplayer++ - 4/26/2012 3:17:48 AM   
Carolie04

 

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It looks good, indeed. I do have some questions and a request, however.

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RE: NetPlay & Multiplayer++ - 4/26/2012 4:50:13 AM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

Posts: 19258
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From: Honolulu, Hawaii
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Carolie04

It looks good, indeed. I do have some questions and a request, however.

And those would be ....?

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Steve

Perfection is an elusive goal.

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Post #: 16
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