Saturday, August 17, 2013

Thunder Moon multiplayer dev update

Wow, it's already been a month and a half since the last blog post on this. Time for an update!

Multiplayer has been coming along pretty well! One of the biggest challenges was to get the world map data to sync up and cache efficiently, but after a several weeks of long days that system finally came together and has been behaving properly for a while now. A few days ago the final planned features were wrapped up and now we are testing. As was expected, some bugs and unexpected feature requirements have come up along the way and I've been working through them as fast as I can.

Multiplayer supports both XBox Live and System Link. There is full support for game invites, both friend and party, which I hope you will find makes it very easy to bring your friends into your game. It also supports private slots, so if you want an invite-only game you can just reserve all the slots and others won't be able to join. These can be changed on the fly, too. The number of players the game will support is still up in the air and the final number will be decided on after I do some load testing and optimizing.

In addition to the world state, all of the characters, vehicles, weapons and their corresponding animations are all synchronized over the network. It's pretty neat to see the backpacks animate, or weapon aiming, and all the other animations working across the network the same way they do when playing local. I paid careful attention to the bandwidth for all these things and made sure the code doesn't cause needless latency.

Multiplayer is supported for Survival and Explore modes. It won't be enabled for story mode in this chapter of Thunder Moon because that wouldn't fit the storyline since, as you will know if you have played it, chapter one is all about being stranded by yourself. Chapter two, however, is planned to work with multiplayer as natural progression of the story and I look forward to seeing how that turns out.

I am hoping to be ready for peer review soon. It feels nearly ready, but there are a number of issues that I have to wrap up still so stay tuned for more info.

Thanks for playing!