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  • Porting To Consoles: Gotchas And Things To Consider

    [09.13.18]
    - Matthias Maschek

  • Online Multiplayer

    When we started out building the online multiplayer system no one of us had any experience building a online multiplayer game. We expected the challenge in developing the online multiplayer mode to be the networking code, syncing objects and running the game sessions. Thanks to the Unity  multiplayer code we quickly had this working but were surprised about the complexity of the handling of online multiplayer sessions that comes on top of that..

    Online Multiplayer Sessions

    If you are not an avid online multiplayer player you might have missed some of the finer details and features that consoles provide to start and join a multiplayer game. The system UI of both consoles provide direct access to all the online multiplayer features in your game. You can for example invite friends to an already running game session via the system UI on both consoles or join another friend who is playing online through the system UI. We at least had to jump back and forth a lot to find all the ways through the system software. Your game has to be ready at any state to receive an invitation from another player and react to that accordingly.

    On PlayStation online session management is kept very simple. Just keep an eye out for a feature called "Play together" that builds a party and starts a multiplayer match outside your game and then just starts the game with the correct parameters set, a feature that we missed in the beginning.

    Microsoft on the other hand, has a way more complex matchmaking and invite system. Mostly you can join and start the online sessions through the system UI which has more features than the PlayStation counterpart. For example it shows if your friends are playing online at the moment and you can join them through the system UI in their session. My best tip to prepare for this: play online games on the XBox One before you start planning your system. Play a lot of them, try to understand at which moment you can join and invite other users.


    Voice Chat

    On XBox One every online game supports Voice Chat. Integrating that was not too hard but watch out, because this content can again be blocked for minors and has some finer details in the user settings.

    Conclusion

    In conclusion, I would recommend that in the early planning stages find games with a similar feature set and see how they solved and implemented those systems on the respective platform. Since they survived already the certification process their flows and interactions are already correct. This is really helpful because there might be some fine details you did not think of before.

    Should you ever need a shoulder to cry on trying to get a game on one of the consoles, you can always reach out to me via email or in the comments below.

    This post is part 3 in an evolving post mortem series on Lightfield:

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