Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
Interface is essential, it can have great depth, but
the initial impression must evoke confidence.
Some easy-to-use authoring tools we might like
to review, though they are not all web based in-
clude: The popular and easy-to-use web authoring
tools such as: Facebook, YouTube, GoogleWave,
Twitter, Blogger, Yahoo and many other web
applications that enable consumers to create and
exchange content. LittleBigPlanet has a highly
popular and innovative GUI for creating games.
The drag and drop flow diagram GUI developed
by Seymour Papert, and implemented by Lego
Mindstorms is used by children as young as four
to write programs that control robots. Flash 4,
before feature-creep, used by a blind student with
learning disabilities to create interactive stories
with pictures and sounds. One Laptop Per Child
with Sugar on a Stick is a highly ambitious at-
tempt to create an easy to use operating system
and enfranchise children from poor nations across
the world. There are also the various professional
game authoring tools such as Adobe's Flash CS4,
Microsoft Xbox and the XNA framework, Apple's
iPhone applications, Nintendo Wii and the game
development tool from Unity, and Sony Online
Entertainment and the PSP Development tool
amongst many others.
Essential features of an authoring tool
might include the ability to create animations,
graphs, diagrams and other popular visualisation
metaphors that are used in simulation games. A
timeline, like a musical score provides a means
of portraying action over time so the author can
play her script forwards and backwards. Sprites as
the unit of animation that is acted upon, any icon
or symbol, such as Mario, Homer or Sonic the
hedgehog, a chair or an apple in fact anything that
may be animated, may be a sprite. If the action is
to be realistic, the graphic designer may use onion
skinning, which is a semi-transparent overlay so
one can flick between adjacent images to examine
a transition. The action itself is a key item that
requires algorithms and has high value. Examples
include, gravity, squish, touch-detection which
is essential for many games, as when asteroid
sprites touch and explode; paint-fill, an implica-
tion of touch-detection used in Go, Othello and
many other games; more sophisticated algorithms
that explore complex relations may provide risk-
analysis and assessment, such as Monte Carlo,
that can help prune choices and provide forecasts.
Network architectures such as client-server
and peer-to-peer rely on a transport protocol
that enables players to communicate with one
another, note this paragraph is necessarily techni-
cal; The web protocol http was designed for web
pages not games, and though XmlHttpRequest
can be used with ecmascript and svg to create
client-server games, it is really only suitable for
prototyping. Three problems that unnecessarily
increase network traffic when using http are that
http requires polling, the server cannot initiate
communication so one has to keep asking for a
response; http requires a large wrapper which
may be many times bigger than the content; and
http expects a response, whereas some commu-
nications such as chat content are merely sent.
We need a new transport protocol for browser
games to allow users to communicate with each
other and a data-intensive layer quite possibly via
a server. This protocol will not replace TCP/IP
(Jacobson, 2009) which is used for the internet, or
UDP used for some games, but may be on top of
either. Examples of such protocols not used by the
browser, but by Flash, Java and other applications
include: Adobe's Real-Time Media Flow Protocol
which provides p2p support (Lesser, 2009); SPDY
(2009) an experimental protocol for a faster web
from Google. Earlier protocols included Adobe
Action Message Format (2007), SVG with RTP
(Gupta, Boyaci & Schulzrinne, 2007), and Game
Transport Protocol (Pack, 2001).
Web standards come with a great many ben-
efits considered and included, such as accessibil-
ity, interoperability, modularity, maintainability
repurposing of content and others described by
Bert Bos (2003) in his excellent Design Guide.
Game accessibility is a key feature that needs to
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