Brainstorming my first multiplayer game

I’m thinking about making a networked multiplayer game.

It would be a pong clone or something similar in order to keep things simple.

More than likely, though, I will not be creating such a thing right now as the risks involved are too great for me to bear. I have a mandate to fulfill before this decade is out and other solutions may be more viable.

Nonetheless, here is what I envision.

Multiplayer complexities

The game company Valve said on their developer wiki about multiplayer games:

In contrast with a single player game, a multiplayer game has to deal with a variety of new problems caused by packet-based communication.

So it seems that I would have a lot of work to do indeed.

Networked physics problem

I would have to implement physics on an authoritative server. So that would increase the cost of development and the complexity of the proposed product.

Proposed driving user input for a networked multiplayer pong game (in C):

struct UserInput {
    boolean up;
    boolean down;
};

And the basic state for each player and the pong ball that I can come up with for now:

struct PlayerState {
    Vector position;
    Vector velocity;
};

struct BallState {
    Vector position;
    Vector velocity;
};

More components in the proposed structures would be needed, more than likely, but this currently suffices for a theoretical framework for this public one-way discussion.

Planned aspects of the game

I’m still not going to embark on this project right now, even though there’s a possibility that I should. But these are features that I would like to add to the game:

Machine learning

Artificial neural network opponent for a single player option as this is a multiplayer game with resulting varying human opponent availability. The already high complexity of this networked multiplayer game startup would be increased even further then.

Maybe instead of a neural network, a simple computer opponent like how most other pong games do. Or even I would be there to play with the lonely player, doing things that don’t scale and being committed to my players’ success.

Visuals of the game

Cute, kawaii bright neon graphics that are attractive. Why am I even writing this?

Cloud server

The game server would highly likely be off-premise using the free tier of Heroku instead of my Orange Pi Zero single board computer. I’m not saying that I believe that this product would need to be scaled and accommodate a lot of users in the future. I just would wish to rapidly release and deploy this product and setting up my Orange Pi Zero is not conducive to that as I lack the experience to do that currently. This is an already complex endeavor with machine learning and networked multiplayer.

Uncertainties

A multiplayer HTML5 pong game might be an addicting game. Or it might not be.

People might like this new and accessible game I’m envisioning. Or they might not.

I do not know.

I do not know what lies in the probability distribution. Then it is proposed that I assume the risk of expending effort to rapidly create and release a product in order to resolve this uncertainty.

This uncertainty is a component of the dedicated indie maker’s life. I explore this space in search of rewards. As time progresses while I navigate this space, I acquire data and experience that will aid me in future endeavors.

Using previous experience

Thanks to previous endeavors, I’m in possession of technology and knowledge that would be beneficial to this startup, such as the one-button accessibility implementation from my last video game, Spooky Thing, as I would intend to make this pong game accessible, only requiring one button to move the pong paddle up and down.

Will and means

I’m a full-time indie maker. You can also call me a technology entrepreneur or a startup founder (and yes, these are startups). You can definitely call me a small business owner as I’m not employed by an employer other than myself.

I don’t have income. I can’t seem to put my rather great and tragic past behind me. I seem to be stuck in a local minimum or maybe even diverging from the local maximum. I’m operating with chronic deficiencies. My relationship with my pseudo-investor is estranged. The fate of my health is unknown.

But I have eternal courage and commitment at my side. I got the right stuff, fine constitution. I have a desire to mend the world. This full-time indie maker lifestyle is so much better than working a traditional minimum wage job, despite me not having the amenities that employment with an employer provides. For me to have income, I must grind from zero to n as though I were trying to reach the top of the leaderboard in a video game, starting from the bottom.

To play this unique game and win, great ambition and strength are required.

If I do not have the required ambition and strength, then I shall git gud (get good).

I play to win.

Written on November 1, 2018