Friday, March 14, 2014

Unity Multiplayer Games Book Review

Build engaging, fully functional, multiplayer games with Unity 3D
by Alan R. Stagner
Packt Publishing

As a lone Unity 3D Independent Game Developer, I often struggle with the enormity of tasks required to conceptualize, build, release, and market a successful game or app. Being self-taught, I don’t have practical experience in any one field that I fall back on… I learn as i go. That also applies for funding my projects. There are no bank loans, no investors, no pooling of financial resources other than what I skim off the top of the family income that pays the bills and feeds the kids.

So, I’m pretty much just like 98% of the people reading this right now…

Earlier this year, I was given the opportunity by Packt Publishing to review their recently release book, Unity Multiplayer Games, and I jumped at the chance! Creating Multiplayer functionality in my games has always been a goal, but seemed such a monumental task. I had previously held off on tackling that topic while I focused on refining my knowledge of Javascript, C#, 3D Modeling & Animation, 2D Graphics, GUI Programming, etc. Having created several PC, Web, and Mobile games over the past 6 months, learning more and more with each new project, i decided that it was about time I step it up a notch and expose myself to the Mystic Voodoo that was Networked Game Building.

I’m always hesitant to purchase these books… many just teach you how to build that one specific type or style of game, or “Insert the Code from the Sample Project” and don’t really explain what blocks of code do or how we can use them, which is what we really need to learn.

Within Unity Multiplayer Games, I was relieved to find that this was not the case. In fact, there are FOUR different methods of adding multi-player functionality to FOUR different example games! Methods include integrating systems such as Unity’s own built in Networking API, Exit Games Photon Unity Networking API, Photon Server, Player.IO Cloud Solutions, and PubNub’s HTTP system.

In addition to the well laid out, highly detailed, and thoroughly explained examples above, the book also helps clear up topics such as Entity Interpolation, Prediction, and Hit Detection, the lifeblood of any multiplayer game!

Having only a passing familiarity with business servers and networking, I was able to easily follow the information, explanations, and instructions given. The very few times I thought I might not be “getting it” a quick Google Search of that specific topic answered my questions.

Personally, I found this book both informative and invaluable in assisting my understanding of a topic I was hesitant to jump into. I can’t wait to add an entirely new dimension of functionality and diversity to my game projects!


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