You are looking to create multiplayer games? You already have multiplayer support but are having problems keeping everyone in sync, without their avatars jumping around? Then this is for you.
I recently had opportunity to review Alan R. Stagners book Unity Multiplayer Games
After working with Unity professionally for over 6 years and working in the multiplayer and networking field since the 90’s, this was an offer I couldn’t deny, even more so as there are only few good resources to learn about networking in Unity.
The book is well structured, investigating 5 different technologies for multiplayer games before introducing crucial core aspects that ensure a smooth multiplayer experience through interpolation and prediction of movement as well as server side hit detection to prevent easy cheating.
The books first chapter covers Unity Networking (1.x – 4.x) and it is one of the rare exception in this area by covering all relevant aspects including level prefixes and the required steps to setup an own Master Server and Facilitator.
But Unity Networking is not the only solution as shown by chapter 2 and 3 which focus on ExitGames Photon.
The book covers both the Photon Cloud (PUN) and as well as the self hosted Photon Server. the chapters guide the reader through the required steps to create a chat with friendslist and a simple, fun multiplayer star collection game.
Player.IO is the next that the book covers. While Player.IOs promise and functionality is great, its service, support and reliability is abysmal I’ve to admit after working nearly a year with it on a commercial project. A prime example is its status page claiming no issues even though the majority of the service is offline.
PubNub is the 4th technology covered by the book and its probably the only truely different one.
The author does a great job introducing its concept to the reader to build a small but representative chat application to get the user in touch with the service and expand upon it in their projects.
Interpolation, Prediction and Server-side Hit Detection
The chapters cover solid base knowledge for smooth multiplayer games and are not only a must read, they are also a must know.
What leaves a somewhat sour taste after reading this chapter is the missing citication of the real authors of the interpolation code, which is Unity Technology, more specifically its code offered for years freely through the Networking Example package provided to unity users since Unity 1.x
All in all the book is highly recommendable to readers interested in learning the core knowledge required to create realtime unity multiplayer games using Unity Networking, ExitGames Photon, Photon Cloud or PubNub covering the crucial aspects related to basic authorative network architectures, movement interpolation, further things to add and problems that regarding cheating.
Also published on Medium.