Balloon Popping Pigs: The March Toward Online Multiplayer

I’ve taken some time to work on Balloon Popping Pigs for the past 2 weeks. While the new update isn’t out yet, I feel the need to talk about it. Sadly these two updates can’t be shown off as well in picture or video form as its all behind the scenes stuff.

NEW MENU SYSTEM

To start with, I’ve made a new menu system so it can use multi-language support, even if the game was originally designed with icons to be self explanatory in all languages. The new menu also allows for left and right movement to change the selected menu item to something that would be left and right rather than up and down. That was a sticking point for some people, left didn’t select something to the left.

Looks like I still need to update the sprite fonts.

ONLINE MULTIPLAYER

Online multiplayer has been requested a few times for this game more than others. There have always been barriers to make it happen. Having to open firewalls, open ports or flat out have third party software to confuse your network into thinking its part of the LAN of someone else’s network. It all seemed too cumbersome for the players to setup.

Its been a slow process to get the online multiplayer to where it is. Making the game ignore two players ignore the controls of both players, while recognizing its still two players was an interesting process. Now the online multiplayer process is going smooth, even if there is still more to be done. At the current moment, its just the default game rather than the 5 multiplayer modes.

PITFALLS OF ONLINE MULTIPLAYER

With online multiplayer, this will open the game to all sorts of new issues like if someone with a 14 kbps modem tries to host a game to someone playing from across the globe, but that’s what pings are for. It also opens up the game to other players ruining the experience, but chances are there aren’t enough players to find a random game to drop into. Then there’s the fact of the game being for children, how will I label other players when people can have inappropriate user names? Just label them with colors? Heck some users have names that mess with the JSON used in the leaderboards.

I still expect 2 more weeks of effort to get it to where I want it to be before there’s some sort of a public beta test.

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