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Killer Game Programming in Java by Andrew Davison

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Chapter 31. A Networked Two-Person Game

Chapter 30 described three versions of a chat system, built using a threaded client/server model, UDP multicasting, and HTTP tunneling with servlets. Chatting utilizes a multiplayer game model which allows players to join and leave at any time and doesn't impose an ordering on when the users interact.

This chapter focuses on the more complex networked two-person game model (two-person games include chess, battleships, and tic-tac-toe). The complexity is due to the stricter gaming conditions: two players must be present, and they must take turns. Two-person games can be generalized to n-person contests, which only start when n people are present, who each take turns to play. Most board games have this kind of structure.

The additional rules complicate the three phases of a game: initialization, game play, and termination. The game only starts when there are two players, which means that one player may have to wait, and late arrivals after two players have been found must be sent away or invited to create a new game. During the game, a player who moves out of turn may be penalized or ignored until the other player has moved. A game can terminate in several ways: one of the players may win (or lose), a player may give up, or the game can stop when one of the client network links breaks.

This complexity motivates the strategy used in this chapter: first, a standalone version of the game is designed, built, and debugged, and only then is the networked ...

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