WebRTC Book Review: Multiplayer Game Development with HTML5

September 28, 2015

Lots of Node. Little of WebRTC.

It has been quite some time since my last WebRTC book review. So when I got an indication that there is another book with WebRTC inside it, I had to read it. Which is what got me to Multiplayer Game Development with HTML5 by Rodrigo Silveira.

201509-html5-gavedev-book

The promise of WebRTC in this book? Learning to “create peer-to-peer gaming using WebRTC”. I was intrigued. Spent reading it a few hours – and was happy about it, even though the WebRTC part of it was limited in its value.

This book takes the reader into a “Hello World” implementation of an online HTML5 multiplayer game. It is done by taking a step by step approach to implementing the classic snake game. First in HTML5, using a backend. And then by building on top of it all the rest.

The book itself is focused on Node.js development of the game, taking care to explain and use concepts of authoritative game servers – servers that make the main decisions in a game. It connects that to responsiveness and fluidity of the game, etc.

To those interested in real time communications, this is an interesting book. It has a lot of the same thought processes of developing signaling protocols and implementing their backend, dealing with responsiveness, latency and causality of message passing. It also handles the game lobby – the place where you connect players – you can view this as a conferencing server (the signaling part of it).

Rodrigo mentions WebRTC almost in passing – as a way of reducing latency by making use of the data channel in WebRTC, but that’s about it. There’s no real discussion or example of how to integrate it in a multiplayer game where you have an authoritative server and clients that communicate directly with each other at the same time.

That said, I felt the book is an interesting one for those developing WebRTC – and it wasn’t because of the WebRTC parts of it.

If you are interested in architecture, design, signaling or just programming – this book is a really interesting read.

I warmly recommend it.


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