Debugging Multiplayer Games

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It seems that every few months I read a post-mortem or I hear about a case where a team had to cut multiplayer at the last minute, because it didn’t fit into the schedule, or they couldn’t get it working, or because they want to “focus on the singleplayer experience”. This is especially true of teams that try to convert their existing singleplayer codebase to to support multiplayer.

Hell, I’ve even been in this situation myself with Mercs2, and I can tell you we only just made it by the skin of our teeth – despite having a good team, the full support of the studio and plenty of resources to help us out.

So why is it that so many teams fail to integrate multiplayer at the last minute? Why does it at first seem to be going so well, but then bog down as teams struggle to get it multiplayer to shipping quality?

In my experience it boils down to this: debugging multiplayer games is hard. Not just your ordinary hard. More like pulling your hair out, grown man reduced to tears, holy shit it’s 6AM I’ve been up all night and the E3 demo is in 4 hours and it still doesn’t work hard.

So in this article, I’m going to share my general process, techniques and tools that I use for debugging multiplayer games.

I hope these techniques will help you out debugging your multiplayer game!

Read the article in Networking for Game Programmers

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