The blog is being migrated and merged with multiple Imphenzia blogs so the format and content will be inconsistent for a while.

Networking with Unity3D

For years and years I've been wanting to create a network multiplayer game. Ok, I already created one about 10 years ago called Netris but that is a type of game that does not rely on any sort of speed or major synchronization of game data.

I tried to implement network multiplayer capability to Performa Cars (previously named "Computer Touring Car Championship") - but I had to throw in the towel in the end. Too many design issues with the game itself (how the physics was implemented) and lack of proper networking libraries for Blitz3D proved to be too big of an obstacle.

New hope

Today I bought an asset package called "Ultimate Networking Project" for Unity 3D. It's a combination of a tutorial and a bundle of useful scripts and functions to simplify multiplayer networking in Unity. I've read through the 25 page tutorial and looked at the included examples and I'm very hopeful to be able to create a multiplayer game in Unity.

What appears to be promising in Unity is built in functions for interpolation/extrapolation of object positioning along with client-side prediction and server authority. If these terms are alien to you, let me assure you that they were to me as well when I started to make Performa Cars. It's a world of hurt if you have to learn and develop all these functions by yourself - but as I mentioned, Unity appears to have this under control.

My first project is to create a simple top-down space shooter (using the low polygon 3D spaceship I recently designed.) The purpose of this project is to learn enough about Unity and networking to have another go at the top-down racing game I've always dreamed of creating.

New approach to releasing tracks

I update this blog only when I have something to say and also when I have time, and today it happens to be twice! As I mentioned briefly in my previous post I've simply released a track once it's finished without saying anything ahead of time and also saying very little once it's been released. Unfortunately Imphenzia is basically 99% productivity and 1% promotion which is not how it should be if you want to reach out to a wide array of listeners.

My first step towards making Imphenzia more interesting is to announce the release of tracks ahead of time. What I am trying out is first of all compiling a YouTube video clip of the track with some simple yet colourful graphics. By embedding this on my web site and also announcing it to channel subscribers on YouTube and though Imphenzia on Twitter it raises awareness and hopefully the anticipation of a coming Imphenzia track.

My second step is through the new Next Release page. Here I announce the track that is queued up to be released next and I also give visitors an opportunity to request this track to be released totally free to the public. The idea with this is that promotion and word-of-mouth is extremely valuable and by relying on a larger number of people requesting the track to be released for free it would encourage fans to spread the word further in order to reach the goal of requests before the release date. The reward of this is a free track in exchange for promoting Imphenzia through social networks, messaging, twitter, blogs, etc. I set the goal to 300 requests for the first release although some serious WoM will have to take place in the next 3 days to get there, but I am still hopeful!

By the time you read this the release date of October 31 2009 may already have passed for the Tranquil Edit of Duplicate My Soul, but there might be another track queued for release so please have a look at this page http://www.imphenzia.com/release - request the free release if available and make sure to tell everyone about it!

My third step is to offer competitions where everyone who participates will at least get something (generally in the shape of free music) with the potential to win something bigger. The first competition is a task to write a short review of Duplicate My Soul and post it again on social networks, blogs, and music forums. You can see the competition page here to get the idea: http://www.imphenzia.com/music/competitions.php

So whether these steps are the right ones or if they are effective means of promoting my music remains to be seen but again, I am hopeful!