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Feature: Big Shared Screen Multiplayer Gaming

In this <a href="http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/3649/carry_small_game_large_big_.php">technical article</a>, an Intel team worked together to produce a game based on a 'shared gaming' concept, using a Java/Flash framework to allow mobile Internet d

Eric Caoili

May 6, 2008

2 Min Read

In this technical article, an Intel team worked together to produce a game based on a 'shared gaming' concept, using a Java/Flash framework to allow mobile Internet devices to control a big-screen game with participants in the same location. Do portable games have to be small? Seeking to push the limits of gaming, this Intel team decided to challenge the notion that only small games can exist on small devices and build a prototype framework that allows gamers to play on individual handheld devices while sharing a larger screen. "We set out to see what a "carry small, game large" framework might look like if we assumed: - The game clients will be mobile internet devices or small-form factor PCs connected to the internet. - The game is multiplayer -- we believe that most gaming is best done together. - The game framework should gracefully deal with groups of people as they gather and disperse. This means no installation of game software on game clients. - All players had access to a common, large, shared screen. - The supported games were not "twitch" games. While much of the responsiveness of the framework varies with network speed, the framework itself introduces some delay unsuitable for twitch games. In order for this game model to work, the team considered possible locations where the shared screen framework would be appropriate: "The last assumption we made -- a shared screen -- is as intriguing as it is unorthodox. Requiring all game participants to be physically co-located restricts where this new game model can be used. We envision this game model being used in coffee shops, malls, theatres, conventions, and more. We also see this used in bars, where today group games are sometimes played, but with proprietary controllers as opposed to any internet-capable device. While the shared screen assumption is restricting, it also frees the game designer to leverage the myriad of human-to-human communications. Because people can all see the same screen, they all can see and hear each other. When we tried playing this way with groups, they were able to strategize and laugh with one another because they we co-located. We also found the in-game taunting was good spirited -- nothing like a lack of anonymity to suppress some of the uglier side of multiplayer gaming." You can now read the full feature, including the framework and source code, for the team's ambitious "shared gaming" concept and Tanks Game model (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from other websites).

About the Author(s)

Eric Caoili

Blogger

Eric Caoili currently serves as a news editor for Gamasutra, and has helmed numerous other UBM Techweb Game Network sites all now long-dead, including GameSetWatch. He is also co-editor for beloved handheld gaming blog Tiny Cartridge, and has contributed to Joystiq, Winamp, GamePro, and 4 Color Rebellion.

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