Link Drop

 

Some recent links and blog posts that will be of interest to networking engineers in games & VR:

  • Please stop writing new serialization protocols - XDR exists and if you can use it, you should
  • LawBreakers Dev Diary #7 | Netcode & Replication - this short videos has some nice visualisations of client-side prediction contrasting with server-side prediction. It leaves many issues hanging (such as how to re-synchronise) and the visualised disrepancies look small, but it gives a good idea about what the fundamental problem is. I will use this in future lectures.
  • Learning Go? A simple test server that supports ~9000 clients over UDP wirepair/basicudp.go
  • A reminder to follow the articles of Gaffer on Games. We recently took another look at his work for an upcoming networked physics experiment. He posts a lot of interesting links, and is writing a series of articles on networking on games that may turn into a book.

Project Sansar

 

SecondLife from Linden Labs has been one of the most successful shared virtual environment platforms. Although not the first by any means, it has attracted many users. At UCL we have used it for various purposes over the years.

SecondLife was architected in a period when the performance of the target computers was considerably lower. In particular, the graphics performance of machines is much higher. Unfortunately immersive virtual reality is now pushing even the best graphics engines to their limits and the SecondLife engine cannot cope.

Linden Labs have announced a new platform codenamed Project Sansar.  Details are a little thin on the ground at the moment, but you can listen to an interview with Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg on the excellent Voice of VR podcast.

RakNet Open Source

 

Very good news: RakNet is now Open Source (modified BSD license)RakNet has a very broad spectrum of facilities that you need to build your networked graphics system. We used RakNet in the examples in the book (though they need minor updates which we will try to do in the next couple of weeks).

Unfortunately we had had to stop using RakNet for some of our activities because we had commercial partners (and the licensing terms didn't support mixed commercial/academic projects). So this is new licensing scheme will definitely help.

 

Chinese Translation

 

Our book was translated into Chinese by Tsinghua University Press. Amazon CN listing here.

AWS 3D

 

Definitely of interest to several projects that I've been involved in recently: since November 2013 Amazon Web Services has been offering a G2 instance type that comes with the NVidia GRID cards. Now to try to persuade some local students that they don't need to buy new graphics cards, but can do their testing online.

$0.702 per Hour is quite steep (today's pricing for Ireland data centre), especially when compared to the "workhorse" instances, such as the m1.small ($0.065 per hour) but the smallest configuration is 8 CPUs.