Networked games and networked virtual environments exploit two well developed fields of computer science: real-time computer graphics and networking. Whilst each is a vast field with many good resources, both in print and online, this book was borne from a frustration with the small amount of material that spanned the two. Thus whilst there was a burgeoning research field, with many interesting systems and architectures, it was very difficult to find a text that gave an in-depth overview of the problems of networked graphics.
Whilst there are already resources that do explain technical aspects of networked graphics, they start from a rather high level of assumed knowledge about the practicalities of building systems. We aim to make networked graphic software more accessible by clearly explaining how to get started with building systems, explaining the pitfalls and system requirements and contrasting various approaches to architectures and middleware. We then examine some key aspects of networked graphics focusing on latency and scalability. We give examples of novel and influential systems and outline the state-of-the-art in research. All this is supported by working code examples for illustration purposes.