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Stick Veterans online: Good news & Bad news


After loads of work, online multiplayer for Stick Veterans seems to be progressing very well. In fact, it is nearly complete, as showing in recent tests.

Today I ran the first playtest with 3 people; we connected over Hamachi, a free VPN solution, and it pretty much went smoothly (except for some non-critical bugs).

Bad news is that LAN connections might be the only thing supported, with little hope for worldwide online games. I already mentioned that in the game's web pages (Itch.io post / Gamejolt post) but I shall lay down the whole story here.


In commercial games, online multiplayer is achieved by putting up dedicated 24/7 servers (preferably in various locations throughout the world) to which the players connect.

In non-commercial games (like Stick Veterans), we have to make do without servers, as they cost money (non-trivial amounts of it). As such, we simply allow any player to act as a server themselves, and other players connect to them. This is called peer-to-peer networking (P2P).

The thing is, today's networks are a harsh ground for peer-to-peer multiplayer. Almost every user today is behind routers and firewalls, which are very unfriendly towards P2P.


Player connectivity is impossible unless the player performs advanced firewall/router setup, which requires technical knowledge that not every user has.

Unfortunately, this seems to be the only choice for Stick Veterans. Without the availability of a master server, players will have to make do with VPN programs like Tunngle or Hamachi, or will have to use port forwarding and also configure (or disable) their firewalls.

I have the hopes that a better solution will be found later on, or that players will adapt to these restrictions.

In any case, multiplayer Stick Veterans is soon becoming a very real possibility, something that I am very proud of.

Thanks for reading. Hopefully I will see you online in Stick Veterans matches soon.

-Kostas

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