Creating Multi-Player Networked Games in VS .NET

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16 Creating Multi-Player Networked Games
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Ensuring a Gamer Is Signed In for Network Play
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It is impossible to start a network game until a gamer has signed in. This is because the gamertag is used to identify this player on the network, and if the player is not signed in, there is no tag. The Gamer class provides a property called SignedInGamers, which contains a collection of the gamers currently signed in at your game. On the Xbox 360, it is possible for more than one gamer to sign in to a single console (this is so they can use split-screen multi-player mode in networked games). On the Windows PC, there can never be more than one signed-in gamer at a machine. The game must make sure that a gamer has signed in for network play. It can test to see if a gamer is signed in by checking the number of items in the SignedInGamers collection. If this is zero, no players are signed in. This means that the game must display the menu that lets a player sign in with his or her profile. The XNA menus are created using the Guide class, which can display a number of different menus. The one that you want is activated using the SignIn method on the Guide. The Guide also provides a property called IsVisible, which is set to true when the guide is active. You can use this to stop the guide being displayed on top of itself. Your program should only try to display a new guide menu if the IsVisible property is false:
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protected override void Update(GameTime gameTime) { // Allows the game to exit if (GamePad.GetState(PlayerIndex.One).Buttons.Back == ButtonState.Pressed) this.Exit();
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Part III Writing Proper Games
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if (Gamer.SignedInGamers.Count == 0) { if (Guide.IsVisible == false) { Guide.ShowSignIn(1, false); } } base.Update(gameTime); }
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This version of Update displays the sign-in screen if there are no signed-in gamers. If a user closes the guide without signing in, this code displays the sign-in screen again. Note that the ShowSignin method for the Guide has two parameters. The first is the number of signin screens to display. For a Windows PC game, this must always be 1. The second is whether or not to restrict the sign-in to permit only online gamers to sign in. Online gamers have profiles linked to Xbox Live. For our game, we want to allow local gamer profiles as well, and so this parameter should be false.
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Creating a Game Lobby
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Playing a network game is just like any other. If you wake up one morning with a strong desire for some Snakes and Ladders action, you have to find your copy of the game and then get a hold of enough people to join you and start playing. This might involve standing somewhere shouting, Who wants to play Snakes and Ladders until you have enough people who want to take part. In computer gaming terms, this is sometimes called a game lobby, where one system on the network proposes a game session and other players enter the game lobby and wait together until there are enough of them there to play the game. To create a network game, you are going to have to add code to set up a lobby and invite people to join your game. In the case of Bread and Cheese Pong, you need only one additional player, but the system we are going to build will handle more than two players.
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Network Games and State
We have looked at game states before. The original Bread and Cheese game had a Title Screen state and a Playing state and would switch between them. In the case of a networked game, state is even more important. There are a number of possible states that the networked game might occupy. The best way to represent these is to use an enumerated type as follows:
public enum GameState { titleScreen, NotSignedIn,
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