The three working modes of DimensioneX
Article nr. 003
This article illustrates the configuration options for choosing the client/server model to be used, and the placement of multimedia files. The concepts explained here are essential to understand (and be able to use) DimensioneX in multiplayer or single-player local mode (configurations B or C).
After you decide the working mode to be used, and after the multimedia files (images and sounds) have been put in the correct place and are accessible, you just have to edit the World file.
The explanation of the three modes follows, with the configuration to be used.
Mode A - Light and distributed
Recommended use: You need to minimize load of the computer hosting the multiplayer game. This is - for example - the configuration used by the World3net game (The beach - optimized for multiplayer) which you find in the DimensioneX kit. By using this configuration you can comfortably host 20 players and more on a normal PC equipped with a normal 56K modem.
How it works: (See picture below) The ordinary user plays with the browser only so he needs no file installed on his PC.
During the game, the user accesses the DimensioneX server engine, usually hosted on the developer's PC (or the java web server provider). The DimensioneX server engine is actually a Java servlet, which produces an HTML page showing the client its game view.
The player's browser is now ready to show the game view, but still it misses the scene graphics, the icons, etc. All this graphics is usually kept on a separate web server (lower-right corner) in order to reduce game server workload and used bandwidth. Please note you that a free web space account can be used, also.
picture 1 - Mode A
How to configure: In the game file, search for the WORLD definition and, in particular, the IMAGESFOLDER attribute. Here you specify the URL of the folder containing the multimedia files. For example:
According to the above example, each file specified with a relative URL will be searched starting from the "pics" folder, hosted at: "www.dimensionex.net".
Mode B - Classic Light
Recommended use: When the game server has a fast connection and a wide bandwidth. Use it also when you are testing a game locally before publishing it, or also when playing in local mode. This configuration does not require an Internet connection. Sample games in the DimensioneX kit (except for world3net.xml) use this mode.
We call it "Classic" because copies the behaviour of a classic web site (dynamic content stays together with static content) and "Light" tells that once again the player needs not to download anything, just the browser is needed to play.
How it works: The ordinary user plays with the browser only (in the picture, top-left corner), he needs no file installed on his PC.
During the game the user accesses the DimensioneX game engine hosted on the game server ("localhost" is used for using the local computer). The DimensioneX game engine is a servlet which produces the players' game view as an HTML page.
The browser is now ready to display the game screen, expect it still need to fetch the game graphics. This is found on the game server itself, under the DimensioneX web tree.
picture 2 - Mode B
How to configure: In the game file, go to the WORLD tag and, in particular, to the IMAGESFOLDER attribute. Here, specify the URL of the folder which on the local server contains the multimedia files. Example:
According to the above example, each file specified with a relative URL will be searched starting from the "pics" folder in the "dimx" web tree of the local server.
Note (for the newbies): There must be a correspondence between the URL /dimx/pics/ with an existing folder on the local server hard-disk, for example: C:\tomcat\webapps\dimx\pics\. The "pics" subfolder cannot be created in an arbitrary folder, but it must be created in the web server's web tree (that is for example: C:\tomcat\webapps\).
Mode C - Heavy Client
Recommended use: When the maximum speed of execution is required. This configuration implies minimum network load and the management of the graphic content is done locally and quickly on the player's PC. Nevertheless, each player must previously download and install the graphics, which limits the use of this configuration to non-occasional or slightly expert players.
How it works: The ordinary user plays with the browser. He should have a folder in its local disk where all the multimedia content for the game is stored. The folder name and disk containing the files must be the same for all player, which puts a limitation on the players' client type (typically, it may be Windows- only).
During the game, the DimensioneX game engine is accessed by the player. The game engine is a servlet producing HTML output. The player's browser displays the game scene and at this time quickly fetches the graphics from the local PC's hard-disk.
picture 3 - Mode C
How to configure: In the game file representing the game, edit the WORLD tag and in particular the IMAGESFOLDER attribute. Here, specify the local filesystem URL of the folder which should contain the multimedia files. Example:
According to the above example, each file specified with a relative URL will be searched in the "C:\gamefiles" folder that should exist on the player's PC.
Note: Beware at the number and direction of the
slashes. There are additional risks: if the player changes the name of the
folder or simply moves the folder from drive C: to drive D: the game graphics
won't appear and the game will show badly. This is why we usually recommend
using configurations A and B.