The History of Network Gaming

Before we focus on the history of network gaming, it is essential to understand the early propositions of networking in games. The origin and history of computer networks and the Internet need to be looked into, while centering particularly on those areas related directly to history of network gaming.

Looking back, we can see the Pentagon creating a much smaller network called ARPANET. The main aim was to help one man at one terminal to be able to gain entrée multiple machines, share data and run programs on different machines. Thus the concept of packet switching and routers was born. This system allowed efficient and dynamic use of a large number of users across a network. With the computer games becoming more popular around the same time, as the brief history of network gaming reflects, the suggestion of interactive gaming soon became a proposition. Using the methodologies mentioned before, network gaming soon began to evolve.

However, there are many drawbacks in the early stages of implementing network games, as the technology was not designed with any idea of real-time interactive gaming. Some of the early real-time problems in the history of network gaming was:

• As the routers had a finite capacity, they were able to examine and forward one packet at a time. Hence there was a delay in the transfer of data.
• As the data packets sometimes needed to be re-routed via alternative routers, it added to the transfer time.
• Initially, when there were only static routes, sometimes the data packets would hit a brick wall if there was a line went down.

There were two different types of network game architectures, the client/server type games and peer to peer games in the history of network gaming. While peer to peer network gaming involves two or more games talking to each other, the client/Server involves one machine running the game and communicating to all the clients the state of the play. It is impossible to say which of the twp prevailed more than the other. But as the internet began to take shape, almost all online network games have some degree of client/server architecture to them.

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