Multiplayer networking for modded open source game?

  • Hello, I want to make an RTS game that allows users to write their own AI for units. However, I have limited resources, and am thinking of modding an existing open-source RTS to add this functionality, rather than build my own game from scratch. Or at least at first. This would be a good way to gauge interest and get feedback.

    It looks like there are a lot of open-source RTS games that fit what I'm looking for, such as 0 AD, Warzone 2100, Glest/Megaglest, etc. And their licensing is very permitting (GNU GPL and CC BY SA), so it looks like I'm welcome to mod their games, and then release my mod wherever I want, as long as I include attribution, and release it also under GPL with the source code included. I was thinking of releasing the mod on either Steam, itcho.io, to gain visibility and to take advantage of their premade features for packaging, delivery, and matchmaking of the game.

    However, I was looking the matchmaking aspect, and am a little confused. Steam talks about servers here: Partner.steamgames.com which says basically that you can use the Steamworks API, but need to provide your own servers, or have the player's computers act as the servers. I'm guessing the latter would probably be impractical given the genre (RTS), but don't have a lot of experience by which to judge.

    What I'm looking for is something that's not a lot of work to connect people in multiplayer games. I'm happy to pay for servers, even if I don't end up charging anything for the game. I'm not sure what goes into linking servers to steam to allow matchmaking, and how much of it is done for you.

    I also tried to look into how 0 AD does matchmaking. It looks like it works directly through the game (like the old "multiplayer" option in Age of Empires), but beyond that, I'm not sure.

    Anyone know more about this sort of thing?

    Thanks!

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