IGN Entertainment's GameSpy division has announced the addition of a Competition SDK to its suite of In-Game solutions. The Competition SDK enables developers to auto-submit accurate game results and statistics to competition based sites, allowing casual gamers to set up and manage private tournaments with personalized ladders.
The new Competition SDK also directly communicates with the Arena Tournament site, enabling professionally managed tournaments with the look and feel of the game, or casual on-demand tournaments managed by individuals or teams that do not require game players to manually report their wins and losses, according to the company.
This automation saves gamers time and reduces opportunities for errors or cheating. The new Competition SDK can be used in combination with other GameSpy SDKs, such as Matchmaking, Chat, and Dynamic content, as the developer deems appropriate for the game.
"Competition is a huge community driver. This new software lets developers incorporate sophisticated leaderboards and other statistics without learning SQL or doing backend scripting," said Jamie Berger, vice president and general manager of IGN Entertainment's Publisher Services. "We have seen game players fall in love with the advanced statistics in games like Battlefield 2: Modern Combat and keep playing and playing to improve their ranking. With this new software we hope to make features like that more accessible to developers so they can be used in more games."
The new Competition SDK lets game developers define which elements in the games are contributors to a ranking, what external factors like elapsed time should be applied, and the processing steps to be applied to generate a composite score. The processing takes place on GameSpy servers so as not to impact game play, and the results are returned for display inside the game, on a web site or sent to Arena. All this makes it much easier to have sophisticated leaderboards and tournaments without requiring special development expertise.
In addition to simple arithmetic operations (add, increment, decrement), the new Competition SDK offers developers several standard ladder ranking algorithms:
- Win/loss (position on ladder is determined purely by examining gross # of wins/losses)
- ELO (position on ladder is determined by score, which changes based on skill of opponents)
- Single-stat (position on ladder is determined by gross # of a single stat selected by developer, such as frags or flag captures).
Game developers can also get access to the raw feeds and data with the ability to write fully custom scripts.
The GameSpy Competition SDK will be available as part of the Premium Software Suite beginning in April 2006 at no additional cost to GameSpy's licensed developers. According to the company, over 300 PC, Sony PlayStation 2, Sony PlayStation Portable and Nintendo DS game titles currently use GameSpy SDKs.