Essay by PaperNerd ContributorUniversity, Bachelor's February 2002

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Choice Of Implementation There are several reasons as to why PHP was chosen to implement the game as opposed to JSP. The members of the group had previous knowledge of PHP from an assessed coursework submitted at the end of the Spring term. The group originally attempted to implement the first stages of the game using JSP but the errors produced were not very helpful, also connection to the JSP server was very unreliable. PHP syntax is easy to learn as it is derived from Java and C, two languages which the group have studied indepth this year. Also the browser did not crash often while implementing PHP documents. All these factors combined resulted in the group deciding that PHP was the best method of implementation.

Design and Structure Of The Game Design The game is based around a database, which holds information about players and planets (entities controlled by the computer), and all interactions between players themselves and between players and planets take place via this database.

The database contains the following information group login ids and passwords, crew details, ship details, planets details, good held, messages etc. The game was designed according to the specification provided, but as the specification was very open-ended it made very few constraints on the design. Deciding on the protocol was a continuous and iterative process, the aim of the group was to decide upon a protocol, which replicated trading in the real world as closely as possible.

Layout (Structure) The Game is structured such that the first page loaded gives two options one for new users and one for existing users. By clicking on the respective buttons depending which type of user you are two different pages are loaded.

If the new user button is pressed a page loads which extracts information about the team, allocates a group number which serves as a login id for the game and matches it to the password specified. Once the details are completed correctly and confirmed, the user is able to commence playing the game.

If the existing user button is pressed the login page is loaded which requests the groups login id and password, if these details are correct and match, checked using the database, the group is able to commence playing the game.

Once a group is ready to start playing the game the main interface page is loaded up, this page is made up of 6 frames. Two frames display information regarding the ship and the crew. Two frames display buttons which relate to functions available to the group to play the game. One fame, the largest, is the main display frame and the results of all the actions undertaken by the group will be displayed here.