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Interview with Marco Secchi

Marco Secchi is the author of Multiplayer Game Development with Unreal Engine 5 we got the chance to sit down with him and find out more about his experience of writing with Packt.

Q: How did you become an author for Packt? Tell us about your journey. What was your motivation for writing this book?

Marco: I had already written two books (a looong time ago…) on game and application development. They were about Flash and Flex but it was not a brilliant experience (it was just before someone told me that Flash was dead!). When I was contacted by Packt on an Unreal Engine multiplayer book I was really happy to test myself again on this kind of journey. Additionally, this was my first book in English (the other two were in Italian, my native language). I love teaching and writing a book is just another way to pass my knowledge to other people!

Q: What is the name of your book?

Marco:  Multiplayer Game Development with Unreal Engine 5: Create compelling multiplayer games with C++, Blueprints, and Unreal Engine’s networking features

Q: What kind of research did you do, and how long did you spend researching before beginning the book?

Marco: I had already a strong experience in multiplayer development, so I already knew what I wanted to write about. However I needed some time (about two weeks) to get things organized by reading the official Epic Games documentation and reading a book or two, just to throw the dust off my networking knowledge.

Q: Do you have a blog that readers can follow?

Marco: I usually post my thoughts and tips on LinkedIn and my public projects are usually published on GitHub.

Q: What key takeaways do you want readers to come away with from the book?

Marco: Unfortunately, available multiplayer documentation on Unreal Engine is a bit fragmented on the internet. I tried incorporating my personal observations and experiences as a game developer and academic teacher. This will hopefully help readers streamline their learning path on this huge topic.

Q: Can you share any blogs, websites and forums to help readers gain a holistic view of the tech they are learning?

Marco: I have always had the official documentation opened on my second monitor! Additionally, a must-visit is Tom Looman page (https://www.tomlooman.com/). Finally, I’d recommend the Unreal Slackers Discord server (https://unrealslackers.org/), where you can ask anything Unreal-related, including multiplayer development.

Q. Did you face any challenges during the writing process? How did you overcome them?

Marco: I decided to go the hard way and leave once more my comfort zone: the book had to be about a full project! This meant carefully planning things ahead: the Unreal Engine multiplayer framework is a really complex thing and, most of the time, topics have some sort of circular reference (i.e., topic A needs topic B, that needs topic C, that needs topic A explained). For each chapter I started by developing the full code about a topic and, once everything worked properly, I started writing the chapter itself. This involves a lot of time thinking and planning, but it works!

Q. How would you describe your author journey with Packt? Would you recommend Packt to aspiring authors?

Marco: My experience with Packt has been absolutely stunning! As I already said, I have already written two books, but it was some sort of “one-man army” experience. This time it was more like “a man with an army”! I had so many supportive (and patient) people helping me that the hard task of writing a book was made easier for me. I absolutely recommend Packt to aspiring authors (so much that I have asked a fellow teacher to write a soon-to-be-published book for Packt!)

Q. Why should readers choose this book over others already on the market? How would you differentiate your book from its competition?

Marco: There is truly no other book available in the market that is quite like this one and documentation on the internet is quite fragmented. The book is crafted from my unique perspective and from the official Epic Games documentation.

Q. What is/are your specialist tech area(s)?

Marco:  Academic teaching, Unreal Engine, and Unity development, photogrammetry.

Q. What advice would you give to readers jumping into this technology? Do you have any top tips?

Marco:  Play a lot! I’m obviously speaking about multiplayer games. And while you play, try analyzing things from a game programmer’s perspective. Once you have completed a chapter of the book, play again and try to find out where the techniques you have just learned have been used in the game. And start this loop again!

Q. What’s your take on the technologies discussed in the book? Where do you see these technologies heading in the future?

Marco: Multiplayer game technologies have revolutionized the gaming industry, allowing players to connect and interact with each other in virtual worlds. The advancements in networking, internet infrastructure, and game development have made multiplayer gaming more accessible and immersive than ever before. And things keep on evolving!

Q. Do you belong to any tech community groups?

Marco: I belong to so many Discord servers that I can’t list them here! Additionally, I belong to the Epic Developer community (https://dev.epicgames.com/community/)

Q. How did you organize, plan, and prioritize your work and write the book?

Marco: As weird as it may seem, I love using paper and pencil! Lately, I have been gifted by my lovely wife a remarkable device: I get things organized there.

Q. What are your favorite tech journals? How do you keep yourself up to date on tech?

Marco: I read Game Developer (https://www.gamedeveloper.com/) and although not technically a tech journal, I am an avid watcher of the Game Developer Conference YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/@Gdconf)

Q. Would you like to share your social handles? If so, mention them below.

Marco: Sure, here they are! GitHub (https://github.com/marcosecchi), LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/secchimarco), Twitter/X (https://twitter.com/the_bit_cave)

Q: What is that one writing tip that you found most crucial and would like to share with aspiring authors?

Marco: Have a (very) clear idea of where you want to go. I love this quote from Seneca: “Ignoranti quem portum petat nullus suus ventus est.” (No wind is favorable for the sailor who does not know which port he wants to reach)

You can find Marco’s book on Amazon by following this link: Please click here

Multiplayer Game Development with Unreal Engine 5
Multiplayer Game Development with Unreal Engine 5 – Available on Amazon.com