Enhancing Player Relationships

Enabling friend relationships can greatly enhance the experience for users in a variety of ways above and beyond what you have implemented thus far. Adding friend support may seem like a very lightweight social feature, but imagine how you can build up more social features from this simple starting point. Player relationships allow developers the flexibility to enhance applications in a variety of ways, such as the following:

► The application server could send an email invitation to any friend who did not already exist in the database.

► Players do not need to be restricted to the Android platform. Other platforms (web, iPhone, BlackBerry, and so on) could easily be added. This means friends could contact the same application server and play each other across platforms.

► Friend relationships could be one way or two way (showing up on one or both players' Friends lists). Different trust relationships could be established, allowing players access to different types of information about other players, including friends' answers to questions and their favorite place in the world.

After a friend relationship has been established, more application features could be added, including challenges, messaging, notifications...the sky's the limit. Use your imagination.

The complete implementation of the friends feature as described in this hour may seem incomplete—and it is! Any application incorporating a similar friends features should, at minimum, allow the player to manage (for example, view, delete) his or her existing friend relationships. However, these improvements are left as exercises for the reader.

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