Multiplayer Go

So in a few days of high productivity we have the basic multiplayer game working. I still have some tweaking to be done for the most basic, turn-by-turn saving, multiplayer to be fully functional. For example, whether a person is “alive” is not being updated to the server. To prevent a search through all of the Power Stations each time the game loads, I’d like to just be able to retrieve this and assume it’s correct.

I was however able to play a game with two different browsers open, doing a game refresh (not a page refresh) to reload the current state for the next turn in the next browser. And it was a bit of a slaughter. I’ll worry about balance a bit later, once the game has a few of it’s missing components filled in. But for now, I have multiplayer, and i feel good about it. My goal for today is to get the tweaks in place I need for the turn-based saving (such as the alive state above). I’m considering if I should do the action-based saving now. (To disallow people from undoing bad results in the middle of a turn)

Well, I suppose I don’t have too much more right now. I will be working on my resume and getting in touch with some of these outplacement guys soon.


Well, it appears that I now have some free time on my hands. So I will be doing a few types of networking.

The first type of networking is the one for Global Skirmish. I’ve already made a great push on Friday and Saturday and currently have Network Games being created. However, as I finished that up and started looking into it this morning I realized that I still have a lot to do, and it’s not all server work. Next, I have to save the state of the game (which will if necessary, save not just the general state, but also save the middle of the turn state) which will need to have work done in the JS and the PHP. I hope this won’t be too tough actually. The final step will be to setup some type of login state, where users can come to the site, login to their account and have access to their games. For the time being, I’m considering making the games only accessible from a triggered email (that is to say, once you create a game, the server will send out an email to the playing parties and you will have access to the game through a session id that is sent to you.) Just all stuff to consider that didn’t need to be considered on a hot-swap game. I hope once I have the multiplayer working to be motivated and finish up the other large pieces left. I have to check exactly what those are, but since I have some free time so I may be able to manage it.

The other type of networking is the one where it nets me a new job at the end. My job at Massive is sadly in the past, which brings my timely return to where it all started. Programming board games on google maps on my website. Now I haven’t figured out how to convince people to play GSkirm yet. I do have a tutorial in the works somewhere. But it won’t be the same as “remember that board game you grew up playing? try it online!” It will be more like “remember those board games you grew up loving? Try my tribute online!” So I have to do some real networking and get my interview suit in shape, and my interview skills re-sharpened. Sigh.

Any ASoOJ fan out there just want to give me a job?


Well, I went through and cleaned up wordpress a bit. Deleted a bunch of the spam users, added my twitter account to the sidebar. So a quick recap on my projects for this site.

The first which is the larger of the two is the board game Global Skirmish that is based in Google Maps. Currently, the game play is mostly finished and the multiplayer work is the largest piece still left to be finished. I would like to get the multiplayer done, but I’ve been quite on and off with this project (mostly off) and whenver I do get on, I end up rewriting code or tweaking with the game design. So no progress gets done. I’d say the game engine itself is around 75% complete, and the multiplayer aspect is only around 10% complete.

The other project is an unnamed XNA game that I’ve been working on. I wrote a quick little XNA game previously. That isn’t worth sharing at all, as I was really just trying to get the hang of how the system worked and all that. The gameplay was terrible and winning took too long in certain situations, the design took all of 10 minutes. The new XNA project is actually a classic game that I’ve been writing up. So we’ll see where it goes. That one is in preliminary stages, just getting the code base up in running. Drawing things properly. So we’ll see where it goes from there.

Out like a lion

Well so much for the posting every two weeks that I started off the year so well with. Anyways, I figured out (with some guidance) how to make Twitter useful. Follow lots of craft breweries. They might not post the best stuff everytime, but you learn some useful stuff.

So I have been working on the backend portion of gskirm lately. Trying to make multiplayer a bigger possibility. Things move slowly, but I was able to get a good few hours work in this past weekend, and maybe I’ll get some more in this coming one. Also, one of my buddies from college has been talking to me about XNA so I might start that back up too.  Well that’s it for now, things are busy enough at work that I don’t want to be too busy coding during my free time. So I guess we’ll see how it goes.


Well, it’s cold outside in the New York area and I think I’m done with winter. Now don’t get me wrong, I appreciate actually having seasons unlike some areas, that don’t have any besides rain and not rain. But no matter, I’ll soon be on vacation in the caribbean and the warmth and ocean waters will be a great change of pace. I have some things at work to finish up before I disappear for a week, and I would also like to get some stuff done on one of the projects I’m working on here.

I think at this point, I’m considering my major projects to be Global Skirmish (obviously) which has had it’s ups and downs. If I can get it to the point where people will be playing it and providing feedback, I think that would really bring the final push I need. We’ll see what happens. Maybe one of these weekends instead of getting sucked into an activity, I’ll devote the time to really fleshing out work. I think one of the things I actually need is a little note like a have at work telling me how many work items I currently have to do. Knowing is half the battle right?

The other major project, which I haven’t really started yet besides the idea, is a game show based XNA game. I’m not sure where the Eureka for that came from, but I really want to do an XNA project, and I already did a quick sample game for a “board”-ish game with simple rules, with the idea to have fast paced game play. The game isn’t really fun or anything, I was just experimenting with XNA. My graphics work needs a prayer and maybe an artist, but I’ll worry about that in the fit and finish time.

So that’s that, and we’ll see how it goes. I do want GSkirm to see the light of day, and if I get it running well enough, I may consider porting it to XNA as well, but at this juncture, I think it’s best to flesh out the GMaps game to high potential before moving forward. One of the biggest items is a client-server protocol, which I’ve been saying is daunting for a while, but yknow. Maybe I just need to man up and do it.


Well I got a Mr Beer for Christmas, which is kinda is the beer brewing equivilant of web programming with Frontpage. But no matter. I’m putting wort and water and yeast into a little jug and in a few weeks I’m going to have my own beer. And I’m sure it’ll taste decent enough. Hopefully it doesn’t spoil or anything like that. I’ll let you guys know. I’m a big hophead so I did the wheat beer first to get all the kinks out. And I’ll do an IPA next. It should be pretty fun.

On the accounts of games, I decided to buy Mount and Blade from steam for 7.50$. I love buying indie games and I had thought about getting the demo for M&B for a while, but this was a great excuse to try it out and purchase it. I may have to get Maw too, but we’ll see about that. I’m glad that quality of these games are high and even though the gameplay of M&B is repetitive it’s the type of game play I enjoy. I used to play a game back in the mid-90s called Legion. It was a turn-based strategy. Moving troops around Europe and playing the different empires who all had different expansions and troop trees. M&B reminds me of this along with a thicker RPG element, and I played it today for hours without complaint. We’ll see how long I’m addicted to this one, but for 7.50 I’ve already had more entertainment than how much it cost me to see The Wrestler earlier this afternoon (which was splendid as well).

Oh well, maybe next week we’ll be back to programming.

Mid-month updates

So I’m currently trying to post blog updates right around the pay period. For me that’s the 15th and 30th, so I’ll just call that twice a month and go for there.

I won’t always have game related updates every 2 weeks, but I’ve been much better in the last few weeks with updating a few things, and have had my will rekindled on this project. I’ve recently added some setup for badges, the reward system for taking over regions. Most games have such a reward system, in Risk it’s cards, in Axis and Allies it’s more money to spend, and in Global Skirmish it’s badges. Your question might be: hey tehdip, what’s the difference between the card system of Risk and teh badge system of GSkirm. And I’ll just have to say that it’s quite different. The main similarity is you can only get one of each a turn. The system isn’t in place yet, but I have it all written out. I’ll try to decern it’s affect on the balance of the game, but I’m quite pleased with the idea of them. This along with the technology will be the crux of repopulating energy and combat.

Another change I just did last night had to do with Obelisks. I’ve had this idea of the Obelisks for a while now, and the whole point was great risks and great rewards type thing. If you want to use the Obelisks during the game that’s all well and good, but just be careful. If you leave your resources on one, it can be bad. As resource regeneration is a bit slower, this can be a painful blow. Now the additional part was to cause some collateral damage. I’ve added this as defaulted on option. If some energy is on an obelisk at the beginning of the turn, at the end of the turn the Obelisk will “surge.”  Originally, this just meant all the energy was wasted. But, now this has changed to dealing collateral damage. I haven’t quite filled in how much damage, but the surrounding regions will take some relative amount of damage, and then that Obelisk will be “smoldering” for a round, and be unoccupiable.

Well, those are some good updates for now I think. I’m definitely chugging through some of the stuff I want to. And have a good two computer system setup. So I’ll aim to have another updated after the Super Bowl.

Speaking of which, congrats to the Cards and the Steelers.


Happy New Year everyone. In the last two weeks, I’ve been spending my time playing a bit of games, reading a bit, and programming a good amount on Global Skirmish. I ended up scrapping the virtual dice portion of the combat system that I came up with and decided that I should only have a version of a game that would translate well to a physical board.Now that means the combat system needs a bit more reworking (due to how it calculates losses from battles) but is stable enough to play for now. There is still a major missing aspect from the game and another minor one that seems to slow the game down while I’m testing how things work.

The ultimate goal is to make a World Domination type game that doesn’t take 2-4 hours to play, like some of the other ones out there. I’m attempting to do this by speeding up combat. In a game like Risk, each time the players roll the dice only 2 units max will be removed from the board. Combine that with giving out continent bonuses, and cashing in cards, there may be 20 times you need to roll the dice during your turn. Maybe even more if you had a big stockpile somewhere! In Axis and Allies it takes longer because the different ships and planes have different attack values. This slows things down because you now need to roll in groups.

It is weird to be playing a game that you’ve created rules, and attempted to create balance, and halfway into the game feel like you don’t know what to do strategically, or are contemplating that doing nothing is the right strategic move. Unfortunately, I rarely want the “do nothing” strategy to be optimal. Although, once I implement the technology phase you wouldn’t be “doing nothing” but instead “building up.” In the current state of the game, doing nothing will allow the generic technology to be granted to all of your units.

Maybe the thing I’ll work on this weekend is either the tutorial or the rules writeup so if you stumble here you can actually play the thing instead of not knowing what’s going on.


Well, it’s the time for winter holidays no matter which one you celebrate, it’s always nice to have some tradition with your snow (I’m talking to you Las Vegas).

So I’m off from work until the new year, and have plans to work on Global Skirmish during this time. I revised some of the rules in my head recently, and will be pushing these changes through the javascript version.

One of the major changes will be reducing the number of countries from 60 down to 36 (so far). One of the things I was trying to do when creating Global Skirmish was to reduce the number of attacks (higher volatility) and quicker game pace. Now, I’m not sure how far I’m going to make the javascript version. For now let’s see, rules complete, no online multiplayer, no AI. We’ll see how it goes when i get working on it. Hopefully I don’t need to ramp too much back into the gmaps api. If so, it might be different.

Some Free Time

So I have a few days off from work next week, and I think I’m going to take advantage and try to work on one of my many projects that i have going on. I was debating making FreeCell on the Zune, but right now I think I want to minimize what I’m working on since I don’t seem to allocate necessary free resources to it.

I do want to push forward with learning XNA and improving my C#. So I may either continue to approve my quite hackey board game sample (which has minimal gameplay and strategy) or try to get GSkirm onto the big screen. I’m a bit nervous about having all the art resources to handle. We’ll see how this goes.

Happy Thanksgiving.