December 31, 2009 - Progress

Just a small update to let everyone know I’m still working feverishly on Archaos’s server. It’s looking pretty good at the moment, and the server currently features:

  • Creating games
  • Joining and leaving games
  • Creating and moving pieces on the board
  • Extensive move validation (bounds checking, path checking, engagement checking etc)
  • A customisable turn/phase system (this has been an absolute pain in the arse to implement – but it appears to be working as intended now)
  • Full JSON messaging system (you talk to the server in JSON and it talks back to you in JSON, there’re no sockets, special protocols or proprietary formats)

The Google Code wiki is somewhat out of date (already!) as things slot into place during development, and I’ll update it as things become more solid. I’m currently using a private SVN, though as the project nears a working first version (and if there’s any interest) I’ll be happy to give access to the SVN – there’s a lot of experience and expertise out there, and I’d greatly appreciate a second opinion on aspects of the code!

December 29, 2009 - What have I created?


Lew: (Screaming) “MUHAHAHAHA!! IT’S ALIVE”

Ahem. Yes, I’ve been beavering away over the last few days and I can finally reveal a proper screenshot of some proper code doing something. Unfortunately, I’ve not started on a client yet, and I’m using a quickly thrown together browser-based console to work with it. However, it is a screenshot, and so I’ll upload it!

One of the fantastic bonuses of writing in Javascript is I have an interpreter with a great debugging suite at my disposal right from the outset with no messing on – Archaos’s core code is designed to run locally in a browser as well as server-side, and an adaptive messaging system will smooth the whole experience out so that what goes in and what comes out is the same wherever the clients or the servers are located.

December 26, 2009 - For people with Javascript-shaped eyeballs

I’ve started fleshing out the wiki on Archaos’s Google Code page – certainly worth a look if you’ve any technical interest in the project. Take a look and let me know your thoughts – I’ll be adding more content to the wiki as I sort out through my stacks of notes.

December 23, 2009 - Belated excuses

It’s been a very busy year for me, mainly due to my commitments at work (let me assure you this won’t be a long winded entry which eventually leads to ‘so thanks for your support but I quit’!) and as such the big project that I’m sure 99% of visitors to this site are waiting for is still under slow methodical planning and development.

It’s dawned on me that I’ve been very secretive even about the name of the project, so I think at the very least I owe you guys that – so here it is!


I think this is slightly more pleasing than ‘Chaos Enhanced Enhanced’!

I’d also like to talk about the plans regarding its launch and features, because I’m taking quite a different approach to the norm. Early on in the planning I wanted to make sure Archaos could be playable by as many people on as many different formats as possible. The general idea I had was that I’d write the game in haXe and then generate the various sets of code for servers and clients from that one source, and ‘et voila’ I’d have a cross-platform game. Since then, I’ve spent a lot of time at work playing with various web-based JSON APIs, and I’ve watched some fantastic projects appear (such as node.js, Persevere and CouchDB) and realised that, in fact, Archaos’s core could live on the web as a data-based API.

It makes a lot of sense when you think about it – you have a scalable server with a scalable database, written in Javascript (a language which I simply adore), using JSON as its end-to-end data format, accessible by anything with a web connection. Being turn-based, it doesn’t need to rely on any complicated comet solutions, and (and here’s the really exciting part) you can make your own client in whatever language, format or platform you like!

I’m really big on open source and open web, and so it’s really exciting for me to think that, although I will still be creating clients in Flash and (with Flash CS4’s leave) for iPhone, there’ll also be a well documented API out there that can be used by anyone. You can easily have pure HTML/Javascript clients, text-based clients to run in terminal windows and so on – and no matter which client you use, you’ll be able to play Archaos with anyone else.

As I said before, I’ll also be making the server and client source available (though the server source will likely need a closed development phase after launch so I can work out bugs, security issues and exploits before I make it available to all) so anyone with a Linux box can host their own server – though I’m not quite sure why anyone would want to do this at the moment, as a server will handle many hundreds, or possibly thousands of concurrent games with ease, and take care of matchmaking, login and so on. In fact this area of development will probably result in the separation of the login/matchmaking master server from the core gameplay servers.

So, to summarise:

  • My current work focus has shifted away from a unified client/server architecture, and my time is now being devoted to creating a robust HTTP-based server for Archaos.
  • In tandem to the server work I’ll have to develop a client for testing purposes, and so the first client may be a simple HTML/JS or Flash visual interface.
  • Once these are at a satisfactory level, I will announce a beta period to work out bugs, and then shortly after that I will release full API documentation for the Archaos server (which will have its own snappy name, already got a few ideas) and allow interested parties to get the ball rolling on their own clients.
  • Finally, I’ll finish and release my own client for Flash, and hopefully soon after for iPhone.

As you can probably tell, I’m fantastically excited by this whole project; indeed I can’t see why this hasn’t been done before – though no doubt it has, and I’ve just not looked hard enough… I’d love to hear your opinions on all of this – and I’d also love to find out if other people have attempted something similar!

Edit: Looks like someone has thought of this – in fact pretty much verbatim!