Flash games online multiplayer / Flash Games

Flash games online multiplayer

There’s no doubting the fact that “asynchronous” multiplayer gameplay, or the ability to play games one turn per session over the course of several days, is the new hot trend in mobile gaming. Many of the top multiplayer games are asynchronous, including the popular Words with Friends (a one-move-at-a-time implementation of Scrabble) and Draw Something (a unique take on Pictionary that was recently bought by Zynga for 200 million).

When my cross-platform multiplayer game, Hero Mages, launched on iOS, I thought people would be excited by the ability to play live online battles with their friends playing on PC’s or Android devices. To my surprise, the overwhelming feedback I got was “this game would totally rock if only it had async multiplayer!”

As most Hero Mages players know, I’m not one to disappoint- so I immediately restructured my priorities for the next game update to include asynchronous multiplayer. Having never programmed “async multiplayer” before, I figured I’d start like I always do: with a Google search. The returns for ” how to program async multiplayer” weren’t very helpful: I found articles talking about how async is awesome and learned about a great selection of titles that support it- but the key “how to” part was strangely absent. It then occurred to me “This would be a really great resource for game developers”, so I’ve decided to chronicle my development of async multiplayer for Hero Mages here on IndieFlashBlog.com so that we can all benefit from what I hope will grow into a helpful “how to” series of articles.

Hero Mages is built using Adobe Flash, so my program code examples will be in ActionScript 3. The design and mechanics of async multiplayer, however, are applicable for any language.

Learn from the Masters

One of the best ways to learn how to program something new is to study an application that successfully achieves your desired result. My goal is to achieve asynchronous multiplayer gameplay for my fantasy themed turn-based tactical strategy game, Hero Mages. It just so happens there’s a similar game to Hero Mages on the App Store with a terrific implementation of async gameplay: Hero Academy by Robot Entertainment. So, I’ve spent some time the past couple weeks playing the game (what better way to do research) and I’ve got to give the developers serious props: their integration of social media such as Facebook and Twitter tied in with a very effective async multiplayer user interface does a very effective job at solving the “isolated community” dilemma one such as myself might experience in a “live online” multiplayer game.

Here’s an overview of the async multiplayer in Hero Academy:

  • Automatic login to servers upon launching game
  • Invite/challenge players via Facebook and Twitter
  • Option to create a new game or find a random opponent
  • If player creates a new game, it gets added to an internal game list and waits for opponent to join
  • If player opts to join game, a random game on the internal game list is selected and the player is connected. The joining player gets the first turn.
  • Player can make up to 5 actions during their turn with the option to undo any or all of their choices before submitting their final commands.
  • Once turn is submitted, database record of game is updated with new game state and a “Push” notification is sent to the opponent, indicating to them that it’s now their turn
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