Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Massive Multiplayer map made

I've been working on a huge map for use in a massive multiplayer game and have finished it's first incarnation. This map is called continental shift and has 106 Build Points for a maximum of that many players. It is a very approximate version of a map of the world composed entirely out of a custom tileset of colors. Althought it is huge I believe that the map is also suitable for 50 players and will be fun.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Gallery of new maps

Ever since the map editor has been in a de-facto completed state I have been dabbling with creating different variations of map that would be played when Phalanx gets completed. I will just show you a few of the maps that have been made with the current tileset we have to give everyone an idea of what these maps will look like:

Ancient Greece

This map is an approximation of a map of ancient Greece. These are many islands (hundreds) that weren't put in because it would crowd the map too much but this map is already a pretty large map sporting 13 players maximum.

North America

This map was an experiment with using a custom tileset but turned into a colorful map rendition of North America with the 3 primary countries (Canada, the United States, and Mexico) clearly color coded. It also includes an approximated carribbean and is fun for about 8 players.


This map was actually based on a concept art picture of Phalanx I had rendered in photoshop. Since then I have decided to turn it into a nice small 4 player map. Islands lets players compete for the very scarce resource of land and makes naval dominance the primary tatic as no land unit is safe from a sea to land attack.

Mainland Race

This map works by setting all players in a start point in one section of the map. The object of the beginning game is to race your units to the mainland and establish yourself before your enemies do. This creates a more interesting scenerio in terms of game play as many different tatics in the beginning game can alter the course of the whole game.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Map Editor done and map respository up

Here is a preview of the map editor with the new map screen overlaid. The state of the map editor rignt now is what we are going t0 use until we finish the game play. At that point, we will take a look at the map editor and see what else we can do to polish it off. The next item of work will be diving into the network code and getting back into the server and client interactions that we began with. In the following weeks we should have something along the lines of a server capable of logging in users and chatroom interactions.

Getting back to maps in general I set up a map respository on the google code site that will house many user generated maps. This will allow players to download common maps over http rather than rely too heavily on the Phalanx server. Phalanx servers will still serve maps not in the repository but users will primarily check the repository first.

As far as the tile set contest is going. I have decided to give 2 weeks more time because there have been interest in it but writing the tiles is more involved than I thought it would be.

UPDATE: Because google code has a no-delete policy I switched the repository address to and some of the maps are already up.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Calling all artists: Friendly Competition 1 11/14-11/30

I am a programmer by trade, and a pretty decent programmer at that, but I am no artist and I would rather have a great looking game, than a good one with mediocre art. This is why I am throwing out a little friendly competition for anyone who wants to do a little tile art.

I am looking for the best looking map tile art with the following criteria:

- All Tiles must be 48px x 48px PNG files
- They must fit with theme of a typical map on Earth (no Mars map tiles)
- Each tile must correspond with the game's terrain type (Will be explained below)
- There should be at least 3 variations of each terrain type. Bonus points on geographical variations (Winter forests vs Tropical rain forests)

The following Terrain type is present for all maps:

- Grass
- Forest
- Tundra
- Water
- Swamp
- Marsh
- Desert
- Mountains

I ask that everyone use their imagination and see what they come up with. The best tile set will be used as the default map tile set in Phalanx, as well as given recognition in the game as well as on this website. The top other 4 tile sets will be included in game as given as alternative tile sets for people to use as well as the usual credit.

Here is what you need to get started.

My Default Tile Set: This file is the baseline on the file structure on the tile set file. The tileset.xml is straight forward for anyone to follow when referencing their images. Assume everyone is case sensitive as this game will be cross platform.

Send all submissions to by November 30th.

There will be at least 2 more contests on here as soon as the map editor is done for who can produce the best map.

All your contributions will make Phalanx a better game and I will be more than happy to have anyone of talent help me in this area.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Map Component is Done

The map displaying component is functionally done. We have tested a sample map made by hand (very tedious without a working editor at this point) and we have something that displays, and navigates. It's really good to finally have this piece out of the way as I was sure that it was one of the hardest pieces to accomplish, especally since I haven't done very much in the realm of graphics programming. With only a few tiles i've made in the default tileset it isn't much to see right now but when the artwork starts coming in, as well as having a complete editor to work with things will definitely look more interesting in the coming weeks and months.

Here is a sample screenshot I rendered up from a testmap I made.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Maps Tilesets and Main Menus

Well I haven't been much for blogging pretty much this whole year, probably because my development on Phalanx was very sparse at best but I come bearing screenshots, information, and progress. In the past month I have really been working up the code for Phalanx. There is now a client that can connect to the XMPP network, the server can do some basic things like login, and the graphics engine is in the process of being done.

A lot of the development work that has been going into Phalanx has been a good deal of code clean up, code redesign, and framework implementations. There is a message framework that will make sending and receiving messages as clean as ever. Before I go any further let me show you the main menu of the client with its aesthetically pleasing very large icons.

Here you can see the layout is very simple and to the point. Users will be able to log into the XMPP network with 1 simple click as well as, once on, be able to access the server nodes and begin playing. On the left you can see the Preferences and also a map editor. That is one of the big things to get done as well. Phalanx will need good maps to make the game as enjoyable as possible and anyone is welcome to send them in. The map editor will be done early and packaged as a standalone program so that map making can happen as early as possible.

This screenshot while less impressive is a debut of the graphics engine component that is very actively being worked on. Right now it is just being displayed as part of a development test but it is displaying tiles in a very lovely fashion and pretty soon it will be able to load up maps.

All the code and materal is constantly being updated and is on our development site of

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Progress so far

Just want to let you guys know where we're at so far with development. We have been working extensively on the server, laying the ground work for database storage code and user related stuff. Right now a user is able to create an account on a server node as well as login. Logging in doesn't yield very much at this point since we haven't yet gotten the client created but that is our very next stop. For then next couple of weeks development will be slated towards getting a clean, neat, working client that can interact with our server node.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Phalanx Breaks ground, Goes XMPP

Hey, it has been a while since my last blog post on Phalanx and it was partially because we have been busy deciding how to go about implementing the game. We have a codesite up on Google Code for those who are interested in seeing our progress and possibly wanting to help. So I will spend some time talking about many of the things we have decided to do in moving forward with our game.

We have decided, instead of doing a walled garden approach with the server, like I had done with the GTADS server, where you have one account per server, we are going to piggyback the XMPP framework so that a user with one account will be able to connect and play on any number of server nodes. This also changed the client/server model and turns the Phalanx server into a IM bot on steroids. Of course this will all be transparent when you fire up the soon-to-be clients, log in using your gtalk accounts etc and connect to a server node. All players will need to be concerned about is playing the game and bouncing from server node to server node will be a breeze.

There are several reasons we did this including the universal account concept. In utilizing an xmpp client as a server model, anyone will be able to run a phalanx server, even regardless of being behind a NAT, having blocked ports, etc. Server recognition will also be easy since running a server doesn't require going out and buying a DNS name, configuring DNS settings, or anything of that messy nature. If you run a server on "", your clients will all be able to connect to your server, even if your IP address changes, you change computers, or physically change the location of your server. So you see we have a complete protocol that many people use for IM and we will extend it to even more fun possibilities of playing a turn based strategy game with little to no headaches in setting up.

If you want to know more about what we're working on you can check out our development roadmap at the google code project site or look at what issues we're working on here.