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New. What do I need to learn to make a web-based game? (sort of like old BBS games)

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Hello there everyone! I'm new to everything (know how to write basic html websites) and I'm wondering what it is that I need to learn to do what it is that I want to do! I'm looking to make my own web-based game, that is kind of similar in fashion to those old BBS games like Legend of the Red Dragon, and TradeWars 2002! :) I was surfing around on the web and came across this game called FaitH. While I don't really like their game, I *do* however like the fashion that it is in! (it pops up in a window from your browser, and you play the game through it, no downloading of a "client" necessary!) Here's a picture in the game manual of a small part of what the game looks like a bit: http://www.dragonclawstudio.com/faith/rpg/manual/?pg=20 Well, you can only get a small feel for what it looks like from that pic. Basically though, like I said, if you ever played Legend of the Red Dragon, or TradeWars2002, you know pretty much what I'm after here. Something of that sort, that can be played on the web. I'd like for it to eventually turn into something that many people play, and that I can charge a small fee for. (hey, alot of users + small fee adds up :D ) Soooooo! Do any of you have *any* idea of what I need to start learning to make my dream a reality? I'm sure it's probably alot, but I need to start somewhere! Please let me know what I need to learn and I'll start learning it! Thanks! :) ~RedSwan

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Well, obviously you need to design the game, work out the mechanics and all those little technicalities.

Then, for a web-based game like that, it's usually a good idea to go with an established server-side scripting language, like PHP, or (ugh) ASP, and a database backendey thing, like some form of SQL.

You can download PHP and MySQL for free, and install them as a webserver on your computer, last I checked, so that you can start work without having to pay for a server while you're debugging.

www.mysql.org
www.php.net

For research, I'd look into writing dynamic webpages with PHP and SQL, there's a heapin' helpin' of tutorials out there.

www.phpfreaks.com

Someone already ported LoRD to PHP/SQL- it's called Legend of the Green Dragon. It's open source, so you can download it and hack around with it until you have a feeling for how the game is structured.

http://sourceforge.net/projects/lotgd

If you want to have people subscribe to your game eventually, I'd have a real close look, early on, at guides to writing secure sites with PHP, because there are a ton of traps you can fall into.

Just bear in mind that writing a good dynamic website is hard work, writing a fun game is hard work, combining the two in one shot is kinda hard too. I tried it once. Still have the design floating around somewhere, but I lost interest.

Have fun.

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themindpuppet: Thank you for the awesome response! :)

Really, alot of good information there! I will look into PhP and MySQL... why do you say "ugh" to asp? (I know nothing about it)

*awesome* info/link about Legend of the Green Dragon! Something similar, yet more involved and completely different, is what I'm thinking of :) hehe, but that's exactly it, being able to play through the web-browser, without having to download some sort of client. I'd like to add some graphics though (not moving graphics like a "video game", but pictures/backgrounds/etc) Perhaps even a small bit of interactive graphics as well (being able to click on an area to "move" to it or being able to "search" an area by clicking on it [if the area was a map with hexes and you could clik on a hex to "search" or "explore" it] )

Again, thanks for the info and links, I'll jump into them. I just joined, so is there a way to send private messages? If so, mind if I PM you with some questions I might have later on? Thanks again!

~RedSwan

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No problem. :)

I dont know if there's a PM feature, I havnt been here long, but feel free.

You might want to look at some client-side scripting, with Java or DHTML if you want stuff like a clickable map with animations, it takes the computation load off the server and probably reduces the required bandwidth. Just make sure you dont 'trust' any data generated by client scripts, imo they're only really safe for eyecandy.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Quote:
Original post by themindpuppet
You might want to look at some client-side scripting, with Java or DHTML if you want stuff like a clickable map with animations, it takes the computation load off the server and probably reduces the required bandwidth. Just make sure you dont 'trust' any data generated by client scripts, imo they're only really safe for eyecandy.


Hey there mindpuppet,

Please remember that I'm *really* new to all of this, and well, I don't entirely understand what you are saying here.. :D hehe. Is there anyway you can explain what you are talking about in simpler terms? :D

Also, I'm still wondering why you said "Ugh" to "ASP" in your first post above? Is it just a pain in the ass? or?

Thanks again! :)

~RedSwan

(oh, I'm off to go install php and going to start learning it :) )

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I would look into Java Applets.

I taught myself Java Applets and applications and it wasnt too difficult. Also since the internet uses Java already, you can add the applet into a websites code and it loads in the window.

Check out http://java.sun.com/docs/books/tutorial/getStarted/cupojava/

That will give you some information about Java programming

Just my thoughts,
Best of luck

SweetJ

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Well, I just prefer PHP to ASP. PHP seems to be better supported by various platforms, which might be a consideration if you create a successful game and want to find a host for it.

Plus, ASP is a Microsoft product/technology. 'nuf said? ;)

About my earlier comment about client-side scripting and 'trust' - I was perhaps getting a bit too complicated early on, but take, as a simple and perhaps unrealistic example, your login code:

You might have a script that runs on the players computer to take the password they enter, encrypt it, and send it across the internet to your server to be checked.

You want the script to encrypt the password so that noone else on the network can read the contents of the password information and easily steal the players password.

However you dont want the script to do the actual checking because you are then simply trusting the code on the clients machine to tell you if the password is correct, code which could very easily be altered without your knowledge, to simply say 'yes, this password is correct' under any circumstance.

Ok. Assuming I havnt lost you, and I might've because I'm getting a bit abstract, I suppose, you can hopefully see that data generated by the clients computer shouldnt be used for anything particularly sensitive..

As a more realistic example, maybe you have a world map where the player can click to travel around. You might have constraints in your game design that stops the player from moving more than 5 miles per day.

The worldmap would run on the players machine and when the player clicks on a place, say, 9 miles away, it would simply tell your server that the player is TRYING to move to the destination, and the server would work out how far the player gets before their turn is over or they run out of movement points, or whatever.

If you let the worldmap code simply tell the server where the player IS, then it leaves the system open for abuse. Hackers or cheats might be able to patch your worldmap code to allow them to click anywhere on the map and instantly jump there.

You cant really work out a finite number of ways that your code could be abused, so, in general, you just dont 'trust' anything on the players computer.

Diablo 2's official internet servers came in two flavours, one stored the characters on the server, so that the characters stats and inventory could always be verified. When you played on those servers, you could be assured that the people you were playing with had earned their levels and equipment. The other type of server stored the character's info on the players computer, so you could advance your character offline. The hackers loved those servers because they could alter their character files as much as they wanted before going online with them.

Hopefully you get what I'm talking about. Its the sort of theory that is dealt with when you're writing dynamic webpages with login screens and stuff, so there's plenty of information about writing safe code out there.

Anyway, I'm off. Good luck.

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