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Drama Royal - Facebook Schoolgirl Fighting Game

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[font="verdana, sans-serif"]Hello,

i've released an early production build of my latest game, Drama Royal. If you ever played Sissy Fight 2k, Drama Royal is a reboot of SF's core mechanics, but modernized a bit, hosted on Facebook, and with some new game elements.

If you aren't familiar, then it's best described as a multiplayer, simultaneous action selection fighting game in a chartroom where you play schoolgirls trying to ruin each other's self esteem. Games take place while chatting with other players, who you try to convince to attack each other, leaving everyone humiliated but you. The actions you perform - tease, scratch, grab, tattle, cower, or medicating - are entirely dependent on the actions taken by others, so the general strategy is to manipulate players into attacking each other until you can finish them off yourself. Lots of teamwork and treachery! A game requires 3-6 players, and 0-2 players can win.

Sadly, the graphics are still largely absent, UI incomplete, features missing, and bugs lurking in the nooks and crannies of the code. And even worse, because I've no traffic to speak of at the moment, you end up waiting a while for minimum players to show up; it's best to coordinate with friends. *If* that all doesn't turn you off, though, I'd be grateful for any indirect QA showing up in my logs.?


If you stumble over any bugs and have the time, comment on the app's wall so other players are made aware and I can comment back when fixed. It's a poor man's bugtracker, but it works for now.


I've also been keeping a fairly active twitter feed of development.:


I put this game together because, well, I love the gameplay so it scratches a personal itch, but also as a bit of a testbed for various technology.

The backend is a node.js web server built from scratch, with socket.io handling the comet layer, usually with websockets or xhr-polling. Node was a nice fit because the game is really just a glorified chartroom, and massive concurrent connections is where the platform excels thanks to JS and V8. For a database I'm using MongoDB, whose document format works well for the transitory and relatively self-contained nature of most of the game data, and which has a non-blocking driver that makes it natural for calling in node.js, to say nothing of the json portability. Mongo's cache also means I don't need to run a separate cache layer.

There's a global lobby socket which can theoretically support 1000s of users, while each game is part of a multicast socket private to the players. Authorization is simply done via the browser session, and then a secure socket connection over https.

The whole stack is hosted on a single Amazon EC2 micro instance (you can get these free, btw) at the moment, on a 64bit ubuntu image I customized. I just use a single-user git server hosted on the machine for handling deployment, and a combination of upstart and monit scripts to keep it all running.

The frontend is JQuery, but otherwise nothing special. It's obviously a Facebook canvas app, and I created a number of Facebook test users for initial testing; I should note that I haven't used the test users for awhile since they used to not work with half the APIs, but the feature appears fully integrated now and I was able to do everything a normal user could. Facebook mandates ssl, so I had to install a certificate on the server to even begin live testing on Facebook, so that was rather annoying if unavoidable. I'm calling the new Facebook game scores and achievement APIs, so I'll see if that turns out interesting. Facebook has had a habit of killing its game-specific APIs in the past. I'm also prepared to use Facebook Credits. I haven't finished the game mechanics to make it worthwhile yet, but so far the credits API will do everything required by the game, so that's a relief; Facebook recently mandated Facebook Credits on canvas apps, so this wasn't really a choice.

Anyway, check it out if you're interested in that sort of thing.[/font]

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Just remarking on a few notable updates:

+ can vote to kick unwanted schoolgirls from pending drama
+ schoolgirls now have editable bios
+ improved onboarding and UI
+ more FB integration (Like button, Facepile, Scores, Achievements)
+ homeroom chats are tailed so that you see the last 25 messages from before you connected
+ added a (configurable) soft sound alert when new players join the homeroom or a drama

Most of the updates revolved around improving matchmaking, directly or indirectly, and better communicating player presence.



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