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Archive for August, 2007

More than a year ago we started working on version 4 of our socket-server product called ElectroServer. To truly evolve ElectroServer we went back to the drawing board and spared no expense to do everything right.

I am proud to say that ElectroServer 4 has been load tested to 200,000 simultaneous users! And it supports streaming Video & Audio! ElectroServer is used by one of the largest MMOGs online, Webkinz World. It is also used to power games for VH1, Comedy Central, and Mattel.

Today we made our first official public announcement of ElectroServer 4 on the site. Check out our streaming demo (Night of the Living Dead) and real-time tank battle demo on our site.
Video
Real-time Tank Battle

I’ll be blogging countless entries on multiplayer programming techniques. It has been hard to *not* post on multiplayer concepts up till now. Consider the flood gates open…well, a little open. They’ll finish opening upon our release in September.

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If you’re in Austin, Texas September 6th then head to the convention center! Electrotank’s own Mike Grundvig is co-speaking with Michael Bayne (Puzzle Pirates) on the topic of Web Client Development Issues at the Austin Game Developers Conference.

The talk will cover the main technologies used to build web games (Flash, Java, etc), discuss pros and cons of each, and provide tips and tricks on how to avoid the most common development issues.

If you’re around you will not want to miss this one!

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As some of you may know, my company Electrotank sells a very popular multiplayer server called ElectroServer. Mattel has been using ElectroServer for a year or two now to power their Barbie Chat and Rebellion Racer, a real-time racing game.

Today they released a new fun and addictive multiplayer card game called Finish Line Card Race (programmed by Alan Donnelly of Mattel). Players control their cars by playing cards to try to get to the finish line first. The terrain can change based on a card that is played, and cards played move your car based on the current terrain and the value of the card. It is a simple and fun game.

It works on the Wii too! You can read more about it here.

Check it out!

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Note – I have edited this post. My initial post stated some things incorrectly and had a bug in the example.

For a current game project of ours users answer a tough triva question with a free form text entry. They only get one shot at answering the question — and they can only answer one question per day.

The answer comparison is done on the server so Mike Grundvig (Electrotank’s server guy) found a good Soundex algorithm to use on the server. The Soundex algorithm analyzes a string and assigns it a value. It does this by ignoring certain characters and repetition, and assigning values to certain characters. It essentially reduces any string to a phonetic value.

Soundex is really cool because words that sound similar will likely have matching phonetic values. Common misspellings usually yield the exact same phonetic value. So you can use Soundex to give a little “wiggle room” to entered answers in a trivia game (as a specific example). For example, Rosie O’Donnel and Rosy Odonel have the exact same score. This allows a person to know the correct answer but not how to spell it.

Who was the stellar actor in Kindegarten Cop? Arnold Schwartzegneger…or is it Arnold Schwarzenegger? Luckily Soundex returns the same value for each!

It seems like Soundex would be some complicated and intense algorithm. But it is actually pretty simple. This Wikipedia link shows the logic. And I was able to port over some Java code to ActionScript 3 in minutes.

Here is a simple Soundex example in AS3. Just enter any two strings and click the ‘compare’ button.

Download here.

click to view example

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Wow. It has been over a month since my last post. Things have been pretty crazy at Electrotank with no signs of letting up. We’ve created 5 new game titles in the last month alone and more than that scheduled this month.

In this post I thought I’d just talk about something we’ve been working on for much of the year. It is an on-going VH1 project for a companion site to the popular TV show World Series of Pop Culture. The site is http://www.worldofpop.com/.

So far we’ve created 7 trivia-based games for this site. One of them is called Trivia Dome and was tied to a big on-air push during the latest season of the World Series of Pop Culture. Trivia Dome is a multiplayer game. People queue up and chat while they wait for a game that starts at a specific time once a day. When the game starts everyone gets a trivia question. If you answer correctly you move on. As soon as you get one wrong, you’re out. On one day we had more than 12,000 simultaneous people play!

We’re creating a few more games for this site both single and multiplayer.

Anyway, no source files this time 🙂

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