Comet Chaos

Thanks to Oleg for reminding me at OpenTech that I still hadn’t written this up yet…

This started out as an experiment in Comet techniques (which allow you to actively push data out from web servers without the client having to initiate the request) which quickly ballooned in ambitiousness – I didn’t set out to write Just Another Chat Application after all. The end result is a realtime multiplayer Javascript conversion of the Spectrum wargame Chaos… or a reasonable chunk of it, at least.

Play Comet Chaos now

If you’re interested in the workings behind it, check out this video from my Oxford Geek Nights presentation to hear about how Comet is like a small child on a car journey, find out how close web developers can get to world domination, and watch a live demonstration going pear-shaped.

Other resources:

But if you’d rather just dive in and have a play, that’s fine too… For those of you unfamiliar with Chaos, it’s a turn-based game for 2-8 players, each one playing a wizard who has to try and kill of all opponents by casting spells. Most of these come in the form of creatures which you can move across the board to attack opposing creatures and wizards. As ever, World Of Spectrum has the full instructions.

Be aware that the current release is rather incomplete and experimental: the repertoire of spells is limited to creatures, ‘disbelieve’ and lightning bolts, the combat system is virtually non-existent (everything has a 50% chance of killing everything else), killing wizards isn’t tested, and the finer points of game mechanics (flying/mountable/undead creatures, ranged combat, law vs chaos) are unimplemented. But don’t let that put you off…

An equally important omission – and possibly the major reason why it’s attracted minimal user testing and feedback right now – is that there’s no way to invite other players, other than marking your game as ‘public’ so that it appears on the homepage. (Non-public games still have guessable URLs, though.) To join up with other players you’ll need to organise things on other channels, such as IRC. Ideally it needs proper user signups, invitations, notifications and friend lists…

Gosh. I wonder if this could be one of those “social network” things all the cool kids are talking about? And that various wise people at conferences say you should never implement yourself, but piggyback on an established one instead? I suppose that means it’s time for me to swallow my pride and investigate the Facebook and/or OpenSocial APIs soon then.

One Response to “Comet Chaos”

  1. F6 says:

    Since I’ve never played this type of games I can’t find the fire key :) No I really I don’t tend to enjoy these games… So I think I’ll stay in trying to break gasman’s score in WEC LeMans at :)

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