Getting started on web game dev

Have you ever wanted to create your own web game but were unsure how to go about it or what languages you would need to learn to do it? Or even know what languages to use but not how to get them to work on your home machine?  Well this post should give you a starting hand.

Currently on the web, most browser based/PBB games are written in PHP/MySQL. Yes there are other languages used but I will cover these first.  Both PHP and MySQL are open source languages, meaning they are free and have a ton of online communities and support. Personally I am using those languages for the few games I am working on/plan on working on.

So, what is PHP? PHP put simply is a server side scripting language which returns html to the clients browser. What this means is that PHP isn’t ran on the players machine, but ran on your server. This give’s a little security because players can’t see your code, meaning they don’t know passwords, variable names, equations.

MySQL? MySQL is your datbase. It is the thing that stores your players information, such as names, experience, levels. You can even use it to record money transfer in game, mail, friends, and any other form of information you would like to view later.

Now, you have an idea hopefully what both of these languages can do for you. But how do you get server side languages to work on your home pc so you can build and test? Well the easiest way is to download and install WAMP if you are using a Windows PC.   (Mac version : MAMP Linux – A guide on setting up a LAMP )

WAMP is Windows Apahce MySQL PHP. Basically it installs a server (Apache) which is needed, since it basically turns your pc into a mini server to run PHP/MySQL which have files that interpurt the  scripts. After you have WAMP installed, are good to go. Browse into your wamp directory and you’ll see a folder called www. You will want to place your scripts there for testing.  So lets say you write your first PHP script :

<?php

echo “Hello world”;

?>

You save it out and drop it in your WAMP www folder. You go to your browser (no need to be online) and type in http://localhost/*name of file*

To create databases is also pretty simple. Click on the wamp symbol in your system tray and click PHPmyAdmin. There you can set permissions, create databases, and insert info. I will write a starters guide for myAdmin at a later date  and demonstrate the basic way to connect, insert, delete, whatever using PHP.

So after that you may think that PHP/MySQL isn’t for you but you still want to create web games. Well for web games you need a back end (database) be it SQL, MySQL, Access (*shudder*), Oracle or whatever database language/server to have access to.  You also need a scripting language of some sort, the two most popular PHP and ASP.NET, though others do exist.

You can also use other languages such as JavaScript, Java and XML to handle some of your information instead of relying on just your scripting language.

I hope this has given you the knowledge you need to know, not to script, but to know where to start looking. I know personally when I first started I didn’t know what languages to use, or what options I had.

Also, for anyone that develops, please feel free to post the languages and set up you use.

PBBG

Persistent Browser-Based Games

Thats what PBBG is, and many of us developers/players work on/play.

Bud (the guy that owns the PBBG I linked to) was trying to define the genre because it’s not quite a MMOG because it’s played in a browser. And this is what he came up with.

If you are unsure of what style of game this describes, its a game played through the browser where after you long off, the game world still exists and so does your character. It is often defined by 1000’s of players playing a game where they interact very much like a MMOG.

If you a player/developer support this project! This is our chance to make it known that we exist. To make our little corner of the net larger, better… and overall, provide a better playing experience to everyone.

Hello all!

Hello everyone, I am bardicknowledge, founder of this little blog.  Let me start by getting right to the point and saying what we are about here.

The idea that drives this blog is that as a community, we can help each other improve upon our browse based game or our table top games. I’m sure all of you developers out there, at one point in time, have been stuck, trying your damnedest to  think of the perfect way to have an action performed or how a rule should be applied, or what numbers should be used. This is part of the reason is blog exists: To help developers in need.

The second part is to raise the standard of games. Everyone wants their game to be the best, the most enjoyable to play, the most addicting. But how do we do that? How can we achieve this level of greatness? Well as a group, I hope to study others mistakes, figure out where they went wrong and how to improve upon that area.

So, interested yet?

Here’s the thing. I can’t do this all myself. I can’t tell everyone the details to every genre. I can’t give you the secrets to the perfect game. Sorry. But here is what I, actually, WE can do. WE can all work together to bring articles, links, code, anything, together here for others to review and comment on.

You may be saying, “how can I  help this community”. Well this is how. Go to the contact page, and my email is there. Send me an email with articles, links whatever. Just be sure to include your name so I can give you credit for your articles/code/finds.

I hope this has caught your interest and you will all come back to see what we can pull together.

Oh! I almost forgot! Have a game YOU made?  Send me of a email (contact page). I will be listing contributors games on a ‘Games’ page.  So make some comments, submit some content… be a regular and I will gladly link from here to your game ^_^