Looney Labs Icehouse Mailing list Archive

[Icehouse] Volity Treehouse (and other games)

  • FromAndrew Plotkin <erkyrath@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • DateThu, 9 Feb 2006 17:29:57 -0500 (EST)
When Andy tossed up the Treehouse rules a couple of weeks ago, I figured it would make a good test for Volity. (We want to be a good platform for rapid game development, right? Treehouse is rapid. :)

So I started working on Volity Treehouse.

Then Andy started changing the rules on a daily -- then hourly -- basis. Heh. Fortunately, I'd been delayed by a bunch of annoying memory leaks. (Not Treehouse-related; just general bugs in our Java code.) So he wasn't actually changing the rules out from under me; just slightly ahead of me.

I now have a working draft of the game. You're all welcome to try it.

We also have drafts of Fluxx, Aquarius, Barsoomite Go, and Space Station Assault. (SSA is a (non-Looney-related) card game -- published by Your Move Games in Boston.) And tic-tac-toe, if you're interested. Rock Paper Scissors is currently offline for renovation.

You start any of these games the same way: download our game client program, Javolin. This is a Java app, so it should run on anything. (Windows and Linux users may have to install Java first. Macs come with Java.) Once you have Javolin, you can register an account on our system and browse the list of games.

Full instructions are at <http://volity.org/betatesting.html>. Follow links from there.

Feel free to leave feedback on any of the games, or the client itself. Yes, we're aware that the client has lots of rough corners, and in fact lots of completely missing corners. :)

I note that Treehouse is set up to allow solitaire play -- I found that it was entertaining that way, so I left it in. Your other options for solo play are Fluxx and Barsoomite Go, both of which have robot players available. (Albeit *very stupid* robot players.) All the games support multi-player play -- that's the real point of Volity, after all.

How well did the "rapid development" go? Pretty well. I spent two or three days on the server-side code for Treehouse, and about five on the user interface. (Treehouse is actually quite complex, UI-wise, since the six moves require six completely different kinds of controls.)

At this point I'm confident that most Icehouse-style games can be implemented in Volity in one to two weeks. A game like Aquarius takes no longer to code, but then you have to draw all the cards. Fluxx and Zarcana are a pain for both coding *and* art -- no surprise there.


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