Orbital – Collaborative Game Development

I attended my first 24 hour hack day organized by NUS Hackers about 2 weeks ago. I thought that it was a good chance to do something which otherwise I may never get to do. Paul Lamere, who recently did the Midem Music Machine with Mr Doob, also wrote that hackathons are productive and are not nonsense.

Screenshot of our cloud platform

I was planning to write an HTML5 Music App with WebGL, but since I had 2 friends joining me, we brainstormed and decided to work on an idea Profound7 and I discussed before. If his nick sounds familiar, that’s because he started a project to write 52 games in this year. Its a good question how well that works out, but I thought it was a good goal to start with, and that I should motiviate myself to do something similar like 52 tools or something (music/photos/apps) this year.

Along with writing 52 games, Munir (profound7′s real name) has written his own scripting language Orbit (mix of Lisp, Lua, JS), and his own game engine Lune, built ontop of Haxe and NME for cross platform computability (Flash/Windows/Mac/Linux/Android/IoS and hopefully HTML5 once Jeash becomes more stable). All these btw are open source too and can be found on Github.

Builds for multiple platform

Download and running a native Mac build

Inline with able to help up Challenge 52, what we decided to do was build a cloud based HTML5 collaborative platform to manage game asserts (including editing game code), and allow download binary builds of the game for different target devices. Most stuff was written in javascript and node.js, with bindings to Git for file system revision. I’m a little lazy to write them in details here, but this presentation I placed on slideshare should have the details!

I think this idea is pretty cool, and while few people have seem to execute this, and foreseen that others would be going in this direction (phonegap, game closure, google playN?, etc). As it turns out we didn’t win any prizes (the winning group build a UAV system) but I’m glad we set out to do what we wanted to, which is to build something. The next thing I hope is that this goes live, even if its for a small group of users or for just Challenge 52 collaborators, I see the potential that this could be useful in real life. Well, if let’s see if there’re cheap node.js hosting too.

Finally, remember check out the Challenge 52 project if you’re interested in game development and would like to participate in it! If you’ve questions, you can also contact me on twitter.