Why I’m making a game before my next project

Quick link to the game I made

Primary Technology is a good place to work, the main reason being is that I have a lot of freedom to be creative. The ability to be creative means I get to work with a lot of different platforms and technologies. The next project I have been asked to do is a “web based really real time light-weight open source collaborative sticky note tool” AKA PrimaryWall. o_O

So let’s break that down… Web based, easy.. Really real time, not so easy when using conventions… light-weight, easy-ish.. open source, sort of easy.. collaborative, not so easy…

I could go ahead and make something with AJAX & Apache but it wouldn’t be as really real time as a lot of genuine really-real time so I’m going to be better off using NodeJS and Web Sockets. I did an example using Socket and Node a week or so ago that really got me thinking about how I can/could apply what I had learned to the projects I work on at Primary Technology.

The biggest problem I face is my lack of experience with Javascript. If I went straight into building PrimaryWall I would probably build it in a linear fashion and that would suck for an open source project because it wouldn’t feel appropriately structured.. Sure I “could” structure it all out based on what I know so far but I feel like I should do a test first and that test is to build a game using the same structure and hopefully at the same time build my knowledge of NodeJS, WebSocket + Javascript.

So I have 4 weeks to build a game then 4 weeks to build PrimaryWall (It is due at the end of March). The game will be called either “Tag” or “You’re it” and will be a simple multi-mouse game where moving the mouse is all that is required to play.

Any developers that read this think that I’m wasting my time and should just go for it?

I think this post is mostly me justifying spending the next month building a game that has been ultimately funded by the public sector.. I know this may seem a little strange but NodeJS is relatively new and so is Javascript and I really need to learn before I create as to create something that is worthwhile for other people to contribute towards….

Quick link to the game I made

Real time mouse activity w/ NodeJS & Sockets

Quick link to the NodeJS/websocket game I made — includes source

Thanks to Reddit for helping me test this.

Get NodeJS
Get npm
Get SocketIO

Create server.js
Paste in:

// Simple Node & Socket server

var http = require('http')
  , url = require('url')
  , fs = require('fs')
  , io = require('../')
  , sys = require('sys')
  , server;

server = http.createServer(function(req, res){
  var path = url.parse(req.url).pathname;
  switch (path){
    case '/':
      res.writeHead(200, {'Content-Type': 'text/html'});
      res.write('<h1>Welcome. Try the <a href="/chat.html">chat</a> example.</h1>');
    case '/json.js':
    case '/test.html':
      fs.readFile(__dirname + path, function(err, data){
        if (err) return send404(res);
        res.writeHead(200, {'Content-Type': path == 'json.js' ? 'text/javascript' : 'text/html'})
        res.write(data, 'utf8');
    default: send404(res);

send404 = function(res){

// socket.io, I choose you
var io = io.listen(server)
  , buffer = [];
io.on('connection', function(client){
  client.send({ buffer: buffer });
  client.broadcast({ announcement: client.sessionId + ' connected' });
  client.on('message', function(message){
    var msg = { message: [client.sessionId, message] };
    if (buffer.length > 15) buffer.shift();
//    console.log(msg);
  client.on('disconnect', function(){
    client.broadcast({ announcement: client.sessionId + ' disconnected' });

Create test.html
Paste in:

<!doctype html>
    <title>Multi Mouse - How many mice can I mouse eater eat?</title>
    <script src="https://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/1.4.4/jquery.min.js"></script> <!-- jquery -->        
    <script src="/json.js"></script> <!-- for ie -->
    <script src="socket.io/socket.io.js"></script> <!-- sockets -->
<h1> You can see my mouse!! ZOMG - <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFLcbBvTGns">Video explaining why I'm doign this</a></h1>    


// some random color 
function randc(){
colors = new Array('#FF0000','#00FF00','#0000FF','#00FFFF','#FF00FF','#C0C0C0');
var color = colors[Math.floor(Math.random()*colors.length)]
return color;

// When a new message arrives..
      function message(obj){
	var data = obj.message[1].split(':');
	var x = data[0];
	var y = data[1];
        var userid = obj.message[0];

  if($('#mouse_'+userid).length == 0 && userid != 'you') {
	var randcolor = randc();
	$('body').append('<div class="dot" style="background-color:'+randcolor+'" id="mouse_'+userid+'"/>'

// stops a dot being drawn for local user
if (userid != 'you'){
    'left' : x + 'px',
    'top' : y + 'px'
        var el = document.createElement('p');
        if ('announcement' in obj) el.innerHTML = '<em>' + esc(obj.announcement) + '</em>';
        else if ('message' in obj) el.innerHTML = '<b>' + esc(obj.message[0]) + ':</b> ' + esc(obj.message[1]);
        document.getElementById('chat').scrollTop = 1000000;
// A function to define how we send data
      function send(){
        var val = document.getElementById('text').value;
        message({ message: ['you', val] });
        document.getElementById('text').value = '';
// When a mouse is moved
      window.onmousemove = function(event){
	 message({ message: ['you', event.clientX+':'+event.clientY] });

// replace <&> w/ &lt&&gt
      function esc(msg){
        return msg.replace(/</g, '&lt;').replace(/>/g, '&gt;');

// establish the socket connection      
      var socket = new io.Socket(null, {port: 8080, rememberTransport: false});
      socket.on('message', function(obj){
        if ('buffer' in obj){
          document.getElementById('chat').innerHTML = '';
          for (var i in obj.buffer) message(obj.buffer[i]);
        } else message(obj);
    <div id="chat"><p>Connecting...</p></div>
    <form id="form" onsubmit="send(); return false">
      <input type="text" autocomplete="off" id="text"><input type="submit" value="Send">
      .dot { height: 10px; width: 10px; background-color:#000000;position:absolute;left:0;top:0;}

Run it with

node server.js

Test it by visiting http://whatever:8080

Quick link to the NodeJS/websocket game I made — includes source

npm install ReferenceError: console is not defined

Trying to install npm with:

curl http://npmjs.org/install.sh | sh


ReferenceError: console is not defined:

NodeJS not properly installed.

Goto NodeJS download and get the latest tar package and install it yourself. Usual install procedure:

tar -zxvf node-whatever.tar.gz
cd node-whatever
make install

Now try again and it should work ­čÖé