2D Online Multiplayer Game Engine – Anyone?

In order to create a 2D online multiplayer game, I sort of need this thing:


Torque2D comes quite close, but not sure how much Torquescripting would be needed and I have some prejudices against Torquescript. Unity could handle also 2D but the discussions that took place in the forums suggest me that there’s some gamestopper issues with the networking (all sort of hacks needed for master server to get it working online for example)

Any recommendations for a 2D online multiplayer game engine?

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. I actually agree Juuso, and I think I remember you posting awhile back how you had made that mistake, and the developers broke your game as you went along and upgraded to the newer versions of the engine. That would be a terrible situation to be in, especially because commercial engines cost money. If you’re still in need of a similiar engine, keep us in mind around June of this year, which is when we hope to have our first Release Candidate ready for release.

    I would caution anyone considering RPGMaster to realize that the Alpha based version of this engine is not even close to being ready for production use. Wait until Release Candidate 1 at the earliest before planning your big online game project with RPGMaster. You need a stable, easy to use, and decently mature engine if you want to make a quality indie game, and you’re never going to find that in an engine that’s in it’s Alpha or early Beta phases. The only reason to buy now would be for the $100 discount, the lifetime of free plugins, to learn about the product early and/or to help fund the final legs of our development cycle.

  2. @Jeff: Yeh, I was checking this out while you asked about the Insiders membership. My earlier project taught me not to go with an alpha status engine so unfortunately I’ll skip this one. It does look good though.

  3. @Michel: Well, in reality Flash is okay. I just had to give a lame excuse for “I don’t know how to code Flash” ;) Hey, please feel free to email me – I might have a thing or two to ask.

    @Dave: I’ve actually been doing javascript stuff for ages and have extensive knowledge on that. Yeh, debugging is a beast but not something that’s impossible to do.

    Different browsers are a real mess (I know), but not necessarily anything that couldn’t be solved. jQuery is definitely the one I’d use.

    Another alternative what I was thinking would be to simply use something like BlitzMax and do http calls for the server every now and then. Not sure what kind of issues that could cause, and it sounds bit dangerous path :)

  4. My RPG engine is still in it’s early stages of development. It uses plugins for everything, meaning you can use the default 2d PHP/Ajax sprite based game engine if you want, or use the 3d plugin and have the game rendered in first person 3d using low poly models and heightmaps.

    The engine is called RPGMaster:

    Like I said, it’s still early in the development, and it won’t solve your MMORPG engine needs until early 2011 when the MMORPG plugin will be nearing gold status. We’ve got the Social Plugin in the works which will provide some multiplayer experiences this June (player vs player battles, giving away items, etc) but is still not a true MMORPG.

  5. A problem with Ajax is distribution. If you can’t manage to get people to you then you have to get the game to them. I’ve been struggling a lot with this though by relying on Facebook and now Kongregate it’s possible to reach a mass with Ajax (unless getting people to you is no problem).

    Also count additional time for debugging. Just because your code is W3C compliant it doesn’t mean it will go through every browsers without problems. If you concentrate on getting it to work on Firefox at first than Safari, Opera and Chrome shouldn’t be too much problems. IE on the other hand … Safari also has some weird issues involving frames and redirection but it usually is less trouble than IE.

    Of course keeping an eye on all browsers as you go is better but can take you off course if you’re not careful how your time is spent.

    As for Javascript library I’d recommend jQuery simply because the community is quite active and if you don’t want to waste time reinventing the wheel on each small bit of code you need than it might save you a couple of minutes. I used Prototype for Golemizer and did struggle a couple of times to find the piece of code I needed so I had to do it myself while the same was already available for jQuery. Great to experiment and learn but not that great to get things done in a timely manner.

  6. Too bad you don’t like Flash ;)
    It’s really a great platform for gaming (and multiplayer gaming, look at Dofus for example, one of the most successful multiplayer game recently, going over WoW in France for example…)

    But if you like to go Ajax way, there is tons of solutions to deal with that kind of need, would be helpful to know what kind of interactions you want. It can go from memcache based solutions (tried that), to cloud DB solutions (great for scaling but far more complicated to deal with).

    Don’t hesitate to hit me up, that is kind of my area of expertise, would be a pleasure to help out (considering how much i learn on your blog)

  7. Flash for client side is a good pick. Like said above, AS3 implements raw sockets (and is going deeper with AIR), don’t worry about the iPad (i don’t believe in its success).
    As for the server, SmartFox Server is one of the most used one in the Flash gaming community, and it’s easy to develop plugins/mods for it as it is supporting Java, AS, Python and Javascript for server side scripting.
    And also if you want to develop multiple versions of your game (say one in Flash, and one in Objective C for Iphone OS), it doesn’t require much to run those multiple client through the same server.

    Give it a shot, the trial version supports up to 20 concurrents connections, enough for developing.


  8. isn’t one of Unity3D’s selling points that it can do multiplayer easily?

  9. AS3 and a cloud database. Nothing else otherwise players won’t be able to play it without a plugin.

  10. Flash would seem to be the natural solution for this. It does 2D well, has connectivity (even raw sockets), and has great penetration. Sure, you can’t put it on the iPad, so you have to decide if that’s a problem or not.

    Drop me a line if you want to know more. I’ve done a bit of research into Flash and can point you toward some resources if you want.

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