[messages] [Developers] Re: Roadmap for VASSAL 4

generateui rtimon at gmail.com
Mon Mar 28 07:25:31 MST 2011

> * The game server is a single point of failure and will not scale.
> Making all of VASSAL web-based, even if it runs mostly in client-side
> Javascript, will still add strain to an already strained server, and
> does not solve the single point of failure. If VASSAL must be redone
> as a web-based platform it must use technology which can run offline
> (when the server goes down). That leaves HTML5, Adobe AIR/Flex, MS
> Silverlight. HTML5 is completely unready. Adobe AIR runs on all
> currently supported platforms, but it basically a fancy Flash app, and
> I don't think it is suitable. MS Silverlight I think might be suitable
> someday, but it does not support Linux. The developer of ZunTzu is
> looking at Silverlight for ZunTzu 2, but I think it will be a tough
> nut to crack, and ZunTzu does a whole lot less than VASSAL. While
> there are some fancy web-apps out there, they all rely on their server
> and are all custom programmed to support one single game/task.

OpenSettlers does not rely on the webserver for hotseat games and
botgames, it runs completely offline as an independent webapp. Off
course, when you want to play against other players, a server is

A p2p server is also a problem for OpenSettlers, see the #1 issue:
https://github.com/generateui/OpenSettl ... es#issue/1[1] . ipv6 might
fix this partially (no more NAT portmapping horror), as homeserver
platforms like Windows Home Server, Amahi and others might solve this
problem too. 

The thing about webservers is that afaik, they are built to scale. I
don't have any realworld experience with high loads, but I can imagine
it can be easy to add servers and balance the load. It's in the very DNA
of webservers to do this. WebSockets might be a little different beast
though, as it's relatively new and doesn't really fit in the 'fire and
forget' nature of handling stateless requests.

> Bottom line is that I don't feel that all things considered there is
> any argument that makes web-based make more sense than a more suitable
> technology. You find the tools to fit the solution, not fit the
> solution around the tools..

When I set out to write OpenSettlers, I had 2 requirements: 1. All
variants of the game should be able to be implemented, 2: Users should
have no barrier to play.

1 is not interesting in this topic, but 2 is. I came at GWT because a
webapp offers the lowest barrier for users to participate. To play, the
only thing needed is to enter an URI and click a button. No other
platform could and can offer me this: Java applets require JVM install,
flash requires the flash plugin, native apps require the traditional
download-install-configure process.

The application server *must* be a 'native' application, as there is no
way to accept connections in a web browser without plugins. That's why I
plan to offer a central server to play games, but also a central
metaserver to list gameservers.

[1] https://github.com/generateui/OpenSettlers/issues#issue/1

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