[messages] [Developers] Newbie seeking suggestions for new game

Danielito dtoffe at yahoo.com.ar
Sun Dec 18 14:42:42 CET 2016

Hi all,

    I'm starting to plan a new "PBEM" game with simultaneous turns
resolution, kind of Diplomacy or Dominions 3, but with a fantasy theme,
more like Warlords or Age of Wonders. I stress that it is a new game,
not a Vassal module, but since I need to resolve some functionality that
Vassal already provides, I hope this is not considered too much off
topic here. I would be glad to ask this in another more appropriate
forum if someones point me to it.
    Its code will be open source and, even when I'm planning to develop
only for desktop, I want it to be easily portable, so I've chosen libGdx
framework. I don't want to depend on any of the cloud services offerings
like Google Play Services, no matter how free. I mean with respect to
APIs, not hosting, I'll have to most likely host some kind of server in
some place.
    I've put PBEM between quotes because it's not strictly by email, but
resolving the turn when all players have sent their commands by
whichever means.
    So my question is, how should I provide for connectivity and data
sharing between the players, considering both desktop and mobile players
in the same game "room" ?  Most of what pops up on my searches refers to
networking in real time MMOGs, not turn based for a handful of players.
    So far I've identified three possibilities:
1. Central server with rooms: This is what VASSAL does and I guess this
would be the easiest to implement.
2. One client starts and host the game: This is what Dominions 3 does,
but it relies on manually sending and receiving by mail and copying into
a specific folder the data files. I don't know how to connect the
players with each other, beside some kludge like connecting by POP3 to
one predetermined email account and parsing the messages.
3. Peer to peer: This would make it hard to keep the players
synchronized, because the game is not meant to be deterministic but
provide some randomness, encounters for example, so all clients must
process turn orders in exactly the same way, so doing it in a central
server is likely a better idea.
    So, could somebody share some advice about how to design for such
requirements ?

Thanks all !!

PD: In case somebody wonders why such a game, there is about a dozen
nostalgic old RPG table top gamers who burned saturday evenings in the
early 90's playing Dragonlance. Today they are scattered in three
countries, with full time jobs and children. This game would allow to
play small 10 minute turns every 2-3 days, even while commuting, enough
to keep the role playing spirit alive.

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