For the last couple of weeks I’ve been working with Alex and Tom from TinyBuildGames.com and helped them to launch private beta of a game they’re creating “No Time To Explain”. That was really lots of fun!
The first challenge was to set up a forum for the community. Since it would be far too much work to write one, after some research we ended up with three candidates - phpBB, MyBB and SMF. We went with phpBB, since it has a big community support forum, lots and lots of (free) extensions and themes and it seems to be the oldest, thus (hopefully) the most secure.
The game has social kick to it. You can build levels and share them easily through a level builder, which is built into the game. The best games are picked by the users through voting. Obviously that requires some sort of server to manage the data, so that was one of the challenges. Although we went with phpBB forum system, it still required some changes. And then I was surprised by phpBB. Even a simple password generator seemed to be quite elaborate. It wasn’t the old phpBB that was known to be riddled with bullet holes. I liked that.
PhpBB was tightly coupled together, you can’t use certain things without using others, so you need to load the whole system. If you choose to do just that, tapping into phpBB itself was relatively easy, just with a few lines of code you can get access to pretty much all of the forum code:
<?php define('IN_PHPBB', true); $phpbb_root_path = 'path'; // Path to the forum from the script $phpEx = substr(strrchr(__FILE__, '.'), 1); // Extension, in case you use something different include($phpbb_root_path . 'common.' . $phpEx); // Main phpBB file ?>
To notify only certain people we didn’t want to mail each one by hand. And because each email is personalized and contains certain information, to minimize mistakes a program that does just that was a good idea. Some PHP sendmail handled that nicely.
After the emails were sent it was just a waiting game. Personally I was curious to see how people will react. Very shortly feedback started coming in. I was surprised how eager people were to participate in NTTE’s development.
And I must say that the levels the community created were really interesting and some very, even insanely difficult! In fact tinyBuildGames guys wrote about it here.
It was really fun to work with Alex and Tom and help them. Thank you guys for the opportunity to participate and I wish best luck to you!
I really recommend you to check them out. No Time To Explain!
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