The Blog

Posts from January 2013

Jan 31

Agora Games at Global Game Jam 2013

By Elliott Haase

The Global Game Jam (GGJ) is the world’s largest game jam event. Think of it as a hackathon focused on game development. It is the growth of an idea that in today’s heavily connected world, we could com together, be creative, share experiences and express ourselves in a multitude of ways using videos - it if very universal.

The Albany chapter of the International Game Developers Association is the host for the GGJ in our area in upstate New York. Each year the crowd seems to grow, and this year was no different with over 40 people participating in the weekend long event being housed at SUNY Albany. This year’s Game Jam took place on 6 different continents, in 63 countries, at 321 different sites. This truly is the definition of an international event.

The theme for this year’s GGJ was “Heartbeat”. There some projects that dealt with the theme by having the game adjust to how fast or slow you moved. If you moved faster, your heart rate increased along with objects in the game. If you slowed down for to long, you would die. One of the titles dealt with Social Anxiety for their game. The game’s objective was to try to approach a certain person at a party you were attending. As you got closer to that person, it got harder to move and function, much like in real life for people who suffer from social anxieties.

Agora Games is a big believer in shared knowledge in the gaming and tech industry, which is evident by our extensive catalog of open sourced projects. We have been a proud sponsor of our local GGJ for a couple years now, and each year we send over a few people to check out the action and talk with the teams. Check out some photos below!

Above, Clarke Foley (standing) and Mike Jodon (ball cap) from Agora Games meet with a team that was working on a game that adjusted to how fast or slow you  moved in game.

Below, Cat Musgrove and Issam Khalil show off their certificates for being awesome at this year’s GGJ

If you want more information on any of the teams mentioned here, please click below.

Global Game Jam | International Game Developers Association | Agora Games

Jan 29

Hydra Mobile - Realtime Communication

By Elliott Haase

Hydra Mobile is the newest product from Agora Games and each week or so we’ll be releasing detailed information about features, an update from the beta, and anything else that you folks might want to know about Hydra Mobile. If we’re not talking about what you want to know about, let us know, and we’ll get that information to you info@agoragames.com.

Realtime Communication

Hydra facilitates low-latency bidirectional communication of game events. Developers using Hydra can focus on the aspects of their multiplayer games that are unique and compelling, without having to manage the complex and costly network infrastructure that is often required to support those games.

This realtime communication will primarily be used in conjunction with our match service. With the power of cloud storage, matchmaking, and realtime messaging being in the same software stack, we can offer some amazing features.

The realtime server can also facilitate notifications that originate from our servers. These notifications can be anything from game invites to achievements awarded. Notifications which are sent via the realtime server can offer faster delivery and can contain larger payloads, although, notifications can also be sent via other channels if your game isn’t using the realtime server.

Beta Update

And, just as a quick update about the beta, we are preparing for a mid February launch of the expanded beta. Current beta users don’t need to change anything, so no worries. If you’re interested in getting into this next phase of our beta, please head to hydra.agoragames.com and click the sign up button. This next phase is still a closed beta, but we will be expanding the group of testers so we can begin load testing our systems.

Jan 28

Zero downtime deploys with unicorn + nginx + runit + rvm + chef

By David Czarnecki0

As it’s more code than prose, we decide to write up our experience on enabling zero downtime deploys with unicorn + nginx + runit + rvm + chef in the form of a gist for easier updating of the code portions. Enjoy!

 

Jan 25

Game Face

By David Czarnecki

“Game Face” will be our weekly round-up of our internal and external open source work here at Agora Games. Internal open source refers to our public projects that you can find over at our Agora Games GitHub account. External open source work refers to projects that we contribute to in off-hours and may or may not have anything to do with video games because we’re swell folks like that. Pretty simple right? Here goes…

capistrano

capistrano is a utility and framework for executing commands in parallel on multiple remote machines, via SSH. About 7 months ago, we submitted a pull request to intelligently set the :scm setting depending on what version control directory was found. The 2.14.0 release incorporates this pull request.

Contributor(s): David Czarnecki (GitHub, Twitter)

chefvm

chefvm is a simple Chef environment manager, with usage inspired by wayneeseguin/rvm. We noticed that the “current and default” identifiers didn’t match, so we submitted a pull request to make sure they did match. Swapping characters never felt so good!

Contributor(s): David Czarnecki (GitHub, Twitter)

Jan 18

Game Face

By David Czarnecki

“Game Face” will be our weekly round-up of our internal and external open source work here at Agora Games. Internal open source refers to our public projects that you can find over at our Agora Games GitHub account. External open source work refers to projects that we contribute to in off-hours and may or may not have anything to do with video games because we’re swell folks like that. Pretty simple right? Here goes…

gamertag

gamertag is an interface for accessing your XBOX Live profile and game data. In the 1.1.0 release, support was added to retrieve friend information for a given gamertag.

Contributor(s): David Czarnecki (GitHub, Twitter) and Andrew Nesbitt (GitHub)

tassadar

tassadar is our fast Starcraft 2 replay parser written in pure Ruby. The 0.2.0 release incorporates a pull request to add JRuby support.

Contributor(s): Emmanuel Hadoux (GitHub)

Jan 11

Game Face

By David Czarnecki

“Game Face” will be our weekly round-up of our internal and external open source work here at Agora Games. Internal open source refers to our public projects that you can find over at our Agora Games GitHub account. External open source work refers to projects that we contribute to in off-hours and may or may not have anything to do with video games because we’re swell folks like that. Pretty simple right? Here goes…

amico-python

amico-python is our amico project, originally written in Ruby, ported to Python. Amico allows you to create relationships (e.g. friendships) backed by Redis. This version has 100% feature parity with the original Ruby library.

Contributor(s): David Czarnecki (GitHub, Twitter)

tassadar

tassadar is our Starcraft 2 replay parser written in pure Ruby. A pull request was submitted to eliminate one of the native gems used in previous versions of tassadar. This would allow tassadar to be used with other Ruby implementations such as JRuby.

Contributor(s): Emmanuel Hadoux (GitHub)

Jan 4

Game Face

By David Czarnecki

“Game Face” will be our weekly round-up of our internal and external open source work here at Agora Games. Internal open source refers to our public projects that you can find over at our Agora Games GitHub account. External open source work refers to projects that we contribute to in off-hours and may or may not have anything to do with video games because we’re swell folks like that. Pretty simple right? Here goes…

amico

amico is our Ruby gem for managing relationships (e.g. friendships) backed by Redis. The 2.3.2 release fixed an issue where the call to reciprocated? in the internal method addfollowingfollowers_reciprocated was not passing along the scope.

Contributor(s): David Czarnecki (GitHub, Twitter)

strumbar

strumbar is a wrapper around ActiveSupport::Notifications with preconfigurations for basic instrumentation to be sent to statsd. We updated the library to use the latest statsd-ruby library, since we were using an out-of-date version. A new release of strumbar will be cut shortly.

Contributor(s): David Czarnecki (GitHub, Twitter)

tassadar-server

tassadar-server is a new project released in 2013! This simple rack-based web service uses the pure-ruby Tassadar library to parse uploaded Starcraft II replay files and send a JSON response. This service is designed to enable Tassadar in polyglot or browser-based projects where Ruby may not be the significant language.

Contributor(s): Logan Koester (GitHub, Twitter)

Jan 3

Why we're excited about Ouya

By Steven Flenory

There has been a lot of talk these days about the new, kick-starter funded console “Ouya”.  The team at Agora Games is particularly excited about this new platform….read on to find out why!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U39L4mEyIRc

For those of you that don’t know, Ouya is a new gaming console that is powered by Android.  It’s whole purpose is not to replace existing consoles, but to open up your TV to games from all types of developers, professional and indie alike.  They are even building the console so that the hardware can be easily modded by “hackers”.    The removing of these boundaries from a console is most definitely going to allow some amazing games to come to your TV that you would have otherwise never played.

Yesterday, we received our Ouya dev kit in the mail, and immediately began uploading our own games.  We learned that not only does our new platform Hydra Mobile complement the Ouya model of being accessible to all developers, but it also is supported right out of the box!  We had our games running smoothly on our Ouya with profile stats, leaderboards, achievements & match-making.

We are in full support of the Ouya team, and we look forward to supporting them in Hydra! Sign up for our beta now and see how you can integrate online services for Ouya!

Ouya Homepage: http://www.ouya.tv/

Ouya on Kickstarter: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ouya/ouya-a-new-kind-of-video-game-console?ref=live

Hydra Mobile: http://hydra.agoragames.com/