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Multiplayer And Flash

March 25, 2010

In researching methods of developing  mutiplayer/multiuser flash games,  it seems to me that multiplayer in flash is a relatively new trend in flash that started in early 2009. Here I’ve listed out a number of options for building mutiplayer/multiuser games in Flash.


Union Platform ( founded by Colin Moock and Derek Clayton. With that said I expect  Union will be exceptionally made. There is even a free server currently available for trying out Union and if you end up wanting to go farther with multiuser apps, you may acquire a Union License and they suggest a hosting company they have partnered with that comes with the union server preinstalled. There is a free Union License that you to have up to 1000 users online at the same time. I’ve heard this is more than adequate for most peoples needs.

Red5 ( Red5 is an open source flash server written in Java.

Palabre ( is an open source XML Flash Socket Python Server.

Nonaba taglined as “hassel-free”. Nonaba provides the multiuser API, you can build your game and they will host it on their site.

Also check out, Open Source Flash’s Project Section under “Servers and Remoting”  for more links.

Paid For

SmartFox Server ( Java based with an Actionscript API. There is a free version available called SmartFoxServer Lite, but it only supports Actionscript 1 and 2.

Adobe Flash Media Server ( : previously named “Flash communication server”. There is also a free to try “Flash Media Developers Server”

Mesmotronic MultiUser Server(

Game Links!

Have fun, here are some multiuser games/sites to check out:

Robin API

I had the opportunity to try making a multiplayer game in Flash as a class project. The multiuser API we were required to use for this project was called Robin ( I found the experience both frustrating and highly challenging. The frustrating part came with issues with getting Robin to function on our testing server, before we actually used the Robin class. Robin is in fact a development by one of my professors and we were in his words used “as guinea pigs to test it out”. The Robin class works without need to code on the server and instead a php script is provided that must remain running in order to pass data between users. The initial setup was simple enough, there are a few files and folders that must be uploaded to your site and you must specify the ip address of your host server in two of the files.  Despite the simplicity of step up,  getting it to work on my testing server proved difficult, I’m sure this won’t be the case for everyone as servers differ, but now that the project is done, I’m struggling once again to get it to work on my actual website.

The challenge and intriguing part of using Robin came from the puzzle of innovating with the Robin class to serve my purposes in my game.  The Robin class  gives you the basic abilities to set properties  and get properties. Setting properties implies a user is sending data out and getting properties implies that a user is retrieving data about other users. The game I developed was simplistic in it’s concept. Two robots boxing, they can punch and dodge, the first to land a certain number of hits on the other opponent wins the game. In the process of developing this game, I had to figure out how I was going to represent multiple players in the same piece of coding. Normally, a process like a hit test would be easy, but when the hit test also involves an interaction between multiple users, things start to get more complicated. I’m thankful that in my first attempt at a multiplayer games, that I decided to only have two player instead of a flexible number of users. This allowed for some less dynamic coding (although I did consider how my approach would change). Examples of challenges in coding the game  included determining when the second player had entered the room and how to denote which avatar they would be associated with, how to synchronize the animation of movie clips in both players windows, and ensuring that hitTests were correctly scored.

It is these sorts of new considerations that can make coding a multiplayer game an interesting experience. In addition to that incentive, multiuser gaming seems to be a positive direction for the gaming world. I feel like collaboration with other, especially when aimed at people who are not hardcore games, takes the perspectives of gaming away from loners playing games in the solitude of their basements into a place where gaming can be viewed as a means of social interaction and learning.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. December 9, 2010 02:00

    “pulse server” is any paid one !

  2. May 3, 2010 15:26

    just a quick note: Union is now free for up to 1000 users. see:

    happy (multiuser) coding!

    • May 3, 2010 18:36

      Ya, I saw your talk at FITC Toronto! Union definitely looks straight forward to use and I plan to try it out. I know the Try Union server is a available for playing around, but is it possible to set up a union server on any regular hosting service, other than Media Temple? I found the installation instructions went beyond my area of expertise but it looks like you require access to your server’s operating system in order to install union server?

      • April 30, 2011 00:40

        a year later, the answer is “yes!”

        you can run union on any host that allows binding to a port and running java apps.

        but to make things easier, we’ve just announced a hosting partnership with influxis, where they will install and maintain the server for you. see


  1. Flash MMO Overview

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