Nonoba Racer (+Multiplayer API)

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Rating: 4/5 (57 votes)
| Comments (15) | Views (158)

Joshnonoba_screen1As the demand for social software continues to grow, it shouldn't be surprising to see an increase in online multiplayer games as well. This is particularly true in the Flash game industry as the Flash platform matures. Nonoba, a Flash game community headed by game creators and developers, hopes to ride the incoming wave of multiplayer Flash games by making its own multiplayer game API (application programming interface) available to Flash game developers.

One of the more popular games showcasing this new technology is Nonoba Racer, by Chris Benjaminsen. It's a multiplayer, top-down racing game that focuses heavily on community play and advancement via upgrades.

Each new player starts with the same car. You have the option of playing as a guest or registering with Nonoba, which lets you save your score and keep your car upgrades and winnings over time. Control the car using the [arrow] keys, [up] to accelerate and [down] to hit the e-brake. [Space] is used to fire weapons or use an item, all of which are available by spending coins that you win at the end of each race. The amount you win depends on your position at the finish line. There are only three different tracks so far, but each track can be configured with different attributes, such as how many laps it takes to win. You can either enter a game in progress via the lobby, or create your own game and let others join you.

Analysis: If released as a single-player flash game, Nonoba Racer wouldn't be anything new. Sure, it's fun to race against cars and win money to upgrade your ride, making it faster, adding traction, steering control and even things like rocket launchers and paint jobs. But it's the multiplayer element that makes this game noteworthy, as well as the technology behind it. It's fun to play with the same people for an hour or so, going from room to room, making friends that you can show off your upgrades to (and enemies, for that matter, who you can shoot at and make eat your dust).

On the downside, some people are experiencing disconnections, latency issues and some gameplay problems (bouncy collision physics, most notably). Chris assures us that he and his team are working hard to make adjustments as necessary and deal with the large load on the servers the game has been causing due to its popularity. Your mileage may vary.

Whether you're a game player or programmer, you owe it to yourself to see what's happening over at Nonoba.

Play Nonoba Racer

Note: As with any multiplayer game, make sure no peer-to-peer, instant messaging, streaming media or any other bandwidth-intensive applications are running in the background, especially if you're experiencing latency or disconnection issues.

And if you're a game programmer interested in creating your own multiplayer games, check out the Nonoba Multiplayer API and find out how to apply for their developer beta program. Also at Nonoba: a kickoff contest with $20,000 in prize money for the best games created on the Nonoba Multiplayer API.


It's okay, but it's much more fun to drive round the course backwards to bounce people around!

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oggologgo Author Profile Page June 2, 2008 5:39 AM

free multiplayer api and hosting. finally, i have been waiting for this.

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Haploid June 2, 2008 6:02 AM

The idea of an online overhead racing game is really fun, and if this game didn't suffer from two major flaws, I'd say it would be a hit.

Except... the physics are just really really messed up. The cars will skid around bigtime, and when they bump into anything, they bounce of in a direction that, well, I don't know it's based on, but it sure isn't Newton's laws of motion. It feels almost like the cars and the walls are made of some sort of sticky rubber that will often pull your car backward on collision. Really odd.

Secondly, there are too many places where your car can become obscured by overhanging scenery or message boxes, and you'll have to guess your way out. I spent half of my first two games trying to find my way out from underneath a message box. A little flying arrow that appears when your car is obscured shouldn't be too hard to make.

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I really feel the community spirit when I try to race with randomly selected people who own cars ten times faster and more pimped then my newbie pile of junk. Eating other people's dust has never been so fun!

Oh, and let's not forget one gold coin I occasionally win for participating. A hundred more games and I'll be able to buy myself a new fancy bumpersticker! Woohoo!

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oggologgo Author Profile Page June 2, 2008 8:27 AM

The game is really bad. The physics is just horrible. Unplayable in my opinion.

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OK, I've decided to stick with a game a bit more, but either are some people seriously screwing with this game or it is hopelessly bugged.

In my last few races quite a few times opponents' cars got stuck by hitting an item beside the track, started flashing/twitching/whatever and suddenly showed up half a track in front of me. This is not, like, a rare event - it happens all the time! There's nothing more frustrating in a racing game when you take over your opponent, get a huge lead and few flashing "bugs" later you've suddenly lost the race. And get one gold coin for participation.

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I can't remember the last time I've had so little fun playing a racing game. A single player mode might help, but not as long as the cars handle like hovercraft and the walls are made of rubber.

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Helmaroc Author Profile Page June 2, 2008 12:34 PM

I agree, the physics and unbalanced gameplay kind of ruins the fun.

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Yoink. I can't say I like Nonoba too much. Feels like a wannabe Kongregate.

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Sounds great but just doesn't live up to the hype... bad physics, buggy collision model and graphics that are hard to read (there's no visual difference between items you can/can not collide with)

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Kirkpad Author Profile Page June 2, 2008 8:10 PM

Almost makes we want to go play Track Mania Nations Forever.

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Filthy cheater's guide to making mucho coins:

open a few browser tabs. Join the game as guest(s) multiple times. Create a game. Beat the unmoving guests. Collect money. Repeat.

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TheSimpleAndy Author Profile Page June 5, 2008 11:09 PM

I signed up for the API beta, hope I'm chosen cause I would love to make a game and then play against others at it! Can't wait!

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Radixhnd June 6, 2008 8:53 PM

I played this game for quite a while. I found it to be really fun. I did discover two major secrets to reveal. Not really secrets...

1) When I played using IE6 I was way faster than on any other browser. The exact same car goes much faster in IE than Firefox. I wondered for the longest time why guys with less upgrades than me were faster than me. Much faster than me. So I used IE and discovered why.

2) There are scrollbars on some of the mod lists that are not obvious, so it seemed to me that people had mods I couldn't get.. until I scrolled down.

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