Silverlight Enables Massively Multiplayer Gaming

By: Hendrik Lesser, CEO, Chimera Entertainment

This week, Bigpoint GmbH– a worldwide leader in browser-based video games - announced the global launch of WARSTORY - Europe in Flames, a massively multiplayer, browser-based video game powered by Microsoft Silverlight

image_thumb_1WARSTORY – Europe in Flames is a free-to-play, massively multiplayer strategy game set during World War II. In the game, players command their own allied companies, consisting of powerful combat units and individually specialized heroes. The game allows for dynamic real time battles that demand quick, tactical thinking.

At Chimera Entertainment, we developed the game for Bigpoint using Microsoft Silverlight on the client-side with Windows Server and the .NET framework for server-side gameplay.

We chose Silverlight for several reasons. Our development team already had lots of experience developing games using C# so working in Silverlight was an easy transition. As a platform, Silverlight’s comprehensive feature set allowed us to implement the game on a single technology platform plus having .NET on client and server also allowed the almost seamless transfer of components and the use of a shared code base.

In designing a state-of-the-art gaming experience for the browser, we used many of Silverlight’s core features and drove deep into the Silverlight framework, including:

  • Dynamic, real-time gameplay via sockets

  • Over 50 pre-renderer combat units using a Writeable Bitmap based animation framework

  • A custom rendering engine for displaying stunning particle effects

  • A dynamic game world, featuring high-quality game art and handcrafted animations based on User Controls

  • A unique resource and state-management-system to handle over 300 individual cities, 50 combat units, 50 battlefields and thousands of items and icons.

  • A tool pipeline based on Silverlight’s out-of-browser capabilities

Overall, having a set of rich media features is essential for developing state-of-the-art browser games. But equally important is a development framework that puts a strong focus on workflows, especially in the multi-disciplinary field of User Interface Development. Silverlight addresses the needs of a modern development pipeline, featuring a clear separation of UI assets and code, data binding and full version management capabilities.

Most of our previous experience had been using Visual Studio to build classic PC games. We found the efficient tooling and great support really helped us as we used the same, familiar development environment to create a browser based game in Silverlight.

Working with Silverlight empowered our team of .NET developers to quickly adapt to a new technology, while retaining established development paradigms and keeping Visual Studio as a reliable working environment. Based on our experience during this project, we plan to continue building games that leverage Silverlight’s unique capabilities.

Silverlight technology truly enabled us to realize our vision for WARSTORY – Europe in Flames.


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