A Quick Clarification

Yeah that’s right…I’m still alive! I’d love to blog more, but I’m currently working on some things I can’t really talk about.

But today, I’m coming out of the shadows long enough to answer a few Frequently Asked Questions about Sagittarius. They are along the following lines:

  • What exactly do we get with the download? What is this App Engine thing?
  • What is a Starter Kit? Do we need it?
  • Modules? What are those? Where do we put them?
  • Okay, so I have the app running and my Starter Kit and some modules, how do they go together? What do I do now?

Since I’m a visual learner, I figured a diagram would help:

How Sagittarius and its various components work together.

How Sagittarius and its various components work together.

Remember, Sagittarius is a game service. You can think of a game service as living on a server somewhere (let’s say, in Antarctica or something). This is called server-side. On the other hand, your game is living on the computers of whoever’s playing it. This is called client-side. You may recognize “server-client” in the context of multiplayer games. It’s the same principle.

The thing that you download from the Downloads Page is the Sagittarius Application. This is a Google App Engine application, built on top of the App Engine datastore, that lives server-side. You can talk to it via an HTTP request just like you would any other Internet application living on a server.

Starter Kits are client-side code. With a Starter Kit, you have enough to begin talking to the Sagittarius Application from your own game without having to worry about things like HTTP requests and AJAX calls. What about modules? These add to the functionality of your Starter Kit, enabling it to do more cool things like handle servers or Messages of the Day.

So why all these levels of code and all these arrows? Let’s have a closer look at the example in the diagram. Here we see that a Sagittarius user (let’s call him Bob) has deployed a Sagittarius Application and is using two Starter Kits, one UnrealScript and one JavaScript. The UnrealScript Starter Kit (and associated modules) is powering his UDK game. The JavaScript Starter Kit (and associated modules) is powering his game’s website. Notice that they’re both talking to the same server-side application. That means he can display the same leaderboard in-game and on his website.

Bob could totally download the Java Starter Kit and make an Android app to display his leaderboard on mobile phones if he wanted to, too.

That’s the power of Sagittarius. I hope this clears things up 🙂

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