CodeCombat Blog

News, features and tips for teachers, computer science advocates, and other heroes in education

Introducing Competitive Multiplayer Programming

CodeCombat now has a competitive multiplayer mode! Play against your friends, enemies, and everyone in between in the Dungeon Arena, where you choose humans or ogres and a champion to fight for your cause, then lead your troops into battle. Once you're satisfied with your elegant and effective solution to destroy the opposing forces, rank it on the ladder. See who you defeated and who defeated you. Play against tougher and varied opponents to improve and tune your own gameplay, climbing further and further up the leaderboard. Read on for more, or head right in!

Choose Your Character

Your main force in this battle is one of four diverse, powerful champions who will direct your forces and inevitably turn the tides of battle.

Tharin the Knight

The melee human hero of the bunch, Tharin has a loud voice. When he's not simply cutting his foes down or using his shield to take the brunt of the enemy attacks, he’s letting out fierce war cries that bolster his allies’ confidence and scatter his enemies to the winds in terror.

Hushbaum the Librarian

A smart spellcaster, Hushbaum specializes in buffing her buddies through books. Her spells boost health, movement and attack, turning her soldiers and archers into efficient and hardy dealers of damage. She also can slow her enemies, then hit them with a mean fireball attack.

Play as humans!

Ironjaw the Brawler

This ogre leads mainly by weight, and he often throws it around. Although the slowest of the heroes, he gets around by leaping into the fray, and when the going gets tough he stomps the ground to scatter and stun his enemies, then tosses the few survivors across the map.

Yugargen the Shaman

One mean magician of the bunch, Yugargen has a bevy of status-inducing spells. Her specialty is size, growing units to give them temporary extra health and slow their movement, or shrinking them to do the opposite. She’s also got a devastating poison cloud, which can take out a cluster of archers tout de suite.

Play as ogres!

Climb the Ladder

If you know what you’re doing, writing code to take down a specific individual or approach is not too hard. The tricky thing is coming up with code that is generally effective, one that will handle just about any strategy thrown at it. And so the key to CodeCombat multiplayer is writing and testing such code by playing against progressively more and more difficult players, then submitting your solution to the official leaderboard. Your code will automatically play against a selection of opponents from then on, moving up and down the ranks as the game and the players evolve. Return anytime to see what matches you’ve had lately, and defend your rank against the upstart newcomers.

You can also be an engine of simulation, getting your own games placed sooner and help others get their rankings. The simulations are distributed, run by players themselves if they so choose. Hit the simulation tab to help keep the ladder updated!

Upgrades Galore

Two months of changes, fixes and improvements were needed in order to make multiplayer possible. Here’s just a sample:

  • Improved the level editor, fixing many bugs and upping performance
  • Added Effect and Magic systems, so units can cast spells and cause ongoing status effects, with visible marks to see who’s got what.
  • Improved game performance. Our levels are getting larger and longer, so that’s a necessity!
  • Added cheating safeguards. No setting your opponents’ health to zero or commanding legions of fallen soldiers to continue the fight.
  • Additional artwork and units. It’s all vector now, with units tinted to match their team.
  • Many, many in game bug fixes and usability improvements. Making a smooth-functioning and easy-to-understand interface for writing code is a massive, ongoing project.
  • The time-travel debugger, aka breakpoints everywhere. Rather than send data to a console, scrub to any frame in gameplay, at any point in the execution of the code, and hover over variables to see their current state. It’s a truly powerful debugging tool, and one step closer to realizing Learnable Programming.

And plenty more!

New Level Possibilities

With the infrastructure for ladder levels now in place, you too can create your own competition scenario. There are endless combinations of goals, units, and abilities to choose from and experiment with, even without writing any further code.

  • Roll your own Dungeon Arena with a new set of heroes and combat skills
  • Try out new layouts, providing units with multiple paths to victory
  • Change the goals around, from taking out bases to holding strategic points to retrieving relics or gold
  • Make larger, more epic battles, like our own experimental Brawlwood level. Warning, further optimizations required before all but the most beefy computer and patient player can tackle it.

The level editor is still something of a beast to tame. If you’re an Artisan interested in crafting your own ladder game, get in touch with us for any questions you will inevitably have.

What Are You Waiting For?

Go try your coding hands at Dungeon Arena and see where you stand. There are already over 170 submissions as of this launch, so you have plenty of opponents to choose from. To battle!