'Specialis Revelio, Website!' aka. Frequently Asked Questions
How to Help Out
Whats the best way for me to help with the site?
Most players do not have money, digital art skills or programming experience to help directly with the site. The good news is, theres something very very very important that you can do. That is, posting on other websites about Brooms Online. Getting visitors to the site is very important to keep the community going and the creator of the site motivated to make more games. Just browse the internet for Harry Potter sites and (if it allowed) post this in the appropriate area of that sites forums:
I recommend that you name the thread 'Harry Potter Browser Games', or 'Visit This HP Games site'. However, it might be good to name it 'Only Click if you're Slythern' or whatever your house is, that way only people in your house come to the site and your house earns more points!
How else can I get the word out about BO?
Tell your friends! A great way to do this is to paste some of the BO Banners into your myspace or website, you can visit the Banners Page to download the banners.
I have experience programming in Flash AS3 and want to make games
Great! I would really really really love for you to email me and let me know. Its really easy to incorporate the sites characters and highscore system into AS3 games, I will show you how and you can start submitting games. You will be given full credit as a site administrator and game designer. Email me.
I have some money I can donate
One or two dollars goes a long way online, so even if you have only a little or if you have a lot the site could really use it for marketing purposes. I accept paypal, please send your donations to firstname.lastname@example.org on paypal and email me so I can recognize and thank you publically for your donation.
I have experience drawing art
Using the Site
Awesome! I am not really much of an artist and could really use your help. It is important to maintain the vectorish cartoony art on the site, so if you can help make new items, backgrounds and whatever else you can make I would be happy to talk to you. Email me.
How do I earn presents?
You earn presents by playing games, earning high scores, and buying the presents with money.
How do I earn money?
You can earn money by selling items or requesting money as a present.
How do I earn XP?
By browsing the website and posting on the discussion board.
How do I become a second year, third year, ect?
You can advance through your school years by earning experience points (XP). You advance to 2nd year @ 100 xp, 3rd year @ 1,000 xp, 4th year @ 5,000 xp, 5th year @ 10,000 xp, 6th year @ 20,000 xp, 7th year @ 35,000 xp. When you are a higher year, your Broom and Artifact presents are more powerful (higher stats).
What are stats?
Stats can be found on some Wands, Artifacts, and Brooms. They increase your attributes, giving you bonuses for games, making your character more powerful. For instance, +3 to flying will make you fly faster in games where you ride a broomstick. For more information about stats (aka attributes), visit the Attributes FAQ.
How do I get a Wand?
You can get a magic wand from the Markletplace. Wands are always for sale by Ollivander, the website wand maker. Ollivander is not a real player, he is a NPC who replenishes the sites wand-stock every day. Check back daily for new wands for sale, each with different stats and different prices. Sometimes wands can be very cheap and very good! Keep an eye out for a good deal.
What is Burke's Offer at the Hogsmeade Market?
Borgin and Burke will buy any of your items but not for a very reasonable price. Unlike selling your items to other players, Burke will take your item immediately, no need to wait for another player to see and buy it. Just press the green cash icon next to Burke's offer to sell your item to Borgin and Burke.
Are there other items that make me more powerful besides my wand?
Yes, brooms and artifacts both have stats that will make you more powerful. Like your wand, artifacts can raise all sorts of attributes. Your broom will only increase your flying-related attributes. You can buy artifacts and wands from other players or get them via the present system.
What should I do with my money?
Sickles can be used to buy items at the marketplace, or to buy presents. If you already have your characters wardrobe the way you like it, try increasing your characters attribute points by collecting Wands, Artifacts, and Brooms. These three item types can have special properties that make you better at the sites games.
Where can I get the Sword of Gryffindor or other special items from the books?
There is only one sword of gryffindor on the website, as well as the other special items from the books. You can see what player own these items on the unique items page. Sometimes players will sell these items for money, and if you are interested in buying one you can send the owner an owl with an offer and try to bargain for the unique item you want. Keep an eye on the website because occasionally new unique items are given away.
What are Team Badges?
Team badges are a fun way of rewarding quidditch teams for their members hard work. Your team will be awarded badges as they accomplish different tasks or win events. You can read more about them on the Team Badges FAQ.
Site Creation Credit
Who has Contributed to the site?
Brooms Online was created by Lysle Shaw-McMinn, aka Wormy. Every game and page was created from scratch (mostly with PHP & Actionscript), including the discussion board. The banner at the top of the page was created by Perseus from TheMagicBead.
Who has Inspired the site?
The character art was inspired by Worms and Legendary Frog. Most of the games were inspired by other online games. This includes Falldown, Snood, Necrocave, and Brooms. The mini-game/dress-up system was inspired by a friend who runs a similar site called GoVeron. However, inspiration is nothing without motivation, and I owe much of that to visitors. Especially those who have emailed or messaged me, and those who have posted on the discussion board. I really appreciate it!
How do you make multiplayer games?
The key to making multiplayer games lies mostly in creating single player games. If you can code a dynamic single playered game using Flash's Actionscript then you will find most of your answers in Flash's XMLSocket class. If you are new to coding in flash, keep following tutorials. A great place to start is a google search for 'actionscript tutorial variables 101' and 'actionscript tutorial making movie clips'.
I am always happy to answer your coding questions. Also I suggest using SearchIRC.com to find some appropriate IRC channels where you can ask for help, IRC channels are a great place to find assistance. Never ask a question through the internet unless you are trying to make small talk or you have already searched for the answer for at least 20 minutes and experimented with solutions for 10.
My philosophy in making games is to start out small and try not to focus too much on the distant future. That way I can put all my attention into short term goals, and when those goals are accomplished I feel not only relieved and satisfied with my work, but I have a opportune stopping point if I decide to discontinue that project. I find that planning out game mechanics that would take more than 10 hours of work to implement leaves me bored, discouraged, and restless to start on something else. For this reason, any one who has it in their mind that they 'want to create a mmo' with a budget under 10 thousand dollars needs to seriously downgrade their goals to something they can actually accomplish in the time they will be putting into programming their game (the actual time they will be putting in, not the make-believe 'I could' time). Its important to have the correct mind set going into a project; you need to understand the limitations imposed on you from other responsibilities such as work or school, and also the limitations of your mind (ie your motivation and knowledge of programming).
Can I see your games source code to help me learn?
I've created only a few games that I'm willing to display the source code of to the public:
~ a basic platformer, created for multiclient usability & future expansion (09/2007)
~ a multiclient space shooter ('Star Sky') (7/2007)
~ a multiclient pong game (12/2006)
If you have any questions about these .flas I would be happy to answer them.
How does multiplayer work without downloading files?
Brooms Online utilizes an often overlooked aspect of Flash, which is socket server connections. A Socket server connection allows clients to be connected directly to a server, sending packets to the server whenever needed, and more importantly, allowing the server to send packets to the client. If you understand how to set up a webserver and how to code in PHP and Actionscript, then you can learn more about using socketservers here. Theres lots of other resources you can find as well using a search engine.
Where is the server hosted?
This gameserver as well as this website is hosted with Vista Pages. Vista Pages offers free SSH access, which is great for small game servers. I think the physical server is somewhere in Texas, but I am not sure.
I found a glitch, what should I do?
If the glitch could be exploited, please tell me and do not post the exploit on the discussion boards. If the glitch is gamebreaking, I would like to know about it, but if it is a minor unobtrusive glitch I probably already know about it and just havent fixed it because it isnt hurting anything anyways and I hate fixing glitches.
I appreciate hearing about glitches, but often I will not fix them immediately or at all depending on the situation and how I feel at that particular moment :-)
I know a great Harry Potter site you should put on your links page!
Send me, Wormy, a message about it and I'll be glad to add it right away.
I know of or have a potter site
History of the Site
Since BO is a game site, it could make a great addition to a news or community HP site, either as a affiliate, sister site, or a complete site-merge. Send me a message.
The First Build
Brooms Online was created in Early August, 2006. It was primarily created as an online copy cat version of 'Broomsticks' by Paul Rajlich. I have always wanted to create a 2D quidditch side view game, but lacked the motivation until I tried 'Broomsticks'. One of the big factors was the graphics... I dont enjoy making graphics very much, so when I saw that 'Broomsticks' already had so many graphics I just couldnt resist using them in my own game. I originally called the game 'Broomsticks Online', or BS, but I felt that BO had a better connotation. Doesn't it?
The Second Build
On July 21, 2007 a new build of BO was completed. The old code was all scrapped and everything was coded from scratch. The upgrades mostly constituted graphical changes, as well as a few improvements to the gameplay. This started the incorporation of the cartoon characters that everyone now associates with the site, of course at this point there really werent any clothing or much customization... Theres been more and more customization with each new build.
The Third Build
On August 10, 2007 I essentially restructured the whole site to become a collection of harry potter games large and small instead of only quidditch. Although the second build of quidditch is still part of the site, it is no longer the primary focus of the site.
The Forth Build
In Mid-2009 I am redoing most of the scripts to be more efficient. But theres a lot of new little things going in, like better clan/team management, new games, and items with stats. The major reason I am rebuilding things is because of lag and networking problems in games like quidditch, and also because the old shop system was aweful. It was laggy, and constantly breaking. The majority of the last two years players could not access the shop system. Now thats changed, and things run so much more smoothly.
Who Programmed BO?
I'm the creator and programmer of Brooms Online, Lysle Shaw-McMinn, aka 'Wormy'. Hi. I first started making websites around 4th grade, and it has been a hobby of mine ever since. You can learn more about me at my personal webpage, lysle.net.