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Thread: Game development similar to TAO on top of lichess

  1. #1

    Default Game development similar to TAO on top of lichess is an open source, massively multiplayer (900,000 games per day) chess site with user login, leaderboards, game replays, chat system, casual and realtime rooms, matchmaking, etc. It also supports many chess variants, and since it is open source, we can write our own TAO variant, and modify everything. While a TAO variant won't likely be hosted on itself as it will require higher than normal modification, everything needed to make a clone is available from github.

    lichess looks like a 2D game, but with a few mouse clicks, you can change the renderer to be '3D', which closely approaches an isometric game. It would not be very difficult to create a truly isometric renderer option, most of the time involved would be in creating the artwork in the first place.

    My idea is to clone, and create a new variant (and remove the existing variant/chess option). The new variant would have a larger 11x11 'chess board', with 3 squares on each corner that is unusable, creating the same arena as TAO has.

    The main things that will have to be added to the existing lichess system are unit animations, the ability to attack at range not just 'move' like in chess, unit stats like hp, armor, wait turn logic, direction to face, and other properties (enraged, paralyzed, etc). However, implementing all of this on top of lichess should be a lot easier than trying to create a multiplayer system with leaderboard, matchmaking, chat, and the game logic from scratch. A great reason to do it this way is the sophisticated AI and leaderboard (stat tracking) capability built into lichess. That said, a good or even mediocre AI is not on my to-do list at all, that would come after multiplayer is functional if at all.

    I have three main things I want to change from the old TAO. I want all free users to have all units - grey and gold, and I want all matches to be fought with identical (mirrored) sets, which will be generated semi-randomly to create a more human problem solving experience. Finally, luck will be completely removed by instead having armor reduce damage 100% of the time, but not completely eliminate it. Armor on the front will reduce damage by 50%, armor on the sides will reduce damage by 25%, hits on the back will take full damage, or something along those lines. This will create a fair, truly competitive turn based strategy game, much like chess, but with better visuals and a deeper ability to strategize (because positioning, facing direction, paralyzing/stoning, etc) creates a richer strategy experience. Chess, while no doubt hard to master, is very simple and abstract.

    Each user would have their own "MMR" or rating or skill level, and would try to be matched with similar skill level players. While the sets would be identically mirrored for each player, similar to the starting default set of TAO, units would be semi-randomized, sometimes playing with a lot of gold units, sometimes none, sometimes two of a unit, etc. Both players would get the same units each match, and there would be a special rule preventing the first move by black (the second player) copying whites move exactly - to prevent copy cat games.

    I also have ideas for fancier elements to add on top of what tao had, such as the ability to kick one of your own units a few squares forward (this ability limited to one special unit, a new one that tao didn't have of course), and damage an enemy if it comes into contact before the normal kick distance is through (it will also stop before that enemy), and other elements along these lines which allow more possibilities than the standard walk and attack TAO dynamic. Another example, would be a unit that can be upgraded/evolved into a stronger version of itself, after a number of incubation turns (if it lives and is not frozen/paralyzed or defocused in that time, etc). This would punish overly defensive players for example, for being too defensive and allowing such things to go on unchallenged, while the attacker can break incubation focus.

    Let me know what you think or if you would like to help out by contributing graphic design, sound effects, or coding. I'll be creating the 2D vector graphics as that is easy, but the isometric graphics will be difficult. I'm currently thinking of using this video tutorial, which allows you to take 3D character models and their animations from Dota 2, import into blender, and then modify them (creating entirely new characters, so as not to infringe on copyright, but obviously having the advantage of not having to start entirely from scratch).

    Last edited by luw1990; 11-05-2017 at 03:49 PM.

  2. #2


    Interesting idea. You'll likely get a super scalable game server that way. Though I'm not sure how difficult the modifications are going to be from lichess.

    - Not a huge fan of the mirrored sets idea - One of my favorite parts is making my own sets.
    - Am a fan of the removal of of RNG blocking to replace it with flat blocking
    - Am a fan of creating new units to make the game more interesting

    Best of luck!

  3. #3


    I have been thinking of tweaking the mirrored sets as well, the current idea is to make a bunch of carefully constructed sets, such as turtles, rushes, ordinary sets, etc. and have players vote on which one they want right before a match starts, and whoever randomly loses the coin toss and has to fight with the set their opponent picked gets to move first, but both sets in a match have to be identical in my mind for the game to be truly fair and competitive. Both players could also choose the same set if they were friends and wanted to test one, etc.

    One possible way to make the game even more fun and still be considered fair would be to allow each player to build their set at the beginning of the match, one piece at a time. You could save template sets to choose from if you didn't care to alter the set each time, but at least you would have the option to adapt to wherever your opponent placed their pieces.
    Last edited by luw1990; 11-11-2017 at 09:56 PM.

  4. #4
    Cyber Police Chief CPC's Avatar
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    Feb 2008


    Interesting...have you done any work on this?

  5. #5


    Quote Originally Posted by CPC View Post
    Interesting...have you done any work on this?
    Just found myself reading through this thread, and even though I'm a few months late, I would also like to know if any progress has been made?

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