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I'm looking for the best tool to allow me to quickly put together a 2D game that relies largely on networking. It's extremely likely that this game will require a server side program to constantly run. I have little experience with these things and since it's a prototype i'd like the easiest options for achieving this.

I am looking to make this game for the web and mobile devices, although at present I only have access to ios hardware, (no android etc).

I just want to get the bare bones of this set up so I can test it from the earliest opportunity to see if it's fun.

EDIT - doesn't unity have some inbuilt networking stuff in it?

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This question is pretty much, which technology to use? And, as answered in the FAQ, isn't really suited for the site. –  Byte56 Mar 26 '12 at 16:43
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closed as not constructive by Nicol Bolas, Josh Petrie, Byte56, Tetrad Mar 29 '12 at 16:41

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If you want to give a shot at HTML5, you could try a combination of the HTML5 boilerplate and node.js. It would allow you to use the same language (Javascript) on server and client-side. This can help in doing quick and dirty prototyping, and it has the additional benefit that your client will run on any decent web browser on any machine. I've used HTML5 with node.js for a 48h Global Game Jam entry, and it went really well.

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I am not sure if there are any tools available for doing prototyping an online multiplayer game but you can use some of the inbuilt features in the iOS sdk to test out your game before making it live. Though you have to create your game prototype first in any of the engines available for 2D game programming or you can write your own(which is really not that difficult). The game play might change a little depending on the server speed and network connection of user, but you will get the basic idea if you use game kit framework for testing out your game.

You can find the reference of the game kit framework here

http://developer.apple.com/library/ios/#DOCUMENTATION/NetworkingInternet/Conceptual/GameKit_Guide/Introduction/Introduction.html

It also provides some sample codes for you to get started.

And here are some 2D game development engines available for developing game in iOS.

http://www.anscamobile.com/corona/

http://www.cocos2d-iphone.org/

http://code.google.com/p/oolongengine/

http://www.garagegames.com/products/torque-2d/iphone

http://gamua.com/sparrow/

http://code.google.com/p/galaxyengine/

http://flixel.org/

And best of luck with your game...

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