Sprawl: The world’s first public Silverlight game

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A little casual game design of mine called Sprawl finally made it out into the big wide world. I started building the graphics and brainstorming on the concept after playing an elegant board game called Hey, That’s My Fish at Project Horseshoe.

Pete, my old compatriot from Anark, was looking for a game design concept to turn into sample game for the Microsoft WPF/E samples they launched this Monday. He actually made it work with AI and everything. WPF/E (aka Silverlight) is a lovely little web platform that Microsoft announced last year. It is in the early stages, but I have high hopes. I’ve also been working with Harold on a sexy DirectX version, but since he is building his uber engine from scratch, it isn’t quite yet ready to share.

The game is a simple turn-based strategy game involving the capture of resources and the containment of enemies. If the response is good enough (and the programmer willing), there are quite a few more features I’d like to add.

Whoever beats every level gets a cookie. It is very possible to win, just incredibly hard.

take care

PS: Most of the game graphics were created in another product I’m designing called Expression Design. I’ll try to post the source files for the artwork at some point on the site. I don’t tend to talk about work too much on my blog, but there is a trial available.

Edit: Noted that the player does in fact run nicely on both Firefox and Mac. Tis, true.


  1. You can certainly play on the Mac. I\’m not sure what the situation is with Linux. It works on Netscape, Safari and of course IE. Microsoft has gone all cross platform on us with this one. I\’m a Firefox person myself. Last I checked, something like 60% of the folks that come to this blog run Firefox. take careDanc.


  2. Anonymous says

    Apparently Microsoft is relying on \”third parties\” to port WPF/E to other platforms (including Linux, BSD, etc). So people like me are SOL, at least for now.Why anyone would use this godforsaken platform is another question entirely.


  3. Anonymous says

    question: why do this in WPF/E when it could have been done in, say, flash? what does WPF/E bring to the table that flash lacks? you say it\’s a \”lovely little web platform,\” what makes it so lovely?


  4. Yes, please tell us more about why WPF/E (brilliant name, microsoft) is better than Flash or Shockwave?Is it the development tool?


  5. *Grin* Platform love is for fanboys. The real question is \”What can you make with the technology?\” In an artistic industry, having some choices is a good thing. It is sort of the difference between acrylic and oil. Which is better? Well, which paintings do you like better? To me, WPF/E is a cool technology that is worth experimenting with. The tech is still early, but I personally like the idea that it isn\’t a compiled binary and plays on an equal footing with a lot of other web standards. That lets folks do all sorts of interesting things with dynamic generation without being locked into a single tool. You can use notepad if you want. But to be clear, I\’m not interested in promoting it one way or another. If you like Flash, use Flash. Pete happened to use WPF/E. Harold is working on the game design using his own custom engine. I\’m a big fan of paper prototypes (but those are more difficult to share on the web šŸ™‚ Has anyone had a chance to try the game? šŸ™‚ take careDanc.


  6. Very nice game –the artwork is good, and the mechanics are easy to grasp. And I managed to beat it too! Where\’s my cookie? šŸ™‚


  7. It does support Firefox, you aren\’t even trying. šŸ˜› Just run the installer Dan linked to and the next thing you know Firefox can play it.The game is fun. I always get caught up trying to decide if I should be penning in the bad buys or harvesting the high-ground while it\’s still available. But what I think is really interesting is the way you took a solid boardgame and gave it a great casual-game makeover. That\’s innovation! It makes me wonder what other Eurogames could make the transition. This could be great for boardgames in general, four people getting hooked on a web-based casual game could go home (because work is where we play casual games) and break out the cardboard version and compete with each other in meatspace.


  8. Anonymous says

    Strange….would ve loved to try it, unfortunately I just get to the Splash Screen, then Basic Instructions with the hint: Click after which a blank screen appears and nothing happens anymore…Tried Firefox 1.sumthin and 2…and IE afterwards….nada….any ideas how I coudl get it to run ?thanks,c.


  9. Just wanted to say cool game (And since this is my first comment here – cooler blog, of course, I don\’t visit all the time but every time I do I leave a little happier). I played with it for a bit – beat the first board and lost on the next when I trapped myself trying to press my advantage too much. It\’s definitely nice looked and the mechanics are simple and intuitive (I was unfamiliar with the source material slash inspiration so this was my first exposure to this particular ruleset). Haven\’t had a chance to but I think I\’d play with it more. In fact, I think I\’ll go do that right now…


  10. Anonymous says

    Danc, Iā€™m currently in my final year of university. Iā€™m writing my final year paper with the working title of \”motivation, demographic and experience of gamers\” I have read a number of your articles and have referenced you on several occasions, However to increase the validity of the reference it would be great to have your full name, it would only be referenced as your name and this blog and purely for academic purposes. My email is karlUNDERSCOREreaderAThotmailDOTcom(Just to stop spam trawlers ;-))


  11. Nice concept for a game. Terrible platform and AI. Also weird is how it goes 1v1 to 1v2 to 2v2 to 1v2 – 2v2 is much easier than 1v2. Nifty being the first something, but WPF/E, well, if you\’re going to require a download, why not just write it in pygame or something and have a game that doesn\’t run crazy slow and is easier to write and less reliant on MS?ps You should do some interviews or discussions or something. Ferry Halim?


  12. Dan, is Expression Design created to be competitors for established design apps like Illustrator and, to some extent Photoshop? Or is it really more intended just to be used closely with the Expression Suite?Basically, is it something that 2D or 3D artists outside of web development should be looking at?What you\’ve done with it looks amazing. But then again, you could probably make something amazing out of popsicle sticks and mud.


  13. Robert S says

    I\’ve tried to play the game several times now and I can\’t seem to get it to work. I upgraded firefox to and I downloaded the plugin and all I get is a message saying, \”This plugin performed an illegal operation. You are strongly advised to restart Firefox.\”And that\’s it. =/I also tried using IE(my least favorite browser) to no avail.Any thoughts?


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