JavaFX Online Game Prototype: Wish Tree (1)

Posted: August 16th, 2009 under JavaFX Technology, Wish Tree.
Tags: , , , ,

Bookmark and Share


I finished a JavaFX prototype of an online game, it is called “Wish Tree”. Strictly speaking, this prototype is not a game. Instead, it is an online multi-user application of fun (esp. for kids). However, it embodys all the essential elements of an online game: a JavaFX rich client for user interaction, a server handling communication among multiple clients, and a database for data persistence. Though it is still relatively simple, it lays a foundation of building an online multi-user game. I am going to demostrate in two posts how to design and write such an application in JavaFX, PHP and MySQL .


  Not long ago, I wrote a JavaFX program for fun. You may have heard of the song “Tie a Yellow Ribon on an Old Oak Tree”, my program was called “Hang a Lucky Star on a Wish Tree“. It allowed people hang colorful stars on a tree to keep their wishes. These wishes could be about absolutely anything. The program was running as a standalone application. Recently, I added in some code to make it an online version. People all over the world now can share their wishes on the same tree. 

This online version is a true RIA(Rich Internet Application) now. After a person leaves a lucky star on the tree, he/she can see the star next time she/he runs the program. People can see others’ wishes as well ( sorry, no privacy for now ^_^ ). However, an email address is needed to modify an existing wish.


The main architecture of the whole system is depicted in the below figure. First, the program gets started from a browser by Java Web Start technology. Then the program connects back to the server to obtain data and draws the wish tree hanging with stars. The server component retrieves data from the database and returns to the client. If the client makes a new wish, the data of the wish is sent to the server for persistence.


The requirements of the system are listed below:


1) On the client side, we need a browser that supports JavaFX 1.2. Basically, on our client machine we need JRE 1.5 +, or better with JRE 1.6 U13 later.

2) On the server side, we need a web server that supports PHP and MySQL. We can choose the popular “LAMP” stack (Linux, Apache web server, MySQL and PHP), but the two required things are ‘MySQL’ and ‘PHP’ only. In fact, in my development environment, I use Windows XP, Sun Java Web Server 7.0, MySQL and PHP plugin for JWS.


Before we get into any technical details, you can click on the below screenshot to start the JavaFX
client to see how it works. You can click on existing stars to see others’ wishes, or click on the tree
to leave your wish. Be sure to leave your email address so that you can modify your wish later. After you save your wish, you can check your wish next time you start the program. For testing purpose, please do not leave more than 2 wishes(stars).
click to start wish tree online program


Since this is a typical client/server application, let’s look at the JavaFX client first. A GUI is presented to the user for interaction. The Main.fx contains the main Windows(a Stage instance) of the application. We put in some images of trees and clouds on the stage. To make them look more realistic, the clouds are applied with the GaussianBlur effect.


The Bubble.fx defines a Bubble class which draws a bubble rising from the bottom of the stage. Animation is used to let the bubble eventually vanish into the tree. The Main class has a few instances of Bubble to create a boiling effect.


When the tree is clicked, a star is shown and a dialog is popup for the user to enter a wish. The
Star is a subclass of the Polyon class. It has a few pre-defined color schemes. The part of drawing a star is achieved by the following few lines, a little bit of geometry knowledge here:

def r1 : Double = 15; def r2 : Double = r1 / 1.6; var r = [r1, r2]; … … points = for ( i in [0..9] ) [ r[i mod 2] * cos( toRadians(i*36) ), r[i mod 2] * sin( toRadians(i*36) ) ];


The Dialog is a subclass of CustomNode which contains a few buttons and text fields. When the “OK” button of the dialog is pressed, the user’s wish is saved on the server. The user can also click on a star that’s already on the tree to view its content. If the user is the owner of the wish( based on the email address), the user can modify the content of the wish and then save it.


Finally, the class ServerConnector uses HttpRequest to communicate with the server and store wishes in the server’s database. We will walk through the server code next week and illustrate the data interaction between the server and the client.


If you are interested in the source code, you can visit the download page of this site. As shown in the architectural figure, there are source code of server side(Mysql and PHP) and client side(JavaFX), respectively. Be sure to read the file README.txt before you try the code.


If you have any questions, please leave your comments.


Next Article: JavaFX Online Game Prototype: Wish Tree (2)

Other articles on JavaFX:

JavaFX Scene in Swing       JavaFX API for Java

JavaFX Menu       How Java Code Calls JavaFX APIs ?

Review on Book “Essential JavaFX”

Bookmark and Share


  1. [...] Henry Zhang has posted about a prototype that he has written for a JavaFX-based online game. [...]

    Pingback by Java desktop links of the week, August 17 | Jonathan Giles — August 16, 2009 @ 2:01 pm

  2. [...] Online JavaFX Multi-user Game Prototype: Wish Tree Part 1 [...]

    Pingback by Make a Wish Online « JFXStudio: sketch, hack, share — August 18, 2009 @ 2:59 am

  3. [...] I published my post about a JavaFX Online Wish Tree Application, I received some emails from readers reporting there were some problems to start the JavaFX client [...]

    Pingback by Earthquake Hits JavaFX — August 20, 2009 @ 1:44 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.