Personal Projects and Mucking Around

© Luke Wallin 2005-2017

Online Games Guide (March '08)

Written by Michael Chester for Planet Wars and Chain Reaction.

Both games (used to be) played ranked online using the same scoring system: five points for eliminating another player, and five points for winning a match.

Chain Reaction

Chain Reaction can be played with up to 4 players, on a grid of squares up to 8x8 (default 5x5). The aim of the game is to eliminate your opponents by exploding your bombs in order to convert theirs, without exposing yourself to counter-attacks.

Bombs will explode whenever there are too many of them in a square. This will happen with 2 bombs in a corner square, 3 on an edge, or 4 in any other. When the bombs in a cell explode, one bomb is added to each cell directly connected to the exploding cell, and bombs in these cells are converted to your colour. Any remaining bombs are left in the original cell (e.g. If a centre cell has 5 bombs, 1 will remain after the explosion). If this causes a neighbouring cell to reach its limit for the number of bombs it can hold, then it too will explode. In this way it is easy to produce large chain reactions which can sweep across the board.

Each turn a player may place one bomb in either a cell they control or an empty one, and a player is eliminated when there are no bombs of their colour remaining on the board.


  • Always be wary of your opponent's bombs, filling a square near to completion can back fire if they can detonate a neighbouring square first.
  • A cell that is 2 below its limit can be activated by exploding cells on 2 sides of it, this can be used to create situation where cells can only be detonated by one player, allowing you to set up attacks without worrying too much about your opponent using your preparations against you.

Planet Wars

Planet wars can be played with up to 8 players, and takes place on a random or user generated map full of various objects. The aim of the game is to destroy your opponents ships before they can destroy yours. You fire missiles that are affected by the gravity of the various objects.

Missiles are fired by setting the firing speed and angle, either by clicking on the playing area (the shot speed is proportional to the distance of the click from the ship) or entering the speed and direction in the boxes to the right of the map.

Planets (coloured circles) will attract the missile, so shots will curve around them, and any shot that hits a planet will disappear. The trails left by shots remain visible, and can generally be used to work out where the next shot should go in order to eliminate a player.

Other objects also appear in the game. Space stations (silver circles) will repel the missile; black holes are small and invisible, however have a large gravitational pull; if a missile hits a wormhole (blue or red spirals), it will be transported to the other wormhole on the map, maintaining its speed and direction.


  • While it is generally true that if 2 shots land either side of a player, the perfect shot is between them, this is not always the case. Shots passing either side of a planet, or close to a space station, for example, will not behave in this way.
  • Shots fired at slower speeds will curve more under the influence of gravity, this can be used to fine-tune shots that don't quite reach a player, but can often have unpredictable effects.
  • You CAN kill yourself, and you will lose points for this in a ranked match, so be wary of shots reflecting from space stations or going into orbits.
  • The gravity of black holes is strong enough that passing close to one can break the accuracy of the physics engine, causing the missile to move away much faster than it approached. This was originally a bug, but has been left in due to laziness as it has become a useful technique.
  • It is possible to create an in-completeable map where one player cannot hit another, or no-one can hit anyone else. Either due to the gravity of the planets, a badly placed space station or a physical barrier. If this happens then request a stalemate, where in a ranked match each surviving player will get 2 points.