Rendering Buildy’s satellite view: PhantomJS, Beanstalkd, Leaflet, and PIL

A world in Buildy can be hundreds of square miles. It’s impractical to expect people to pan around endlessly to see everything there is to see in a large world, and a zoomed out view would be cool to look at. Therefore, we’d like to let you zoom out far enough to see the world from much “higher up,” as it were. But it’s not as easy as just making everything smaller. Our rendering engine draws each object individually. If you’re looking at a large world, that’s hundreds of thousands of objects! We decided to use a Google Maps-style solution – we render square pieces of the world as images and stitch the images together in the web browser as the player scrolls around. In this post, we’ll explain the combination of technologies we use to render and display enormous zoomed out world views.

Click here for a demo!

(If you’re interested, you can read another of our recent posts about our experiences with the influx of 1,000 builders from Hacker News. It’s got a list of future blog post ideas for you to comment on.)

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Buildy: 1k HN users placed 250k objects in our HTML5 sandbox

The Y Combinator Water Park

It’s been a week since we posted Buildy on Hacker News and saw it stay on the front page for 17 hours. In this post, we’ll share some of our observations and experiences.

The version of Buildy we showed HN is a pure collaborative sandbox game. You can use 4,500+ objects or your own drawings to build whatever you want, anywhere in the world. You can work alone or with other players. We (Mark, Ted, Tim, and Steve) have Big Plans™ for the future! For now, here are some things we found interesting. We’ll be writing more about the technical side of things soon. Skip to the end to see our blog post ideas.

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Hello, worlds.

After a gratifying afternoon of having Buildy on the front page of Hacker News, I’m torn between going to bed at a reasonable hour and staying up all night to see what else people come up with. We’re having a lot of fun hanging out in various worlds and seeing what’s happening.

If you want to keep up with technical and non-technical information about Buildy, this is the blog to watch. We’ll update you with news about the product and write about the technology we use to wrangle bleeding edge HTML5 features into something you can love.

Things went great for us today and we hope to see you back in the game soon!