Concept: Facebook Friends Leaderboard With Corona

Biffy pushed me to find a way to incorporate some kind of “friends leaderboard” into our games, where players would only enter their Facebook information and are able to see their scores compared with their friends WITHOUT having to leave the game interface and go into OpenFeint.

OpenFeint allows you to incorporate their system into your game, but with Corona, that’s pretty much impossible because you don’t have access to the OpenFeint SDK.

I suspected it would be possible to accomplish a “friends leaderboard” using the Facebook API, but lack of documentation on how to do that with Corona had me feeling pretty insecure about the feat.

But like I said, Biffy pushed me to dig deeper, and I’m very glad she did. I thought it through in my head, after looking through the Facebook API and doing some tests using Mobile Safari on the iPhone Simulator, and I think I’ve figured out a way to accomplish a “friends” leaderboard similar to what you see in Doodle Jump and Bejeweled Blitz (but more closer to what you see in Doodle Jump).

As far as global stats, we’re still going with OpenFeint for that because (1) they handle that much better (2) it will decrease bandwidth usage on our web server, and (3) there are a lot of people who use and appreciate OpenFeint support within games.

Our main static website is hosted by Google App Engine, which provides a great service but unfortunately, I’m not a Python developer and don’t really have the time to learn it. With that said, I went searching and found a service that is similar to GAE, but supports PHP.

It’s called Kodingen.

Like GAE, it starts off free, but only for 1gb of transfer per month. With the way I plan on setting up this Facebook leaderboard system, it’s going to take a HUGE amount of users to exceed that. And when I do exceed 1gb per month, it’ll only be a few dollars per month (seriously) to double or triple the bandwidth limits.

The Kodingen service is very new and still in beta, but looks very promising.

Once I get the Facebook leaderboard system working with Corona (hint: I plan on using web popups and PHP + MySQL), I’ll explain how I did it, so stay tuned!

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