The game of Connect Four is a classic "board" game most often played by children. Introduced in the 1970's, it is essentially a less complex variation of checkers.
Two players can play at one time. Each player amasses checkers of a particular color, most often red or black. The game board is a vertically oriented grid with slots in the top. Players take turns dropping their checkers into the slots. When one player has four checkers in a row (horizontally, vertically or diagonally) then he or she is the winner.
It's an extremely popular game, and people all over the world are very familiar with it. It has many renditions, but all are around the same theme - there are no variations, and few have thought to take it online or have one game involve many people. However, with online poker games it has been proven that the classics have mass-market online appeal, and thus the design for a new version of Connect-Four came into being.
The massively multi-player version of this game will apply the following modifications:
- The game board will be rendered in Flash and will be deployed on one or more screens including [ideally] at least one plasma screen in a public place
- The Flash Com Server will maintain the game state, so that every screen is watching the same game
- The screen will display the current state of the game, as well as an indicator of which color (red or black) has the next move
- Players will put the virtual checkers in the virtual slots by sending an SMS to an e-mail address displayed on the screen
- The SMS will be simply a number, 1 thru 7, indicating into which slot the checker should be deposited
- When someone sends their first move to the system, it will log them as having joined the team (red or black) whose turn it was
- In the future, this person can only send moves for the team which they have joined
- When the game ends, a counter on the screen will increment which team won, and will reset the game
- A given game could take minutes, hours or days to complete, depending on how many people participate
- A core idea is that this is a game that requires minimal effort to play - this is meant to encourage more people to play it
- A typical play experience would be someone sending in a move as they pass by the screen and then going about their day