Fetching contributors…
Cannot retrieve contributors at this time
240 lines (173 sloc) 11.3 KB


A simple real-time multiplayer game framework for node.js.

var tycho = require('tycho');

	run: 'main.js',
	servers: [{...}]

Tycho provides game developers with a simple API for interacting with clients across different platforms and protocols. The goal is to allow developers to focus on writing games, without having to worry about communication or distribution. The architecture of Tycho is inherently distributed, using node's cluster API to fork child processes. Developers provide an entry file which is executed in the context of tycho on each worker process.

Basic Example

The most basic usage of Tycho is:

var tycho = require('tycho');

	run: 'main.js',
	servers: [{
		type: tycho.constants.connectionTypes.TCP,
		port: 8080

which runs the file main.js in each worker, and accepts TCP connections on port 8080. The file main.js exposes a function which is executed when the worker process is ready to begin accepting client connections:

// main.js

module.exports = function (tycho) {
	tycho.on('request', function (req) {
		// Received a new connection request
		// Return true/false to accept or deny the request

	tycho.on('connect', function (connection) {
		// A new connection has been established



This method is only available in the master process.

Initializes tycho and forks the worker processes. config is an object which specifies all the settings in tycho.


  • run: filename of the entry file to execute in each worker process. This file should expose a single function which will be called when the worker process is ready to begin accepting connections.
  • servers: Array of server config objects. Each worker runs a server of each type supplied in the config. Load-balancing between workers is handled very efficiently by the operating system.


  • workers: int indicating how many workers to fork. Defaults to os.cpus().length.
  • control: config object for the tycho control server. See the section on Control for possible config options. Passing null will disable the control server.
  • store: config object for the store used by tycho for data storage and pub/sub. Internally, tycho uses redis but will support extensions in the future, allowing developers to plug in their store of choice.
  • log: config object for the log used by tycho to output debug statements, warnings, and errors. Passing null or { enabled: false } will disable logging.
  • reviveWorkers: defaults to true. Indicates whether workers which die should be restarted.

tycho.get(key, callback)

This method is only available in the worker process.

Retrieves any of the properties added by tycho.set(). The return value is passed as the first argument to callback.

If the room flag is set, then this retrieves properties on room specified by the flag.

tycho.set(key, value, callback)

This method is only available in the worker process.

Sets an arbitrary property value on the main tycho object.

If the room flag is set, then this arbitrary data with the room specified by the flag.

This method is only available in the worker process.

Sets the room flag to the room given by name. This is used in conjunction with .get() and .set() to store custom data with a room. Example:'lobby').set('name', 'Super Awesome Lobby');'just another game name').set('maxPlayers', 10);

In the second example, maxPlayers is a special property used by tycho to limit the number of connections allowed in one room.


request (request)

Emitted when a new connection request is set. Listeners on this event must return a boolean indicating whether to accept the connection or not (true:accept, false:reject). The request object passed has the following properties:

  • type: the type of connection attempting to establish. Different properties are provided on the request object based on the type of connection.
  • address: the IP address of the client attempting to connect.
  • port: the port of the client attempting to connect. Only available on TCP and UDP requests.

The following properties are only provided on WebSocket requests:

  • origin: URL of the webpage from which the connection originated. This property is null if the WebSocket connection did not originate from a browser.
  • resource: the resource path requested by the client.
  • version: version of WebSocket protocol requested by the client.

connect (connection)

Emitted when a new connection is established with a client. See Connection below for information on how to the connection object.

pause (serverType)

Emitted when a server is paused. serverType is a string which contains the type of the server being paused, and can be one of the following:

TCP - 'tcp:server'
UDP - 'udp:server'
WebSocket - 'ws:server'

stop (serverType)

Emitted when a server is stopped. serverType is a string which contains the type of the server being stopped, and are the same as those used for pause.

httpRequest (request, response)

Emitted when a WebSocket server receives an HTTP request. Note that http requests are denied by default in WebSocket servers, enableHTTP needs to be explicitly set to true to receive this event. The request and response objects are the same as those passed in the node http module (here).


id [String]

A unique identifier for this connection.

address [String]

A routable address for this connection. Used in conjunction with to send messages from one connection to another.

send (message)

Sends the provided message to the client. message can be either a string or an object. If an object is passed, it will be serialized as JSON before sending.

join (room, callback)

Joins the room given by room, creating it if it didn't exist before. The primary reason to have connections join rooms is to allow broadcasting messages to groups of connections. room can be any valid string, and callback is a function which is passed a boolean value indicating whether the connection successfully joined the room.

leave (room, callback)

Leaves the room given by room. callback is a function which is passed a boolean value indicating whether the connection successfully left the room.

close ()

Closes the connection to the client.

pause ()

Pauses the connection, preventing messages from being sent or received. This can be used to throttle busy clients under load.

in (room)

A flag which modifies send to broadcast to all connections in a room. Example:'lobby').send('hey everybody!');

to (address)

A flag which changes the client that a message is sent to. This can be used effectively to send messages between clients. Example:'show me the money!');
// Message received at connection2

get (key, callback)

Retrieves connection properties added by set(). callback is a function which is passed the stored value. Example:

// Earlier: connection.set('key', 'value');
// ...
connection.get('key', function (err, val) {
	// val == 'value'

set (key, value, callback)

Sets an arbitrary property on this connection. Developers should use this to store data associated with a client. Example:

connection.set('key', 'value', function (err, result) {
	// err is null if the set operation occurred successfully


Tycho currently supports three server types, which are passed to tycho.init in the initial configuration, as objects in the servers array.

All server types support the following options:

  • port: port number to start the server on. Note that TCP and WebSocket servers must be started on different ports.
  • host: host IP to start the server on.


Enabled by passing a config object with a type of tycho.constants.connectionTypes.TCP.

  • noDelay: defaults to true. Disables the Nagle algorithm, which causes data to be sent immediately without buffering.


Enabled by passing a config object with a type of tycho.constants.connectionTypes.UDP.

  • type: defaults to udp6. Valid values are udp4 and udp6.


Enabled by passing a config object with a type of tycho.constants.connectionTypes.WEBSOCKET.

  • secure: defaults to null. Forces wss:// connections to the server. To enable, pass an object with cert and key properties, or with a pfx property. See the documentation here for information on required properties.
  • noDelay: defaults to true. Same as config option on TCP Server above.
  • enableHTTP: defaults to false. Set to true to receive httpRequest events. See Events under Tycho above for more information.


By default, Tycho starts a TCP server on port 7331 which accepts simple commands to manage or log Tycho behavior. Unless indicated, all commands support an argument which specifies which server to send the command to. Example:

// Using node net library
var connection = net.connect(7331, function () {
	connection.write('start tcp'); 	// start all tcp servers
	connection.write('pause');		// pause all servers
  • start: starts a stopped server.
  • pause: pauses a running server.
  • stop: stops a running server.
  • resume: starts a paused server.
  • heartbeat: returns a serialized Object of the form: { [workerID]: [running server list] }. [running server list] is a comma-separated string of server types running on the worker.
  • stats: returns a serialized Object of the form: { [workerID]: [usage statistics] }. [usage statistics] is a 3-element array of [processID, memory usage, connection count].


Full documentation can be found at:


Back in 1994, a small Macintosh developer named Bungie released Marathon, the first in a trilogy of first-person shooter games. The story of Marathon centers around a security officer (you), and a rampant Artificial Intelligence named Durandal bent on escaping the eventual end of the universe. In doing so, he leads an enslaved alien race in a rebellion against their captors, who originally destroyed the ship you and Durandal were aboard and enslaved one of the other AIs that was aboard the ship. The enslaved AI's name was Tycho. Tycho doesn't figure into the story as prominently as Durandal, but whenever he does you know you are in for a treat. His sarcastic and witty remarks are a fine counterpoint to Durandal's more straightforward approach, a testament to the excellent writing done throughout the games. If you've never played a Marathon game before, you owe it to yourself to visit Aleph One (, a community continuation of the Marathon game engine following its release to the public in 1999.