Bolo, a game of tank warfare, rewritten for modern browsers.
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Bolo is a top-down game of tank warfare originally written by Stuart Cheshire for the BBC Micro and Apple Macintosh, and also notably rewritten for Windows and Linux by John Morrison.


Orona is another rewrite of Bolo, intended to be played in any modern browser. Orona is developed in CoffeeScript, and relies on some of the newer technologies made possible by HTML5.

The name comes from an uninhabited island situated in the central Pacific Ocean.

Playing Orona

Orona is alpha quality, but still very playable. Take a look at GitHub Pages to see a single player game in action, which should work on most modern browsers. There's also a multiplayer instance kindly hosted by Joyent, but browser support is more limited.

If you're seeing odd things in your browser, take a look at the browser compatibility wiki page, and feel free to extend it with your experiences. Issue reports are also welcome.

Running an Orona server

These instructions are written from a Linux perspective, but they should work for Mac OS X, or other Unix-likes that can run node.js. Some commandline-fu is required.

A fast way to get going is to install node.js 0.2.x, npm, and then Orona itself:

npm install orona

You will need a small config file; bolo-server will tell you how to create one. Note that the IRC functionality is optional, but the only way to do match-making at the moment. If you don't want to connect to an IRC network, simply remove the irc section from the config file.

Hacking Orona

The Orona project lives on GitHub. You can grab the source using:

git clone
cd orona

If you've installed Orona using npm before, most dependencies should already be installed. Otherwise, take a look at the package.json file for what you need. You also need CoffeeScript:

npm install coffee-script

Then, to build and run from the source directory, do:

cake build


The source code of Orona is distributed with the GNU GPL version 2, as inherited from WinBolo. Much of the game logic was written with WinBolo as a reference, thus becoming a derived work of it. Though the GNU GPL version 2 is a fine license either way. You can find a copy of the license in the COPYING file.

Some files, or parts of files, are subject to other licenses, where indicated in the files themselves. A short overview of those parts follows.

The source file 'src/server/' is a modification/rewrite based on:

  • Socket.IO, © 2010 LearnBoost, MIT-licensed.

All the graphic and sound files are from:

  • Bolo, © 1993 Stuart Cheshire.

For the browser client, Orona also bundles:

  • jQuery, © 2010 John Resig, licensed MIT and GPLv2.
  • Sizzle, © 2010 The Dojo Foundation, licensed MIT, BSD and GPL.
  • jQuery UI, © 2010 The jQuery UI Team, licensed MIT and GPLv2.
  • jQuery Cookie plugin, © 2006 Klaus Hartl, licensed MIT and GPLv2.
  • Components that are part of Villain.