Pybem is a project whose goal is to provide easy to use tools for creating and running play by email (PBEM) games. I was inspired by games such as Atlantis, written by Geoff Dunbar, and it's successors such as Wyreth and Realms, both of which are written, maintained and run by Joseph Traub. While these games are great, and have a strong developer community, the techniques that they use present an imposing barrier to entry for those who would be interested in designing, implementing and running a PBEM game, but who lack the impressive skill set that is necessary.
I've decided on Python as the language of choice for Pybem, due to it's ease of use and portability. Ultimately, the engine will be configurable through simple, human-readable text files, to further lower the barriers to entry. Oh yeah, and it's all GPLed, so that there are no restrictions on it's use. I want as many people as possible to use my work.
The first stage of development is complete, that of providing easily modifiable scripts to run a game based on the Atlantis and Wyreth engines. Thera can run anything that follows the major parts of Atlantis' simple interface.
The second stage of development didn't go so well. The plan was to write a simple version of Atlantis in Python, and develop it into a configurable game engine. The first cut was Boojum, an early alpha version of the engine that was ultimately meant to become the engine. So what went wrong? The main problem was that the configurable game engine had plenty of configuration, but not enough game. Without a decent game, it's difficult to draw in people who like the game enough that they want to help out.
That's where the third stage of development comes in. I'm taking the simplest existing game engine the I can find (Atlantis v1) and converting it pretty much directly into Python. Once that's done, then the fun stuff begins - I'll be removing the C-isms, upgrading the interface so that you can run a game with Thera, and making the whole thing more configurable.
Interested? Check out the current progress on pyatlantis, and play around with it. If you like what you see, or if you have questions, just drop me an email at abriggs at users.sourceforge.net, and let me know how you can help. Patches, playtesters, or even just expressions of interest are all welcome.
For more information, please visit the pybem sourceforge page.