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Arcadia... by Synthetic Reality


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Arcadia Toys:

Other Games:
Well of Souls
Rocket Club

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New WoS Worlds
Rocket Club Models

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This is a picture of the Arcadia toy selection screen.  I'm very proud of the transparent list control :-) It's easy, honest! And free!
Click here to download the Arcadia installer. (~1 MB)  

What Is Arcadia?

Arcadia is a FREE on-line community which supports a variety of mini-games, called toys. Players meet to play together on a server. If you don't see a server hosting the toy you want to play, you can easily start your own (the server software is included with the game).

Empyrion - Real Time Multiplayer Strategy, with integrated map and empire editors   SynJet - Multiplayer battle flight sim with user-created missions.   SynSpace - 2.5D Spacewars arcade battle with user-generated maps.   TurnAbout - Multiplayer Mini-Game creation engine, write and share your own game designs!  
Collaboration - Multiplayer collaborative story-writing game.   SynPool - Multiplayer real time pool table simulation   SynSpades - Classic four player card game. Four tables per server.  Award-winning bots available for empty seats.   SynChess - Play on up to 16 tables at once.  Available bots won't crush your ego.  
DomiNation - Multiplayer hex-grid area-control dice-battle game!   SynVille - Real time multiplayer city simulation.   SynJam - Multiplayer musical jam session over the Internet.  Collaborative MIDI file generator.      

There are about a dozen toys, (and TurnAbout allows you to craft your own mini-games and share them, so there is lots to do). Toys run the gamut from Real Time Strategy, Battle Flight Sim, to pool, card games, city simulators, and collaborative music and story composition games.

Of course, most of the toys can also be played in solo mode, if you're not into that whole multiplayer thing.

While in Arcadia, you can flip your attention between three separate domains:

  • The current TOY (see list below)
  • The current PARK (2.5D chat environment with sports activities)
  • The Web (integrated browser)

How To Install Arcadia

Just click the download link above and execute the installer once it finishes downloading.

When you run Arcadia for the first time, click the 'Check For New Toys' button and let it fetch all the toys (otherwise you will have no toys to play!).

Arcadia itself is quite small -- about a megabyte of download. Most of the toys are a few hundred kilobytes each.

How To Play Arcadia

Launch Arcadia via its desktop or start menu short cut, create an account, and choose whether you want to play alone (SOLO) or multiplayer on a MIX server.

If you opt for multiplayer then one person on the server will be the 'moderator' of that server and will get to pick the toy which everyone on that server will play.

You can tell who the moderator is because they have a little crown next to their name. (You have a little star next to YOUR name.) Right-click on a name for a menu of helpful options (including "Make Me/Someone Else The Moderator").

Remember: only the moderator can pick the toy. Once the toy is picked the moderator probably has additional duties (like pressing a 'start game' button when everyone is ready) and maybe a few extra abilities (like 'kick this player out of the game'). Once a toy has been picked on a server, it cannot be changed until everyone has left the server.

The first person on the server generally gets to be moderator.

Your Arcadia Account

While servers are used to play games with other players, there is no central account server. Accounts you create are kept only on your own PC. (And are 100% free!)

Basically this is just a way of letting you have several names, with different preferences and statistics. NOTE: while it is allowed to password-lock your account to protect it from a sibling, if you *forget* your password, it will be 100% non-recoverable, so think twice... or at least once more.

Your Arcadia Face

Each account gets to pick a 'face' to represent the player in the game. Each face comes with an array of 'emotions' which you can change at any time by clicking on the appropriate tool bar buttons.

You can take your face for a walk in the Arcadia Park (you can design your own parks and share them). There are some simple sports available in parks (like Splat! or feeding the AI Ducks), but please do not confuse the park with the current toy.

Most Toys incorporate your face somewhere to represent you in the game. And you usually use your face emotions as a means of communicating your mood (after, say, winning a hand at Spades).

The Arcadia Toolbar

Along the top of the screen is a row of teensy little toolbar buttons which you can press to enhance your experience in Arcadia. From left to right, they are:

  • Log Off and Leave Server (returns you to the 'SOLO or MIX' screen)
  • Show Toy Window (the default)
  • Visit The Park (play in the 2.5D Arcadia Park for this server)
  • Show Web Browser (browse the web, press 'return to game' when done)

  • Your Diary (Arcadia lets you keep notes about people you meet)
  • Speech/Microphone (Arcadia has Voice Chat)
  • Chat Macros ( /example=type this when I type '/example')

  • Visit Arcadia Home Page (switch to web browser and show this page)
  • Visit Synthetic Reality Bulletin Board
  • Donate $ (the game is free, but I can still dream, can't I?)
  • Visit Current Toy's Web Page (every Toy has its own web page)

  • Eight Face Emotions: happy, sad, rofl, etc... sleepy

  • Pick Your Face (or draw a new one)
  • Font and Color Preferences (Arcadia has text chat)
  • General Preferences (for Arcadia as a whole)
  • Toy Preferences (for the currently selected toy, if any)
  • About Arcadia (general help buttons)

When in doubt, right-click on some area of the screen. I probably have a menu of commands hidden there :-) Definitely on the player list in the lower right corner of the screen.

Playing a Toy

Each toy is a game in itself, so please review the list of toys below and visit their individual web pages for details. But, in general:

  • In solo mode YOU are always the moderator
  • On a server, there is exactly one moderator (knock on wood)
  • The moderator picks the toy from the list of installed toys
  • 'Check For New Toys' lets you see what's new and fetch it
  • 'Load and Run Toy' launches the selected toy
  • Remember to click the 'Show Toy Window' toolbar button to see the toy again, if you have wandered off into the park (which you are free to do at any time).

You can re-size the Arcadia window, and drag the splitter bars to size the chat area, and player list, as you see fit. Some toys add additional columns to the player list while they are being played.

Is It Really Free?

Yes. There is no charge for playing Arcadia or its toys. Of course, I make it possible for you to VOLUNTARILY DONATE money to me, just to be nice (to me, I mean).

But you don't have to.

You can read about that here and about Golden Souls <-- there. A single Golden Soul Activation Code can be used on your copy of Well of Souls, Arcadia, and Rocket Club.

System Requirements: Windows 95/98/NT/2000/Me/XP/etc, Pentium 90, 32M RAM (64M recommended), DirectX (version 3 or higher), Internet Explorer (for embedded web features), 50 MB free hard drive space (more is better). As with all windows applications, performance will be most improved by adding memory to your system. Memory is your friend, buy more today. Arcadia's retro graphics style does not require a powerful computer.
Current Toy List:

The following is a brief description of each toy currently available in Arcadia. Please check out a toy's web page for more details.

TOY1: synJET

Click here to read more about synJet!


SynJet is a battle flight-simulator where you may choose to fly (jet or prop) with either realistic physics (hard) or in arcade mode (easy). All vehicles come with weapons, of course, and pretty much anything can be blown up.

Up to eight players take part in a mission selected by the moderator, individually choosing which mission goals they wish to achieve (including the ability to play for the enemy side of the mission)

Missions are described by simple text files, so it is possible to add more of your own.


Click here to read more about synPool!


SynPool is a 3D pool table 'simulator'. synPool provides the table, you provide the rules -- for up to 8 players to share four tables.

Right-click on player names to pass the cue stick around. Whoever has the cue stick, can bash any balls they like.

The springy widget on the left lets you set your stroke energy and take your shot. Click on the cue ball beneath the spring to shoot. A multi-bank laser sight is available in solo mode to pre-visualize the effects of your shot.

TOY3: synChess


SynChess is a multiplayer game with up to 16 chess boards per server. You can be a spectator or take a seat and play on as many tables as you like.

The game includes the ability to record game histories, select different board and piece artwork (design your own and share with others), cut and paste board positions, and lots of other cool stuff. While intended to be a multiplayer game, a chessBot is provided for solo play (or to give move hints).

TOY4: Empyrion

Click here to read more about Empyrion!


Empyrion is Uncle Dan's Tiny Real Time Strategy Engine (tm). This is an homage to the original Command & Conquer (In its time, the most perfect game ever released).

In addition to the frenetic unit battling you expect in an RTS, Empyion includes a map editor and an empire/unit editor so the game may be extended eternally.

Up to eight players battle on a map picked by the moderator. Players command units from any empire they have created or downloaded from other players.

TOY5: DomiNation


DomiNation is Uncle Dan's Tiny Strategy Board Game Engine (tm). It's an homage to all the Risk-like games on the planet.

It supports up to 8 players, with a mixture of humans and bots assigned by the moderator.

Place your troops, pick your target, roll your dice. Continue until you own it all.

Now, with nukes!

TOY6: synSpades


SynSpades is an updated version of's game: NetSpades -- possibly the first 'Internet' cadr game. (NetSpades was cited as prior art in some patent battle, so look out Yahoo! Games, you may owe me a big check! :-).

Up to 16 people may play (on four tables) per server. Spectators are free to watch, but do not get to see your cards.

Award-winning spades bots fill all otherwise empty seats (the game requires four players per table).

TOY7: synSpace


SynSpace is yet another Space Game.

Up to 8 people play per server, in what can be most accurately described as a semi-3D version of the classic SpaceWars game, only with powerups, multiple weapons, and payer-created maps. Play simple melee or capture the flag.

Full control of camera position, spectator mode, and the usual synthetic-reality goofiness abound.

It's easy to add new maps, placing stars (with gravity), zones (healing or hurting), and barriers as you see fit.

TOY8: synVille


This is not yet a game. It's a multiplayer city building/attacking thingy. Coming Soon.

Well, OK, it's a game. You 'compete' for the highest population. There. that's fun, right?

My idea was to facilitate player-created architecture, but since I never actually documented that, none has yet appeared. Now that Google SketchUp is available for free, it might be time to pursue that.

Can you get your city to a population of a million?

TOY9: synVideo


SynVideo is a chat tool which allows you to send video snapshots and JPEG images to other people on the server.

It is, of course, nicest if you have a video camera of some sort attached to your PC. But if you prefer to just send JPG files, that's OK too!

This is a fully functional image sharing funspot. Please do not be frightened by the people in the picture. They won't be there, I promise.

TOY10: TurnAbout


This is a work in progress.

The idea is... TurnAbout is a hybrid between a card game and a board game, where just by crafting a suitable deck of cards you could play Monopoly, Jones in the Fast Lane, a Japanese Dating hentai, or a Magic Clone

TurnAbout lets you craft your own multiplayer mini-games and share them with friends. Please see the turnAbout API for details.

TurnAbout comes with several example mini-games: Blackjack, Feud (ballistic battle) and WindChasers (a sailboat racing simulator)

TOY11: collaboration


This is a collaborative writing game where you battle with words to make a funny story. Or a serious story.. It's up to you.

Personally, I love this toy, and contrary to its description, it really doesn't require astounding writing skills to enjoy the game. Though being able to type quickly is an asset.

Story sessions are saved to disk for your later reading pleasure.

TOY12: synJam


SynJam is a collaborative music-performance and composition game where you.. um.. jam in semi-real time.

Basically you all listen to the same MIDI file and 'members of the band' jam along using a virtual piano keyboard, microphone, or an attached MIDI controller (if you have one of those, you know what it is).

Performances are added as new tracks in the MIDI file, and over the course of multiple sessions you craft an entirely new song.

Project Status:

Arcadia is a young project, and I plan to keep working on it for a long time.

I started this project because I wanted a reusable environment for developing 'quicky' games. And with the TurnAbout toy, I extend that invitation to budding programmers who are looking for an easy environment to craft multiplayer games.

To Pick up New Toys:

  1. Run Arcadia
  2. Select a server, or launch your own.
  3. Push the "Check for New Toys" button
  4. Follow Instructions.
Arcadia-Related Web Sites

Here are some sites run by fellow Arcadians. Please check them out!

Guppyman's SynSpace Site
Old Man Kodos' Empyrion HQ
Beoghztt's Infinity Dreams
Deadly Headshot's Warpath/Empyrion page
The Official Arcadia Guiltware Page guiltware
<Your Site Here>  

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