Creating A Simple Multiplayer Game In Phaser 3 With An Authoritative Server – Part 3

In Part 1 of this tutorial, we created our Node.js server, set up a basic Phaser game, and set up our server to run Phaser in headless mode, and in Part 2 we started adding in the logic for adding and removing players to our game.

In this tutorial, we are going to add the client side logic for displaying other players in our game, add the logic for handling player input, and add logic for the collectibles players will pick up.

If you didn’t complete Part 2 and would like to continue from there (having completed Part 1), you can find the code for it here.

You can download all of the files associated with the source code for Part 3 here.

Let’s get started!

Showing other players

In our last tutorial, we wrapped up by adding the logic for displaying the player in our game and now we will work on displaying other players in our game. In part two of this tutorial, we set up Socket.IO to emit a newPlayer and a disconnect event. We will use these two events, and our current logic for the currentPlayers event to add and remove other players from our game. To do this, open up server/public/js/game.js and update the  create function to match the following:

Let’s review the code we just added:

  • We updated the function that is called when the  currentPlayers event is emitted to now call the  displayPlayers function when looping through the players object if that player is not the current player.
  • We used  socket.on() to listen for the  newPlayer and  disconnect events.
  • When the  newPlayer event is fired, we call the  displayPlayers function to add that new player to our game.
  • When the  disconnect event is fired, we take that player’s id and we remove that player’s ship from the game. We do this by calling the  getChildren() method on our  players group. The  getChildren() method will return an array of all the game objects that are in that group, and from there we use the  forEach() method to loop through that array.
  • Lastly, we use the  destroy() method to remove that game object from the game.

Before we can test our new logic for adding other players to our game, we need to load an asset for these players. You can find that asset here.

This image will need to be placed in the  public/assets folder. Once the image is there, we can load this image into our game. In the  preload function, add the following line:

Now, if you refresh your game in the browser, you should still see your player’s ship. If you open another tab or browser and navigate to your game, you should see multiple sprites appear in the game window, and if you close one of those games you should see that sprite disappear from the other games.

Handling player input

With the logic for displaying all of the players in the game in place, we will move on to handling player input and allow our player to move. We will handle player input by using Phaser’s built-in keyboard manager and instead of moving the player directly on the client side, we will use Socket.IO to send the player’s input to the server. To do this, add the following code at the bottom of the  create function in  public/js/game.js:

This will populate the cursors object with our four main Key objects (up, down, left, and right), which will bind to those arrows on the keyboard. Then, we just need to see if these keys are being held down in the  update function. We also created three new variables for keeping track of which keys are currently being pressed, which will be used in the update function.

Since we will be using Socket.IO to send the player’s input to the server, we could just send a message to the server any time one of these keys are being held down. However, this would result in a large number of calls to the server that are not needed. The reason for this is because we only need to be aware of when a player first presses a key down and when they let go of the key. To keep track of this, we will use the three variables we created above to store the state of which keys are being pressed, and when the state changes we will then send a message to the server.

Now, add the following code to the update function in public/js/game.js:

Let’s review the code we just added:

  • First, we created three new variables: left, right, and up. These variables will be used to store the previous state of the pressed keys.
  • We then check to see if the up, left, or right keys are being pressed down. If they are, then we update the keyPressed variables with the new state and if they are not pressed then we set those variables to false.
  • Lastly, we check to see if the state of one of the keys has changed, for example, if the player was not pressing the up key and now they are. If the state has changed, then we emit a playerInput message that passes the state of each key.

Next, we will need to update the logic on our server to handle the new playerInput message. To do this, open authoritative_server/js/game.js and add the following code below the socket.on('disconnect', function () { code:

Next, add the following code below the update function:

In the code above, we did the following:

  • First, we listened for the playerInput message and when this message is received we called a new function called handlePlayerInput, and we pass it a reference to the current scene, the socket id of the player that passed the message, and the input keys that player pressed.
  • In the handlePlayerInput function, we called the getChildren method of the players group to get an array of all of the game objects. We then loop through that array and check to see if that game object’s playerId matches the socket id of the player that passed the message.
  • If that playerId matches, then we update that players data in our players object and store that players input. We are storing the player’s input that way we can use that data in our update function.

Next, since we are storing the player’s input in a new property in the players object we will add default values to this object when we first create it. In the io.on('connection') callback function, add the following code to the players[] object:

This object should look like this now:

With that done, we can now add the logic to the update function that will be responsible for moving each player’s game object.

Add the following code to the update function:

Let’s review the code we just added:

  • First, we called the getChildren method of the players group to get an array of the player’s game objects and then we loop through this array using the forEach method.
  • In this loop, the first thing we do is create a new variable called input and we store the players’ input data there. We then check to see if the left, right, or up keys were pressed.
  • If the left or right key is pressed, then we update the player’s angular velocity by calling  setAngularVelocity(). The angular velocity will allow the ship to rotate left and right.
  • If neither the left or right keys are pressed, then we reset the angular velocity back to 0.
  • If the up key is pressed, then we update the ship’s velocity, otherwise, we set it to 0.
  • The last thing we do in the loop is we store the x, y, and rotation properties of the player game object in our players object. We are storing these properties so that we can pass them back to the client side, and use that data to update player’s positions.
  • Then, we call and we pass it the players group and an offset of 5. This is used for when a player’s ship goes off the screen, it will force the player’s ship to appear on the other side of the screen.
  • Finally, we emit a playerUpdates message to all of out players and we pass our players object with this message.

Now that we have the code in place for handling player’s input on our server the last thing we need to do is update the client side to handle the new playerUpdates message. When the client side receives this message, we will use that data to update each players game object’s position and rotation.

To do this, open public/js/game.js and add the following code above the this.cursors = this.input.keyboard.createCursorKeys(); line in the create function:

In the code above we did the following:

  • First, we loop through the players object that was passed with the playerUpdates message, and then we loop through all of the game objects in our players group.
  • We then check to see if that player game objects playerId matches the playerId of the players object.
  • If the playerId matches, we then update that game object’s rotation and position by calling the setRotation and setPosition methods.

If you save, restart your server, and refresh your game, you should now be able to move your ship around the screen.

Collecting stars

With our game now handling player’s input, we need to give the players a goal. For this tutorial, we are going to add a star collectible to the game for the players to collect, and when they do, their team will get ten points. To do this, we will need to create a few new game objects and a few new Socket.IO events. First, will focus on the star game object.

The asset for this collectible can be downloaded here. Place a copy of star_gold.png in both the public/assets and authoritative_server/assets folders.

Now, add the following code to the preload function in authoritative_server/js/game.js:

Then, in the create function add the following code below:

In the code above we did the following:

  • Loaded in our new star image in the preload function.
  • Created a new variable called scores which is an object we will use for storing the scores for both the red and blue teams.
  • Created a new game object for the star collectible, and we created a random position for the x and y positions by calling a new function called randomPosition.
  • Added a collider for our players Phaser group. When you pass a Phaser group to the physics.add.collider() method, Phaser will automatically check for collisions between all of the child game objects.
  • Added an overlap between the players Phaser group and the star game object, and we provided a callback function to be called when one of the game object’s overlaps with another. When you pass a Phaser group and a single game object, Phaser will automatically check for collisions between all of the child game objects and the single game object.
  • In the callback function, we checked which team the player game object belonged to and updated the score of that team. We then update the position of the star game object by providing it a new random position.
  • Lastly, we emitted two new Socket.IO messages: updateScore and starLocation. When we emit the updateScore message, we also send the scores variable to the client side. When we emit the starLocation message, we also send the x and y position of the star game object.

Next, in the io.on('connection') callback function add the following code below the socket.broadcast.emit('newPlayer', players[]); line:

Finally, add the following code below the update function:

In the code above we:

  • Send the location of the star game object and the current score to any new player that joins our game.
  • Added the randomPosition function that was called in the code above.

With the code changes for the server in place, we will switch to the client side. The first thing we will do is load the star asset in the client side code. In public/js/game.js add the following line at the bottom of the preload function:

Next, we will need a way of letting the players know what the current score is. We can do this by using Phaser’s text game objects. In the create function add the following code below the this.players =; line:

In the code above, we created two new text game objects by calling  this.add.text(). When we created these two objects, we passed the location of where the object would be placed, the default text of the object, and the font size and fill that would be used for the text object.

Finally,  we just need to add the logic for the two new Socket.IO events we created. In the create function add the following code above the this.cursors = this.input.keyboard.createCursorKeys(); line:

Let’s review the code we just added:

  • When the updateScore event is received, we then update the text of the game objects by calling the  setText() method, and we pass the team’s score to each object.
  • When the starLocation event is recieved, we first check to see if the star game object doesn’t exist and if it doesn’t we create the star game object at the location that was provided. If the star game object does exist, then we just update it’s position by calling the setPosition method.

If you save your code changes, restart the server, and refresh your browser you should see the new star collectible and the team scores.

If you move your ship over the star collectible, you should see the star move to a new location and you should see the team score update. Also, if you open a new tab in your browser, you should be able to run your ship into the other player’s ship and see them collide.


With the star collectible added to the game, that brings this tutorial to a close. In summary, it showed you how to create a simple multiplayer game with an authoritative server in Phaser – mainly using Socket.IO and Node.js.

I hope you enjoyed all of these tutorials and found them helpful. If you have any questions, or suggestions on what we should cover next, please let us know in the comments below.

Published by

Scott Westover

Scott Westover is a Fullstack Developer who loves coding, writing tutorials, participating in game jams, and learning about new technologies. When he is not coding, he is either spending time with his wife and two kids or is reading a great book. Scott is looking to form connections and share his knowledge. Connect with Scott on Linkedin.

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