Gaming Your Way

May contain nuts.

So you like vector images because of the size ...

From Stanford comes this nifftly "little" browser based applications that allows you to convert your averrage bitmap file into a high quility vector image.

vectorization_horizontal_narrow.png
(taken from VectorMagic page)

It's free (though you need to register), it's great (just tested a few images of mine) and it uses flash as a front-end (so I think it qualifies for a post here).

Have a look at it here: vectormagic.stanford.edu.

nGFX

Oh. The dgNotify app. now is in private beta stage (we're using it to track out project times now heavily) and I hope to be able to announce a public beta more sooner than later. If things work out like I hope, you can create an account online and use dgN to keep track of your ToDo's and bugs (and use it as small group, too).

Everything starts somewhere, although many physicists disagree.

Well, well, well, after a quite long posting absence I just returned for some not-game-related words ...

I think I told you guys last time, that I'm burried under work and all of it is NDA sealed, so no words on that for now.

While having a few days off (finally) I started to work again on the dgNotifier, a cunning peace of software I've been moving around with me for quite a time now, but never ... really got into.

Everytime I start a new project I notice that I *need* that damn application, but of course I can't code it *now* because of the new project ahead.

So what's this dgNotifier?
Basically it's a ToDo list.
and some sort of bug tracker
a micro message board
helps tracking your working times
and it's a small calendar app

My problem is that I have two offices to hang out, so most of the stand-alone ToDo lists won't do the trick. Most of them don't meet my requierements (being small and non intrusive) and just a few allow widows-server based list handling.
What I also wanted was multi user ToDo lists.

I think I go into the ugly details of flash-remoting later, for now just 2 images of it working ...

dgn_todo_00.png dgn_editjob_00.png dgn_tasktimer_00.png
Main ToDo list view / the job editing panel / taking times for a task

Along with email and tray notifications it might prove handy ...

Next step will be implementing task editing (time tracker for tasks works already).

nGFX

ps: todays headline quote form Terry Pratchet's Hogfather (DE, US)

You still don't like to leave before the end of the movie ...

BACK!

After quite a long absence, I finally found the time to do a (small) post. What happened so far is that I had a lot of very tight deadlines for the last couple of weeks (mainly because I was pactically forced to go on vacation for two weeks) and all of the things needed to be done during the time I planned to lay flat on the beach and do nothing.

Three of these deadlines fall under the term "NDA", so I can't go into detail there, only that these projects where some niffty flash/zinc apps.

So ther's only one left, which is finished AND a game, too. I wrote about it earlier, I think: "Logimotion".

lm_promo_00.jpg
(Title screen, the first level, delivery robots
and a part of a later level)

Basically it's a quite easy game: just guide the robots from point A to B. All you have to do is to switch junctions/intersections and make sure your robots don't crash. It may become a bit tricky, though. For the current levels, there may be up to 20 of them running at the same time (but you really have to delay delivery for that to happen).

If you want to give it a quick bash, you can play it here: www.gardeur.com (either chose English or German).

After all that 18h shifts I'm doing a bit of 3D at the moment and hopefully start working on a new game in a couple of days.

nGFX

ps: want to see my current workspace? 'course you do ...

ngfx_workspace_small.jpg
two 22inch and one 15inch tft, resulting in a desktop
resolution of 4384x1050px ... pure working bliss


Ye olde formular plotted in 3d trick

So after Squize was boring us with that grid, I thought it's time to give AS3 a go (finally).

While diving into the "new" AS version I also tried a new editor, I use(d) se|py for AS2, but felt the need to try something new editor wise, too.

I had a look at SharpStyle Neutron, a coding plugin for Visual Studio 2005 (imho one of the best coding environments), but as it's AS2 only (the current beta is able to handle AS3 it seems) so while it's great for AS2 it didn't help me on my current task ...

Another Editor I wanted to give a go was FlashDevelop. I instantly fell in love with the current 3.0.0 beta build. It feels like Visual Studio, it's fast and has some niffty, helpfull features.

So I did what I always do in a new language, I coded a 3d formular plotter, the idea reaches back to the good old c64 days, though, it took a whole night to render a way smaler version.

Anyway this is what I came up with during my first 2 hours of AS3:
plotter.swf (1,31 KB)

It's not that impressive, but it's fast (just used an onEnterFrame to show the plotting).

<olli/>

Where are my f***** handbooks?

Yesterday my CS3 design premium box finally arrived. Man was I disappointed.

You certainly know the excitement when a *very* expensive piece of software finally arrives? Not that I was already a bit bitter about the fact that I had to pay a *lot* more than an american customer (for the English version mind you).

So I opened the parcel, and what came ot was a ... 5cm x 15cm x 20cm, about DVD-Box sized, thin cardboard box with the CD's ...

I mean, not even a Quickstart guide ... I wasn't really expecting a printed handbook (which really would be a dream), but at least some sort of keyboard shortcuts ...

</rant off>

Though I must admit that the whole thing is impressive ... so I ordered a new comp, too.

So waiting for a bit of free (ROFL) time to start playing ...

nGFX

Monky Island the movie ...

Just had a few minutes off coding and surfed for a few minutes when I discovered this:

Monkey Island the movie. (Available in English and German) Made in flash it somehow manages to bring the flavour of the first game to a browser next to you ...

I guess I'll fire up ScummVM now for a few minutes of gaming history ...

nGFX

Abuse of asBroadcast

How pure is pure oop, how usefull are design patterns and how to abuse asBroadcast?

Well, for the current game I'm bound to f8/AS2 because the client's audience is still mostly on f8 and the attempts to make them update the player greatly failed and resulted in a lot of "what is an update of the flash player", "what is a flash player" and "I don't know how" emails ...

The game currently uses my usual structure, that is a single class for the game and some classes for UI, sprites, tiles ... I usually made the game class "LMGame" (LM for the game's name) a singleton, but I wondered if that would be a good practice after all.
(You might guess it, this is a more or less philosophic question.)

I wanted to reduce refrences and singletons to a minimum. (Squize wrote about the problems earlier)

So far I came up with few different methods for accessing the LMGame class from various other classes during the game ...
If needed I pas a reference to the LMGame / needed class but you must admit that this feels rather clumsy.
For the Sprites however I didn't want pass a reference to the LMGame class just to say "Hello" or "I'm dead" ... so I tried a rather unusual way for sprite -> game communication:

While the game has a list of sprites and could call functions directly, I decided to rely heavily on asBroadcast.
I installed a stack (FIFO), to pass values if needed and tried if things were working like I expected ... and they did ... :)

A sprite is moved with this._asBroadcast.broadcastMessage("onTickEvent"); (from the LMGame class' onEnterFrame) and if a sprite dies it places it's id into the stack and calls this._asBroadcast.broadcastMessage("onSpriteDie"); (which is triggered by the LMGame class).

This might seem overly complicated but it really "looks" wonderfull in code and it saves a great deal of thinking, too.

As this is just a "try", I'm not sure if it's going to become very usefull, but I just like trying new "ideas" ...

nGFX

Papervision3D moves from private testing to a full public beta.

"Everybody is welcome to download and start playing with it. We believe you will find it very easy to use and to integrate into your Flash 8, Flash CS3 and Flex projects. [...]"

This is really great stuff, though, I doubt it'll be useable for heavy usage in games, but it sure is promising.

nGFX

A level editor is a level editor is a level editor ...

Just finished the oh-so-boring part of the our new game: the editor, though, whilst enjoying the pure "place the tile" part, I really hate the "enter relevant data and save it" part.

Did I mention that I hate flash for it's form handling capabilities?
You either be stuck with using the normal textfield/button combo (with as much comfort as a nailbed) or use the wonderfull working, easy to handle, well thought components (in case you didn't notice the sarcasm in the last part, well there's a LOT).

While waiting for the upgrade to cs3 (shipped box, which is *cheaper* than the d/load version) I'm stuck with f8 and as2. Whoever had the idea of the event handling system must be a complete genius, I mean he just must be, because I don't understand it. I mean I can use it and I get all events wired, but I don't understand the "why on earth does it have to be so ...".

Anyway, I think I just have to live with it and use my own ".net" style wrapper code.

Having the editor done (and beeing able to load/save levels) I now start to create the game engine (which should also run in the editor, because you should be able to test your levels).
As the game will feature a few indepent moving "characters", I'll have to rewrite some parts of the time based tilemovement engine allowing to check for junctions, stops and of course other things moving around.

I'm not quite sure about this, but I guess I'm going to use the ASBroadcast approach I used for virus.

Back to the hell that is coding ...

nGFX.

ps: Just got my xbox 360 copy of Overlord (us, de) so I guess I'll give a short comment on that later this week.