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Blit Script Engine goes Live!

May 29, 2010 4 comments

I spent tonight writing a new scripting engine titled Blit Script that’s aimed solely at games targeting Microsoft’s XNA framework. The engine allows developers to instance scripts and access their properties during runtime on both PC & Xbox 360’s (although the 360 library has not been created yet, the code is there though).

The engine is easy to use, needing a minimum of two lines of code to get scripts compiled, and two lines of code to initialize and load all of the scripts into memory. It works really nice if I do say so myself, even though it still has quiet a bit of work to do. It needs to allow users to invoke methods dynamically (something that it’s bigger brother Managed Scripting supports) along with providing some additional control over Game Objects once they are created.

I spent just 3 hours working on this tonight and had it thrown together really nicely. The website was fleshed out and the code cleaned up and uploaded to Codeplex rather quickly. It’s making me consider re-writing a large chunk of Managed Scripting as it’s rather bulky and ugly to look at.

Take a look at it and comment back! The script engine can be used outside of XNA for those of you that develop PC applications, however you’re still required to have XNA installed as the engine itself has references to the framework and won’t run without it installed.

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Categories: Uncategorized

UI Design Choices

May 21, 2010 2 comments

I’m currently happy with how the mechanics of the Mud Designer has been layed out. The only thing that is really bothering me is the big open gap that sits on my screen. The home of Object Widgets. Something that has been very difficult to design for, and I haven’t been able to nail down just yet.  I’m still looking at home I want to implement Widgets into the screen space I have left over, or if I want to do something totally different all together. It would really be nice to have each object’s editor fill that void, quiet a few of the objects barely have half a dozen options to modify, and it doesn’t really need that much space.

For those of you that thought I’d walked away from this project, think again! This project is far from going away 😛 I’m still working on it, and now that time has been freed up, I’m really trying to work on getting something going with the UI. This thing needs to look slick.

Categories: Uncategorized

MudDesigner Review

May 16, 2010 4 comments

I took a look at the designer this weekend and noticed a couple things that I’d like to work on and get corrected. While the engine is far from even being completed, I thought it would be good to clean up various elements and make them work correctly rather than piecing together a toolkit that’s half baked and does not function as it should.

The first thing I noticed is that when you select an existing Realm and try to create a new Zone via the Right-Click menu, it does not create the Zone within that Realm; It creates the Zone inside the external Zones directory. This shouldn’t be happening, so I’ll look at fixing that.

The next thing I noticed is that the status bar doesn’t really update the user on things that are going on. I’ll spend some time working on properly implementing some changes to the designer that allows the status bar to correctly relay information to the developer like it’s supposed to.

It’s a good thing that I’ve taken several months away from the project, I came back and tried to put together a test game real quick and had some difficulties figuring out how to assign the games starting room. The Right-Click menu wouldn’t get it done for me and I had to manually perform the assignment. If I can’t remember the correct way to assign starting rooms via the Right Click Context menu then it’s a design flaw and I will spend some time re-designing it making it easier and more intuitive to use.

The Test-Project needs to be worked on some as well, the console needs to have some work done to it and I also want to look at possibly re-writing the designer itself. I’m not happy with how it works. I think what needs to happen is I need to write the actual engine first, get that up and running and working, then write the designer that works with it.

There are a few people that have emailed me wanting to work with me on developing on the engine and building a MUD with it. I’m very interested in it and believe it would greatly help with the development of the engine and it’s toolkit. I’ll keep everyone posted on the progress of that as I get more information.

Categories: Uncategorized

Mud Designer Notes

January 22, 2010 7 comments

It’s been a fun last couple of weeks while working on the Mud Designer. I got to redesign the editor from the ground up, do some engine re-work, and add an account at Sourceforge to test out and see which site gets more hits.

My Codeplex site still receives more hits than the sourceforge site, and I’m going to contribute that to various web forum signatures of mine, along with posts from this blog, so the main site will remain codeplex for the time being. After spending some time messing with sourceforge, their site setup is far more complex and confusing than codeplex as well.

The Designer has made some seriously large strides over the last two weeks. With the designer actually becoming functional and the engine being worked on quiet a bit. The Designer can now save and load environment objects, place Zones within Realms and create Rooms within Zones.

At the moment the Room Editor has the ability to create Doorways, but linking doorways together hasn’t been implemented yet. I’m pretty sure that created doorways don’t get saved either, which isn’t a big deal to me. The current setup isn’t the best, and I’m not thrilled with it. I’m working on drawing up some concepts of how I want the Doorways to be created and managed without creating to much hassle on the users end.

The current implementation of it requires the use of 4 editors, the Room Editor which opens the Doorway Manager which then provides access to the Doorway Link editor. There are to many steps involved here, and so I’m looking into a way of eliminating the Doorway Link Editor, so that everything is handled via the Doorway Manager. This will require some looking into though, and I’m pretty sure that I can implement this configuration, it will just take some time to think it out fully, and probably result in several re-writes before the final product is finished. Re-writes don’t really bother me that much, they slow down my production, but in the end provide a better product, and usually I learn something when I do a re-write, and so I don’t really mind it.

Categories: Uncategorized

What’s happened with Microsoft?

January 16, 2010 Leave a comment

I just checked out the Project Natal website, and I must say I’m excited for the final release of the product. I’ve been following the development of the Natal device for the last 6 months, and it’s definitely something that Microsoft needs to help boost Xbox 360 sales.

Project Natal is what Microsoft used to be about. Taking someone else’s idea and making it better. It’s well known what the Windows OS was based off of, and everyone knows that the Windows Mobile platform was built after Palm’s platform started taking off. The Zune was created just to compete with the iPod Touch. That’s what Microsoft does, they take what’s existing, and make it better. At least they used to. Over the last decade or so I’ve noticed that Microsoft hasn’t really made any great leaps in the technology they power or sell.

The Windows operating system was the greatest thing to happen to PC’s when Bill Gates and Microsoft first released it back in 1985. Windows 95 and then XP both made some pretty heft leaps in terms of functionality, but since XP, Windows hasn’t changed much. Microsoft has added some cool eye candy, enhanced some stability and added better support for other products on the market. Windows has gone stale. Remember when Microsoft was the leader in technology? That’s not the case anymore, and with good reason. The Windows OS hasn’t changed a whole lot over the last 9 years since the release of Windows XP.

The operating system should be revamped just like the game consoles are. The XBox 360 Dashboard was totally changed from the original Xbox, and it made the gaming experience even better. Windows on the other hand still has the same start menu that it’s had for the last 25 years. Albeit a fancy looking one now, it’s still a start menu.

There are several areas within Microsoft that really needs to be merged together to help re-define the Windows experience, and push Microsoft back onto the frontlines of pioneering new consumer products. They have an excellent setup with the Xbox 360 dashboard, why don’t they base the UI for Windows off of that? They now have Natal, why can’t we swish our hands at our desktop to go through our Windows Media Player artwork? Microsoft needs to use their current technologies to their advantage. Users want a simple and easy to use desktop PC, and the Xbox styled dashboard presents that to people. Microsoft should use the same style of UI for their mobile platform, which really needs to have the Zune and Windows Mobile projects merged into one. Just like Apple did with iPod Touch and iPhones.

Microsoft also has an issue with redundancy. Why does Microsoft have XBox Live & Windows Live? Shouldn’t those two services be combined into a singular service? Imagine a world where you can log into your Windows PC, post a note or share some information on your Windows Live Spaces, send an email via your Windows Live Contacts, and then grab your Zune/Windows Mobile device, and head to that business meeting. Oh wait! You need the phone number to someone to give to your boss in that meeting? No problem, pull open your contacts and get it. The Live framework would synchronize everything for you. Want to play that XNA based game on your Xbox 360, Zune and Windows PC? You should be able to open the game, and have your saved game data automatically presented to you. Even if you played to Level 5 on your PC, when you turn on your Xbox, you’ll be at level 5.

There are some really major concepts here that other companies have taken and used, and Microsoft really should have started using, but they haven’t. They never will.

Ever since Steve Ballmer took over for Bill Gates the company has stalled in making strides in their technology. That’s because Steve Ballmer is a business man, not a technology geek like Bill Gates, or a Concept Artist that can take a concept and have his company turn it into reality like Steve Jobs. Yes the Xbox 360 and Natal came under Ballmer’s watch, but really, the only really impressive device is the Natal. The Xbox (albeit a solid system) is out powered by the PS3 and out sold by the Wii. When you already have technology like the Microsoft Surface available, you should really use it. Microsoft has become so set in their ways that they’re afraid to make drastic changes to the PC environment. Yes, I understand that there’s 3rd party vendors involved and a lot more going on behind the curtain than just Microsoft chugging away at another OS release, but come on now, we should have something better than Windows 7. Something better than Zune HD. We should have Windows, Zune and Xbox as separate operating systems under the hood, but on the surface, giving a similar user experience to the consumer, and offering a cloud computing solution that lets users move data and information between devices instantly.

Categories: Uncategorized

Playstation 3 V3.15 Update

January 16, 2010 Leave a comment

Interesting new update from Sony, you know those “Mini” games that are available for the PSPGo? The casual & laid back games that start up quick and get you into the action? Well now you can download and play those same games on your PS3 with the latest update from Sony on the PS3. Sony says that not all games will support PS3 play, but that you will be able to take your game with you now, where ever you go.

This is an awesome idea, and it’s take Sony to long I think to come up with it. The PS3 has far more power than the PSP does, and I think you should have been able to play all of the PSP downloadable content on the PS3 via an emulator or something. This is the Playstation 3 we’re talking about here. It can handle it.
Sony would gain additional revenue by opening up this venue, as there are several games on the PSP that myself and many other people would like to play, but won’t spend the $250 on the system to play those games. My iPhone works just fine as a substitute.

Categories: Uncategorized

Android SDK resolution

January 15, 2010 3 comments

So I spoke to a buddy of mine on MSN today and asked him for some assistance on my Android SDK issue. He asked me to launch the app and give him the information in the Eclipse console, so I went ahead and opened Eclipse and wouldn’t you know it? The app actually ran without any errors. This confused me, and so I created a new project and attempted to run it, and had the same error displayed to me. He asked me to re-start the Eclipse IDE and so I did. The issue went away again. For some reason, I receive the error after creating a new project, and if i restart the IDE, the issue is resolved.

I’m not sure why this is the case, but at least I’m now able to develop in the Android SDK.

Categories: Uncategorized