Project History

History of Projects

Introduction

Scionwest has been developing software applications since he was a kid, and with more than a decade of tinkering and developing, he has had the opportunity to finish several solid applications. Some he managed to release to the internet, and others he kept private and for his own use.
This page provides a history of some of his favorite products he’s worked on over the years.

TBG Engine

Scionwest really enjoys playing video games, so much so, that he decided he wanted to make one. In his early teens he discovered that via a computer, he could do just that. He would watch his dad program in Visual Basic 5 as he was growing up, and figured he could build games using that, and so he installed it. Visual Basic was difficult for him to get at first and he quickly discovered that he wasn’t going to make the worlds next best game using the language, and most certainly wasn’t going to do so with his first programming project.
He decided he’d settle for something a little less daunting, a text based game. That should be simple, and it turned out to be so. His first game was given a title, and he played it for a little while. He had static NPC characters, a single village and easy to kill monsters. The only issue was creating the games content, it took forever. Sitting and writing the code to create the environments was tedious work, and needed to be automated. Thus the birth of TBG, his first game engine.

Over the years, the TBG engine took on many forms, from being a simple UI based set of tools, to a complex and scary looking UI that often confused even Scionwest himself. He eventually graduated from Visual Basic 5 to Visual Basic .NET 2003 in 2004, at which point he converted the project and tried to learn the .NET Framework. Over-time, Scionwest began to better understand .NET and re-wrote the engine from the ground up, creating the easiest toolset he had wrote yet. While it was still full of bugs, and didn’t have any networking built into it, it was still a pretty decent text based game editor. In 2005 he downloaded and installed Visual C#.NET 2005 Express from Microsoft, and once again, he re-wrote his TBG Engine from the ground up, this time in C#. This incarnation of the engine was never as good as his Visual Basic.NET version, and never got as far along in development as it’s previous iteration had. He still continued to work on it however, trying to re-produce what he had done in Visual Basic, inside his C# application.

During the next three years, Scionwest learned a lot regarding C# and the .NET Framework, and released his final version of the TBG Engine in July of 2007. When ever he would get stuck with something in C#, he would return to his Visual Basic engine, and tinker with it before going back and fixing the issues in the C# version. The final version of the Visual Basic engine was released on January 5th, 2007.

Finally, Scionwest decided he understood C# and the .NET Framework enough to build something professional, and decided that he would stop work on the TBG Engine, and build something from the ground up in C#, something that would replace his stuck-together-with-gum game engine with something more robust and complete. It was decided he would call the game engine’s replacement the Mud Designer, and the UI for it would allow for fully automating the creation of MUD games.

The last Visual Basic.NET version of the TBG Engine is still available for download on the projects old Sourceforge website. The projects example game is still available for download as well.

The last C# version of the TBG Engine is still available for download on the projects old Codeplex website.

Mud Designer

The Mud Designer began as a project called the Mud Creator Toolkit, which was created as a replacement to Scionwest’s old TBG Engine. Work on the project began in August of 2008 after a year long break from any development projects, and eventually shaped into a powerful and fully customizable game engine called The Mud Designer, aimed specifically at building MUD games. The engine began life as a GUI driven toolkit, but was soon re-built when the realization that building a toolkit with a engine to power it will create more problems than there are solutions for. Scionwest decided to drop the GUI driven toolkit, and build a complete game engine that he could later tie a toolkit into. The Mud Creator Toolkit was renamed to Mud Designer in November of 2009.

The game engine retained the name of Mud Designer, however Scionwest appended ‘Game Engine‘ to the title in order to emphasize that the project was not a all-games-look-the-same toolkit, but rather a polished game engine package that will allow users to create their games how they wanted them created. The game engine had a script engine built into it, a extensible command engine, networking engine, game management and world object managers.

The Mud Designer Game Engine had it’s first release in January of 2010 and had several pre-alpha releases afterwards leading up to it’s first Alpha release in August, 2010. It has since undergone some large updates and continues to be worked on. Development is still lead by Scionwest, however he now has a software developer, network developer and MUD consulting specialist working on the project with him. While the project still does not have all of the GUI components and the ability to create a complete game like his original Visual Basic 5 engine did, this iteration is by far the most powerful and ambitious of all of his previous engines.

The Mud Designer Game Engine is still actively worked on and maintained on the codeplex website. The engine is available for download along with the source code.

iRingtones

iRingtones was developed by Scionwest as a personal project for converting MP3 files into M4R ringtones that are used by his iPhone. The problem he ran into however, is that he didn’t have much experience with audio programming and wasn’t to sure where to begin. He decided that instead of re-inventing the wheel, he would mash a few existing tools together and build a front end for them. So he used the NERO AAC encoder application provided free of charge by Nero Inc, and build a GUI to pipe commands to it. The only issue was that the Nero encoder required the input files to be in a .wav format and not .mp3. It wasn’t a big deal, so Scionwest went ahead and finished up his program and used it. It worked pretty good, so he released it on Codeplex for other users to use. While it’s not the best product on the market, it’s free and open source which helps when the market is flooded with purchased conversion tools.

The source code and latest release is available for free on codeplex.

Blit Script Engine

The Blit Script Engine began life as Dot Script, a library that Scionwest had released in order to make adding 3rd part plugins easier for developers. Dot Script came with a library that developers could reference in their .NET projects, allowing them to compile scripts on the fly during runtime and then execute those scripts when ever their application needed to.

The concept behind the product was solid, however riddled with bugs and not very easy to use and his general lack of experience with the .NET Reflection namespace caused the project to stall out and die.
It was eventually replaced with Managed Scripting, a script engine that provided the same end result, but with a cleaner and more elegant library of classes, better documentation and support for both the C# and Visual Basic language. The engine also allowed for developers to compile their scripts in a number of ways, either via streams of text, physical files or a hybrid approach, where modules of code were wrote and passed into the compiler for compiling.

However, it too was eventually dropped as Scionwest had decided he couldn’t really split time between two projects, his Mud Designer and the Managed Scripting project. Due to lack of interest from the online community, he had decided to drop the Managed Scripting engine in November of 2009.

In March of 2010 Scionwest decided he wanted to implement some sort of scripting support into his Mud Designer Game Engine, and so he re-visited the Managed Scripting project, and decided he could do better. He liked the idea of the Microsoft XNA Framework, where objects were created as components, and could plug-into each other as components. The Managed Scripting engine was re-built from scratch and called Blit Script. The engine was less ambitious than the Managed Scripting engine, providing only one style of compiling and supporting only the C# language. Due to issues trying to get support from the XNA community and once again having a lack of interest from the online community in the scripting library, Scionwest decided to once and for all, drop development on the scripting engine.
He removed all of the XNA required code from the script engine and migrated it into the MUD Designer Engine, which was fully implemented in July of 2010 and saw it’s first release with the engine in the August, 2010 with the Mud Designer Engine Pre-Alpha 0.4 release.

The last engine release for the Dot Script engine is still available on Codeplex
The last engine release for the Managed Scripting engine is still available on codeplex.
The last source code release and engine release for the Blit Script engine is still available on codeplex.

Burger World

Scionwest assembled a team of developers and artists in 2009 to build a complete Mario 64 styled game in C# using the Microsoft XNA Framework, and it was during this time period that the original work on the Dot Script engine began. Scionwest constructed the level editor IDE which supported runtime content importing, 3D viewport movement and script editing.
The games story line and most of the character development was completed prior to some of the team members loosing interest and leaving the project. Scionwest eventually had to drop the project due to lack of man-power as team members either left the team or went silent. Althought the project was dropped, it played a large part in the final direction of the Managed Scripting Engine, which eventually made it’s way into the Mud Designer as a modified version of the Blit Script Engine.

The burger world project, the website and all of its source was lost.

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