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Michael Tanczos.. Gamedev.net code monkey



Ideal .net game development platform for beginners?

Posted by , 30 November 2011 - - - - - - · 911 views

My full-time job is teaching both computer networking as well as programming at a high school. We have a few courses that teach Visual Basic and then transition into programming with both the CLI and GUI with C#. Last year I tried to shake things up a bit and make the course more interesting by introducing XNA and providing a myriad of examples and tutorials on how to develop simple games with XNA.

This got me thinking of GameDev.net a bit.. I'm wondering how useful it would be for us as a site (or me if I so choose) to try to start collecting a ton of XNA resources together that I think both the community at large as well as my students. I was pretty gung ho about continuing with XNA until Promit posted a rather depressing view of the future of XNA.

But then I saw someone post a link for something called the delta engine. I really wonder if it would be worthwhile for interested community members of GameDev.net to try to get behind an initiative like this and support some of the .NET developers of our site with something that would make cross-platform publishing a bit easy but would also make game development a bit easier for beginners in particular. Maybe this would involve a beginner tutorial series or something.. I don't know.

I know SlimDX is out there and I've certainly found it to be extremely easy to use, but I the delta engine is something different.. it is filling in a lot of the gaps I wouldn't want my own students to worry about just yet.



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So while this entry is short, I'm wondering if anybody else has any other comparable managed alternatives to XNA that have similar features to the delta engine that are free and simple to use as a platform for beginners.. or if you think the delta engine looks like a pretty good project to get behind and start creating tutorials.


Are You Using Image Attachments? You Should Be!

Posted by , 10 January 2011 - - - - - - · 510 views

Image attachments can be embedded inside your blog.. see?

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They do not inline.. so be aware of that..

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But before clicking "Add to Post", make sure your cursor is where you want the image to go inside of your blog post.

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Need bigger attachments..
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New Developments

Posted by , 12 February 2006 - - - - - - · 330 views

We've put a number of new developments on hold to focus on polishing a number of site issues and features. You can expect a number of improvements in the upcoming weeks.


Call of Duty 2 vs Brothers in Arms:Earned in Blood

Posted by , 31 December 2005 - - - - - - · 503 views

After having played both games, I've decided that BIA is much, much better than COD2. I don't play many games usually because of having no time, but I do play games that come with a relatively small time commitment that you can play a quick few minutes and then get back to doing whatever you *should* be doing.

Brother's in Arms is a tactical first person shooter, which is a strange combination. It is set in the World War 2 era on D-Day and the next few days that followed. What separates it from other games is that you are a squad leader in charge of one or two squads. You face enemies that have a remarkably smart AI.

Your shooting abilities aren't those of a sniper, even if you are used to dominating with low caliber guns in other games. While annoying at first, it forces you to make tactical battlefield decisions instead of just running out like rambo on all-you-can-headshot Tuesdays. You do that.. and you *will* be killed.

As you adjust your position around the available battlefield the enemy shifts into as defensively superior a position as they can find. You must command your fire squad to lay down suppressive fire, which causes the enemy to become less and less likely to pop their head out at you. At this point they are most vulnerable to flank attacks, which is typically how you utilize your second (assault) squad who carry an armament of machine guns.

The missions in the game are not only true-to-history, but Gearbox goes as far as to unlock game "extras" for beating a level that show you precisely how closely the game mirrors what actually happened. Everything from the weapons, the missions, to the architecture of buildings themselves was duplicated for the game based on historic accounts of the events of that time.


Okay, so COD2.. It's a typical FPS killfest with WW2-inspired graphics. You do have allied support in the form of an unlimited supply of stupid soldiers, who rush right past you into the line of fire every time. In Brothers and Arms your squad is very smart.. knowing how to take cover automatically behind available defensive structures.

The enemies? Grab a rifle and it's headshot city. They don't hide all that effectively, usually having some part of their body protruding from the defensive position they are in. Hell, you can take out an MG42 with a single shot.. well, if there weren't a seemingly endless supply of soldiers to take the position of gunner after the first headshot. Rinse, lather, repeat.. the outcome is the same over and over.

For as hyped as COD2, BIA has spoiled me.. while I know it won't appeal to everyone, I find it to be substantially more appealing to decimate an enemy not by rambo-tactics, but by outsmarting them by utilizing true-to-life battlefield tactics. I've played paintball before, which is the closest I've ever come to playing real life battle scenarios. Anybody goes Rambo gets shot.. quickly. And I don't think it's going to differ much in real military action.

COD2 is most worthwhile for it's Multiplayer action, which will satisfy the shoot-and-kill urges of hardcore FPS fans.


Phone Scammer

Posted by , 25 November 2005 - - - - - - · 551 views

So today I got a random phone call.. It was from a phone scammer. "ooooooooh, my first real phone scam!", I thought. This was not an opportunity I would pass up.

For the next few minutes I was fed a story about this company called "Grant Procurement Corporation" based out of Champlain, New York that would help me to get $5,000 of grant money from the government for the low cost of $345.

(okay, time for me to sound really enthusiastic)

"Oh man, I can get $5,000 for only $345?!?? How could you possibly go wrong with that?"

They asked me what I would do with the money.. trying to get me excited and feeling good about actually having the money. Would I use it for business.. for travel.. for personal reasons?

"Business.. for sure. I've been wanting to start up my own little scam hotline for a while now and I figure the startup costs have to be pretty low. This is a pretty exciting opportunity!"

You would have thought these guys would have caught on.. but the thick chinese accent lead me to believe they weren't understanding everything I was saying anyway.

"Do you guys have a website?", I ask. They respond with: "Yes, just look up 'Grant Procurement Corporation' in Google." okay....

First they needed to verify my personal information.. I just said yes to whatever they said. Then if they needed information, I made it up and repeated it back to them if need be.

They said:
"Okay, now we have to verify that you are who you say you are. Do you have a blank check handy?" (yes! of course!)

"First, what bank are you?"
I answer, "Wachovia bank, W-A-C-H-O-V-I-A".. (a bullshit answer)


"Could you please read the numbers in the bottom left corner?"

I go and get a real check.. open up notepad.

"Ready?" (they say yes)
I proceed to say numbers into the phone as I pound them out in the keyboard. I gave just the right amount of numbers for the routing number.

They then passed me on to another person to continue my verification process. That person asked me for the account number portion in a less thick chinese accent. I proceed to pound out another set of fake numbers for them to chew on.

... a pause from the other end ... I hear voices of frustration .. they come back:

"Sir, are you sure that is the correct number?"

I answer, "Oh YES, absolutely! Want me to read them back to you?" (hehe)

I sound out each number, identical to the last number.. they try it again and I hear more voices of frustration. A guy with an indian accent comes on who can understand me much better.

"Sir, do you have a bank statement handy?," they ask.
"Oh sure, sure.. quick question, do you guys have a website?"

They respond, "Yes. Just go on the net to www.grantpro.com"

"Okay, awesome! One sec.. let me get my bank statement." I do a whois lookup on grantpro.com and quick ask the person if I can speak to Gregg Ostrick.

"Oh, this is a branch office. He's not available from here right now."

I quickly retort, "Oh, damn.. okay then.. can I talk to Joe Schumaker?" (He's not available, this is a branch office, blah blah)

"COME ON! You know.. JOE SCHUMAKER! He's listed as the president of your company on your website."

They reply, "I know! I know! But I can't forward your call at this time.. he's not available."

"Can I have his phone number at least?," I ask.

They reply, "I don't have that information handy at the moment.."

I then propose an idea.. what if they give me *THEIR* bank account number and I wire the $345 into their account. I promise that I won't take any money from their account. They can trust me.. I just want my $5,000 like the next guy. No bites.. they're not seeing things from my perspective.

I then do a 180 and proceed to take them on a small tirade about not trusting techonology and preferring good old horse and buggy drawn postal service using paper, envelopes, and stamps. I insist that I'd mail them a check but they don't give up their address because that's not how they do business.


"Ahh damn.. okay, ok.. I have my bank statement. Ready?"

"Yup," they respond eagerly.

(this is going to be funny, let's fuck with them first)

I fire a quick battery of questions:
"Do you want the second part first or the first part second?" ... "There are symbols here I don't understand.. one looks like some sort of egyption hierglyphics. What should I say there?" "Should I also be reading the zeros, or are those not important?" .. "Do you want me to read the numbers front to back or back to front with the first part first and the second part after the first part is done?"

"Okay, routing number first then. 536694395" ...
"Got it, the next part sir"

I reply slowly, "okay.. here is the account number: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-1-2-3-4-5"

"What?? How is that possible?"

Okay, time to let the cat out of the bag.. my fun is done and it's time to give up the ghost.

"BWAHAHA! You know, you got me! It's NOT possible.. Do you honestly think I'd fall for something that is so CLEARLY as SCAM?? Actually, I've been making up everything I've been telling you and wasting your time for the past 15 minutes.. I FEEL SO SORRY FOR YOU. Man, are you guys gullible.. I really had you going. You know what's funny?? JOE SCHUMAKER doesn't even exist! I made that shit up.. oh man. You would think scam artists like yourself wouldn't be so stupid as to fall for this sort of thing. I can't believe how you really thought I was excited about the prospect of getting $5,000. I really sounded genuine didn't I? Man, first thing I do after we're done here is call the cops.. we've been on the line long enough that this call will definitely be easy to pick out."

For the next 30 seconds the guy yelled a bit.. sounded very pissed off and said, "Just forget about this call and hang up." He hung up.. I did the same.

I hope I don't get shot.






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