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Great Couple of days

Posted by , 28 February 2011 · 517 views

So I have had a great couple of days lately. Last week I finished my latest game using the Irrlicht graphics engine which just proved that I am at the point now where I am able to fairly easily jump to different graphics engines to make games. On the weekend I took my first stab at writing an A* Implementation based on the details of how it should work outlined in this article (http://www.policyalmanac.org/games/aStarTutorial.htm). After a couple of hours I had a rough implementation done and took the next couple to write a generated C# Form that had a bunch of panels on it (essentially a maze creator) to test the ability to find paths. This little front end application identified a couple minor bugs with my implementation and after a couple hours of going back through that article, refusing to look up any code because I wanted the challenge, and debugging like a mad man; I had a fully functional 4 directional movement A* implementation and a slightly buggy 8 direction movement implementation(Going to fix this tonight). Needless to say as minor as this is I was extremely happy and proud but of course it wasn't enough. I wanted to take it to the next step and I came to a very important realization here. I could take hours (30 or whatever) to write a PAC-man clone which essentially 90% of the time would be just doing what I already know how to do (drawing) or I could take a couple to write a very simple on the fly AI demo which would be building upon my newly found knowledge of path finding. Needless to say I took the second option. In 2.5hours (which 2 of that was drawing sprites to the screen and movement controlled by the keyboard) I had a fully working on the fly demo that you start in the middle of the screen and 4 enemies in the 4 corners chase you around. Not necessarily as fun as a full game, but a simple demo that just about only used new skills (A* library I wrote). I was shocked at how easy the A* library I wrote was able to be used to dynamically generate paths on the fly and sub second performance(granted my scene was simple). So that was my Saturday and wee AM's of Sunday essentially, and it made for a great weekend.

Now today (Monday, yes I know there is a day in there somewhere but it was my Son's birthday so I had no time to program), my promotion was announced publicly which needs no explanation as to why that is great. Also to put the icing on the cake, Microsoft announced a public SDK is in the works for the Kinnect. A short back history is needed here. I have been just waiting to make the jump to a console or mobile platform and I said when I bought my Kinnect that "this is the future, and if Microsoft releases a public SDK than this will be my jump of choice". Yes I know that the day after the Kinnect was released, it was hacked and usable by third party; but the reality is that anything you create with a hacked driver could never be released publicly (yes I am aware the SDK's initial releases are for non-commercial use). Needless to say it is time to start learning XNA which should be relatively easy coming from raw DirectX.

That is the conclusion to my great couple of days thus far, I hope you enjoyed reading my ramblings and thank you.
Tell me, what are your thoughts about the X-Box Kinnect?

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