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Deployment to the 360

Posted by , 07 December 2006 - - - - - - · 260 views

Note that this is a replicate of my recent website post.

I just watched the second part of looking at XNA and am speechless. Deploying, running, and debugging an XNA game straight from Visual Studio, on an Xbox 360.... Wow.... I'm really looking forward to getting my hands on that Creator's Club certificate.

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Been a while!

Posted by , 19 November 2006 - - - - - - · 198 views

Wow, it has been a while. I should really make it a routine to write something either on here, or the new website!

The New Rob Loach .Net

The old site was hacked together and I didn't really know how Drupal worked when I put it together. This new version uses Drupal 5.0 and actually uses it correctly and looks pretty clean too; I like it. The image gallery isn't quite an image gallery though, I'll have to figure that out later.

Last week, I attempted to install Linux on my system and accidently screwed up the partitions. So I formatted everything and installed Windows Vista RC2. This happened just before Vista went RTM too, unfortunately. Looks like I'll have to get myself a copy of Vista release once it's around. So far it has worked with everything quite nicely....

Holy Web Host Batman!

Posted by , 12 October 2006 - - - - - - · 282 views

So, I switched web hosts and moved everything over to the new host (TIGC, Slylabs, and Rob Loach .Net). The sad thing is that robloach.net kinda broke in the process. I think I'll just until wait the next version of Drupal comes out to fix it...

Speaking of Drupal, Krisc and I started up OpenXNA to take advantage of all the new space and bandwidth I have. Its goal is to bring together a community of XNA developers by providing a place to put open-source XNA projects, libraries, tutorials and resources. Krisc started up a his new version of Dx5D, which would be pretty neat to see, and I uploaded PongXNA and BrickBust (including on http://svn.openxna.net).

What OpenXNA needs is more contributers, a good theme, a bit more organization, and it'll be good. So, if you want to put some XNA stuff up on there, feel free to register!

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90's Terms
"Eat my shorts!"

BrickBust - More XNA

Posted by , 29 September 2006 - - - - - - · 241 views

Seeing that I had never made a breakout clone, I decided to throw one together, while still experimenting more with XNA.


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Look Behind You!

XNA and GameComponents

Posted by , 11 September 2006 - - - - - - · 229 views

After a bit of fooling around in XNA a bit, I (almost) made an XNA renderer for CeGuiSharp. There's still a bunch wrong with it and I'm not quite sure that I'll continue to hack at it. CeGuiSharp is such a mess and it's almost worth a complete rewrite from scratch with a new design. But you can see what came out from CeGuiSharp through XNA on the right (click to enlarge).

Another thing I've discovered is the use of GameComponents with XNA technology. You have the ability to drag these components onto the designer and then the components will automatically start-up, update and draw for you without you haven't to code anything. It's pretty neat and making them is rather fun. I had a try at it with making a couple of them:
  • BitmapFont
    Once you give the BitmapFont the data file and image file generated from LMNOpc Bitmap Font Builder, you have the ability to easily draw text on the screen.
  • Framerate
    Using a BitmapFont for rendering, the Framerate component will tell you how fast your application is running
  • Input
    A bad thing about the XNA input framework is that it doesn't provide events to any of the input methods so you're left to instantiating KeyboardState, MouseState, GamePadState, etc. The Input component fixes this by providing a number of user input events (KeyDown, KeyUp, MouseMove, GamePadButtonDown, etc).
I'll get around to making a game using these components and publish the source. Maybe a Snake clone because I haven't done one of those yet.....

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Dubbed Power Rangers, Bitch

Hello XNA

Posted by , 10 September 2006 - - - - - - · 432 views

As most of you know already, the XNA Framework beta was released so I thought I'd give it a try. It apparently requires Visual Studio 2005 C# Express (VS2005 Standard doesn't cut it), so I had to install that. Once that was installed, I loaded up XNA, ran one of the demos and kept on getting the following error:

It was time to upgrade my eight year old machine. I've had problems with it in the past anyway. The power suply was dying, it only had one USB slot, the fan sounded like an airplane. I needed something new.

My New RigSo, I got a laptop. I got a Fujitsu Lifebook S Series and you can see the new rig that I have setup with it on the right. When I place it in its dock, it hooks up to the monitor, keyboard, stereo, mouse, ethernet LAN, etc. It works quite nicely and I'm really looking forward to trying it out in downtown Toronto with the new wireless network.

Here are the specs:
  • Centrino Duo T2400 (2 1.83 GHz Processors)
  • 1 GB SDRAM
  • Mobile Intel® 945GM Express Chipset Video
  • TouchPad and TouchStick
  • 14 Inch Monitor (1400x1050)
  • ... etc
The first thing I had to do was test it with some games:
  • It barely runs Doom 3
  • Half-Life 2 runs at minimum graphics
  • Civilization IV runs perfectly (Yay!)
  • N64 Emulation is perfect
  • Couldn't even run Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
  • Guild Wars is beautiful
  • Beyond Good and Evil works, of course
After playing around with some games and picking up an Xbox 360 Controller for Windows, I thought I'd finally get back to trying out XNA. I went through the first XNA tutorial without any problems and it worked on the new laptop.

The Pong challenge was next on my list and here is the result:


What's next, you ask? I've been trying to figure out how to write XNA Game Components. Something where you can just drag the component onto your designer form and it would render the component. I'd like to have a small toolset of XNA components ready for use in any XNA application (think Framerate, BitmapFonts, Console window, etc)....

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In the Event of Snakes on Plane

Platform Gaming Goodness

Posted by , 27 August 2006 - - - - - - · 259 views

I've made some progress on the 2D platform gaming goodness also known as Hazardous Hal:

(click to enlarge)

A lot of things were redesigned, including a state system for the player. This means that it's much easier to manage whether they're falling, jumping, standing, etc. It's also very easy to add new states because you just derive from a class instead of checking tiles all the time. So far there's just HalJump, HalStand and HalWalk. Another thing the state system allowed is the ability to do high jumps by just holding down the jump key longer. The effect works very well, and is rather seemless...

The great thing about the system that's setup is that it's all completely exported from Tile Studio. This means I can completely change the level details, graphics, player details, animations, etc all through Tile Studio. If you take a look at the image on the left, you'll get an idea of what I'm talking about. It works really well so far, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it progresses.

What I need now is a design document and know where to go with it. I'm thinking about implementing Dangerous Dave with the technology, but still have to work on the backend stuff first. I'd have to find all new graphics, or, of course, steal some of Stompy's Goodness. What I have now will work until I get a design document going.

BooGame and Mono

I've decided to postpone work on BooGame until Hazardous Hal is finished. This will allow me to actually complete a game before going back into the grind with making BooGame compatible with Mono. Making BooGame Mono-compatible will be a big job:
  1. Port BooGame to Boo
  2. Debug BooGame with Mono
  3. Get rid of Mono-related bugs
  4. Debug some more
  5. Tear out hair
  6. Debug some more
  7. ... etc.

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Mat Weddle of Obadiah Parker - "Hey Ya"

Mono + BooGame = Kaboom!

Posted by , 15 August 2006 - - - - - - · 453 views

I have great, good and bad news.

I'll start with the great news:

Mono has setup a Mono VMware Image, which you can run SUSE ready packed with Mono through VMware Player. It's very nice because it lets you test our some of your .NET/Mono projects without having to reboot into a different operating system.

Click To Enlarge
Mono VMware Image In Action (click to enlarge)

Now for the bad news:

I decided to try out the Mono VMware Image with BooGame and discovered that some parts of BooGame don't work in Mono, making it very buggy on Linux and Mac. This is mostly because of the incompatibilities with the System.Drawing namespace between .NET and Mono. I'll have to find another way to get font rendering in BooGame to work for Mono support. Come September, I'll hopefully have a lot of time to hack away at it.

Now for the good news:

Taking advantage of BooGame's sprite and tile engine system, I decided to put together a platform game. Stompy999's Stompy's Revenge was just so well done that I wanted to put out my own platformer. A big inspiration of mine way back in the day was Dangerous Dave, I wanted something along the same lines. Something that's simple, yet fun to play. So, I quickly came up with the name of Hazardous Hal.

Hazardous Hal First Stages (click to enlarge)

At the moment, I just stole the Mario graphics because I didn't want to worry about graphics at the moment. When you start a new game, you're thrown in this world, and you just have the ability to jump around, colliding with the blocks. The level itself was created through Tile Studio and the blocks arn't interactive yet. I don't even know if I'll use these blocks as I might end up just recreating Dangerous Dave using BooGame. In any case, it's pretty neat so far and I'm looking forward to see how it progresses.

Anyone else a Dangerous Dave fan?

Random Interest

The Super Mario Brothers Super Show!

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