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      Download the Game Design and Indie Game Marketing Freebook   07/19/17

      GameDev.net and CRC Press have teamed up to bring a free ebook of content curated from top titles published by CRC Press. The freebook, Practices of Game Design & Indie Game Marketing, includes chapters from The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, and An Architectural Approach to Level Design. The GameDev.net FreeBook is relevant to game designers, developers, and those interested in learning more about the challenges in game development. We know game development can be a tough discipline and business, so we picked several chapters from CRC Press titles that we thought would be of interest to you, the GameDev.net audience, in your journey to design, develop, and market your next game. The free ebook is available through CRC Press by clicking here. The Curated Books The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, Second Edition, by Jesse Schell Presents 100+ sets of questions, or different lenses, for viewing a game’s design, encompassing diverse fields such as psychology, architecture, music, film, software engineering, theme park design, mathematics, anthropology, and more. Written by one of the world's top game designers, this book describes the deepest and most fundamental principles of game design, demonstrating how tactics used in board, card, and athletic games also work in video games. It provides practical instruction on creating world-class games that will be played again and again. View it here. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, by Joel Dreskin Marketing is an essential but too frequently overlooked or minimized component of the release plan for indie games. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing provides you with the tools needed to build visibility and sell your indie games. With special focus on those developers with small budgets and limited staff and resources, this book is packed with tangible recommendations and techniques that you can put to use immediately. As a seasoned professional of the indie game arena, author Joel Dreskin gives you insight into practical, real-world experiences of marketing numerous successful games and also provides stories of the failures. View it here. An Architectural Approach to Level Design This is one of the first books to integrate architectural and spatial design theory with the field of level design. The book presents architectural techniques and theories for level designers to use in their own work. It connects architecture and level design in different ways that address the practical elements of how designers construct space and the experiential elements of how and why humans interact with this space. Throughout the text, readers learn skills for spatial layout, evoking emotion through gamespaces, and creating better levels through architectural theory. View it here. Learn more and download the ebook by clicking here. Did you know? GameDev.net and CRC Press also recently teamed up to bring GDNet+ Members up to a 20% discount on all CRC Press books. Learn more about this and other benefits here.
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About this blog

Yo dawg, I hear you like programming

Entries in this blog

Michael Tanczos
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.



Preview.jpg



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.
Michael Tanczos
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.
Michael Tanczos

Phone Scammer

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.
Michael Tanczos
Here are some of the designs I made that never made it out the door. The color scheme pretty much had to be the blue you see now. Though the process of picking colors is a considerably difficult task. Ideally I would like to see a good balance of colors.. I think a few highly contrasting images / colors will bring life to this design.

Old designs that never made it (or were close):
Design 2 (after Dave's initial)
Design 3
Design 5 (after Kevin's very light design, considered as too artsy)
Design 6 (too awkward to use)
Design 7 (menu covers banner ads, not good with flash)
Design 8
Design 9


Designing for this site is a difficult process. You have to take into account many screen resolution sizes, browsers, preferences, etc. And to compound matters.. you have to get 6 very opinionated staff members to come to an agreement on a single design. THEN you need to get the moderators involved and tweak things here and there.. THEN you open it up to the public on a small scale (which was generally pretty successful). THEN you open it up to the public at large, which has been met with quite a few scathing comments. While I'm not totally satisfied with the design that was ultimately applied to the site as a whole, I think it will get there over time. Hope you enjoyed looking through the recycling bin.. =)
Michael Tanczos

Soccer Season

Okay, so I already coach a U-17 co-ed soccer team.. well starting this Monday I'll be a pre-season assistant varsity soccer team coach for Easton Area HS and will be an assistant junior varsity coach for the season. This should be cool.
Michael Tanczos

Dear World,

Hi all, my name is Opera. I am a web browser that has advertisements unless you pay for me. You know what's great about me? I do everything Mozilla Firefox does.. but for $39!

...

*sigh*.. you're right, there's no reason for me (opera) to exist. *sob*
Michael Tanczos
This is going to be on my "if I had the money list". Right now I have a p4 2.4ghz w/ 1 gig ram, 2x250 gig SATA150 hard drives in raid 1, 2x120 gig ATA133 hard drives in raid 1, dvdr/rw, ati radeon 9800 pro. I want to replace it when the 4800's become more commonplace I think.

Didn't shop around for prices really.. tigerdirect had some better prices that could save a few hundred off the final price tag.

New PC
------
Power Supply:
FSP Group (Fortron Source) AX500-A ATX12V 500W Power Supply 115/230 V - $91.00

Heatsink:
Zalman WTF - Not on sale yet, but you gotta take a look at this thing - Picture

Processor:
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+ Toledo 1GHz FSB 2 x 1MB L2 Cache Socket 939 Dual Core - $729.00

Motherboard:
ASUS A8N-SLI Deluxe Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce4 SLI ATX AMD Motherboard - $164.00

Hard drives:
HITACHI Deskstar T7K250 0A31636 250GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache Serial ATA II Hard Drive x 4 - $119 each

Video Card:
PNY Verto Geforce 7800 GTX PCI Express 256MB DDR3 Video Card w/Dual DVI & VIVO Retail - $529.00

Memory:
CORSAIR XMS 2GB (2 x 1GB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM Unbuffered DDR 400 (PC 3200) - $281.00

Monitor:
2 x ViewSonic VP191B Black 19" 8ms - $455.99 each

Case:
Dunno

Total Price (minus heatsink): $3,182
Michael Tanczos
Anybody who claims that web designs should not contain tables or be based from tables and adamantly insists upon it is an idiot. Why? Because the time is not right yet.. it takes too many hacks to get a CSS-based page looking okay on IE browsers because of so many f'ed up bugs and implementation problems on Microsoft's part. So yeah, down the line it will be cool as hell.. but at the moment, you have the option for hacking your CSS to a point where something will work versus using a table and getting it done and over with and it will work in all browsers.

Perhaps to some degree I shouldn't call them idiots. Maybe they are just wishful thinkers for the time being.

---
Michael Tanczos
Michael Tanczos
The rating system was controversial when first implemented, but it was immediately proceeded with a rather large community shakedown where all of a sudden acting like a total ass got you slammed down pretty quick. Not only that, but others could see the lasting effects of your actions.

So why now does the rating system receive complaints? Well, it's an easy call really. I think one of the biggest complaints is that your fate rating-wise is left entirely out of your hands. So it becomes an exercise in game-theory when you decide how to approach interacting with the community. If you take hardline stances, sometimes there are people who are going to approve.. some will not approve. It's going to be the ebb and flow of the system and it's the way of the world to some degree.

When I peruse the list of highly rated people I tend to see lists of people who are either technically proficient to a high degree, or bring a lot to the community as a member of the site.

So why not switch to system XYZ where XYZ is a slashdot-like approach, or ratings per thread, etc. Well, I've seen those systems in action and honestly I don't like them. Slashdot, for example, is not really so much a community as it is a posting free-for-all. Slashdot deals with huge amounts of posts with relatively short and limited user recognition of peers.

This system is strongly patterned after the united states chess federation style of ratings. The one thing that doesn't occur is a balance to the system. The system is capable of perpetually growing in size and ratings can accumulate to an infinite degree. If this was true USCF style, you would actually lose points when you decide to rate someone.. because the points for someone else have to come from somewhere.

However, we have seen the sytem work to quite a stable degree for a while now.. which was our initial primary concern. Ratings encompass a pretty broad spectrum now from a bit below 2100 on down. While it is possible to boost a person up literally overnight, it is hard to create the kind of ratings cartel that would make that possible without being spotted (it was attempted in the early days following this system's launch).

So why do I consider the system good then? I consider it good because, if anything, the sense of responsibility for one's own actions and the actions of others are put back into the game. With an increasingly large community it would be detrimental to allow flame wars to take over the forums. If you've seen other boards where this starts to happen, you know that it spreads like a plague and eventually destroys the entire community. So for us, things like the rating system allow for a community-wide policing system. Everyone, in a sense, is a moderator of the community at large and we all ultimately decide in our own ways what we want out of such a community. I would say that that it leaves moderators open to deal with more significant issues that occur within the forums.

And lastly, why not replace with a text representation for every X points? My opinion on this one.. people will shit a brick if they drop down an entire level. And while it may be neat to go up levels, it would happen so rarely as to demotivate people to use the system.

So there ya go, that's where I stand.

Michael Tanczos

P-Ball

Went out playing paintball on sunday.. it was probably not the best experience I've ever had at Skirmish. It took a long time just to get out on the fields. We played castle games for much of the day.. which are basically attack/defend scenarios that allow you to waste a boatload of paintballs.

I did get injured though.. probably the worst I've ever taken with paintball. It was raining today and things were getting a bit muddy. Well I go out on this one castle game from behind a bunker and try to make a mad dash to another bunker. Well as soon as I'm three steps out and have some momentum, my foot completely slips in a patch of mud and I go flying head first into a steel pipe. I landed on my shoulder and partially on my collar bone (it didn't break, thank god). My shoulder has a pretty big black and blue spot, and I pulled muscles in my lower back.. I didn't feel the true effects of the pulled muscles till I got home and they had a chance to cool down. My left hand fingers are also a bit jammed right now.

Also, my goggles kept fogging up as the humidity was off the charts.. absolutely unbelievable.
Michael Tanczos
How did gamedev.net get it's name? Well, we had devgames.com, sweetoblivion.com, and gameprog.com all available since those were our pre-existing sites.. and I guess we were too proud to settle on one of those names. So gamedev.net was available, but not gamedev.com (and still no gamedev.com to this day). So the line of thinking was to always call the site "gamedev.net" *everywhere* so:


  • You remember the url
  • You don't put in gamedev.com.. because if you remember the site name, you remember the url


So there you have it.. the ".net" will never leave. =) (plus "Gamedev" would probably sound a little awkward)
Michael Tanczos
Paintball sunday.. should be interesting. I wish their were more PA folks in my area that could go. Right now it's just skittleo, whose gonna take a shot to the nuts by order of Dave.. he just doesn't know it yet. ;) (sorry skittleo, you have no say in this.. ahhahahaha)

Anyway, I'm coaching a u-17 soccer team again.. co-ed. Though this year it is dominated by girls. One of the things I have a hard time dealing with right now is how different they play from guys.. and by different, I mean slow and uninspired. The levels of agressiveness aren't there at least yet, so I have about 6 weeks to get them up to speed or figure out how to adapt so we don't get killed.

The soccer coordinator at the place I coach at is driving the program into the ground anyway..

---
Michael Tanczos
Michael Tanczos
Blogging what I'm learning..

To keep kids involved, keep the game fun.

A practice is generally structured by having some individual component, a small group component, and a team component.

On the individual level it is not necessary or particularly useful to progress over time by doing more repetition. Instead, make the skill harder and start at an appropriately level of difficulty as progression is made.

1v1 dribbling is an excellent way to warm up before practice an excellent alternative to running laps

Model the skill as minimally as possible and work to ensure that the drill you are doing is enforcing the right lessons concerning the skill you want to develop.

When moving from individual to small group lessons, try to develop situations that could actually occur in a game. Rolling a ball out to players and having them kick on goal, for example, does not mimic real life situations.

Coaching should be decreased as a practice progresses and culminates with a scrimmage. Encouragement should be made during scrimmage situations to ensure that players utilize the skill you want to develop.

Dribbling:

Always emphasize the importance of alternating touch from left to right, to ensure that players don't favor one foot.


Speed Dribbling:

Do not dribble with the instep, instead dribble with long strides and touches with vertical/frontal touches to the ball with downward pointing toe and exposed laces (laces should make contact with ball).


Shielding:

Try having a player shield a ball just by standing between an opposing player and the ball. Touching of the ball is not allowed.

Have players try shielding where they have one hand on the ball and they shield a second player from touching that ball.

Have players try shielding where they actually do 100% effort shielding. The body should be between the opposing player and the ball, and touches should be made to the *side* of the ball. Placing a foot on top of the ball makes for potentially awkward balancing issues and slows down the ability to pass quickly.



Developing 1v1 skills in group settings:

Set out gates where players work in groups of 4. Widen the gates and give one point for any team member that successfully dribbles through a gate. If progress is not being made, introduce two neutral players who can be on either side. If the skill is still not being done, widen the field of opportunity by simply making two opposing sides where one side must make it to the other by beating a defender.


Knockout:

Two teams of 4 on opposing sides with 2 more players in the middle (alternate yellow and blue on one side, and yellow on blue on an opposing side). The middle players have one blue player and one yellow player. Toss a ball in the middle and one must beat another player by using shielding tactics. A player that makes an accurate pass to a teammate on either side of the playing field allows that teammate to enter the field of play. If a pass is inaccurate (say, yellow misses his teammate.) the opposing team (blue) gets a free inbound pass from the sideline back into the middle players.

---
Michael Tanczos
Michael Tanczos
The school I teach at lets teachers out for the summer on June 10th. I have a grad class that takes up about 5 1/2 hours a night meeting three nights a week until June 16th. After that, I just have to retake my CCNA exam and I'm good to go for the summer.

The "end" is in sight.

---
Michael Tanczos
Michael Tanczos
The GD Gathering was at least a year in the making. It initially started when I stumbled across a zipcode database for the U.S. I ended up doing some more searching and came across a world database that mapped cities to latitude/longitude coordinates.

The next thing that came up was determining how we could use that sort of data. There were a couple of challenges that presented itself.. one, with a database of 3.5 million cities, we couldn't go joining against that database to get lat/long data if we wanted to say.. find all members close to another member. Additionally, we needed the math to determine if a member was close to another member to work QUICK.

Prior to the release of the new forums last June, the development situation for Gamedev.net was less than ideal.. especially considering we all have CS backgrounds. The new forums actually had stemmed off of a version of the forums that had been written 3 years prior. During that time the forums underwent a lot of changes on the "production" gamedev.net that had to be back ported into the new code. SOOOOO much stuff was cleaned up and changed fundamentally with the new forums it was ridiculous.

During the final release push it was really myself and Michalson who put in a lot of the hours developing the software. We never had a problem really because Michalson worked pretty hardcore on the moderator tools that help us to say.. detect duplicate accounts from the same user, or potential former banned people, etc. with alarming swiftness. With the "report this post to moderator" option and his moderator tools I have witnessed a dramatic decrease in the response time for handling issues. So he did that, and I worked on stuff like the forums, books, gds, etc. The point is.. we worked on mutually exclusive things, so we didn't step on each others toes.

Sicrane and superpig also did some work for the forums.. and on some cool projects too (we gotta get superpigs quoting system in there some day.. that thing is awesome). Sicrane was KILLER at testing. He found bugs doing shit that was probably about as obscure as one could get. I felt pretty comfortable with the release even though on the production environment we felt some initially growing pains that we hadn't experienced before. Though you had to expect it.. we took a production system that had been running stable offline and replaced it with a virtually untested (for all intents and purposes) and entirely new codebase.

When the actual release came around guys like Dave became much more involved with getting the content side of the software up to spec, which required making small tweaks to certain files.. which might later get overwritten by me or Michalson or..

So we needed a revamp, badly. That's when we really took a step back over the fall and analyzed how we develop things. We began to write proposals for new major projects and completely design them from start to finish prior to writing a line of code. The individual tasks were entered into a project task management system to break it down a bit more into manageable chunks. This actually proved incredibly useful because you can pretty easily obtain direction for figuring out a pretty common problem.. "What do I do next?" Subversion definitely became our revision control platform of choice, and now we have been checking in projects all over the site. We're working on an approach to publish to the site directly from our subversion repository.. even revert to previous versions if something goes really bad(tm).

Oli came on board the project in early January or late December and was presented with the design for the gathering. We were able to additionally revamp some of the techniques we used to code projects for the site and ended up doing a lot based of of XML using XSL for the UI. The result was actually an unexpected potential future benefit.. It is EXTREMELY easy to expose the XML for public consumption. This is something we definitely want to try to do.

Why? Cuz of projects like SHilbert's rating tracker, for example. That thing is just plain cool. Click here to see the related post. With so many programmers around, it just makes sense.

Phew.. I think I'm going to take a break from this post for now. I suppose I had a lot to mention.
Michael Tanczos

So now what?

I've decided that I wanted to use this to log a few of the things that have happened with the update we published last week.

Here were a few of the things that were changed:

  • Updated registration and profile modification to accept city, region, country
  • Added "Member map"
  • Added message previewing. As of now I'm fairly happy with how it works on Firefox and IE, which are the two browsers we are most apt to focus on. Firefox has some issues with the post form when the text size is increased, however. I'll have to check into this
  • Added paging to PM inbox. Seems much better than having a huge pm list
  • Fixed bug that caused high re-ratings to hurt a person's rating
  • Small less noteworthy bugs here and there



In regards to the member map. There are a few things that can be updated/changed, but overall it looks pretty good right now. I personally think we're going to need higher detail maps when we reach the highest zoom levels. I don't really have boundary shapefiles for the entire world however.

I'm pretty certain, though, that I will be able to put maps of specific select countries onto the member map for the future along with some major cities and such.

Behind the scenes we are coding a lot more than is apparent, I can guarantee. We always have something in the pipeline.
Michael Tanczos
My grandma's funeral is wednesday.. and I've been doing a lot to keep myself occupied.

One thing that has me excited is a new project for gamedev.net. We've been working on it for a few months now and I'm convinced that it is by far one of the coolest projects we have ever undertaken. Not only is it cool in and of itself, but it sets a stage to implement a bunch of ideas that even some forum members have tossed around.

I've sworn off giving away details so that the hype machine doesn't become overwhelming.. and most moderators aren't fully aware of the scope of this project yet either. So for now it stays a secret.. but it's not that much longer. =)

I'd recommend getting GDNet+ if you don't have it yet.. yeah, yeah.. I'm plugging the subscription service, but I promise you'll want to be a member *before* we launch it. If you were still on the fence about it, at least sign up for a 3 month subscription.. it's pretty cheap as is and helps us to keep doing cool things.

hype++;
Michael Tanczos

Easter..

My grandmother had been living with my family for the past five years. Last night she died in her sleep in her bed. They took her to the funeral home about an hour ago. I hope she's looking down at us from heaven.
Michael Tanczos

Project Update

Project = about 12.5% complete

We recently modified the way we run projects here at GDNet. It should lead to much cleaner development ultimately. We have our site split across three servers: a web server, database server, and development server.

At the moment we're using subversion for version control, "the bug genie" for bug tracking, dotproject for project management, and a VPN for developer access to our private network. It's all Win2K3 / SQL Server 2000 setups. We also have a linux-based firewall server.

So far so good. We have a few projects in the pipeline that are pretty sweet. At some point I'm sure we'll announce them.. we have one new feature that should be up within a day or two but that's at Dave's discretion at this point since he gives the final thumbs up on what goes on the site. The one I'm working on is very extensive.. not on the same scale as the new forum launch but it will be big. It could very well become one of my favorite parts of the site... and yours too.

.. and I didn't mention anything about it. Man am I a tease. ;)
Michael Tanczos

Holy Carp!

Oh man.. couple things to report since my last update. First, the soccer team I coach won our championship. For these kids (age 15 and 16) it was their first tournament championship ever.. I was happy to coach them.

Two, Bush won the election! Woo hoo.. our destruction is closer at hand than ever! Thank you Diebold, for making optical scanning voting machines that improperly gave so many votes to Bush. Bitches.

Third, good god.. this year is ridiculous. I get home night after night at 8:30-9:00.. only to get ready for the next day and go to sleep. Most nights I walk into my room, glance over at my computer monitor.. still off.. and crash on the bed out of shear exhaustion. Man I wish I had my PA math certification, I would have so much more time. I'm going to attempt to get some Gamedev.net work done this weekend.. thankfully Thanksgiving break is not far off.
Michael Tanczos

Back to work

As a school teacher I have the luxury of having summers off. During that time I managed to get my sleep schedule so flipped around that I was going to sleep at 8 AM and getting up at 4 PM. Sooooooo.. now I initially have to get up at 6AM and that will roll back to 5:00ish once students start coming.

Flip an entire sleep schedule in one night sound possible? Well, not for me.. I've been up since 4:00 AM.. at least I got 3 1/2 hours. Hopefully today will go smoothly.

I have a U-17 team to coach at 6:00 this evening.. so that should wear me out even more.

All in all it was a pretty good summer.. I definitely got all the major goals I wanted to accomplish complete. Those goals namely being the launch of the new Gamedev.net software and GDNet+.

It's 6:20 AM.. so.. I guess I'll get ready for work now. Later folks.