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About this blog

This journal may contain languages not suitable for minors and some occasional swearing.

Entries in this blog

 

Sphere Games 2.0 BETA

Hello Everybody!

So, for the past couple of weeks I've been talking about the CMS I was creating for the new Sphere Games website and it's finally to the point where I'd like to share it with everyone and hopefully get some comments or suggestions. So, instead of talking a lot about it, I'll let you go ahead and take a look:

http://beta.spheregames.com

I'd really appreciate some feedback, good or bad, I'd like to make it as best as I can and I'm running out of time, as I start my new job in just a few weeks.

VisualLR

VisualLR

 

Where have I been?

Well, I kind of have disappeared for a couple of weeks, and a lot of my projects are either on hold or going at a very sluggish pace... but there's a good reason, a reason I have not yet shared with you my fellow game makers.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a little bit about a short trip I was going to take, but I didn't go into much detail about it. Well, I flew up to Montreal, QC for an interview at EA. The interview went great, I almost immediately felt like I was already part of the team the way everyone was with me, I had a ton of fun interviewing, which was completely different than what I expected.

So, about a week after I returned from that trip, EA extended an offer, and I accepted it. So, it seems I'm going back to EA, yay! I'm very excited, I'll be working on an unannounced project, which I don't even know much about, and what I do know I probably can't (or shouldn't) say, but it sounds really damn cool.

So right now, all that is pending is the work permit stuff, which is being processed and I should hear something about it anywhere from 10 to 15 days from now, and I think I'll be flying up to Montreal around the time this month ends... just in time for summer. I can't wait.

VisualLR

VisualLR

 

Almost finished

Ok, the CMS is almost done, I could leave it as it is, the only thing that is "missing" is some kind of manager for placing ads around the page. This is something I could do manually, having an interface to do it would be nice, but right now I'm starting to think it's not worth the effort. Instead, I believe I'm going to start working on the actual content pages. For the time being, most of them will be an almost direct "port" from the old website into the new, other I gotta redesign.

Oh, and I forgot, I need a gallery for my screenshots... I already have one, but I don't know if integrating it will be more work than writing a new simpler one.

VisualLR

VisualLR

 

Still working on the CMS

Yesterday I completed another portion of Sphere Games' new website CMS, it's awesome, now I can modify portions of the site from the site's admin section, by the time I'm done, I may not need to FTP to my site to change anything, in theory at least, I doubt I'll have time to bring it to that level, but at least I'll be able to add content quite easily.


VisualLR

VisualLR

 

They call me CMS master

My CMS for the new sphere games site is going incredibly well. I've been working on it for two or three days now (days kind of blend between each other for me, it's hard to keep track), and I have a pretty decent layout prototyped, the login mechanism works and so does the admin page.

Once in the admin, you can add news items, or view a summarized list of all the items from this list I'll be able to edit or delete news items if necessary. Adding news is now really cool, I integrated FCKeditor, which is pretty damn cool, so all my news can be easily authored, plus you can add links, images, formatting and all that good stuff.

So, it's going really well, I hope to be wrapping this up by the end of the week, I have a ton of stuff I have to do, and a ton of stuff I want to do... so I can't spend much more time on this.

VisualLR

VisualLR

 

Still working on new website

So, I've kept working on the new website, and although it's currently in a prototype stage, it's already so much better than that blog crap I was using... ok, maybe I'm exaggerating, the blog thing was actually kinda cool because it automated everything for me... and for some reason it seems to get a TON of hits, although nobody comments on anything, so I don't know for sure if my web statistics are correct, so I'm kinda planning on integrating the blog thing into the new website, I'm thinking wordpress somehow links blogs with each other or something because I can't quite explain where all that traffic is coming from.


VisualLR

VisualLR

 

New website revisited

Ok, so I've decided to revisit the issue of redisigning the Sphere Games website... so far it's going OK... although today I did a lot of research into ready-made CMS packages and couldn't find any that I liked enough, and the one I liked the most, had pretty good modules that would've been great if they actually worked. So, I'm kind of back to the original idea of writing my own CMS, which is not something I enjoy terribly, and I rather be programming other, more interesting things, but I don't seem to have much choice.

I don't want an overly complex CMS, I just want to be able to upload news, tutorials, files and have an image gallery. So my plan is going to be to take it one thing at a time, so that eventually it all comes together... I had thought of making capable of supporting templates, but I'm not so sure I want to do something too complex... I would really like the ability to toggle themes, so that users can select what they like... but I'm not even sure where to start to write a system like that...

Anyway, I've recruited my web designer friend to come over and give me a hand with a couple of problems I'm having tonight, hopefully I'll have at least the basic layout working well by tonight.

VisualLR

VisualLR

 

Tiny sub-vacation

Ok, so my motivation has been low the past couple of days, I find that this happens whenever I lose my train of progress... I went to the beach over the weekend, which halted all work I was doing, now that I'm back, I haven't quite felt like working... it's terrible. Vacation is a double edged sword, on the one hand you get to relax, rest and enjoy life, on the other you feel like it should ALWAYS be like that and you don't want to do anything. I thought I was going to return refreshed and ready to work more, but turns out I didn't. But I think I'll get back on track starting today.

Anyway, that's all for now, hopefully my next post will be development oriented.

VisualLR

VisualLR

 

Submitting a news item

I submitted a news item about the LUA tutorial, I want as many people who are interested in adding LUA to their games to check it out. But the news item has not been displayed... is it that these type of news are no longer published? I remember a few years ago when I submitted news about the skydome tutorial and that one did get posted.

So what's the deal? is the news section now strictly for industry-wide news and no longer for news that may be interesting to the community? or is it just that there is a huge queue of news items that need to be approved?

Just curious.

VisualLR

VisualLR

 

survey

I just got back from a nice weekend at the beach. I feel very relaxed and ready to start working a lot.

I haven't received any replies to the easyshots surey, I really want to improve it, and I can't think of a better way than by asking people who have tried it, or are currently trying it, what they think would improve it...

Patience is a virtue I suppose.

VisualLR

VisualLR

 

EasyShots survey

Hello everybody!

I'm trying to get some feedback on EasyShots in an effort to improve it. As an incentive, I've decided to give anyone that fills out the survey a 50% discount.

All you have to do is fill out this short survey (8 questions):

Survey

And at the end you will receive a code to collect your discount.

Of course, the survey does assume that you have tried EasyShots

Thanks a ton!

VisualLR

VisualLR

 

New Tutorial Released

I'm happy to share with all of you that I just released a new tutorial. Using LUA with C++

It's based on the implementation of LUA within SGE which I believe is very easy to use, so I hope that the people who read the tutorial think so too.

I also added a tutorial on texture management, previously, you could only get the demo with source code, so I threw together a short guide on how it works, and how to use it. You can find it in the same page as the LUA tutorial.

The demo for the LUA tutorial came out cooler than I expected, I noticed D3D9 came with some very nice sample artwork, so I borrowed it for this demo. After all, it IS a Direct3D 9 demo.

And now, I have to roll out the VOIP software... I hope it works "out of the box"...

VisualLR

VisualLR

 

Just finished

woo! I just finished writing a new tutorial... I'm not gonna give it away just yet, I still need to package it up, add the links to the web page, send out formal announcements and do a little dance.

None of which I'm going to do right now cause it's almost 4am, which means something to some people... but I feel a bit tired, so might as well get some rest and release the tutorial once I'm rested. I'll also proof read it when I'm rested... probably a good idea.

and I'm out.

VisualLR

VisualLR

 

low feedback

I've pretty much decided that I really don't like the new layout for Sphere Games. I didn't receive as much feedback as I would've liked, so to me that says that it either sucks or it's merely OK, and I do not want to settle for OK. So I've decided that I will very likely stick to a more traditional layout, kind of how it is right now, but I'll make some much needed improvements to the interface, but most importantly the content.

I'm pretty much finished writing a tutorial on how the texture manager that I have on my site works. And I'm perhaps 30%-40% into writing a brand new tutorial, the demo for the new tutorial is pretty much done, it just needs some tidying up and perhaps better art, I hate using d3d's sample media for my own tutorials, so I'll see what I can do about that.

On the software development front, I keep wondering what it is that makes someone decide to buy the full version for trial software they've downloaded... EasyShots gets a fair amount of downloads a day from various websites, but it doesn't seem to close the deal nearly as much, even when it costs half of what other programs that do the same thing do... I wonder what it's missing.

VisualLR

VisualLR

 

Work, work

I've been plugging away at the changes requested by the VOIP company, it's been going well, even though it's not the most fun work there is. At least they pay well.

Communication with them is a little messed up though, I ask "do you need this X thing to change?", they tell me "no, that's fine", then I get an email from the main guy "we need X to change"... quite annoying, I had to refactor some of the work I had already done, something I would've taken into account from the beginning, had they gone ahead and said "yep, we need that"...

it's hard when your customer doesn't know what he wants... then again, that's pretty much how software development is... requirements are constantly changing, it's a good thing we like what we do, at least most of us... I think... hell, I do.

VisualLR

VisualLR

 

zee floo

I'm sick, I got the flu, this sux.

I'm too tired and sick to do much, I worked a tiny bit on sgeMobile today, made a little headway into clipping against the frustum, and added the code to remove backfaces. I'm not sure if it's working 100%, I'll have to verify once I get textured polygons rasterizing.

I'll probably work on a program I made for this VOIP company last year, it seems they want to add 3 or 4 new features and are willing to pay for those changes, so it'll probably be some money, I'm gonna try to get them to pay nicely, since I can see how much they make a week (let's just say I wish I had setup a VOIP company).

Anyway, that's all I have, I'd still like some feedback on the alpha version of the Sphere Games new website:

Sphere Games Alpha Website

The themes still need a ton of work, work I haven't honestly felt like doing. There's also a poll on the sidebar, feel free to vote.

Thanks!

VisualLR

VisualLR

 

I'm back

Got back yesterday, I'm extremely tired, I'll write more later.

VisualLR

VisualLR

 

Trip is back on. 90% sure

It seems I now fly out tomorrow morning, with a somewhat upside down schedule... damn stupid money hungry airlines... they f'd me up on purpose from what I can gather. I'd complain tomorrow, but then they'd probably spit in my crappy airplane food, I'm not sure if that'd be an improvement, but still.

On game development related news, this morning I got the rest of the 3d transformations to work properly, and I now have a rotating triangle that is also moving along the Z axis with perspective projection.

Next step will be to get the textured polygon rasterizer, and then I'll finally be able to check if the BSP code is working, and I believe it is.

I was also very happy that with all the transformations, I didn't lose much in terms of framerate, it did go down a tiny but, but it's just a fraction, so it's good, it also means that the fixed point math is doing what it's supposed to, and that makes me happy.

VisualLR

VisualLR

 

Trip cancelled - temporarily, I hope

Well, my short trip did not materialize.. not by choice, there was some error in the way the flight was booked, I've communicated this to the powers that be and I'm currently awaiting a response, hopefully it will just get rescheduled.

VisualLR

VisualLR

 

sgeMobile

Just wanted to share a screenshot.. it's not that big of a deal, just your typical rotating triangle (except I put it upside down, to be different).



Notice the framerate, 120+fps, WOO!

This screenshot is pretty cool for me, not because of what you can see, but because this is actually running from within my C++ API, which uses a fixed point class exclusively for almost everthing, and it's also very clean code-wise.

And it's also a small milestone, right now I'm just missing a few of the transforms that will complete the pipeline perspective-correct rendering. With that done, all the pieces will start falling into place.

VisualLR

VisualLR

 

Bump

Ok, this is just a shameless bump to get a few more opinions on my new website:

http://www.spheregames.com/sg2

Thanks!

VisualLR

VisualLR

 

Sphere Games Website

So, I have a "beta" version of the new Sphere Games website... I guess it's not techincally beta, it's more of a prototype. I'm still debating whether it's in the direction I wan't to go, mainly because I envition it being a lot of work in maintaining it up to date, and writing new tutorials...

If you notice, I tried to keep the ads and things like that to a minimum, but I am interested in making a few extra bucks, it'd be nice to at least make enough to pay for the hosting.

Anyway, you can take a sneak peak here:

Sphere Games Prototype Website

All feedback is appreciated, especially if you hate it.

VisualLR

VisualLR

 

sgeMobile update

I didn't get much time today to work on sgeMobile, but I did get a spinning wireframe triangle to render. Now, this may sound like a step backwards, but it's actually a huge step forward. For a couple of days I've been moving all the rasterizing and rendering code into our C++ architecture, and yesterday I had all the pieces in place for rendering, but it wasn't working correctly.

I found out that it was mostly due to a problem in the code that generates the lookup tables for sine and cosine, I made an awful mistake (and I paid for it)... long story short, I needed to use ::cos(theta) instead of cos(theta), because I had named my function in fixedTrig cos and sin respectively... yes, bad choice, I know... I don't even remember doing it, so I'm guessing it must've been early in the AM...

Now, I still need a couple of things to get this just right, the world to camera transformation is not quite working, I suspect that there's a bug in the code that generates the view matrix, shouldn't be too hard to track down. Once that code is working, I'll need to do the camera to perspective projection, which is already written, just needs to be tested.

With all that in place, I'll be in good shape to start porting over the textured, z-buffered rasterizer... which reminds me, I also wrote a ZBuffer class, it's just a helper class that allows me to create a 16 or 32 bit zbuffer, and properly deallocate it when I'm done.


VisualLR

VisualLR

 

Before I succumb to the forces of the unknown..

a quick update...

We have a textured, animated MD2 character running on the PocketPC.

It looks great, needs to be optimized, but it's awesome.

I'm currently writing a better architecture, currently the demo we have is written in structured C (because it's my friend's strong language), while I'm taking that porting it into an OO architecture and optimizing everything I can.

We also have a very simple terrain.

All in all it's going real well. Here's a real quick checklist of what we currently have:

- Some 2D UI elements, window, text box, button, fonts
- Animated 2D sprites (I'd say 75% done)
- MD2 animated character support
- Z-buffered, textured polygon rendering, solid rendering & wireframe
- fixed point math library (including matrix & vectors)

Coming up:

- BSP level rendering
- Lights


All that, plus I found a sweet Serenity theme for my PPC. So I'm pretty happy.

Ok, time to go to sleep.

VisualLR

VisualLR

 

PocketPC Disasater

I spent all day yesterday fixing my damn pocketpc... I don't know what happened, but my game executable now kills it, it makes it lock up, the weird thing about it is that I set a breakpoint on the very first line of code and it never hits it, by that time it's already locked up, so I have no idea what's going on.

At least I got the thing to work again, and was finally able to install the rom update, which was a big pain in the ass. So at least, today I'll be able to determine what happened in my project that's causing the pocketpc to barf... hopefully, it doesn't take me all day to figure that one out.

VisualLR

VisualLR

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