About this blog
My public attempt at developing a Capcom/SNK style fighting game. (Since Jan 2009)
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Today Im at work speaking with a few co-workers about how we could go about reengineering a very old (I mean old) application. The application is an scheduling application that was built with VBA of all things using M$ Access as its GUI front-end connecting to an Oracle Database...dont even ask.
The horrid thing about this application though is that it's the last of those application dinosaur app's that some how manages to make it through SOX and any other review the company puts our apps through.
Anyway...so were talking shop on how cool it would be to do this and that, create a web service for this part and security and so and so on. You know how it is, talking code with fellow hackers and bragging low key about the technolgies that you know of and how there sure to work and why. But then it happens, everyone is feeling good and then one of those kind of "people" show up.....A "Project Manager". This guy over hears our conversation and then drops this bomb, "Hey, why dont you guys see if there is something built already that does that."
WHAT!...it was odd because I think by the look on our faces he kind of ended up with a worse look on his. More or less it we were like "Screw it, Im taking my ball and going home", I mean who in the hell wants to find something thats already made we just wanted something that was ours from the ground up. Hell we configure and hack through ridiculous third party vendor code all day as it is.
I know that companies these days are about being efficient and financially productive but damn, if you want to keep the tech heads happy just a little then let them build some stuff raw, let us design the protype before you send us through the hellish vendor circus please. Let us birth a "child" or as we used to say back in the mid nineties..."that's (insert developers name) baby".
I dont know maybe its me but I miss pre 2000, hell if you could compile code let alone write it programming jobs were falling out of the sky. Now all they want is people who have skills with the latest third party tool or a suite of (whatever application tools) which most arent even industry standard...just popular standard.
But long gone are the days when you were left with a few brains in a room, a white board and a idea. Pfffft we live in some boring brainless times.....Corporate I.T. is a drag.
LOL, I feel like Napoleons Uncle right now...instead of 1983 let me go back to sometime like around 1996.
I finally broke down and bought Doom 3 today, yeah I know Im late :) but Best Buy was running a sale for $34.99. Although I still dont have HalfLife 2 yet but its coming.
Anyway, I must say this game scared the bejezus out of me...now dont get me wrong I aint no punk but still. I sat in my computer room turned off all the lights and put on my headphones, cranked up the sound just like it said on the manual...(Why did I do that?)
The graphics are cool very cool, but what I think it was that got me was the sound fx and music score. The audio in this game really helped to sell the atmosphere and the tension, not to mention some of the baddies that you have to deal with are just plain errie.
Now I consider myself to be one of the biggest Carmack fanboy's on earth and a faithful of the entire Doom - Quake series because I own them all, even the collector editions that were available I tried to get each. Which reminds me that Im gonna look for a collectors edition of this if its available.
But back to why I felt like a little biznatch,Im still on the part where I just found the scientist and then all hell breaks loose. Yet I turned it off when you meet the baddie that sort of reminds you of that monster in R.E. that was mutated from the T-Virus.
Oh, that sh!t kinda scared me...I think I was too into it LOL, and Im starring this baddie down with just a hand gun because Im shooting what little shells I have left at shadows of all things.
But afaik if that is the type of emotion this game can get out of me then the $39.99 was well worth it. I hope HL2 brings the same level of gratification as well.
Honestly, I dont get to caught up in how good does this look on my vid card, or the modeling has to be top notch. I judge a game sometimes on if I can get lost in that world and actually become the lead character...with this game it's not really that hard when your playing a movie :)
Well so far so good, but your focus is always like that in the beginning :)
Anyway, one thing I did discover is that if you know C++ and I mean know it, starting over or trying to review it sucks. It's weird but I have been coding for what seems like eons but more or less, C- style languages and JAVA.
On one hand it felt good to know that I still have it C++ wise but no matter how long I've been away from it I don't have to start over. What I did decide to do was basically start off where I felt I needed the most work such as templates, vectors, STL stuff etc.
And my love affair with Math is funny...I just love math, but it is definitely one of those if you don't use it...you lose it type of deals for me.
Just thinking ahead here but I should be back up to snuff with trig by the spring and flirting with Calc by summers end. Although for what I want to do trig should serve me well I may just jump into this book on 3D mathematics I bought a while back and start working out of that.
On a different note, the company I work for has an account with http://www.skillport.com/ and it's pretty cool. Anything you can think of from programming to networking to anything IT related is there for you to study and learn. But what I thought was the best perk of all is the access to "Books 24/7". After spending several hours at that site via our account I was hooked. What's so cool about it is that you get access to a large selection books on damn near every subject under the sun.
Now I'm a "Professional Services Software Developer" ....sounds so cool having it roll of your tongue lol. But I should be out at this site setting up my bookshelf's with books on J2EE, WEB SPHERE development, XML, WEB Services etc...and I did but...
I have this bookshelf now on Game Development, to my surprise there were a load of Prima press books and others out there on the subject. The best part about it is that now I get to actually look at books that I would otherwise be leary of and qualify them before I buy them at amazon. Heck if the book has CD content I have access to that too!...it's just toot sweet if you ask me.
This weekend should be fun though...more C++ coding and math refreshing, just trying to get that solid base before I actually start swimming in the sea of graphics coding again.
Next time I will probably speak on the fact that I would really love the opportunity to translate my current skills and try to get into the game industry. The only thing I would be interested in is either engine programming or network coding. But building an engine first would really show me if it's truly worth trying to make the switch. The corporate world is slowly turning away from programming and the poltics are very boring to me. If I could code all day Id be happy as hell....really I would. Time will tell.
Well it looked like my hiatus has lasted longer than expected. Currently at work we are coming to the end of a software migration using SIEBEL and it's been a total pain the soft part of my arse, not to mention the hi-jacking of my personal life. But things are slowing down and soon we will enter the developers support phase by april so...yea
As things begin to wind down, and J2EE starts to slip away, and the introduction of software configuration and scripting begin to rear their ugly heads...Im drawn back to the crave which is C++ ...because for some reason, IT departments in the corporate world arent looking for "real software engineers"...they just want "admins" and "configurators", trust me thats another rant at another time.
So for now, my personal goals for 2005 are as follows:
1. Get my C++ skills on par with my JAVA skills (that would be awesome)
2. Finally play catch up and get caught up from DX8 to DX9.
3. Refresh my Trig & Calc skills.
4. Complete a small platform style 2D game as planned earlier.
5. By the end of this year start development on a 3D engine.
6. Read at least four good Graphics/AI Books by years end.
That should keep me busy through to xmas for sure :)
The biggest feather in my hat out of these goals would be number 5, when that happens I know that I have had a good year.
Opps I forgot to add 6a.
6a. Keep my journal updated...I am paying for this :)
Is it a labor of love? Or a madman's addiction?
My day job is brutal, it demands so much of my life it is ridiculous at times. I haven't made a journal entry not to mention coming out to this site in over a month and a half. Now that the year is winding down and were entering xmas break I can use this time to get a good jump on development. Hopefully it will be enough of a kick off to start the new year.
I guess time will tell....
I started programming C about 8 years ago then gradually moved up to C++. At the time I was learning it, it was for game stuff which at the moment is still a hobby.
But My day job dictates the programming language that is king of my life during the day. At that time it was VB5 and then VB6, God knows how much I hated it but it was a living. With that being said it was easy for me to do both VB at work and C++ at home. Oh How I longed to do some C++ stuff at work.
As the years passed and technologies changed/advanced we later on adopted Java and J2EE technologies. That's when the problem started...I had to drop C++ because even though Java and C++ (look) simalar, their far from it.
The plus of learning JAVA and learning it well to the point im certified in it was that my OOP knowledge sky rocketed. I begin to wonder how crazy people were to even attempt OOP in C++, thus reconigizing I had been brain washed by SUN that C++ was evil.
Anyway, I was recently transfered to a development team that develops and maintain CRM based software which under the covers utilizes 'eScript' and guess what...C++.
Oh how kind has the Lord been to me I ask :), all these years of waiting to use my first love. And that children is the match that re-lit the candle for game programming at this juncture in my life.
Fast forward to right now, and Im now finding my self saying "ah", "hmmm, How did I miss that?", "I didnt know that?", "What was I thinking?", "Thats pretty awesome"...as I reteach my self C++, I tell you its been an eye opener.
I remember when I first joined here back in 2000 I used to hear people say, "It will take years before your really good at C++ or even learn it very well". I used to think they were nuts, but you know what, they were right.
C++ is such a huge language and there are so many parts to it, unless you use them and/or code ALL DAY, it will take some years. To my advantage, programming professionally for about 8 years now I have learned many things programming wise and created many a applications. And as I now go back through C++ with new eyes, I have even a greater appreaciation for this language.
Even as elegant as JAVA is, C++ will always be king in my life...and the quest to become an advanced user of C++ burns like a flame sorry.
The war on pop-ups and ad-ware continued last night. I swear this has truly disrupted my game plan for the last week. Norton Internet Security and its virus scanning software is garbage not to mention Pest patrol is a major joke as well (they see what they want to).
What truly pisses me off is that I bought pest patrol and I'm using Norton on a 6 months trial basis before its time to pay, well what do you think will happen when that finally expires?...yeah that B.S. is outta here.
So anyway, as I sit there watching my pc come to a feeble crawl and pop up windows of cash winnings, sports betting and your occasional male enhancements take their turn...I begin to get even more furious....
But then wait, a friend of mine called me and could tell something was wrong, how observant of him. I explained to him my plight half heartily due to the fact that he is as non technical as a set of fisher price tools being close to the real thing.
Oddly enough he had the cure, my non-technical friend turned me on to 2 "FREE" products mind you that did what Norton nor Pest patrol were able to do ... and I didn't even have to go into safe mode.
What are these arch angels sent from above? ...."Ad-Aware" & "Spybot", both available at your local CNET. Although I had heard of them before, I usually don't give service to anything that you don't pay for. I mean hell, you get what you pay for right? I guess I didn't... All in all the 2 free products served me well and I will continue to use them to fight this war on spam (if it strikes again)....the spammers are getting damned good.
See what happens when you send jobs overseas, all the tech heads with out jobs take on programming jobs with spam companies (conspiracy theory).
Ok, enough of all that I have been making a little head way on my game and I now know how I want it to look graphically. On other front's I have been delving into some pretty advanced areas of C++ so time will tell if it proves useful when it comes to developing my engine.
Cheers, and here's looking forward to a productive weekend.
Last night I was thinking of pitfalls that I encountered in the past while trying to create a "game" and one of the biggest was lack of documentation.
It's easy to slack off and not really fully document everything you need especially if your the only one who is going to be working on the project.
But reflecting back I realized now how much trouble that caused because it is basically a kamikaze style of software development.
Although Im just itching to start coding & developing graphics, I need to take the time to plan where im going...and not trust that it's all in my head.
On another front, I put up a quick website just so I could have a place for the "Ultimate 2D Side Scroller" and present it's images and other crap, so that's one less thing out of my way.
And yesterday I didnt even get a chance to download and install DevPartner or SoftICE because I was fighting viruses all night...it's amazing how one pop can cause a catostrophic effect on your pc. (porn? you ask...not)
So I reinstalled Norton (it wasnt installed cause it's a resource hog) and ran a system scan twice to alleviate the problems. Now Im on solid ground and im able to move forward...
In my quest to create the "Ultimate 2D Side Scroller" I will keep you updated on a suite of software that I will be testing shortly. The company that I work for (Compuware)has developed this little gem "SoftICE" and all I have heard is rave reviews about it. Link -> http://www.compuware.com/products/devpartner/softice.htm
Here is a blurb from the product website....
"Catch bugs in the act--even after a system crash
Since SoftICE doesn't rely on Windows resources such as video and console I/O, it's immune to Windows system failures. SoftICE freezes the entire system when a fault or exception occurs and collects system state information--data that might otherwise be lost by the time a traditional debugger has loaded. SoftICE captures valuable debugging information to help spot coding bugs fast across integrated development environments--even when the dreaded "blue screen" occurs. "
Now I don't know about you but that seems very cool . Softice is actually a plug-in for DevPartner - Link-> http://www.compuware.com/products/devpartner/enterprise.htm
DevPartner comes in a few different flavors such as DevPartner Studio Professional Edition, DevPartner Studio Enterprise Edition & DevPartner for Visual C++ . Of course I'm going to use the Enterprise Edition...why wouldn't I. Compuware offers me a six month license that I basically renew every six months. Plus, this makes them happy that Im learning another company product
So as to benefit those who care, through out the life cycle of my project it will be interesting just to see how effective these tools are. And, I will provide screen shots and user insight in the sake of community interest.
Here's to looking forward to Bug's?
You know, at first I thought it was cool that I have been able to function in both capacities - "Artist" & "Programmer". But to be honest, sometimes it can really really...suck.
It's like having a multi personality disorder and right now the "Programmer" in me wants more attention. How can I tell? because Im having a graphics block at the moment. It's all good though...they never truly last long.
But anyway, this weekend has been fun I've been brushing up on some more advanced features of C++ that I never really got to touch back in the day. And for some reason it just felt good to download and install the latest DX SDK.
The more I think about it the more I have come to realize how much I love the C++ language, Im familar with so many different languages but C++ just does it for me.
Well, week one is in the books although there is not too much to show yet. But hey, staying on the path is 90% of the battle.
Considering that I code professionally during the day it is a task mind you to come home and begin to start doing it again. Not to mention that as of late (3 yrs) my main focus has been JAVA / J2EE.
Don't get me wrong my passion is C++, always has been always will be. But switching hats between the two is difficult at times, grrr data types.
Anyway, I started gathering resources for my "Ultimate 2D Sidescroller", I will continue to call it that until I have legit name for it. Sounds, and reference images, blah blah have been a blast to gather but it's time to start developing my engine. So tonight I will embark on that journey blasting my imagery to the vid card for rendering.
I've been away from graphics programming for awhile and forgot how much work goes into the preparation for even making a game. But I forgot how fun it was too...
On another note, I came up with the coolest concept for one of the enemies...it is really cool. Just cant seem to nail down the look of our hero yet...oh well...that will just have to happen another night.
I have been doing 3D modeling and animation so much I actually forgot how fun it was to truly draw something. As I contemplate the look and feel of the "Ultimate 2D side scroller", I'm starting to lean more and more towards a hand drawn look.
Although, it would be nice to find a happy medium between using my 3D skills and drawing skills. Anyway, I guess it nice to have a dilemma such as this because AFAIK concerned it's a win / win for me.
As I began this trek to create the "Ultimate 2D side scroller" for old school sake :) ... My old 2D engine comes to mind, (nightmares ensue) I don't even think I'm even going to dust that thing off. I'm going to have to rebuild from scratch...joy.
But all in all the key here is not for me to create a visually stunning experience (which wont be hard) but to create an enjoyable fast past and exciting experience on the game play side.
This time, I'm going to spend way more time designing this game and creating puzzles to make it fun. I have created enough of the point and shoot side scroller type games in the past. Now I need to prove I can actually make it fun.
Well, I made up my mind what I want to do and the 2D fighting game isn't holding my interest. Right now I dont think it would be something that I would finish because I have done KOF ports and others. Not to mention I already have design doc's created from the past blah blah blah.
So what I have decided on is a platform game and what Im thinking of is a cross between Earthworm Jim & Contra Hard Corps. What makes this appealing to me is that for one I have to design it and that will hold my interest.
Secondly, I can make some pretty nifty (unrealistic) characters for the game using my 3D skills. But...the game is still going to be a 2D style platformer. Aside from my game design skills I really want to show off my animation skills with this game...that is going to be pretty cool.
So my evil plan is this:
1. Start on the 2D game engine
2. Start sketching out the main char/ bosses & level's
3. Start desiging the game
*That should get me going but the order in which I work could vary each day depending on how I feel.
Now I actually feel like I have something I want to do :)
Oh I forgot to mention...Im seeing the whole thing celshaded...old school looks really work for me!
Well I didnt get any programming done at all this weekend, but I did manage to redo my site.
Funny thing is that I dont feel like coding atm. So to help generate some excitement I need to model and animate a few characters first.
Maybe that will get me going or maybe Im just plum tired....
Well I guess I finally claimed a little piece of gdev.net even if I had to buy it :)
I've been a member here for a very long time...not as active as I would have liked to be but always supportive.
One of the reasons that I havent frequented the forums is because I took a few years away from game development to learn the darkside of 3D Modeling and Animation. I just got tired of looking for artists to work with, although Im an artist myself, 3D art was eluding me. Not to mention my current day job as a n-tier application programmer was killing my time.
But now that I have commanded skills in both modeling and animation. I can honestly say that Im back and ready to see what late nights will bring.
My current plans are to finish something I started which is a 2D fighting game and then down the road I hope to recreate it in 3D. Im defintely not in a rush, but at least I have a cool place to ramble about it.
Hell, I might as well take advantage of the web space too and make a website...I think Im paying for that too, right?
Anyway, Im back...time will tell, it always does.