Looks like it will be while before I go back to C++ & DirectX game development. In order for me to stay employed, I need to re embrace that which is JAVA. This means acquiring certifications such as SCJP,SCJD,SCWCD & SCBCD in order stay competitive as well. I've already paid for three vouchers and looking to take the SCJP (or will it be OCJP?) in early June.
Truthfully, I was a little upset due to making some nice headway with my current game engine. It was refreshing to get back into working with Microsoft technologies and C++. Now, it looks like I'll have to convert everything over to JAVA 6.
As my disappointment began to fade, it dawned on me or rather I had an epiphany of sorts. Why would/should my goals change? Why couldn't I continue on and develop my fighting game engine using Java technologies? Surely there are some decent API's to choose from right? The demos games I've tried that were built with JAVA run pretty fast too. Also, I wouldn't be limited to distribution on one platform such as Windows either. (If you can tell by now I was really trying to make myself feel better).
Anyway, I've done alot of initial planning, game designing and have a decent framework. Converting the engine over to JAVA shouldnt be that difficult and at least memory management should be a little easier too.
Java game development at least for now is completly foreign to me, I need to research gaming libraries amongst other things but it's all part of the fun. Definitely new and unexplored territory. Right now I'm looking at LWJGL which seems to be the most popular API and the most stable.
This also means I go from DirectX and back to OpenGL. Luckily for me I've had a stint with OGL in the past so the leap shouldn't be that difficult. Plus, a lot of the NEHE tutorials were converted to LWJGL amongst others which is helpful too. My first goal while trying to get my head wrapped around all this will be more or less cutting my teeth on a couple of simple projects. Basically I just want to demonstrate rendering, collision, sound and possibly networking. Again, low hanging fruit objectives before I submerge myself back in.
Now you know I had to go hunting to see if there were any fighting games created in JAVA and surprisingly enough there are a few. In my travels I even found a open source project where they are porting over Mugen to JAVA...how cool is that? JMUGEN. I actually wanted to help and contribute to that project as well, It would have helped to give me some insight of how things are done on that side with LWJGL. Check out the youTube vid..."Click the picture".
Until I consider myself officially ready to restart my fighting game project I'm going to suspend development on my engine temporarily. Hopefully this will only be for the summer months. What I will do is continue to create content, no code related things for it though as I work on a couple smaller projects as mentioned above in an effort to get more acclimated with JAVA Game Development.