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Backgammon's in the middle

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Still working on Backgammon. It's pretty-much on schedule, but there are tons of nasty little movement rules, the game itself takes place in three different stages (playing, racing, and going home), and the home and bar have to be treated differently from rest of the board. All in all, it ain't the easiest thing to program the movement rules. I'm starting to wonder if I should've tried something easier, like chess :)

During the times I'm feeling less-than-codeworthy, I like to work on the graphics. My first Backgammon board turned out quite nicely. Paint Shop Pro 5 is a terrific piece of software, and I was able to create a reasonable-looking wooden board without much effort. First I painted a wood texture over a rectangular area. Then I selected an area equivalent to the points, and I changed the tint with the color tools to a darker reddish shade. Voila, I had a not-bad looking teak board with cherry triangles. During another less-than-technical moment, I plan to make a felt board with leather points. We'll see how it comes out.

Still trying to figure out what I can do for a CGDA presentation, so I won't need to work my way through the CGDC next year. Actually, doing the servitude bit wasn't too bad, but I'd like to exercise some of my fine Toastmasters-honed speaking skills. You don't get to present much when you work alone.

My copy of Inside DirectX arrived from Amazon a couple of days ago, and I like it a lot. For me, the lack of Direct3D coverage is an advantage, as most other DirectX books tend to be more than half Direct3D. I can imagine a Direct3D-only version of the book will be out soon. The discussion of DirectPlay is the most extensive around, and it actually answered a question that I couldn't get answered at CGDC. Namely, how can I do lobbying without selling my games to one of the big services? There are a couple of 3rd party DirectPlay lobby servers and clients on the CD. I'm not wild about either of 'em, but they might have to do if I don't wanna roll my own. It'd be nice to see someone come up with a lobby server and a toolkit for writing my own client. That way I could write a client that fits in with the look-n-feel of my games and doesn't look like someone else's product.

I'm also finally getting some mailing-list info on Uber, which is the Apple-initiated game networking API used in Myth, The Fallen Lords. The makers are still getting it ready for beta-test, but it might have some advantages over DirectPlay, like cross-platform operation and source code. We'll see how it looks if-n-when I get the code.
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