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Almost published

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Release Candidate 3 is burned on a CD and ready to send out. In the past week, I've fixed a total of three obnoxious machine-crashing planet-destroying bugs.

OK, actually the bugs were pretty durned minor, but a bug is a bug. . .

  • In Poker Machine, the Quick Help box didn't pop up until after the game asked your name.
  • In Kizbot, your high scores weren't recorded properly
  • In Backgammon, the help text was too lengthy to fit in the Quick Help box.

Kudos to my publisher (yes, I'll give you the name when I'm allowed) for giving me a whole bunch of leeway in the design of the games. Unlike previous publishers, they actually like the work I've done, and they're not changing the look of my stuff. This is a Good Thing for a couple of reasons. First, it gives me warm fuzzies that there aren't any inflated egos (other than mine) who are demanding to put their personal thumbprint on other peoples' stuff. Second, it makes my copyright of the games unambiguous, as the games aren't a mishmash of my code, other people's art, other people's sound, etc.

Of course, when someone drops a completed product on your desk, you don't have as much design leeway as someone who hands you a technology demo. All the more reason to try to get your product as complete as possible before shopping for a publisher.

Following my wife's demands, I signed up as a volunteer for the GDC again. Even though it's gonna be a big money-sponge, I'll probably get a lot out of it. I'm now in the process of finding a roommate for the conference. Since the volunteer folks are gonna rent out a block of rooms again, I might just play roommate roulette this time.

Technology note: Been corresponding with SciTech about their new DirectGL product. It looks like I'll be able to license a special application-specific version of their new OpenGL-Direct3D mapping layer for my games. For this reason, I decided that I'll probably change over to OpenGL as the base 3D engine for my new games. This'll give me the following advantages:

  • For folks with accelerated OpenGL drivers (Voodoo, nVidia), they'll get to use their driver.
  • For folks without accelerated OpenGL, I can ship an app-specific DirectGL. As far as the user's concerned, it's a Direct3D app.
  • I can support new Macs via native Mac OpenGL.
  • I can support Linux if I can find anyone who doesn't mind that my games aren't open-source and free :)

I've been playing with a few OpenGL utilities, and I've put together the base trappings of a fairly reasonable 3D sprite library. Looks like collision detection is gonna be much more of a pain than it was in 2D. I'll likely do it similarly to the way I did it in my 2D games, with the choice of fast bounding-box collisions or slower shape-based collisions.
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