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About Etherstar

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  1. Etherstar

    omg tv

    So...Super Bowl at your place?
  2. Etherstar

    XNA Thoughts

    There's been a lot of uproar regarding XNA among the community lately. A lot of people have become really excited with XNA at the prospect of making games with the XNA Framework, but to be honest I am very..."blah" about the whole thing. I've been developing with C# and Managed DirectX for the past 2 and a half years, and I have learned a lot about C# as a game programming language and Managed DirectX as an API, and here's my thoughts on the matter. 1) You can be crazy productive, and knock out prototypes in an incredibly fast amount of time. The more common tasks in 3D programming are very EASY to do, but there are a lot of generally advanced things that are NOT easy (i.e. skeletal animation). 2) The documentation and object oriented style make MDX a true joy to work with for C# fans and developers, or any fan/developer of object oriented programming styles. It's incredibly intuitive and robust. 3) Deployment SUCKS. It's not because any single thing is altogether difficult, but when you have several minor pains in the ass you eventually end up with a rather huge pain in the ass. Bottom line is that my experience with C# and MDX are great for making small and simple prototype games. However, the scalability of the API is not linear and deployment is rife with headaches. This makes it somewhat difficult to create full-featured, next-gen games. For the hobbyist, it's great. So where does this fit in with XNA? Well the bottom line is that the same issues I have with Managed DirectX exist with XNA. It's a great Language/API combo for hobbyist or casual games, but the API is going to need a lot of maturing before we see mainstream titles use the technology. Granted this isn't an issue for most people, but it is for me (I have more lofty goals). C# needs a killer app to get the respect it deserves in the commercial front, and I just don't see it coming with XNA in its current state. I just caution people to remember what Microsoft's true goal here is: to make money for their shareholders. I have nothing against Microsoft at all, in fact I am very thankful for what they have provided developers with C# and the .Net Framework. But the bottom line here is that hobbyist and educational game development is a new market for them to expand into. With XNA they will make a good amount of money on the sale of subscription fees and consoles from hobbyists and educational institutions, not to mention provide a lot of content for Xbox live to help compete with the Wii's virtual console. So just take XNA with a grain of salt, and if it doesn't do it for you, give Tao a try.
  3. Etherstar


    We've finally gotten an intro sequence into the beta. Now oure testers have an actual understanding of why this girl is throwing perfectly good soda at evil aliens. Here's a shot from the first frame of the intro, courtesy of the artist Kelso:
  4. Etherstar

    Bug Stomping and Design Choices

    Tuss Toss: We've been lucky enough to have a couple of very responsible people beta testing Tuss Toss. Right now I'm devoting most of my time fixing bugs and polishing the aspects of the game that I can. I figure I will continue this until about the 26th. At that point I will make a release version for contest submission. After that it will be an incremental release vesion (for the public) along with a shareware version. Engine Design: Well I'm still trying to iron out the design decisions for the engine (more like framework) that I will be making soon. I'm still trying to decide on what technologies to use. I want the engine to be cross platform, and I'm wondering if it is still too early to rely on C# applications for games. The difficulty distributing Tuss Toss makes me wonder if it's worth the hassle of forcing my user to download the .Net framework or Mono. I absolutely love coding in C#, but making games isn't always about what I want, it's more about what the user wants. I'm really curious as to whether or not a gamer truly finds it a hassle to download another piece of software in order to play a game. I also enjoy C++ a lot, but I can honestly be far more productive in C# than I ever could with C++. Maybe I'm just overthinking the whole thing. Maybe I should just pick one thing and run with it, never looking back.
  5. Etherstar


    I really like the idea, in fact I would say teams would require at least 4 people (keep up with the 4eX mentality). I really don't know many people that well around here and it would force me to get to know some of them.
  6. Etherstar

    FC, why did I ever leave you?

    I spent the weekend battling with Ubuntu and trying to get it running on my desktop. After nearly a day and a half of screwing with X and dependancy hell, I could never get a bunch of the things I needed running (like my dual head display). Reinstalled Fedora Core 5 and it worked flawlessly. Nothing against Ubuntu (I may install it on my notebook) but it just didn't do it for me. Fedora just feels right and works on my setup without a hitch. Now that that's out of the way, I can get some actual work done. I'm currently plugging away at story mode right now for Tuss Toss. Once its finished (the milestone must be hit by tomorrow) we do some closed beta testing.
  7. Etherstar

    There comes a time...

    Thanks so much! I'll definitely look into this.
  8. Etherstar

    There comes a time...

    There comes a time in just about every game programmer's life when they decide that they will take on a task which is generally only tackled by the insane, the stupid or the brilliant. Because I feel like I fall into all three of these categories, it is a natural progression for me to take on this task. No, I do not mean making an MMORPG...I'm talking about rolling my own engine. There's always two sides to the debate as to whether or not a hobbyist or indie should ever bother with such a task, but I am going for it. I feel like I could learn a lot in the success and failure. The end result would give me a piece of software that I could reuse for rapid development. Of course, I also have a game in mind with which to use the engine, if I didn't I wouldn't even bother. I've dubbed it "Machina Ex Machinis" (MxM for short) or "The Machine from Machines" because Latin makes everything sound a lot higher on the coolness scale. Current features include the following: -Completely modular Object Oriented design. -Written in the C# language. -Cross Platform (thanks to Mono and Tao, Windows version may use MDX). -Primarily 2D engine, will contain support for 3D rendering features. -Highly scaleable through a modular design to promote a longer shelf-life. Right now I am unsure as to whether or not I plan on making it open-source. I most likely will. As you can see I have a lot of details ahead, so now I'm working on the planning and design side of things. Hopefully more frequent journal updates will follow.
  9. Etherstar

    Tuss Toss Update

    Since I know people love media in these journals, I'll start off with a link to the music track for Boss Levels in Tuss Toss. Enjoy. Tuss Toss is coming along great. We are in the muster stage of gathering all the content and getting it into a fully featured game. So far the level editor, free play and custom play modes are complete. All we really need now is to finish story mode, and touch a few things up. Our soft deadline is August 1st. This gives us approximately 3 weeks of heavy bug fixing and gameplay adjustment through playtesting. Then its onto entering slamdance. We are also planning on entering the IGDA awards as well, for a little exposure and learning.
  10. Etherstar

    Level editor

    Level editor is mostly working now. Just need to get saving and loading done, which will be added fairly easily. Here's a shiny screenshot.
  11. Etherstar

    Crunch Time and 4e5 bummer.

    Well we are officially entering crunch time for Tuss Toss. The game has 1.5 months to be nearly feature complete. Then comes about 3-4 weeks of testing and polishing. When this is done, we release to the public by entering the Guerilla Gamemaking Competition for Slamdance. Sounds all well and good, like I actually have a plan or something. The downside is that being so busy, I won't be able to enter 4e5 this year, and after being out of 4e4 this is a real dissapointment. Ah well, maybe I will have time later for a small/fun entry. But I'm not even letting myself think about that until Tuss Toss is done. Next up is adding in the new wildcard block, and brick gibs for wall explosions.
  12. Etherstar


  13. Etherstar

    No no, I'm awesome.

    So I'm wondering why Tuss Toss fps drops by about ten frames when there's around 100 or so particles on screen. I found it quite perplexing, so I decide to add some profiling code to find out the problem. Lo and behold I discover this wonderous line of code that I must have put in my infinite wisdom of a late night coding session: // Stall for timing. System.Threading.Thread.Sleep(30); Yep, way to test how long it took you to render the whole frame, dumbass. WTF you can't get 300fps in debug mode?! Seriously though, I'm awesome.
  14. Etherstar

    More particle stuff

    Today at work I tweaked the particles so that the would rotate on creation and face the direction they are traveling. For the first time in a looong time I had to bust out the arccosine up in this piece :-p I'm much more happy with that now, and so is Kelso. Gonna try to keep these updates constant. :).
  15. Etherstar


    Thanks, and thanks :)
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