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Comments (0) · Permalink · Personal · Not rated (0 votes)
Dec 26 2007, 06:49 PM
So I got a lot of games for Christmas. Some new, some old. I got the following games:
  • Link's Crossbow Training + Wii Zapper
  • Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles
  • The new Simpsons game
  • Geist
  • Manhunt 2
  • Indigo Prophecy
  • Martian Gothic
  • Rule of Rose
  • Kuon
  • Second Sight
  • The Lost Crown: A Ghosthunting Adventure
I've only played a few of them so far.

I've gone through all the levels of Link's Crossbow Training. It's fairly short, but definitely fun. For $20 it's worth it, and it comes with the Wii Zapper.

I give the Wii Zapper 3.5/5 stars. It can be hard to aim properly. You really have to find a balance between TV height and chair height. I haven't had much luck being able to stand and play while aiming down the "barrel" of the gun. The stock of the gun is also too short. If you try to hold it up to your shoulder, your arm will be sore pretty quickly. Because you'll be holding the gun closer to your body in that position, your right wrist will bend backward a little too much to be comfortable for extended periods of time. The gun is fine when held with one hand or at your side. It seems like this wasn't put though as much ergonomics testing as it should have.

Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles is a great game for fans of the series. It's like playing an arcade game set in the RE world. It's also a great summary of the main plot of the story. In the game you'll be taken through RE 0, Remake, 2 (although not as much), and 3. The environments are excellent, and nearly match the prerendered quality achieved in 0 and the Remake. It's fun seeing those places brought to true 3D.

The Simpsons game is surprisingly good. I expected an average game out of it, but I think it should rate a bit higher than that. The art style is amazing. For the most part it is like you are watching the show. The gameplay is solid, and reminds me of the Legend of Zelda series. Each character has special abilities that actually contribute to gameplay, and aren't just tacked on. The minigames are fun and lend themselves well to the Wii controls.

Geist is an interesting game. It's a paranormal FPS, which is a great premise and lends itself to creative gameplay. I happen to have had several conversations with the president of N-Space, the makers of the game, so I was interested in trying out this one. I shouldn't have waited so long. It's the most satisfying FPS game I've played in a long time. Being able to possess objects, animals, and people adds a new sense of control over the game. At one point there was a boss that would throw grenades. The best way to beat him was to stun him as he was throwing a grenade, then possess and explode the grenade. The best part of the game for me is scaring people so they can be possessed. Also, the guns feel like guns. They're nice and powerful, and very satisfying. A single head shot, or two body shots, is usually enough to kill an enemy. Not like today's FPS games where often times you can shoot many rounds into the enemy without much of a reaction. It also means it is easier for your host to die, meaning you have to find a new one in the heat of combat. Too bad I forgot my memory card at my dad's, so I couldn't save my progress.

I'm hoping to test out at least one more game tonight.

I also got an Xbox 360 controller that I hooked up to my PC. I want to experiment with it, and hopefully integrate Xbox 360 controller support into the upcoming input system.

[EDIT]
I played the first level of Second Sight tonight. I must have been the only person ever who has died in the first level, a tutorial level. I was getting used to my psychic abilities when I exploded a computer on myself. It seems to be an interesting game, but I hear the ending is really bad. The camera work could be better too. There is a static camera view, like the Resident Evil series uses, but the gameplay doesn't lend itself to that view easily. There is also a chase cam view that can be controlled with the right thumbstick, but it feels like it is constantly pulling, forcing the player to readjust.
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Comments (1) · Permalink · PW Development · Not rated (0 votes)
Nov 4 2007, 12:31 PM
Over the last few weeks I have implemented a component-based object system and dataports. Quite fun stuff, if you're a geek. I was also able to make use of boost's call_traits and type_traits library for the first time. They were very useful for implementing dataports. I think within a few weeks these will be reviewed and merged into the PWToolBox library. Then I'll get back to the tech demo. I promise. Of course now I have to refactor it to use these new systems. Fun stuff ahead.
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Comments (0) · Permalink · Game Design · Not rated (0 votes)
Oct 21 2007, 02:05 PM
So I got Game Programming Gems 5 and 6 last week, specifically for the articles on component-based game objects. I've read through both, but have only tried to implement the one from GPG5 so far. I must say I'm rather disappointed with the article. What is there is well written, but it lacks some pretty important information. It merely mentions the game object manager class, which happens to be the largest class in the system. It also doesn't do a good job explaining what the parameter nodes are. The article also doesn't get into creating objects dynamically. All of the objects in the article were parsed from a file and loaded at once at startup. I think to create objects dynamically you need a way of storing parameter nodes. Also, the author does not provide the code for "ObjectBuilder.exe", which creates the binary file format he uses, so it's hard to figure out what exactly is going on in the code. Another downside to the article is that it relies heavily on the game. It is hard to abstract out and reuse.

However, GPG6 provides a bit of hope here. It offers a simpler solution that isn't as tightly coupled to the game, and appears to be much easier to implement. There's also no message passing in this system, which grey will be happy about. The xml file example in this article creates templates for objects, which can then be created dynamically, so that issue is addressed in this article. Maybe tomorrow night I'll have a go at implementing that system. It should be simpler to do than the GPG5 article, which just seemed like the author was on the right track, but hadn't completely thought the system out yet.
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Comments (4) · Permalink · Personal · Not rated (0 votes)
Sep 28 2007, 03:07 AM
When I woke up today I had a simple plan. Brush up on C, object-oriented techniques in C, and Linux (using Cygwin) because I start a new job on Monday using C and Linux. I never expected to be dual booting Windows XP and Ubuntu 7.04 by the end of the day. Here's what happened...

At first I was working with C and cygwin, but I really didn't like that environment and wanted a real Linux environment. I downloaded Ubuntu 7.04 (twice because the first time it failed at 97.3%) and explored VMWare Player. After downloading VMWare Player I realized I had to download another massive file to emulate Ubuntu. I decided to try out the liveCD first.

I decided I'd work off of an Ubuntu liveCD so I could refamiliarize myself with a real linux environment. Then I got an error saying that gcc cannot produce an executable. Not wanting to use VMWare, and lacking any better options, I set out to install Ubuntu on my Windows machine.

I spent about 2 hours defragging my hard drive about 5 times to create a nice block of empty space to which I could let GParted do it's stuff. I must say, GParted is quite a handy program. By the way, when defragging a Windows hard drive, if you disable hibernation and virtual memory, restart, and then defrag you can move those green "unmovable" files (just enable them again afterwards).

I'll admit I was pretty concerned when making the partitions. Windows needed a floppy disk to do a system recovery disk. Even though I have a floppy drive I have no disks, so I decided not to perform a back up. I only had applications installed on that drive anyways, so if something went wrong I'd just have to reinstall Windows and some programs (and honestly, I probably should reinstall Windows to clean out all the crap I no longer use).

Luckily all went well, and after the partitioning I was able to boot into Windows after letting the chkdsk program run. Then I was off to install Ubuntu. The installation went without a hitch. I'm setting up all the tools and the environment now.

Now the important question. What does this mean for PW? This means that I feel better about making official releases of PW software for Linux, as I am now able to test them. I also don't have to bug grey to implement 5 lines of Linux-specific code. This translates into a faster development time.

I never did get to coding today.
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Comments (0) · Permalink · Personal · Not rated (0 votes)
Sep 15 2007, 12:36 AM
Not sure if Kent was planning on making a blog post about it, so I will, since some of you might follow the band. The new song is "Resound", and can be found, as usual, at http://www.alifeelided.net. The song "An Angel's Apathy" is also relatively new.
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Comments (0) · Permalink · Game Design · Not rated (0 votes)
Sep 15 2007, 12:34 AM
For the last three day's I've been refactoring the Tech Demo. This means there aren't any new screenshots, but the code structure is entirely different. Lots of hacked in things (such as the night sky and the stars) we're pulled out into a cleaner design. Other changes allow the code to be maintained easier, reduce programmer error, and require less code to be written to get the same functionality. A side effect of this is better performance because updates that don't necessarily have to occur every frame no longer do. Right now they're updating 24 times per second instead of every frame, pushing the frame rate to over 200 average FPS on my (now rather outdated) graphics card.
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Comments (0) · Permalink · Screenshots · Not rated (0 votes)
Sep 10 2007, 03:17 PM
This first one is of the night sky. This technique doesn't optimize well, but gives pretty good results.
IPB Image

And this one is of the new sun. Of course I have yet to add a sun glare (probably will do that with HDR).
IPB Image
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Comments (1) · Permalink · Screenshots · Not rated (0 votes)
Sep 4 2007, 06:00 PM
I got the day/night cycle done in the tech demo yesterday. It turned out pretty well, but could probably use some fine tuning. I need to improve the texture mapping for the stars so they don't get stretched and add a moon or two. No screenshots, but I'll leave you with a video.

http://test.projectwish.com/njpaul/PWTechDemo1DayNight1.mpg
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Comments (2) · Permalink · Screenshots · Not rated (0 votes)
Aug 26 2007, 10:16 PM
Today I added a proper sun into the tech demo. The screenshots are below. I also have a basic night sky system (no stars or moons yet) implemented, but not yet integrated to work with the daylight system, so there will be no screenshots of that yet.

IPB Image
IPB Image
IPB Image
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Comments (1) · Permalink · Screenshots · Not rated (0 votes)
Aug 5 2007, 10:56 PM
Today went a lot smoother now that I'm used to RBGui. I was able to get the GUI in place for adjusting sky parameters. Below is a screenshot facing west at around 7pm.

IPB Image
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