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29. June 2012

There is now documentation!

 

This is a big boon, and one of the biggest downsides to many open source projects.  Put simply, making documentation isn’t really all that fun, so most people don’t bother.  It’s great when a project takes the effort.  Up until now I’ve used the normal Cocos2Dx documentation combined with browsing through the source code, but now with JavaScript specific documentation, the world just got a heck of a lot easier.

 

 

So, be sure to check it out.  If you haven’t been exposed to Cocos2D HTML, it is an HTML port of the popular cocos2D library.  You can check out a series of tutorials on this site, with more coming soon.  You can also see a game in action right here.

 

If you are running a similar project, don’t under-estimate the value of good documentation, it is absolutely HUGE.  So if you actually want people using what you are investing all your time into creating, consider spending some time on documentation.  Kudos to the cocos2DHTML5 team.

News

28. June 2012

So, Google has just released the Android 4.1 SDK, so lets take a quick look it what’s in there jellybeenfor game developers.

  • Vsync support, screen refreshing at 16 ms
  • systrace, a new kernel level profilinge tool
  • input device querying
  • low level media codec access
  • multi-channel audio
  • audio pre-processing
  • audio chaining ( transition on audio effect to the next )
  • new renderscript extensions
  • improved HTML5 rendering speeds
  • improved JavaScript engine speeds

 

Well, that’s about it.  Audio get’s a pretty big boost in capability and it will be interesting to see the results of universal vsync.  Otherwise a pretty minor update. On the bright side, it shouldn’t really result in any more fragmentation.

 

From a non-gaming perspective, it also adds resizable widgets, smart updates ( only update the parts that changed!  Long overdue ), many new notification options and a bunch of graphical fluff.

 

So, how many years until 4.1 has more than a 1% install base?  Considering I am still waiting for my Galaxy Note to be upgraded from 2.3, I’m not holding my breath.

News

27. June 2012

image

 

OK, I will be the first to admit that there are a few hundred HTML5 3D game engines in development, so why draw any attention to this one?

 

Well, there are a couple very good reasons.

 

First off, star power.  There are pair of fairly successful people behind PlayCanvas.  The CEO is Will Eastcott, former tech director at Activision, who worked on Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto and Max Payne.  The CTO is Dave Evans, formerly at Sony, and on the team responsible for PlayStation Home.  So, the people behind the company understand real game requirements and have the experience to pull it off.

 

Second, it’s a full tool chain.  This is perhaps the biggest single selling point, it contains a visual designer, importer for 3D Studios Max, Maya and Blender.  Plus of course the libraries you need to create a game, including dynamic lighting, shadow effects, bones/skinned animations, skeletal blending, 3D spatial audio, a component entity system for scripting and more.

 

So basically… they are going head to head with Unity, but focused on HTML5.  They have a demo section, but it is currently a bit underwhelming.

 

At this point, you may be wondering about cost…

During our closed beta, the PlayCanvas development environment will be free and unrestricted for all. When the closed beta ends, the vast majority of users will be able to continue to use PlayCanvas at no cost within some generous limitations. Pro accounts will be available on a subscription basis at a nominal monthly cost. These accounts will relax certain restrictions and unlock additional power-user oriented features in the interface.

 

Currently it is in closed beta, so you will have to contact them for more details.  They are however presenting at Google IO ( which is happening right now ), so perhaps we will have more details soon.

 

If this sounds interesting to you, head on over to playcanvas to learn more.

News ,

26. June 2012

 

Just a quick note, I may be a bit silent in these parts.  One of my main machines decided that it no longer liked life as a Ubuntu laptop and decided to end it all.  It sadly took my Windows 7 partition with it.

 

So I am in the rebuilding process.  I am bring it back to life as a Ubuntu / Windows 8 machine, so expect more Linux and Windows 8 content in the future, or at least, testing on bot of those platforms.

 

Anyways, if things seem a bit quite around here… don’t worry, I’m still here, just a bit distracted!

Totally Off Topic

25. June 2012

 

In my prior post introducing the bones of our YUI based level editor, I showed the following way of loading in a template from the server:

initializer:function(){ var that=this, request = Y.io('/scripts/views/templates/person.Template',{ on:{ complete:function(id,response){ var template = Y.Handlebars.compile(response.responseText); that.get('container').setHTML(template(that.get('model').getAttrs(['name','age','height']))); } } }); }

 

This works, but it is less than ideal.  There are alternatives, but each has a downside.  You can compile the template into a JavaScript string, but then, what is the point of creating a template in the first place?  The nice thing about a template is, it is basically just HTML with a small bit of specialized markup in it.  You can send that template to a designer, who can then make modifications to your UI without knowing anything but basic HTML.  Of course, nothing is preventing you from going through the compilation step with the finished result, but this will be a massive time sink on your productivity. 

 

Probably the best answer, is to compile the templates on the server.  I didn’t go this route because frankly, it made for a really lousy tutorial.  It would basically take the same amount of code for JUST loading dynamic templates, as it would take for all the rest of the project combined!  This IMHO added a needless level of complexity to the tutorial and would only confuse people.  However, loading from the server is *IS* a better way to do it, and I was considering making an additional post for people interested in doing it that way.

 

Nicely, I don’t have to, someone else has done it for me! Smile

 

In this thread (about this thread… a real Conception moment here)  on the YUI forums, user Satyam has taken the ball and run with it!  So if you are interested in how you would implement templating on the server side, be sure to check it out.  The nice part about implementing it server side is, you still get your markup nicely separated from the rest of your code, however, you eliminate the asynchronous call to fetch the template from the server.  Thanks Satyam.

 

This, is the modifications he made to server.js to support loading of templates server side, while this is the modification he made to the view.  It is certainly more complex, but it is also a much cleaner implementation.

Programming ,

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