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4. January 2012




Mobile development is certainly hot these days and as a result a number of mobile frameworks have popped up allowing you to target multiple devices with a single code base.  Problem is, it’s not just one or two frameworks we are talking about, more like 20 or 30, maybe even more!   Trying to pick the right one is a simply daunting task!  You need to factor a number of things in such as quality, features available,  price, languages supported and perhaps most important of all, the platforms supported.




Fortunately there is a tool that can greatly help.  This handy matrix at breaks down many of the available mobile frameworks.  Down the left hand side are all of the various Frameworks, then across the top are the platforms they support, the languages you can program in, the features they support ( such as Accelerometer, Camera, etc.. ), as well as if it is freely available and if it is open source.




Snapshot of a portion of the matrix:






He also provided a handy filtering tool, oddly named “Start Wizard”.  You can check off your criteria here and it will dynamically update the matrix to include only the frameworks that meet your criteria.  Here is the wizard in action:







Simply click the features you require, hit Find Framework and PRESTO!  a list of Frameworks compatible with your selection.   The list is by no means perfect.  First off, it is very iOS centric, but given that iOS is possibly the most popular OS for mobile development, I suppose this makes sense.   Perhaps most glaringly, it doesn’t tell you if the framework can target PC, Linux or Mac, which is a shame as that is a very important detail to many people ( myself included ).  Finally there are frameworks missing ( again, this goes back to the iOS centric aspect ), such as mobile web apps like Flash and Silverlight, or projects like MonoGame and ExEn.  Additionally all the C++ specific frameworks like SIO or Marmalade are absent as well.  I can understand why Flash and Silverlight would be left out, but then why was jQuery included?





Faults aside, this handy tool provides a wonderful starting point if you are looking for a cross platform mobile framework.  Even better, much of the results are populated programmatically, so the data should stay fairly relevant as time goes on.  Just be sure to keep in mind, other options exist!




So go ahead and check it out.

Cool Thing of the Week ,

31. December 2011



As the title says, the 9th part of our C++ game programming using SFML tutorial is now live. In this chapter we implement a caching solution for dealing with SFML game audio files. Along the way we learn a bit about C++ exception handling as well as touch on the subject of C++ templates. We also implement our second paddle and give it the most basic of artificial intelligence.




As the majority of this chapter is audio related, this image really isn’t all that impressive, but here is our current game in action.  We are very near to a complete game at this point and have covered most of the basics of C++!








You can access part 9 by clicking here.  If you haven’t read any of the tutorial yet, you can access the table of contents here.  Again, any and all feedback appreciated.

Programming ,

29. December 2011




This week’s cool thing isn’t new, not even close in fact.  It is actually 3 years old and has a fewimage thousand alternatives, also freely available.  So then, why the hell am I show casing it?  Frankly because a) it’s damned good work b) programmers are always looking for alternatives to programmer art and this is the perfect source!



Without further ado, let me present to you a Free Airplane Sprite Pack (download link). Years ago, 2008 in fact, Gamedev user Prinz Eugn released a selection of hand painted airplane sprites for free use in this thread.  I mention it again because the links have recently been re-established.  The work is very good, much better than a lot of freely available sprite art and includes a number of angles and frames to work with.  Below is one such sample sprite sheet:





So, if you are looking at creating a 2D game and are looking for some artwork to start out with, this is a very good place to start.  It is a lot easier to keep yourself motivated when your game looks good.


Again, the download link.



EDIT: As was rightly pointed out in the comments, there is a condition on using the sprites.  If you use them in a released product, contact and credit the author.  I think you will agree this is a very small thing to ask.  For more details on the author, you can see more of his work here or you can ( or at least, could ) email him at prinz_eugn [@]  Frankly, if you use his sprites even in a non-shipping project, I highly recommend you send him even just a quick "thanks man!" email.  In running this site I have received some of those and I can't begin to explain how nice they are to receive. 






Cool Thing of the Week

22. December 2011




I just received an email from Unity announcing the start of their 3.5 public beta.  Generally I wouldn’t get all that excited about a beta ( ok, that’s a lie, I love all things shiny and new! ), but this one is particularly big.






The biggest aspect of the new release is that much awaited deploy to Flash!  How much easier to deploy did Unity just become, considering the massive install base of Flash?  In addition to Flash, this release also adds the ability to deploy to NaCL ( Native Client ), Google Chrome’s new feature allowing native C++ in the browser.




On top of that, there is a new particle system “Shuriken” and perhaps even more exciting, a new built in pathfinding system, a much needed feature.  Re-written occlusion culling and built in LOD management, should both go a long way towards boosting performance, as will the now multi-threaded renderer.  Perhaps the best usability feature, is you can now multi select and edit items in the inspector! 





Full release notes available here.  I think it’s fairly safe to say this is the biggest new release in a very long time.  Good work Unity.  I don’t really have time for it, but I just can’t help myself at downloading this beta….  If you are like me and simply can’t resist the newest and greatest, go and download it now!  Amazingly enough, their servers seem to be coping quite well right now.


19. December 2011



In the process of scouring the net, either out of my own interest, as research for possible articles or as part of my own development process, I come across tons of absolute gems.  This new weekly column is going to be showcasing these various sites of interest, I hope you find them as interesting as I do!


I spend a lot of time on the web, but I can’t be everywhere!  So if you came across a really cool site, project, game or something else that you think will be of interest to a bunch of game developers, let us know and it may be featured as a future cool item.  This is all about raising exposure to items that might be of interest to your fellow developer!





Now, let me introduce the first ever Cool Thing of the Week! – List of free game development libraries




There are an absolute ton of free libraries out there covering all facets of game programming.  One of the biggest problems is a matter of finding them!  Often times, Google provesEbonyFortress completely useless and forum links you may come across have long since been abandoned, leading you to page after page of dead links.  Today’s entry really isn’t all that much of an exception, as it hasn’t been updated in close to a year.  That said, it is still perhaps the most timely and complete list of free game related libraries I have ever found.



This site breaks entries down into their general category ( 3D Graphics, 2D Graphics, Sound/Music, Networking, Video, Compression, Artificial Intelligence, Math/Physics, Scripting, etc. ), each entry contains a link to the library as well as the license it was released under ( such as GPL, MIT ).  There are a ton of entries, well over a hundred and from my own experiences I would say it is pretty comprehensive.  All the libraries I could think to look up were represented on this list, although in a few cases things weren’t where I initially expected them ( such as SFML being under general purpose instead of 2D graphics, although that location makes perfect sense as well. )  There are some entries in there I would probably prune due to their age ( such as Hexen 2 or Genesis ) and I would love to see an indicator to show if thee libraries are still under active development.  These small quibbles aside, the list is nearly perfect.



So, if you find yourself looking for a free library for just about any aspect of game development, this page is a very good place to start!  I can only hope the author continues to update it, to keep it the wonderful resource it currently is!

Stay tuned for next weeks CTotW! Again, we look forward to your recommendations so let us know!. We will be keeping an active archive here, which admittedly is a bit empty now. Comments of course are open on this post as well, let us know your opinion of the sites we choose! Got another similar recommendation, found it useful, didn't find it useful? Let us know in the comments below.

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