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22. February 2013


Monotouch and Monodroid ( long since renamed ) are two products that I have *almost* purchased half a hundred times.  If you’ve not heard of them, they are a native port of C# and most of the .NET libraries to iOS and Android.  They have been having a good run and are the underpinnings of a number of very successful projects, such as PlayStation Mobile and Unity3D.  I really like .NET too but… and there is always a BUT.


It was 400$ for the basic version.  That’s 400$ for each platform too by the way.  That’s a pretty hard pill to swallow, especially when most of the competing products are free.  Or frankly, you could pick up the full Unity package for less than that!  Monotouch always offered a trial version, but it was limited to the emulator/simulator and if you have ever used the Android emulator on Windows, you know how vile that is!


Well, great news! 


First off, there is now a free version available that lets you deploy to device!  That said, you can’t p/Invoke to 3rd party code.  I honestly am not sure how much of a limitation that is.  Generally that means you can’t run native code, but still can run .NET assemblies.  If that’s the limitation, it isn’t a huge one.  If it means no libraries though… well, that’s a bit more painful.  I wonder if you can run Monogame, libGDX or PlayN in the free version?  Will look into that and get back to you.


Second, there has been a price drop.  It’s now 299$ per platform, per year.  Somehow, that 100$ makes a huge difference for me.  I don’t really like annual subscriptions though, I really wish people would move back towards version releases…  All the same, cheaper is always nice.


Third, there’s a new IDE, Xamarin Studio.


A little too XCode for my tastes, but I’ll be sure to check it out.  MonoDevelop is nice enough, but never really felt… comfortable if that makes sense.


Fourth, and this one is a biggie to many people.  You can build for iOS from Visual Studio on Windows.  Don’t get too excited, you still need a networked Mac to run the native toolchain, but you can do 99% of your work, debugging and testing in Visual Studio.



Very cool developments!  You can read more about it here.




A few points of clarification.

First is regarding the 299/year.  It’s not as bad as it sounds, the tools continue to work after a year is up, just no more updates.  That is much more reasonable and developer friendly.

Second is more details on the free version:

Xamarin Starter allows developer to build and publish simple apps, which contain no more than 32k of compiled user code (IL), and which do not call out to native third party libraries (i.e., developers may not P/Invoke into C/C++/Objective-C/Java.

Still not sure where that would leave Monogame, as it isn’t a native library, but it does no doubt make pInvoke calls to OpenGL.

General News Programming

20. February 2013


So, Sony are holding an announcement for the PlayStation 4 tonight in New York.


The following details have emerged so far, I will update as I have more.


PlayStation 4 is based on “supercharged” X86 architecture.

Will have a PC GPU

Will have 8GB of RAM

The controller is the one to the right that was leaked earlier in the week, the center portion is a touchpad.

Instant suspend/resume of in game um… games.

Remote playing of other peoples games… ( odd one this one ).  You can remotely take control of a friends game to show them how to do something.

Autodownload and backload downloads.  Goal is to have game downloaded before you purchase it… sounds like a massive bandwidth waste, especially for those of us on capped internet services.

“Share” button added to the controller, for making videos of gameplay and presumably, to facilitate the remote helping described above.

Developer Note: Spectating tools being made available to developers to enable spectating and interaction between friends, example given was “allowing friends to share a potion”

PS VITA becoming much more important. Remote play built in to PS4, allowing you to remotely play on your PS Vita.  Goal is to make EVERY title playable on the PS Vita.  Playstation Vita just got a huge boost in capability!

“every game in the PlayStation store will be playable instantly, free.” – not really sure what this means in execution.

Play while downloading support available to developers.

Integration with phones, mobile devices and Vita.  Details super vague.


New Killzone game shown, redefines meh for me.  Movements made me really want to hurl and watching NPCs move was… underwhelming. Sharing at the end was a nice touch though.


DriveClub next.  Looks like a new Test Drive Unlimited… online team based racer.  I LOVED TDU, so I’m stoked.


New Infamous game, PS exclusive.


PlayStation score indie darlings Jonathon Blow’s next game The Witness, at least initially.   Nice to see the initial indie focus.


Move controller back, Media Molecule demonstrated using Move controller as a 3D sculpting tool, like zBrush in 3D.  Can we all say gimmick?  People have been trying to hawk 3D sculpting tools for decades in the CAD world, they don’t work.


Capcom demo new engine and new IP. Square rehash existing engine demonstration.


Development environment “excellent, powerful and easy to use” – Square CTO


New Final Fantasy title… I think… um… 


LOL, Bungie title on PS4… Destiny.  Hey Microsoft, you screwed up.  Then again, is anyone shocked, that’s kinda what Microsoft Games does now.


19. February 2013

I have been working on a long running, but slow in development, series of posts on authoring a level creation tool using HTML5.  It covers how to actually create an application using the popular MVC design pattern, implemented using the YUI3 libraries, as well as the EaselJS graphic library.


If you are interested in HTML5 application development, or in a ( simple for now ) level editor, hopefully this series is of interest to you.  



Table of contents link.



Current Contents:


Expect this to be updated over time as I continue.


13. February 2013


They say a picture says a thousand words…




I am bringing no laptop nor frankly sobriety, so things will be pretty quite here for a couple days.  It’s only a short vacation though, I’ll be back early next week. I will have my phone and a spotty wifi internet connection, so I may reply to some emails… I just can’t promise any of those replies will make any sense!




See you all next week!

Totally Off Topic

8. February 2013


Since Nehe, which is horrifically out of date, there simply haven’t been that many good OpenGL tutorial series.  I mentioned a couple months ago about a series of OpenGL examples, there’s this free e-book and not a ton more.


Fortunately there is another author doing a series of OpenGL tutorials in the works.


The tutorial is across 5 parts as of now:

Modern OpenGL 01 – Getting Started in Xcode, Visual C++, and Linux


Modern OpenGL 02 – Textures


Modern OpenGL 03 – Matrices, Depth Buffering, Animation


Modern OpenGL 04 – Cameras, Vectors &Input


Modern OpenGL 05 – Model Assets &Instances


They are an easy read, go into a fair bit of detail and are a good learning source.  There are a few caveats though. 


First the tutorials depend on a few external libraries, GLEW, GLFW and GLM.  This is one thing I really liked about the examples I linked earlier, they didn’t depend on any third party libraries, but I can understand why the author did was he did.


Second, a lot of the OpenGL functionality is abstracted away into a custom library tdogl.  Again, I can understand why he did this, but it does make learning a bit trickier ( while making the code easier to understand and much cleaner… trade offs ).  As you are going through the tutorials, be sure to check out the source code as you go.  Fortunately there is a github repository with the code for each episode readily available.


So, if you are looking to learn OpenGL, you have another excellent source.  Just be prepared to do a bit of digging through the provided source to fully understand what it going on.


AppGameKit Studio

See More Tutorials on!

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