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17. January 2014

 

OK, right up front I’ll admit I was a bit asleep at the wheel on this bit of news, as it actually happened last week…

 

Anyways, Havok have released the 2D Toolkit for ProjectAnarchy.  Project Anarchy is a bundling of Havok game development tools for making mobile games, all completely free ( as in beer ).  They also somewhat recently announced indie friendly pricing for supporting desktop targets.  The core of Project Anarchy is the Vision engine, as well as several dedicated libraries Havok makes for Physics, AI, Animation, etc.  Many of these libraries are routinely used in AAA games.  If alt textyou are interested in learning more, I created a tutorial series shortly after PA was released.

 

The 2D toolkit aims at making 2D game development easier as the tools are primarily geared towards 3D development.  In Havok’s own words, 2D Toolkit is:

 

Although you can make 2D games with Project Anarchy out-of-the-box, it takes some custom code to get spritesheets working and doing basic 2D collision through LUA. This sample 2D toolset gives you a couple new entities and utilities to create 2D games entirely through LUA without having to write any custom C++ code. There is still a lot of work left before this can be considered polished, but this is the first step and we wanted to give you, the community, a first look at this so that you can provide us with feedback early on.

Features

  • Adds two new entities: Sprite and 2D Camera
  • Automated sprite generation using Shoebox
  • Runtime playback of spritesheets
  • Collision detection and LUA callbacks

 

The toolkit also ships with 3 samples, Shooter, Impossible and Physics.  This is very much a work in progress, with not all features yet available across all supported platforms.  The toolkit is open source and hosted on Github.

News


30. June 2013

 

Some time back I purchased Codea for my iPad.  Codea is a Lua based game programming kit for creating iOS games on the iPad and frankly it’s really kinda cool.  That said, actually typing code on the device is a bit of a pain, so I looked coming up with an alternative.  It worked, but it certainly wasn’t ideal.  Today I was on the AppStore and I noticed Codea had an update and added something called Air Code, which allows you to connect to Codea using your web browser.

 

Using Air Code is really easy, in Codea on your iPad, open the side menu and select AirCode:

1

 

Then it will tell you the address to open in your browser.  Your computer and iPad need to be on the same network for this to work:

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Open that address in your desktop browser and a list of your available projects will be displayed:

image

 

You then select the code file to edit and the editor appears:

image

 

As you code in the browser, it updates live on the iPad:

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That is very very very cool.

Right now the editing functionality in the browser is quite limited.  It’s basically a text editor only now.  Hopefully in the future they add intellisense support and possibly debugging.  This is a very nice start though, and easily gets around the lack of keyboard support.  Nicely, this process doesn’t require a Mac either, any web browser should work fine.  Coding on one screen and seeing the changes reflect live on the other is actually a very intuitive way to code.

I did run into a small bug, in that focusing away from Codea to check email, when returning I could no longer connect via browser.  Shutting down and restarted Codea fixed the problem.

So, if you have an iPad and another PC and want to create games, Codea is a very cool product and worth checking out!

Programming News


15. May 2013

 

So, it is now available for download, although the version is 0.1, so expect some warts!  Oh, the “it” in question is Google’s new IDE for Android development based on IntelliJ by Jetbrains, a developer I am a huge fan of.

 

Now I am going to take a tour of the IDE.

 

Welcome screen:

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New Project Screen

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New Project Part 2

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New Project Part 3

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New Project Part 4

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Code Editing Window / Code tips

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Error Dialog

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Debug device chooser

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Debug Window

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GUI Editing

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Screen size options:

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Theme selector

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Multiple Device preview

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I experienced no crashes, everything was very intuitive and quick, other than initial loading.  I’m initially quite impressed.  IF you are wondering, this IDE *ONLY* works for Android projects.

News


15. May 2013

Today during the Google IO event there was an announcement that both shocked and pleased me.  They are releasing a new IDE for Android development.  Best of all, it's based on IntelliJ, easily my favourite Java IDE.

 

AndroidStudio

(Photo's are from Verge )

 

One of the coolest new features is the addition of a tool allowing you to see your code running on a multitude of different devices at the same time:

Verge super wide

 

I can say easily one of the things I hate most about Android development is Eclipse, which is pretty much the defacto tool for Android. You could always work in IntelliJ or Netbeans, but it was never quite as seamless and always seem to have a gap or two in functionality.  Any news that might potentially keep me away from the hateful IDE that is Eclipse is great news to me!

 

You can read more about the announcement over at The Verge.  As of yet, no downloads are available on Googles websites.

 

 

Edit: Download link now available.  Also, so hands on screenshots available here.

News


18. March 2013

Right off the hop, this post has absolutely nothing to do with game development, but does have something to do with creating this site.

 

As a bit of a throwback to the 1990s, I on occasion make use of animated gifs on this site.  Here is an example post making use of animated gifs. When you have several simple clips required to illustrate a point, and a series of images would take up too much space, animated gifs can be your best friend.  Of course you could host the clip on Youtube, but first off, embedding dozens of YouTube videos in a single page can cause some browsers to go on strike.  Additionally, who wants to watch a 3 second video?  One of the biggest downsides to making animated gifs like this is that frankly, it's time consuming.  I generally created a series of screenshots using IrFan and compose them together into an animated gif using The GIMP.  I describe my process here under the poorly titled How to creating animated gifs.  Generally it would take 20 minutes or more to create a single image.

 

I tried a number of simpler processes that made use of video; some local applications, others websites you upload your video to and they make it into a GIF.  The universal problem, they give you very little control and end up generating either horrible quality or MASSIVE images.

 

Now that I am authoring these posts more from Mac, and felt the need to make another animated gif but no desire to go through the entire process again, I decided to check if there is an easier way, and there is...

 

Gif Brewery

 

It's one of those little 5$ utilities that will literally save me hours.  When I first fired it up I was a bit confused, as there is no app, nor an icon.  You need to go up to the menu and select File->Open.  At this point in time you are left asking… open what?  The answer of course is a video.  This is a non-inuitive start to what ended up being a very intuitive program.  

 

So I needed a video to work with.  I simply loaded up QuickTime Player and did a few seconds of full screen capture.  I export that video then open it in Gif Brewery.  Then I am finally presented with a UI and it's smooth sailing from here.  Here is the UI in action:

Gif Brewery in action

 

From this point on, its dirt simple… you can crop or scale your selection ( I scaled mine down ), set the start and end points, apply filters and finally export your gif.  When you create the gif you get a preview, with resulting file size, then you can play around a bit to get the file to a size you like.  The app itself was virtually instant, much much much faster than the gimp was working with individual frames.

 

Here is the above gif, weighing in about about half a MB.  In most of my captures I would use a much lower frame rate and bit rate, thus achieving an even smaller size.

Demo

 

That same GIF through other services would have weighed in at a several MB.

 

So, if you are on MacOS and looking to create an animated GIF ( yes… there are uses! ), this is certainly 5$ well spent.

 

If you are the author, first off, great job.  Second, I would recommend you add a window when the app first loads, as well as the ability to skip sections in the videos timeline.  Both are nitpicking though for a 5$ application.


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