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Visual Studio Woes June 30, 2011

Posted by Jesse in : Uncategorized , 4 comments

I’ve been struggling with something lately, and I find it annoying.

Back in Visual C++ 2008 (and earlier), there was a feature that let you set up the include and library files that would be used by every project on your computer. Using this requiree that everyone on your team go through and set these paths up once, and then they were good to go. The benefit here is that if I install an external library at “C:\ExternalLibrary\includes” and my team member installs it at “C:\Libraries\ExternalLibrary\includes” it works just fine.

In Visual C++ 2010, that feature was taken out, and now you need to set up your external paths in the project settings. Unfortunately, the project file is something you’d include in version control. That means that when I set the path to my path of “C:\ExternalLibrary\includes” it’s going to break compilation for my team member when he grabs the latest version from version control.

I’ve done a lot of searching, and I can’t figure out a good solution in Visual Studio for this problem.

The best I’ve come up with is to handle this outside of Visual Studio with environment variables. I’ll add an environment variable like ExternalLibraryPath, set to “C:\ExternalLibrary”. And then in the project settings, I’ll add “$(ExternalLibraryPath)\includes” to the additional include directories. It works, but it forces all of my team members to set up an environment variable outside of Visual Studio, which feels a little dirty.

Anyone have a better solution?

Demina documentation December 9, 2010

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It took me entirely too long to finally get around to it, but I’ve written some documentation for Demina.

Over on the Demina documentation page you can now find guides on how to rig a character, create a walk cycle, and import and render that character in an XNA 4.0 game.

If anybody finds this useful and creates something with Demina, I’d love to hear about it!

Platformers October 21, 2008

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I haven’t been doing much real game development work lately. I wrote a prototype for a puzzle game, but it was a failure. While I might revisit it someday, it’s certainly not my next game. Instead, I’ve started work on my next platformer. I don’t need to prototype that, because Being was the prototype.

But instead of working, I’ve been playing other platformers.

All of these games are free to download and play, and I highly recommend them.

Dream Build Play entries September 30, 2008

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Looking at the gallery page there’s over 280 submitted entries. That’s insane! I knew going in that I didn’t stand a chance to win anything, and that I was only entering because it’s fun to participate, but I’ve been really blown away the the quality of some of these games. (Note: The gallery page seems to have disappeared, so I removed the link to it, but the rest of this post should be fine.)

I present some of my favorites, in no particular order.

First up is Bloc from Metacreature Games. It looks similar to a dual-stick shooter, like Geometry Wars, but it plays quite a bit differently. I enjoy this game a great deal, but I have to admit that I’m completely terrible at it.

<a href="http://video.msn.com/video.aspx?vid=473f2fc5-4312-4524-ad28-68c3a754ed96" target="_new" title="Bloc">Video: Bloc</a>

Next up is Zeit2. This game marries a side-scrolling space shooter with a time rewind ability similar to what’s in Braid. Instead of undoing your mistakes, though, you use this to take out more enemies and getting special attacks by shooting at the previous version of yourself.

<a href="http://video.msn.com/video.aspx?vid=8ed38ddf-8aae-48f5-88bc-12a852af5856" target="_new" title="zeit² - dream build play 2008 entry ( dbp2008 )">Video: zeit² &#8211; dream build play 2008 entry ( dbp2008 )</a>

This next one is An Awesome Game Where You Shoot Stuff And It Blows Up And You Win The Game. (An Awesome Game for short.) It’s a Metroidvania game (a term used to describe games that combine elements from the 2D Metroid and Castlevania games), with tons of clear influence from other games. This trailer is insane. (The game is nuts too. In a good way.)

<a href="http://video.msn.com/video.aspx?vid=b4a0aa8b-bd5a-45ea-a398-00dcaeec4485" target="_new" title="An Awesome Game... XNA Dream Build Play entry">Video: An Awesome Game&#8230; XNA Dream Build Play entry</a>

And finally, here’s Battle Tennis. I don’t really need to say much about this one, the video speaks volumes.

<a href="http://video.msn.com/video.aspx?vid=7cacdd73-c857-4e70-812e-f9a2a76d829f" target="_new" title="Battle Tennis - Dream Build Play Trailer">Video: Battle Tennis &#8211; Dream Build Play Trailer</a>

New web host September 17, 2008

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I had a bit of downtime here for the last couple of days. I’ve been moving the site over to a new host, and things didn’t happen invisibly behind the scenes like I’d hoped they would. (My mistake, not the fault of the new host.) Whoops!

This is a much newer version of WordPress than I had on the old server. If things looks odd, that’s probably why, but I’m working on it.

Help the homeless ninjas! September 6, 2008

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A good buddy of mine is making a movie. Check it out:

If you dig the video, please take a second to digg it and help him get more exposure.

Animation Editor October 5, 2007

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So, I’m getting started on a 4E6 entry. My biggest gripe (and it’s minor) with XNA as it exists now is the difficulty in working with the standard .Net Framework to build tools. Apparently this will all be cleaned up with XNA Game Studio Express 2.0, but it’s somewhat annoying now.

However, while you can’t yet drop an XNA game window onto a .Net form, you can create one separately. So that’s what I’m doing.

That’s my dead simple animation editor. You draw boxes around each frame you want, and then set the frame’s origin. (In this case, I mean pivot point for rotation.) This information will be saved out into an xml layout that I’ve already built into the content pipeline. I’ll be building a simple sprite editor next, then follow that up with a level editor.

Four Elements October 4, 2007

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Another six months of silence. I’m an excellent blogger, huh?

Soon after writing that last entry (the mammoth one that I just modified to prevent it from taking up the whole front page), I got a job offer to return to a company I had worked for previously. I’d regretted leaving the job almost immediately after I did, so going back was pretty much a no brainer. So once again I work for Veil Interactive, which is a branch of the Koplar Communications tree. The reason this might be of interest to anyone reading this blog is that World Events Productions is another branch. (A sibling company, I suppose.) They’re the company responsible for Voltron, and they work upstairs from me. That’s pretty neat, in my opinion. I’m not sure what the blog policy is around here, though, so I probably won’t be writing about work very often.

So, once again my game development time got swept away while I was busy worrying about life.

And while I don’t have a ton of free time now, I do want to continue working toward someday finishing something. Anything would be nice. Lucky then, that new motivation has come along. GameDev’s 6th annual Four Elements contest.

I get to pick three of the four elements, explosions, crystals, ponies, and accountants, and create a game using them. My current thought is to build a game similar to Galaga, set underwater. After destroying (explosions) the enemy seahorses (ponies) you can collect the treasures (crystals) they leave behind to purchase upgrades. Something like Titan Attacks would be amazing, but I think I’ll target something that requires quite a bit less work. 🙂

Finally, I should mention that I wrote a few entries in to my dev-journal on GameDev, about the development I’ve done recently. I’ll probably mirror them here at some point.

Fun design work April 13, 2007

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Game design was never more fun for me than when I was in elementary school. My friends and I would constantly pass back and forth our level designs for Ghosts ‘N Goblins and Castlevania. (I’m sure our teachers found it quite annoying.) It’s hard for me to imagine the huge number of hours we spent on those drawings. My friend’s mom even helped us find mailing addresses for Capcom and Konami in our Nintendo game manuals, and we mailed our levels off to the companies. It seems most likely to me that they were just quickly discarded, but it’s nice to think that they might have been forwarded on to the original Japanese developers along with other fan mail. Those were fun times.

And I got a small taste of that feeling again a few days ago. I’ve been mulling ideas for what kind of game I could write to enter the MyDreamRPG contest and I think I’ve come up with something pretty neat. It’s a platformer with lots of rpg elements. And just like twenty years ago, I’ve gotten swept away doodling up maps, writing stories, and coming up with special powers for my imaginary heroes.

(more…)

Still alive February 5, 2007

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I apologize for the lack of development updates or new game reviews. My day job has gone into crazy crunch mode and I haven’t had much free time to write or play games lately. This project (at least the part of it that’s causing all the overtime) is scheduled to wrap up in three weeks, so expect things to go back to normal around then.