#8Weekgame – 5th Week Update


5_Week

Firstly, apologies for the delay in missing the last two weeks posts. The festive season (plus dayz) has eaten into my time. This hasn’t stopped out developers though, so here is the update.

Peter_Lamb

Peter Lamb

Peter’s Uprising is coming along nicely. Peter has managed to revise his camera class as well as his rendering engine. Also a new feature that Peter likes to call Action Triggers. It’s a way of defining class and methods in the level definition XML and when the player collides with a pre-defined area of space, it triggers the method to be called accordingly. This will allow Peter the ability to define methods for e.g. when a player collides, so something. Uprising sounds like it is coming on nicely. Last i looked I think Peter was working on sentry guns!

Martin_Elsworth

Martin Elsworth

Martin is an UK expat in New Zealand and has had his folks over for the Xmas break, so Martin hasnt had time to complete anything. I’m sure though a big push is coming……..

Charles_Humphrey

Charles Humphrey

Charles keeps on giving, Road Rumble is immense and Charles has another video to show us with full audio. I cannot wait to play this and I think Charles wants to convert it to Monogame and release it on the Windows 8 App Store.

Charlie_W

Age of Vampires has blossomed. Charlie was quiet for a while, then out of the blue, these images appear. Look at the egg shell background and the new enemies. Loving it. Remember….this is Charlies first game, hand drawn art, the works. Just think what he will be producing on game 2 if this is the quality now.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

***Transmission Start …..missing in duty
***Transmission end.

Andrew_C

Andrew Carmichael

Still no update from Andrew, but I’m sure he is beavering away ready for keyboard down on the 3rd Feb.

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#8Weekgame – 2nd Week Update


Countdown Timer

 

The 2nd week is now upon us and the contenders have been busy dev’s! Plus we now have the 8weekgame Counter ticking down as we speak (Thank you Shawson), check it out. I wanted us to use the official site more, but we seem ti be focusing our efforts on Facebook, which is fine for now. In the future I would love to build a proper 8weekgame site though.

 

Anyways, here is the update from our dev’s.

Peter_Lamb

Peter Lamb

Peter’s Uprising is coming along nicely. He has a couple of levels built and completed a feature whereby users receive medals for completing levels within certain parameters. Peter at the moment is trying to resolve a Collision Detection bug and had kindly included some Alpha videos for us to see.

 

Martin_Elsworth

Martin Elsworth

A slow week for Martin as he has his folks from the UK in to NZ where he has immigrated. Martin though has started on a basics and has decided his game will be an isometric viewpoint, possibly a Sim City style game or a racer.

 

Charles_Humphrey

Charles Humphrey

Road Rumble continues slowly for Charles as he doesn’t know where to take the game. Charles has addedthough fuel and damage limits, plus adding some animated explosions. In the last newsletter I included a clip of Road Rumble. For anyone who missed it, here it is.

 

 

Charlie_W

Charlie has his game up and running now for Age of Vampires, and working on collision detection for slopes for his game. From what I can gather this is Charlie’s first game, and I’m really impressed on how much he has accomplished. Charlie has also managed to get a new screen shot up for us, looking good.

ScreenShot_Charlie_1

No official update from Tash, but i do know she has a lot on at the moment for other personal projects, but still feels she will have time to complete. “Come on Tash, we know you can do it!……”

Andrew_C

Andrew Carmichael

A quick update from Andrew. His game is named BeastHunter.  He has sourced his Graphics and next he has a meeting to source some sound effects. The game itself, you can move the beast around the screen and approach some sheep, but they cannot actually eat them yet, yummy!

 

So as you can see our contestants have been busy on their games, some are moving more swiftly than others, but I’m certain once personal commitments relax/completed/calm down, we will see a raft of new content to tease you with and get you excited to play them February 2013!

 

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#8Weekgame – 1st Week Update


8weekgame-contestants

8weekgame (Competition-3) contestants

 

So apart from Project Personal I’m also organizing a Indie “Make a Game” competition 8WeekgameAs the name suggests, it is make a game in 8 weeks, using XNA oe Monogame for the PC or Javascript and HTML5 for browsers. Historically this competition has been a closed affair with only the voting open to the general public. This year though due to the interest, we have opened the entries and have gathered the following crew who are participating:

  1. Shaw Young
  2. Natasha Hampshire
  3. Martin Elsworth
  4. Charlie Walter
  5. Charles Humphrey
  6. Peter Lamb
  7. Andrew Carmichael

This time around (we are calling it Competition-3) we have prizes thanks to the kind and generous sponsorship of Pluralsightan invaluable video library for Developers and ZiiP GameStore, a leading UK Indie Online Store for PC and Console games.

So the Competition-3 kicked-off on the 3rd December and will run until 3rd February 2013, so how have our Developers been fairing? Lets take a look…..

Peter_Lamb

Peter Lamb

Peter is aiming to create a 3rd Person Shooter called Uprising using XNA for Windows.  So far Peter has the basic screen navigation done and has started building the collision and drawable entity engine. Peter also has some thoughts and ideas for his character models and the visual style for Uprising.
Martin_Elsworth

Martin Elsworth

Anyone remember Manic Martin from competition 1? No, well no-one does! Martin hasn’t confirmed what his game is though is the 2nd time round. One thing for certain though he is using XNA for Windows after experimenting with Javascript. So far Martin has the base classes written and animation working but not finished. Game State and Level Editor up next!

Charles_Humphrey

Charles Humphrey

An interesting concept from Charles called Road Rumble, which in Charles own words is “Top down drivy, shooty thingy” and again being written using XNA for Windows. Charles so has written the logic to read the the game world from a texture, has the cars and people moving about on the world with Physics thanks to the Farseer Physics Engine. Charles  also has a particle system base in and smoke trails. Tackling next will be the Game State Manger plus some video clips of the game to show us.

Charlie_W

Our 1st Javascript game, Charlie is attempting a RPG Platformer titled Age of Vampires. Charlie has even given a detailed description

In the Age of Vampires, no one is safe, enjoy this adventurous platform game, where your jump straight into a world full of mythical and supernatural creatures, where you play as your choice of race. Improving your skill set, improving your weapons, armor and completing quests.

Charlie has even started showing off some of his art he has drawn.

Charlie_W_Screenhot_1

So far no update from Tash, but we know she is using Javascript. Personally I think Shawson has locked her away until after the competition, too scared of Tash’s Javascript skillz.

 

Andrew_C

Andrew Carmichael

This cannot be a coincidence can it? No update from Andrew, and another Javascript game, plus another person who Shawson is close to on a regular basis…..could Andrew be held up in the same cupboard as Tash? Watch this space!

 

So congrats to the contestants so far. I will blog next time for week 2 plus hopefully screen grabs from their games. Exciting times.

Microsoft XNA

Microsoft XNA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Project Personal – End-Of-Week Update #1


This week I blogged  about setting myself the challenge of finishing a personal project,  Accountable, a MVC App for the wife. Well here’s my overall progress:

  1. Planned time out.
  2. Decided to ditch my MVC 3 version and start again in MVC4.
  3. Nearly finished my Generic Repository and Generic Unit of Work to help me manage the Controller Bloat which can creep in MVC Projects.
  4. Decided to use Code First to existing database which allows you to reverse engineer a database. I had already created a relational database usein SQL Server Management studio, so I wanted to use this.
  5. Decided I want to use code52 Metro.css for my presentation layer.

Next Weeks Plan:

  • Finish my Repository and Unit Of Work classes.
  • Start my Service Layer classes for validation.
  • Update Trello.
  • Start a separate blogging thread about how I accomplish things. I have two to do:
    1. Discuss my normalised database for Accountable and the theory behind it.
    2. Show you my Generic Repository and Unit Of Work classes:
      1. IRepoistory.cs
      2. IUnitOfWork.cs
      3. GenericRepository.cs
      4. GenericRepositoryCollection.cs
      5. GenericUnitOfWork.cs

This week has really been about the plumbing and making sure my MVC Code itself from the off, is as clean and robust as possible.

 

Watch this space next week for my other Tutorial based posts, plus next Sunday I will update you on my progress.

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Project Personal, Time to get Serious….


As the title stipulates, I’m getting Serious and I mean business. So what am I getting serious about? Well, personal coding projects which I never finish. I’m blessed (cursed) with an over-active imagination which can lead to an lack of discipline at home for my personal work, which is perplexing because with everything else I do, I’m very organised which sometimes borders on OCD‘s (Washing up piles ordered into separate piles springs to mind). Yes I lack basic common sense and I tend to mislay and loose things alot…..but hey that is an integral part of who I’am.  Even at work I’m organised… really organised and anal about time.

So my problem I think is that my imagination is wild at home. I’m unrestricted. I’m free. I’m wild. I need to tame the need to learn “other stuff” and become a Ninja at something, like MVC……..

Hello Project Personal….

I have limited spare time. I have a wife who likes to do stuff as a family and a gorgeous 2 year old who demands my attention (quite rightly).  Plus I use that spare time to run and keep fit, which is also an important feature of my life. But I still have this insatiable urge to learn and code and finish a goddam personal project. Balance is needed, so I have decided to plan my time properly – Hello Project Personal.

Constraints/Scope:

  1. Use Spare time only – which is:
    1. 7.30am – 8.30am Monday – Friday
    2. 19.30pm – 21.00pm Monday – Friday
    3. Some weekends
  2. Cannot let this project interfere with family life and running.
  3. Need to complete 1 ASP.NET MVC Project from now until December 2012…..not 2013
  4. Use reading time (Our bed time reading usually consumed by Fantasy/Sci-Fi Novels) reading upon new stuff.

Tonight I have chosen to finish an App i started 3 months ago for the wife. Easy Accounts app so she can track our outgoings on a daily/weekly/monthly basis. Easy peasy. I’ve started it and i would say its a quarter the way finished so this would be a good to get it out there and finished. Plus I have decided on some reading materials. So here it is, this is my learning stuff – No more and no less:

  • Accountable – Wife’s MVC app. The name may change.
  • DI for .NET – I will continue reading this book.
  • SQL – Enhance my very poor SQL skills.

The rest of the evening I have been planning using Google Calendar and setting up a Trello board:

Trello Board

Google Calendar

This is a little bare at the moment, but that’s my plan for this week – to plan,plan,plan. I will keep these updated and post specific milestones here or any code samples I feel are appropriate.

Then What?

In the new year (2013 if you didn’t know) I want to use the lessons learn’t and move onto a new project. I have a couple I want to do:

  • 8weekgame – I really want to build the site which will allow me and Shawson to continue hosting new competitions. I have lots of ideas for this so watch this space!
  • Accountable Windows 8 Metro App – If all goes to plan I should have the site live in January, with wifey using it. I would like to write an App for Windows 8 which utilises this system. In October I plan to upgrade to Windows 8 and purchase a Windows 8 Table (Hopefully a Surface) so having Accountable on there would be ace.

What is important though is to complete Accountable and complete it well, while keeping and balancing a family life. If i still have a wife in December I might have succeeded………

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#DDD10 – My Ramblings


This post is a little late as DDD10 was on the 1st September, but I have been extremely busy #cough# attending Gaga concerts and working late. (Yes I’m a big Gaga fan, what of it! :0) )

For anyone that doesn’t know, “DDD” simply means DeveloperDeveloperDeveloper and are community events which are (at the moment) free to the community and sponsored by various partners. Now just because they are free this definitely does not dilute the content on offer. Before I ramble on about the Sessions on offer, I would like to say what a marvellous job the organisers and speakers of the events do, to make these events so successful. You really do feel the passion from these guys and gals. Humbling to say the least.

This is my 2nd year attending the event (again held at Microsoft). This year i wanted to choose Sessions which are applicable to what im trying to achieve now, instead of what interests me from the title. So as I’m learning ASP.NET and MVC at home at the moment, i decided to focus the majority of my efforts around web technologies (where possible), so i chose the following Sessions:

 

 

Keeping JS Sane

ASP.NET MVC gone wrong

WebSockets and SignalR – Building the Real Time Interactive web

Performance and Scalability, the Stack Exchange way

Windows 8 with XAML and C#

Developing a production immune system

 

My Experience….

 

As you can see a good mix of Sessions.  Overall, I had an really good day, enjoying myself immensely and learning some stuff along the way. Big thanks to all everyone involved. So how did i find the sessions……

  1. Keeping JS Sane – The first session of the day was run by an excitable Rob Ashton. The first thing I learnt was “Add Ponies”, which I presume is a reference to Rob’s fascination of My Little Pony“?Lets set the scene – It is 9.30AM on a Saturday morning, I have been up since 4am and travelled from Durrington-By-Sea to Reading with my laptop bag and overnight bag. I’m tired and ratty but I was looking forward to the day ahead, until I’m bombarded with references to a kiddies toy. I sighed…. alot…. It is a shame, because Rob’s work on line is astounding and in any normal circumstances I’m sure he is a great guy to be around and a good laugh. The problem was the early morning and a ratty Gareth, who didn’t appreciated the finer side to Rob’s hyperactive start.I did learn a few things (considering I’m a JS nOOb that should of been a must), which i will investigate. Specifically using JSLint and Zombie client-side testing framework.  I would like to point out though, that I met a (drunk) Rob at the after party and he is a very nice and witty chap and consumed at last count, 3 pizza’s at Pizza Express. Fair play to the chap!
  2. ASP.NET Gone Wrong – So after the first session, i was hoping for more, and i got it. This session was presented by Stuart Leeks and Simon Ince from Microsoft. The presentation was around the 11 rules of MVC where people slip up. It was a well thought out and well presented session, with some solid code samples, and Stuart and Simon really worked well together. I took a lot from this presentation, and i will be thinking over the coming weeks on how i can use them to improve my coding using MVC. The rules are:
    1. Controller Rule 1 – NO Business Logic in your Action Methods!
    2. Controller Rule 2 – A good Action Method should only be approximately 15 lines of code.
    3. Controller Rule 3 – Action Filters are your friend! Do not use a Base Controller to code generic functionality applicable to a Controller (Like Logging).
    4. Controller Rule 4 – Don’t use JavaScriptResult in your C#. Leave your Javascript on your Views.
    5. View Rule 5 – Always use strongly-typed Views. Don’t use the dynamic ViewBag or ViewData. Use ViewModels instead for this.
    6. View Rule 6 – Minimise logic within Views.
    7. View Rule 7 – I have written down “No Javascript in Views”. I will need to confirm this one i think. Unless Stuart meant putting your Javascript code within a separate Javascript source file and not directly in a View.
    8. View Rule 8 – Don’t use Base Vie. Create one per View.  This is for maintainability purposes.
    9. Model Rule 9 – Have a separate ViewModel for each View.
    10. Model Rule 10 – Don’t use base ViewModels. If needed use Child Actions to perform generic functionality.
    11. Model Rule 11 – Dont add any behavioural logic to the ViewModels.
  3. Websocket’s and SignalR – This was another solid session by Chris Alcock, and another I’m glad I attended. It was a tough choice as Gary Short’s Raspberry Pi was on at the same time, and my inner-Nerd really wanted to attend. Chris though did an excellent job describing Websocket’s and its implementation within SignalR. Nice session with the following points of interest:
    1. Websockets Protocol is currently on Version 13.
    2. Browser support is: Firefox 11+, Chrome 16+ and IE10.
    3. SignalR doesn’t just use Websockets, so can fall back to older protocols for browsers which doesn’t support Websockets.
    4. Tip: Never create a SignalR folder in the root of your Visual Studio Project as this will break stuff.
    5. Tip: Breakpoints can Timeout in SignalR Projects when debugging.
  4. Performance and Scalability, The Stack Exchange Way – Another one of my favourite sessions. Marc Garvell  presented some really interesting ideas using technologies he help build at Stack Exchange to locate performance issues that could be costly to them. It was a insightful presentation talking about Profiling using Miniprofiler  which can be used in MVC projects. Its a single assembly which can be included, and you pepper it around your code-base to use its functionality. It can also be used in a production environment which is a nice feature. Another example was their Micro-ORM, Dapper, as a light-weight alternative to EF  and LINQ-2-SQL.
  5. Windows 8 using XAML and C# – I chose this session because i attended Kris Athi DDD9 presentation on WIndows Phone 7 Development and thoroughly enjoyed it. I wasn’t disappointed this time either. A good session on Windows 8 and its feature set like Notifications, Charms and Contracts etc, but nothing i didnt already know. Kris though knows what he is talking about and i was thoroughly impressed again on his talk. This is a good thing, because if he doing future talks, i will probably choose his session based on his skills alone and not the subject matter, so well done Kris!
  6. Developing a Production Immune System – Out of all the sessions before DDD10 started, it was this one which i was looking forward to the most. I think i had a perception that this was going to be talking about creating systems to detect and fix issues automatically (as per the session brief), but it wasn’t. David Walker did warn us at the beginning of the presentation that he had picked a wide topic, and that he did. I didnt get anything from the presentation I’m afraid, which is testament to the fact with minus no notes to do with this talk! Sorry!

 

The Winner is….

 

 

So after 6 sessions, my top presentation goes too… well its a tie between ASP.NET MVC Gone Wrong and Performance and Scalability, The Stack Exchange Way. Both were really good solid presentations which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Overall though the day itself was marvellous and i think well received by all present. I will end by saying again a massive thank you to the organisers, sponsors and of course the speakers. DDD10 is what it is not because its free, but because of the community and the guys who take the time to organize it. Thank you 🙂

P.S. Pizza Express was brilliant as well and I met some lovely chaps as well.

Stephen Roberts

Aaron Rhodes

Max Edwards

Simon P Stevens

Dan Kendall

My OpenSource Update


Logo for the Open Source Initiative Français :...

Logo for the Open Source Initiative Français : Logo Open Source (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hi Everyone,

Just a quick update on the following Open Source Projects i contribute to:

  1. MvcImage – Now has been released as Stable Release. I’ve removed the Bradaz.OpenSource Project reference and updated the project to use a reference to the assembly dll instead.
  2. Bradaz Utilities – I’ve released the Bradaz.OpenSource project on Codeplex. It includes the following.
    •  Stream class to help handle common I/O Stream activities like, RewindStream.
    •  Image class to help handle common Image activities like, ImageToBinary, FromStreamHeight, FromStreamWidth, FromByteHeight and FromByteWidth . There are some methods to help create Thumbnails.
    • MVC class to help handle common MVC activities like HTML Helpers to handle images and some Debug classes to interrogate ModelState.

I will be adding to this as i build more utilities.

I’ve recently joined Dev Circle and we hope to create more Open Source Projects together, one being an MVC Project using EF. Watch this space.

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