Saturday, February 12, 2011

New Blog

I'm going to migrate my content to my new blog, eventually.

Check it out for the latest content, including a Tutorial introducing the SunBurn Editor.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Fierce Game Hunting - Published

After a few disagreements between myself and the Back Button, we have resolved any differences and have since had Fierce Game Hunting successfully approved. It’s not currently showing up in the Marketplace search yet (Apparently it can take up to 48 hours after it has been published to become visible) but nether the less, for those of you looking to try it out you can reach it through the following deep link:

When I tried this through the desktop version of Zune, with the phone connected, I wasn’t able to download the application to my phone but if you email the link to yourself and open it up on the phone, the Marketplace page on the phone works and you can download it and play the trial straight away.

I would like to take a moment to thank those of you who provided help, support, advise, guidance, encouragement, influence etc. along the way.
A big shout out to the local Microsoft team, MVP’s & honourable mentions including:

Dave Glover – Australia’s heart of Windows Phone 7 & Development

Nick Randolph – Great local MVP with excellent knowledge of Windows Phone

Glenn Wilson – Mr AU XNA himself, brilliant level of enthusiasm and encouragement

Chris Walsh – Not sure why he’s not an MVP yet :-)

Christian Longstaff – Great local community support and development

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Live Writer, Blogging and CodePlex

I've started maintaining the documentation wiki for NAudio, rather than posting tutorials on my blog (I may do some more so if there are requests please email me) but I think centralizing the documentation that is available for NAudio is a really worthwhile cause.

Through this process I found out that you can use Live Writer to maintain the documentation on CodePlex (cool) and then found this plugin to allow posting from Visual Studio - (even cooler).

So, if you are maintaining a blog with code, or documentation on CodePlex (or both) then you should check out the combination.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Recording XNA & WP7 Gameplay Videos For Free

I've recently recorded a few game play video's for Fierce Game Hunting and have found a couple of cool programs that make the process remarkably easy and painless, which is really important if you want to be focusing on the game development rather than video editing. Some see the publishing of progress important for the marketing, others will only publish a trailer once the development is complete - up to you really about how much advanced publicity you're looking to achieve however these techniques are universally applicable.

Lets have a look at the initial video capture; for a game that is using DirectX hardware rendering, you will want a program which is going to be able to capture all of the frames in their original glory; it's worth noting that not all screen capture programs handle these sorts of scenarios. One program that handles this really well is TAKSI: Video capture/Screen capture for 3D graphics - Free & Open Source. Taksi takes the hard work out of working out what and how to record and as you probably have a version that runs on your PC (Unless your using Avatars or some such) then you will be good to go. It's a really easy program to use but doesn't appear to be that widely known about. The quality is really good and if your happy with the screen capture, the file can be uploaded directly to YouTube - I've done this with the Fierce Game Hunting - Game Play Preview 2 Video - I wanted to get it up quickly and this is certainly the shortest path to uploading a result.

Microsoft Expression Encoder 4
If you want to edit your game play preview (crop & remove some blemishes) & perhaps you want to encode it to WMV or Silverlight Experiences for a better file size before uploading - grab a copy of Microsoft Expression Encoder 4 for Free - that's right, this great product - it's actually free. There is a Pro Version as well and you can see from the Feature Comparison Page there are a few restrictions on the Free version (not the trail for the Pro, the free version :-) such as the video's being limited to 10 minutes and that the full range of input formats isn't available but if your using it with Taksi, you have a perfect match for input formats, quality and editing. Pro's certainly worth considering if your looking to edit much longer video's or you need additional export/import formats, but for those Indie game developers out there, it's probably not a necessarily requirement.

Hope this helps some more XNA Indies get the word out about what they have been working on, these programs have helped me heaps and they haven't got the level of recognition they deserve.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

WP7 XNA Fierce Game Hunting - Game Play Preview 2

Fierce Game Hunting is an XNA Game for Windows Phone 7. This Game Play Preview shows the opening scene of the game, with Stags being hunted before any firing begins.

Preview 2 brings together the elements highlighted individually - Panoramic scrollable backgrounds, the Stag animations and the blending of the environment to demonstrate the opening scene. No weapons previews included in this clip.


Sunday, August 08, 2010

Preview of Windows Phone 7 Development

After releasing Operation Old Spice and learning a lot of valuable lessons about producing and releasing an Indie game, my foray in to Windows Phone 7 development has commenced. The title I've been working on is going to be called Fierce Game Hunting. I spent one of my days this weekend animating a Stag; a tiring experience as I did it all by hand with the help of Paint.Net - I did have a look at some animation software before I started but couldn't really find something that quite meet my needs and had a low learning curve (if your an actual artist and can draw what ever it is that your going to animate, Pencil looks like a promising tool, even through it hasn't had a new release in years.)

Note to self: Need to review the possibility to use Expression Blend to build the Animation, after segmenting the image in to a number of layers and then work outta way to save out each of the frames after they have been positioned in to individual frame images.

I posted a really alpha preview of the animation on You Tube and it got picked up by really quickly. A few things I didn't account for were the distortion of the video after being loaded to You Tube and that the Deer Animation was part of my test for reusing different frames to change the actual animation on the fly - which resulted in a deer looking like it was on steroids while eating - which isn't a very good representation of what will be going on :-)

To give a better feel of what I expect this to look like in terms of quality and approach see the following static images, which are taken in the correct aspect resolution for the game - One of the Deer in the woods, another with the scope on and the final image demonstrates the Panorama images being used for the background, which can be scrolled to find and hunt the prey.

It's still quite early in the development cycle but keen for any (constructive) feedback. I have received some comments about the way it looks and it certainly has got me thinking about how unforgiving using actual photos actually is - if there is something out of place in a photo it's really noticeable, if it's out of place in a drawing then your eye is more forgiving - I was planning on going for a more humours  animation style using the photographic imagery but it seems that this approach has been interpreted as being more serious - which is a great insight in and of itself, meaning that some more unrealistic and fun game play elements should be mixed in, to let the game take it's self a little less seriously.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

The feeling of a shifting breeze

For a long time I have been an avid Open Source developer; I'm not proclaiming that this wont continue but I do feel a breeze of change blowing across my thoughts.

That is, what is the general users expectation from a developer, or group of developers for the software that they have developed? In addition to this, how does the average user factor the amount of money they have paid for the product in to how they feel about the product, does it temper expectations?

I read this post from Nick tonight and feel this has reflected some of the questions I have recently been considering, albeit a slightly different amount, Little rather than Free:

Perhaps this is the same thing or at the very least, similar, that I have found slightly off putting about Open Source development today.