September 7th, 2010. That’s the last time I posted anything to this site. I’ve got a few half baked articles sitting around that I started but never finished, but even those were from late last year. Ah, school, you can be such an effective distraction.
But, enough! Enough shenanigans! Enough delays! There shall be posts! I actually enjoy writing these articles a fair bit, and on the rare instance that someone actually finds my inane babbling useful it’s incredibly rewarding.
At any rate, I’ve got a couple new projects in the works.
One is a new particle system and editor for HGE, one of my favourite 2D game engines. It’s a great library (free and open-source to boot) that nicely wraps up DirectX in a friendly, intuitive package, and it’s got a lot of nice helper classes. However, I’ve found that the default particle system that ships with it isn’t sufficient for my purposes. It’s fairly restrictive in terms of what you can create with it, and it doesn’t readily support a zooming (or, heaven forbid, rotating) camera. To make things worse, the particle editor that ships with the engine is more of a demo of the GUI classes than it is an actual functional piece of software. I mean, hell, you can’t load or save particle systems, except to overwrite one of the 10 presets, which you must then manually copy, paste, and rename in your game’s files.
So, my (probably insane) plan is to write a more robust particle system. This isn’t too hard in and of itself, but I also want a user-friendly pipeline for particles, which means I need to write an editor. When I wrote my animation system a while back I had to create the tools for it as well, and that was easily the most time consuming part of the whole process… especially because I was insisting on writing it with managed C++ for access to the .NET framework. THAT was a headache.
At any rate, I figured that this would be a perfect excuse to go and learn C#. I’m already familiar with the way the .NET framework works, so I won’t need to spend time beating my head against that. Additionally C# is an easy jump for someone skilled with C++, and downright eerily familiar if you’ve done any Java programming at all. I figure I can pick it up fairly quickly, and thereby expand my skillset, make a wicked editor, and have awesome particle effects. I’ll try to blog my design decisions and progress as I go.
Nothing could possibly go wrong.
The other project I’m working on is a small multiplayer game based around competitive tower building, where two players compete for height while actively sabotaging the other’s efforts. It’s almost at a playable prototype stage, but there are some minor bugs that need to be ironed out before its ready for display. Like, for instance, being able to ACTUALLY CONNECT to another player. You know, minor bugs.
Beyond that, my time is mainly just spent playing games, finishing up my final term of university, and contemplating in abject terror the prospect of life after school, and the attendant concept of “real life”. Such is life!