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Game Programming Languages - Which one to Learn?

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Today I ran across an interesting post about the best language to use for game development. The writer of the post already programs in Java and ActionScript for web game development and this post is about what language is best for desktop game development.

This topic is interesting to me as I used to do a lot of game programming in C++ (I had a few games published before I was 21, so I love the topic). Recently, I have gotten back into game development and will have a couple of web games (written in ActionScript) coming out in the next few months. Once I'm done with these games I'm planning on making a first person shooter style game (probably using C++, but I haven't fully decided), so this post is very useful to me.

Below is an excerpt from the post.

My research so far for a new language/platform so far is here below.

C++/Game Engines(Torgue e.t.c)

Pros

  • Potentially cross platform development
  • Multipurpose language (Can develop desktop applications with QT and other UI packages)
  • Mobile game development for Iphone.
  • Plenty of resources and open source game  engines
  • Faster in terms of speed than competitors e.g Java games

Cons

  • Steep learning curve with other game engines
  • Relatively complicated to start with
  • Game distribution channel problems incase of indie development

C# (XNA)

Pros

  • Relatively easy to learn
  • Windows and Xbox 360 ready deployment
  • possibly cross platform application development with mono (open source port of C#)
  • Web development with Microsoft ASP.NET (Not sure if I want to go in that direction)
  • Possible iPhone development using Unity3d (http://www.unity3dd.com) (not open source)

Cons

  • XNA is locked to the windows platform
  • Decent materials are still very scarce for the XNA platform

Python

Pros

  • Relatively easy to learn
  • Plenty of materials
  • Cross platform development
  • Usable for application development both for the web and desktop
  • Used as a scripting language in other gaming platform
  • General purpose scripting language.

Cons

  • Fewer game engines (Even lesser documented engines)
  • Could be slower than C++ or C#
  • Distribution channel for indie game development is lacking
  • Virtually no support mobile game development

You can read the full post here.

So, start learning the language of your choice and start making cool games! If you have made any cool games you can let us know about them in the comments or you can write your own post on this blog with your free Ajaxonomy account. If your post is interesting we just might promote it to the home page.

Hide MySpace Friends and Comments on Your Profile

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Most of us have a MySpace page (although many people have switched to Facebook for its cleaner design and less spam) to make friends and keep in touch with people you already know. Have you ever made friends with someone (or perhaps they are someone you know) that continues to put offensive comments on your profile or perhaps you just don't want others to see your friends when they view your profile.

Well, over at bibokz.com they have some code snippets to put in your profile that will hide comments and/or friends.

The below code will hide your friends.

<mce:style type=”text/css”><!– 
td.text td.text table table table, td.text td.text table br, td.text td.text table .orangetext15, td.text td.text .redlink, td.text td.text span.btext {display:none;}
td.text td.text table {background-color:transparent;}
td.text td.text table td, td.text td.text table {height:0;padding:0;border:0;}
td.text td.text table table td {padding:3;}
td.text td.text table table br {display:inline;}
–></mce:style><style type=”text/css” mce_bogus=”1″>
td.text td.text table table table, td.text td.text table br, td.text td.text table .orangetext15, td.text td.text .redlink, td.text td.text span.btext {display:none;}
td.text td.text table {background-color:transparent;}
td.text td.text table td, td.text td.text table {height:0;padding:0;border:0;}
td.text td.text table table td {padding:3;}
td.text td.text table table br {display:inline;}
</style><a href=”http://www.bibokz.com/2009/03/myspace-code-that-hide-friends-and-comments/” mce_href=”http://www.bibokz.com/2009/03/myspace-code-that-hide-friends-and-comments/” target=”_blank”>Myspace code that hide friends and comments</a>

To get the code to hide friends and comments or just comments click here.

Case Study: Informatec saves over 50% developing its telephony Call Account Management System with Visual WebGui

A new case study is published on the www.visualwebgui.com showcases section:
Informatec saves over 50% developing its telephony Call Account Management System with Visual WebGui

"Using form visual inheritance, we quickly developed about 50 end-user forms in 2-3 months with 3 developers while the original estimation using traditional ASP.NET was over 6 months. Visual WebGui is an amazing time and budget saver" Sergio Gomes.

The case showcases Brazilian company Informatec's Hotbill Call Account Management System that was developed and deployed using Visual WebGui in less than half the expected overall project duration.

Informatec looked to replace its existing application UI with a new end-user interface which would be more suitable for today's corporate world. Therefore, Informatec needed to create a new application which can provide all users with a quick access to application via a web browser from anywhere, with minimum client software and hardware requirements. It was also important that the new interface is user friendly and intuitive and includes at least the same functionality of the existing application, while performance especially with database access should be improved.

You can read the complete case study and view the demo application here.

Rich Internet Applications Platform

9 Year Old iPhone Game Developer

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Today, I ran across this post about a 9 year old iPhone Game Developer. I was 12 years old when I wrote my first game (in good old GW Basic, now those where the days), so this kid has me beat.

Below is an excerpt from the post.

Do you still recall what we do when we were still at his age? What hand held games we played? This boy does something most of his age is not capable of. To make his own game!!! When i was at his age i was still learning proper English.Shame on me..



Lim Din Wen , a Malaysian residing in Singapore is Apples Youngest IIGS programmer ever. Yep that’s right, a Programmer at a young age. How many kids do you know that makes games on their own? Perhaps teenagers?

Doodle Kids , his first game to ever hit the market is a simple drawing tool for kids.It lets you draw different shapes and sizes with different colors. He developed this originally for his younger sister to play with but never thought it would make bucks online.

You can read the full post here.

It is great to see such a young person interested in programming, I hope he keeps up the programming.

Gizmox is Introducing the new Visual WebGui control and theme designer

Gizmox CTO Guy Peled posted an announcement about the new Control and Theme Designer expected to be released in the near future in which he describes in details the needs for such tool and the solution that is now being developed. The new designer simplifies the way to create a Custom control and theme to a Visual WebGui application.

Read the Introducing the new Control Designer and Theme Designer... article
on Guy's renewed blog.

40 Useful JavaScript Libraries

Over at Smashing Magazine they have put together a very good list of 40 useful JavaScript libraries.

Below is an excerpt from the list.

3. Visualization And Image Effects

JS charts
JS charts supports bar charts, pie charts and simple line graphs. It offers nice usability by simply inserting the library onto Web pages and calling the data from an XML file or a JavaScript array. Charts are created as PNG files and the library is compatible with all the major browsers.

JS Charts

Canvas 3D JS Library (C3DL)
C3DL makes writing 3D applications easy. It provides a set of math, scene and 3D object classes to make the canvas more accessible to developers who want to develop 3D content in a browser but not have to deal in depth with the 3D math needed to make it work.

C3DL

Processing.js
This is a JavaScript port to the Processing language (a language for programming images, animation and interactions). The library is feature-rich for creating 2D outputs. It provides methods for shape/image drawing, color manipulation, fonts, objects, math functions and more.

Processing.js

Raphaël
An amazing library that simplifies working with vector graphics on the Web. Raphaël uses SVG and VML for creating graphics that can be modified and event handlers that can be attached to them. The library is feature-rich in functions, including rotation, animation, scaling and drawing curves, rectangles and circles.

Raphael: Vectors With JavaScript

ImageFX
This is a JavaScript library for adding effects to images, like blur, sharpen, emboss, lighten and more. ImageFX uses canvas element for creating the effects. It is compatible with all major browsers (there is a compatibility chart on the script’s page). The library is so easy to use. Simply inserting the .js file in the Web page and calling a one-line function is enough.

Imagefx

Pixastic
Pixastic uses the HTML5 canvas element, which enables accessing raw pixel data. The effects supported include desaturation and grayscale, inverting, flipping, brightness and contrast adjustment, hue and saturation, embossing, blurring and much more. Because the canvas element is relatively new, the library does not have equal support in all browsers yet.

Reflection.js
An unobtrusive JavaScript to auto-create reflection effects. The height and opacity of the reflection can be defined. Using it is as easy as adding a “class” to the images. It works in all major browsers and is smaller than 5 KB.

Reflection.js

You can read the full post here.

VSLive Wrap-up

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VSLive was an overall great conference and I thought I would just write a quick wrap-up of the conference highlights. Below are the top items that happened at the conference.

  • Internet Explorer 8 is coming out very soon with quite a few changes, so you had better check your site on it now.
  • Visual Studio 10 will have a very clean user interface and should be available around September.
  • Silverlight is getting better and may give Flash some competition after a few versions if the plug-in gets more support (it will probably come packaged with IE8 which will help its acceptance).
  • MVC.NET is a pretty good and easy to use Model View Controller platform that will be out of beta very soon.
  • Microsoft Surface is very cool, but needs to come way down in price (currently it costs $10,000). Microsoft hopes to get it down to $2,000 soon, but I think they need to get it around $1,000 to get wide usage of it.

That’s just a quick rundown of the highlights that I took from the conference. There where many sessions that I wasn’t able to go to as there where usually four other sessions going on when I was at a session, so others may have some different highlights, but these are my highlights. VSLive is a very good conference and if you are a developer that works with Microsoft technologies, I would recommend this conference (although, if you are looking for another fun Microsoft conference go to DevConnections [last year I went to the on in Las Vegas and it was a lot of fun]).

UK’s largest independent care provider builds a new web based monies system with Visual WebGui

"Using the WebGui approach meant that in spite of our small team we could quickly create an industry leading solution in house according to the requirements which resulted in significant cost savings." Ewan Walker, Craegmoor IT Team Leader

This new case study published on www.visualwebgui.com showcasing Craegmoor's in house conversion and enhancement of their desktop existing MS Access client monies application to a web based solution.

"Using the Visual WebGui technology to enhance the existing desktop MS Access based tool, provided the new solution with access through a standard Web browser which requires no plug-ins or other client-side software, virtually eliminating installation and IT support time. The improved application speed and response has resulted in an end user satisfaction and an overall improved process management which increased client and customer confidence as the full integration with legacy applications removed the need for reconciliation between systems and work in line with agreed business practice.

Visual WebGui Rich Internet Application Platform migration tool allowed the Craegmoor IT team to create an industry leading solution in house quicker and more cost-efficiently than with any other solution. The in house development not only saved the IT team development expenses but also means that maintenance should cost less and the response to any changes in legislation can be very quick."

The full Case Study is available here:
UK’s largest independent care provider builds its new web based system with Visual WebGui

Live fromVSLive - Day 3

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Today was another good day at VSLive. With all the Silverlight and WPF action going on I am on sensory overload. After all the cool-aid that I've been drinking while here I am almost starting to think that Silverlight is going to kill Flash, but then I look at Expressions Blend 2 (I know you can do a lot in Silverlight with out using Blend, but it needs to get better to allow for better design) and realize that it still has quite a ways to go before it can compete.

The other big session was about the upcoming release of Internet Explorer 8. IE 8 has quite a few improvements over IE 7 these include a better set of development tools and web slices (they are like mini RSS feeds from a portion of a site). One interesting feature is the accelerators feature which makes it possible to highlight some text and have it sent directly to a web site (like a maps site or Google). You can read more about accelerators here.

IE 8 also promises to be more standards compliant and this will affect about 20% of web sites (so, finally people will have to start writing better code), so you will want to check you site on IE 8 to make sure it looks good. The new version also has support for cross domain XML, although I prefer the implementation that will be coming out in Firefox. IE 8 will be released very soon (as soon as in the next few weeks). You can get Release Candidate 1 of IE 8 here and check out all of the new features.

All in all this has been a great conference and one that I wouldn't mind coming back to.

Visual WebGui 6.3.1 development environment versions Released

Gizmox released Visual WebGui RIA Platform/Framework developement environments' version 6.3.1.
This is a stabilization of 6.3 and another step towards a release version. The new version brings a significant enhancement in cross-browser support with full compatibility for Netscape and added support for popular browser like Chrome, Safari and Opera.

All 6.3.1 downloads can be found here.

This is the change log for version 6.3.1

Change log
VWG-4038 - Browser support added (alpha level) for Chrome, Safari and Opera.
Netscape is fully supported.
VWG-3820 - Users can now install any of the VWG installations only if they have Administrator permissions on that machine.

Bugs fix
VWG-4030 - TextBox with databinding was not updated when bound datasource changed from field with data to empty.
VWG-3976 - ContextMenu was not shown in FireFox.
VWG-2913 - When image was larger than PictureBox and set to Zoom it did not rendered properly.
VWG-3718 - ComboBox displayied the word null when item was blank.
VWG-3944 - Databound DataGridView bug when entering value of first column in newly added row fixed.
VWG-3963 - ListBox did not fire Click event in FF3.
VWG-3877 - Combobox dropdown is opend on enter with tab and not on leave.
VWG-3958 - ScheduleBox WorkEndHour property setter fixed.
VWG-3901 - TableAdapters and DataSets are shown on component tray (bottom of designer).
VWG-3830 - Dragging scroller above controls which contains editable IFrames in FF fixed.
VWG-3938 - Navigation keys did not function in text boxes under FF.
VWG-3816 - Focus transfer from bound TextBox to Button doesn't work on Tab key press fixed.
VWG-3898 - When opening a ComboBox dropDown the scrollBar covered the text on the left.
VWG-3825 - VWG Documentation registration fixed.
VWG-3887 - MouseEventArgs.X and Y in ListView MouseDown event are not set with true value.
VWG-3886 - ListView.Click events SelectedItem is set now to the right item.
VWG-3792 - UniqueIdExtender is availble in design time and the CUID is available in generated HTML code.
VWG-3890 - In 'Add Inherited Control' wizard, WebGui.Forms Assembly controls were missing.
VWG-3832 - Tab pages images design time bug fixed.
VWG-3818 - Label Text was cut and did not go to next line for labels with defined width.
VWG-3847,3841 - DataGridview - add new row to a Binded DataGridView throw an Exception.
VWG-3849 - TextBox.Text == string.Empty problem fixed.
VWG-3845 - Watermark textbox throw a JS error on focus in IE.
VWG-3885 -OpenFileDialog did not fire FileOK event in FF3.
VWG-3826 - Standalone .CHM fixed and used as a standalone help file.
VWG-3838 - SplitContainer did not retain it's SplitterDistance when form was saved.
VWG-1996 - Timer intervals bug after opening dialog window fixed

Visual WebGui AJAX Framework

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