Shows you how much I pay attention..

It wasn’t until I saw a comment from someone on one of my earlier posts that I realized my second book was now listed on the major book sites (although it won’t be ‘available’ until this summer)..

You can read more about it here.

Now i’ll try to answer some of the questions raised by that reply..  First, this book is *not* the one I discuss during the .NET Show episode (that’s coming after this one)..  Second, Space Tag also isn’t included (if you want a 3D space game, David Weller’s book has a 3D version of space war)..  The three games discussed in this text are a simple puzzle game, a 3d ‘tank’ game, and a racing game.  The last game is written entirely using HLSL, and avoids the fixed function pipeline..


Post show ramblings after the Game Developers Conference…

All in all i think it was a really good show this year.  I met with lots of interesting people doing lots of interesting projects.  I also heard ramblings that the show next year might be in San Francisco rather than San Jose.  It was awfully crowded, so maybe a change of venue might be in order, but really i don’t know if it’s going to happen or not..

The expo itself was decently sized this year with lots of good booths.  Renderware had a large booth once again, but it seemed a little more enclosed this time, so i didn’t actually go in there.  Nokia’s N-Gage booth (which was huge and popular last year) was smaller and much less popular this year..  Part of that probably has to do with it’s sub-prime location this year compared to last year, part, but not all..  ATI and nVidia’s booths both had interesting presentations happening throughout the day, and the AMD64 booth was quite popular as well.  The Intel booth was huge as always, and they once again had the ‘contests’ where 6 people would play an online game for 5 minutes, and the winner would get the game (this year the game was ‘Call of Duty’)..  I played once and came in third place (i sucked), but did get a stuffed intel bunny-man doll.

My talk seemed to be received very well too.  I covered most of the basic areas for managed code in gaming, showed some demos, failed in showing other demos (doh!), and got some good questions..  One demo in particular really stood out for the crowd and i was asked many questions on that one after the talk and throughout the show.  It’ll be released in an upcoming DirectX SDK Update..

I loved the award shows Wednesday night, we announced XNA, and i think it was an all around great show.

Game Developers Conference…

So next week is the Game Developers Conference which is always an exciting time around here.  The ‘main’ conference runs next week from Wednesday through Friday, although there are tutorials and sessions on Monday and Tuesday as well, just no show floor, etc.

I will be giving a talk on managed code in gaming during one of these sessions Tuesday morning, which should be pretty exciting.. It’s always great to get the chance to actually talk with the customers and find out issues they may be having and answering questions.  Everytime i’ve given a talk i’d say the Q&A session at the end is always the best time.  People always come up with some great questions, and most times it gives a good insight into the types of things they’re trying to accomplish, and how they expect things to work.

As for the rest of the show, i’m pretty excited about that as well.  There are always lots of interesting things to see on the expo floor, there are literally hundreds of different sessions to see, booths for everything, and an all around great vibe.  I’m looking forward to a great show.

It’s a revolution…

Ok, I hate to admit it, but the fact is I totally love the Dance Dance Revolution Ultramix game for the XBox..  It’s addicitive, upbeat, and best of all you get a workout!  How many ‘video games’ can you play and work up a sweat after an hour or so?  I remember the first time i tried it, “Castles In The Sky” is the first song that is selected, and i went about flailing around like an idiot for 45 seconds or so before I was rudely reminded that I sucked.  I thought to myself, “Holy crap, this is horrible, who would subject themselves to this?!?!”

Here we are now a couple months later and well, I guess i’d be the one subjecting myself to that.  I discovered i could hear the beats, follow the rythm and all of a sudden i could beat every song in the game.  I moved off of the ‘Light’ setting (that’s the version of ‘easy’) and upgraded to Standard, and once i beat all the songs there, i moved up to heavy..  I still haven’t beaten all of the songs in that mode yet, but i’ve beaten enough.. Then, just when i bask in the glory of complete domination, bam!  new songs to download from Xbox live.   Unfortunately the songs you get from XBL are pretty easy, but it’s still nice to get some new songs, even if i did have to pay $10 for them..

The only complaint i have is you can’t import your audio tracks from the hard disk and make up your own beats.  You can make up your own beats for the songs that ship with the game, so they have the ability.  Probably a revenue thing since they can charge for the new songs.  I won’t complain too much.

Now i just need to watch out for my son.  He’s almost to the point where he can beat me on the easy settings (and can sometimes)..  Kids with never-ending energy!

Books, Books, and more Books..

For me personally, it’s great to see a number of books coming out using Managed DirectX (even if I am the one writing some of them).  Like Dave already mentioned in his blog he has a book on .NET gaming coming out around the same time as this years GDC (Game Developers Conference).  It has a lot of useful information regarding using C# in gaming situations, which isn’t something my first book covered (outside of the simplistic ‘Dodger’ game).  It takes you from basic 2D ‘sprite’ based games on through a simple implementation of the Space Wars game in 3D.

In all honesty, i hope the book does well, even if he went with a different publisher than I did.. =)  Aside from the fact that i think the ManagedDX technology is ‘top notch’, i believe his book leads directly to the start of my second book, which also covers ‘beginning’ game programming, but it’s strictly 3D game programing, and is probably more of an ‘intermediate’ book.  I don’t have any firm dates on the release of that one right now (editing, etc), but it looks like early summer..

So, what do i recommend if you’re a C# developer looking to become the next big game developer, but you’ve never written a line of game code in your life?  Well, first, pick up my KickStart MDX book, then pick up Dave’s book on beginning game programming.  Once you’ve mastered the skills in those, move on to my second book which has a wide breadth of coverage for fully 3D games (including a puzzle game, a tank wars game, and a kart racers game).  If you’re still instatiable for more knowledge after that, well then you’ll have to wait until late this year when my last book (for now) comes out. =)

It’s an exciting time to be a game developer.  Especially if you’re ready to start writing managed code..

Test Driven Development…

Recently during the ‘first official meeting of the Managed DirectX fanclub‘ (as Dave called it), Craig mentioned something he’s been doing recently called ‘Test Driven Development

It *sounds* like a lot more upfront work, but the process intrigues me.  Anything that can help eliminate bugs, and regressions has got to be a good thing.  I’m curious what other people’s experience in this field is.  Craig even mentioned than he found he was even more productive, which was at least somewhat surprising given the extra work involved.

Of course, it makes me wonder.. If I have to write the test before i implement the method and i’m designing a library, i can’t even make the test compile until i’ve defined the method.  It’s like a catch-22! =)

The joy of house buying..

We bought our first house almost five years ago, so i’ve had the pleasure of completely ignoring the work required to make that purchase for so long, i had essentially forgot about it.

Don’t get me wrong, buying a new house is an exciting time, but boy can it be a difficult time as well. We’re actually having a new house built and you wouldn’t believe the sheer number of options and features we have to pick. It really is somewhat overwhelming, stressful, fun, and exciting all at the same time. I don’t actually remember if we had to sign this much paperwork before, but it feels like we didn’t.

Then, after all that, we’ll still have to wait six months before we can move in. However, we will be able to go ‘visit’ the house on weekends during construction. I’m looking forward to standing in the middle of a partially built house, taking pictures in a few months. Given the reputation for rain here, it’s weird to consider the house will be rained in during construction.

On top of that, it isn’t even considering the fun we’ll be having when we get to sell our current house.

Matrix: Revolutions..

So we saw Matrix Revolutions yesterday, and if i had to sum it up in one word, it would probably be ‘eh’.

I don’t want to give away any plot lines or anything, but the ending really dissapointed me. It was somewhat slow starting, but the middle was quite entertaining. The battle when the machines first break through the dock to zion was awesome.

I also don’t think they did a great job explaining about Agent Smith. Why were the machines afraid of him? For the ‘final’ movie, i was hoping for it to answer a lot more questions than it did.

Don’t get me wrong, i enjoyed the movie thoroughly, but it wasn’t my favorite of the matrix trilogy, and i was quite disappointed in the ending.