The great outdoors await

Published 8/23/2009 by createdbyx in Example | News | Programming | XNA

Well I'm off to go pick mushrooms. I should be back around mid october or so depending on how the season goes. I have turned comment moderation on while i'm away to try and help keep the riff raff from spamming comments while i'm away.

I have added a few Ohsai updates and provided a second download this time with source code. Keep in mind that it is still in the prototyping stages but there is an example project with a few demos that will give you an idea of where the project is heading.

Oh and I'd just like to express just how much I hate Blizzard. "Just when I thought I was out. They ... pull ... me ... back ... in!" Sigh, I just spent a few hours today reading about the new World of Warcraft expansion called Cataclysm, and all of the various changes that will be taking place. I don't know what it is about that game but I compare it to being on crack. I hate even the thought of spending endless hours playing the game just to aquire items and gear etc, but at the same time I have this strong desire to play it.

The problem comes in when I start loosing the ability to manage my time properly between fighting the urge to play the game, and just trying to stay focused on other priorities. I have basically lost a year of work with my programming projects already because of two  previous six month subscriptions. And when I think about it in those terms I think about how much work I could have gotten done on those projects. No other game has even come close the the level of adddiction I have towards this game.

I am not sure what I am trying to say at this point other then before I heard about the new expansion I had 99% garenteed myself that i was never going to renew my subscription to that game. I have always felt a sense of deep loss that I am missing out when I don't have a subscription. Now after reading about the expansion I have almost convinced myself that I am 90% garenteed to renew my subscription in november. It's a vicous cycle.

Also just as a side note, I gotta mention just how blind I am to spotting spelling mistakes on my website. For the longest time there have been glaring and obvious spelling errors and for some reason I just can't seem to spot them. O.o

And OMG Comment spam! I don't even advertise this site and I am getting hit by spammers. I think I may need to leave comment moderation on when I come back. :(


First off this last two weeks have been a nightmare with trying to get my site up and running again. Not that it was broken per say but that godaddy my hosting provider does not employ very educated people. I have been having a constant back and fourth with them trying to find out why I am getting compiler errors with the extensions I wrote for blogengine, as godaddy claim to support asp.net 3.5 and my code was using C# 3.0 code syntax and Linq.

Needless to say I had written one final email completley documenting all that had happened and why I think it was not working and pointing out to godaddy support just how wrong and how much they really don't understand what the .net framework is what it is for and how it works on it's own, as well as how asp.net fits into it.

It became very clear to me early on that godaddy support does not employ actual programmers. Programmers that write actual code and who actually have written code for the software that godaddy even offers in there Web Hosting connection etc. Had they had these programmers on call or working as support techs the problem would have been isolated and resolved within hours. Lets just say that the email I wrote and was going to send gave an untimatum at the end of it that said they had 72hrs to figure it out or I would be canceling my account and finding another hosting provider.

Yeah, it had gotten that bad. :(

I was patient up until those final few days when I pretty much snapped over what I considered an easy fix. But to be fair I was in part to blame for my own lact of knoledge, and godaddy was equally to blame for not spotting the problem right away, being as simple as it was to fix. It was a bad situation all around and I am just glad it is over with and I just want to put the whole thing behind me.

Anyhoo! Lets git down to bizzniss. Awwww yeah!  There are two new blog engine extensions availible in the projects page. SilverlightExt, and cbxChangeLogger.

The SilverlightExt extension for BlogEngine allows you to embed [ SILVERLIGHT xap:filenamewithoutext width:640px height:480px ] tags in your pages and posts so that you don't have to deal with writing html <object markup. All you have to do is upload your silverlight *.xap file into the ClientBin folder in the root of your site and type "[ SILVERLIGHT xap:filenamewithoutext width:640px height:480px ]" without spaces after [ and before ].

The cbxChangeLogger is a extension for Blogengine that will track changes that are made on a blogengine site. It will track if you created, deleted, or updated posts and pages. When you want to clear the change log and embed the data in a page or post all you have to do is type [ CHANGELOG ]  ( without a space after [ and before ] ) and the tag will be replaced with the changes that were recored since the last time you specified the [ CHANGELOG ] tag in a page or post.


Also I have had a interest in kodu ever since I heard about it and thought it was awesome. After writing some preliminary AI code in a silverlight game I am working on I realized that I am going to need a better AI framework that I can build on top of rather then having to hobble together code for each project that needs some AI in it. So I started a new project called Ohsai. Ohsai is my attempt to create a AI framework that I can use across various platforms where .net is availible, Here is a screenshot of the class diagram for Ohsai as it stands right now View Screenshot

As you can see it is modled using similar concepts that kodu employs and with a little help from wikipedia to give me a starting place on how my interfaces and types should be structured. I already have a very simple prototype and test app up and running in XNA that uses GamePad <condition> -> <action> to move a actior around the screen. Even with this preliminary code I can see how much easier it is going to be having my own AI framework that I can build on top of. Also it may even allow me to use xml files to declare cirtian behaviors so I can use the XNA content pipeline to Content.Load<> from disk. Woot!

But that's pretty much sums up the last two weeks. I'll be heading up north to pick mushrooms around the 27 or 29 of august and probably won't be back until mid october or so. But I'll try to make another post before I leave.


Sigh it can be frustrating sometimes working on my various programming projects. My main solution I work with now consists of  94 projects. View Screenshot

Some of the projects could be considered "Done" but I have yet to upload them to this website and some are still only partially written or working. I have been wanting to create a series of video tutorials that walk through each project but I keep finding myself putting it off, partly because making videos can be very time consuming, and I tend to have too high of standards when making them, "Dam, I should not have said that", "I keep rambling on about off topic stuff", "Forgot to mention this or that feature", "Stupid lispy voice :P" etc etc

It will probably be a while (possible never) before I get around to making any of the videos.

Besides all that I have been doing more work with using xna and winforms and have created a simplfied version of the control then what microsoft has on the xna creators club web site. The reason I created a simplified version of the control is because I needed the control to integrate better with my level editing window. I have provided a preview image below of the control in use in my level editor. The source code can be downloaded here. SimplifiedWinformControl.zip (1.58 mb) (XNA 3.1)

Also something to keep in mind that VS.NET 2008 seems to have issues when the name of the control is the same as the namespace that it resides in. In the example project you may encounter a compile error in the TextForm.Designer.cs file on this line of code "this.xnaControl = new SimplifiedWinformControl.SimplifiedWinformControl();" just delete the namespace off the begining so that it reads like this "this.xnaControl = new SimplifiedWinformControl();". To avoid the error be sure to name your control something other then the namespace that it belongs to. Something else to remember is that if the control is resized larger then the main game windows backbuffer then the control will only display what it can.

public class SimplifiedWinformControl : Control
{
    private Game game;
    public Texture2D Texture { get; set; }
    private SpriteBatch spriteBatch;

    public Game Game
    {
        get { return this.game; }
        set
        {
            // hold onto the game reference
            this.game = value;
            if (this.game == null) return;
            // create the sprite batch
            this.spriteBatch = new SpriteBatch(this.game.GraphicsDevice);
        }
    }

    /// <summary>
    /// Ignores WinForms paint-background messages. The default implementation
    /// would clear the control to the current background color, causing
    /// flickering when our OnPaint implementation then immediately draws some
    /// other color over the top using the XNA Framework GraphicsDevice.
    /// </summary>
    protected override void OnPaintBackground(PaintEventArgs pevent)
    {
        // do nothing here. If this is not overridden the control may have drawing issues O.o 
    }

    protected override void OnPaint(PaintEventArgs e)
    {
        if (this.game == null)
        {
            // draw normal winform way
            e.Graphics.FillRectangle(System.Drawing.SystemBrushes.Control, this.ClientRectangle);
            e.Graphics.DrawString(this.GetType().FullName, this.Font,
                                    System.Drawing.SystemBrushes.ControlText, 0, 0);
        }
        else
        {
            // draw xna way 
            var gr = this.game.GraphicsDevice;
            var oldVP = gr.Viewport;

            // set the graphics viewport to the size the the controls client area
            var newVP = new Viewport()
            {
                Width = this.ClientSize.Width,
                Height = this.ClientSize.Height,
                MinDepth = 0,
                MaxDepth = 1
            };

            gr.Viewport = newVP;

            // clear then draw something onto the control
            gr.Clear(Color.CornflowerBlue);
            this.spriteBatch.Begin();
            this.spriteBatch.Draw(this.Texture, Vector2.Zero, Color.White);
            this.spriteBatch.End();

            // display it onto the control
            try
            {
                var rect = new Rectangle(0, 0, this.ClientSize.Width, this.ClientSize.Height);
                gr.Present(rect, null, this.Handle);
            }
            catch (Exception)
            {
                // Present might throw if the device became lost while we were
                // drawing so we just swallow the exception.
            }

            // restore previous viewport
            gr.Viewport = oldVP;
        }
    }

    protected override void OnCreateControl()
    {
        // check if we are not in design mode and if not hook into the application idle event
        if (!this.DesignMode)
        {
            // just invalidate the control so that it will be redrawn
            // you could also put in some logic to restrict how often the control get invalidated
            Application.Idle += ((sender, e) => { this.Invalidate(); });
        }
        base.OnCreateControl();
    }

    // not really nessary in this simple example to have a dispose here but i put it in anyway
    protected override void Dispose(bool disposing)
    {
        // perform some cleanup
        if (this.spriteBatch != null) this.spriteBatch.Dispose();
        this.spriteBatch = null;
        // we dont need to dispose of the texture here but I did anyway it will be
        // disposed by the content manager. :P But if you have texture(s) you created 
        // your self then this is where they would get disposed
        if (this.Texture != null) this.Texture.Dispose();
        this.Texture = null;
        base.Dispose(disposing);
    }
}

XNA WinForms Reduex!

Published 6/15/2009 by createdbyx in News | Programming | XNA

First start a new xna window game project. Then add a new "MDI Parent Form" to the project. After that change the code in the Program.cs file to look like this ...

static void Main(string[] args)
{
    Application.EnableVisualStyles();
    Application.SetCompatibleTextRenderingDefault(false);

    using (Game1 game = new Game1())
    {
        MDIParent1 mainMDIForm = new MDIParent1();
        var gameWindow = Control.FromHandle(game.Window.Handle) as Form;
        if (gameWindow != null)
        {
            gameWindow.MdiParent = mainMDIForm;
        }

        mainMDIForm.Show();
        gameWindow.Show();
        game.Run();
    }
}

Now press F5 to run the application. Voila! You can now proceed to add game editing or other win form controls to the MDI window for what ever you need. But some initial testing raised a few minor issues.

The first one is that once in a while the viewport does not get updated if the game window is resized. There is also a issue where keyboard keys don't work properly if the game window is the active window. To over come this just make sure that after you are finished interacting with the game window to just deactivate the window again. Then you will be able to press Alt-F to bring up the file menu for example.


Winforms in XNA

Published 6/1/2009 by createdbyx in Example | News | Programming | XNA

I have created a example project on the XNA page that demonstrates how to add winform controls to your game window in just a few lines of code. I created this project because I recently downloaded the winforms example project found at the XNA creators club website and found it to be rather overkill for what it does.  View Screenshot

Download the example project here. AddingWinformControlsTest.zip (38.58 kb) (XNA 3.0)


A few more updates

Published 5/16/2009 by createdbyx in Gallery | News | XNA

I have uploaded a few more images to the gallery. I took some pictures of Rocks, Green Algie, and Grey Sand, the pictures can be found under the "Game Art and 3D Modeling Textures" of the gallery.

There is also some pictures of the Old Skeena bridge that connects Terrace to Thornhill. They can be found under the "Places" section of the gallery called "Old Bridge Graphiti May 15, 2009" and "Terrace Mountian and Old Bridge May 15, 2009"

The gallery is running a little slow at the moment and I'm not sure why. It may still be generating thumbnails of the images. There is about 3 or more gigs of images in the gallery and about 3000+ images. If the slow download time persists then I am going to have to take another look at the code. Also you'll notivce that I didn't link directly to the new images in the gallery and that is a feature I have yet to code into the gallery.

I also added a few more project pages.

  • SLPathfindaz utility library - The SLPathfindaz library is intended to provide a easy to use A* pathfinding implementation for xna.
  • XNAVisies debug visualizers - The XNAVisies project is intended to provide debug visualizers for various xna types.
  • xCollectiveXNA library has been updated and Release 2 is now availible. The events are now similar to the standard .NET (sender, eventargs) style. Also the code is now fully commented with xml comments.

There is still alot of work to do getting the site finished, a few theme tweaks here and there, some xna pages are not fiished being written, and a few other things I am going to try to get done in the next couple of weeks.


New example added

Published 11/20/2008 by createdbyx in Example | News | Programming | XNA
I have added a new xna 3.0 example project that demonstrates stenciling. You can download the example here. View Screenshot

Shwing!

Published 2/23/2008 by createdbyx in News | Programming | XNA
The xna team just announced on Feb 20, 2008 that they will be finally making it possible to publish your home brew games on xbox live.

But wait that's not all. They are also bringing the xna platform to the ZUNE!!!  Un-freaking believable!!! Two thumbs up! WAY UP!

If you have been fallowing my blog and read my last post it stated that I would have Release 2 of my xGameConsoleXNA library up and posted within a week. Well a week has come and gone. 2 weeks, ... 3 Weeks, 4 Weeks, ... What can I say. When a person sleeps when there tired and not when social doctrine declares when it is time, the days seem to blend into one another and time passes. 4 whole weeks. Hmm, seems like only yesterday that I made my last post.

Anyway it has been a busy few weeks. The house has been sold and we need to be out by mid July, so we have been packing and getting ready to move. And I am destined to be home less for the next few months until the mushroom season starts up again in late august. Which means my computer use and internet connection will be severely limited for some time.

I have also started working on a new project with my brother these last two weeks. I don't want to say too much about it because it's not finished but suffice it to say I have written some apps that have crawled over 1.2 million page links in just a few days, and out of those 625000+ are blog related. We are thinking about creating a service and doing a search engine designed for a select group of people, that will offer much more detailed info that a standard Google search can. My brother seems to think we could make up to $20,000 a month each if we can get it working and it really starts to take off. It would also be the first project I have worked on whose end result is intended to put some money in my pocket. For someone who can live comfortably on less then $4800 a year, $20,000 a month seems like millions. But until that happens it is a wait and see game.

And lest you think I have forgotten about the xGameConsoleXNA library, check out the xGameConsoleXNA page for the link to the Release 2 download as well as some how to articles. Better late then never!

I have gone back and finally done some more work on my xGameConsoleXNA library for the XNA platform. The next release will be Release 2 and will mainly contain updates to how the user interacts with the console.

  1. It can now do things like scroll through the text that was written out to the console
  2. Pressing the left and right arrow keys on the keyboard you can set the insertion point for typing text
  3. If you type a really long line of text in the entry line that is too long to fit within the console the text will now gracefully scroll left or right depending on where the insertion point is
  4. More comments in the code as well as xml 'summery' comments for the methods
  5. Made a number of optomizations so some parts of the code are more simplified
  6. There are some breaking changes such as some properties have been renamed to better more understandable names. I also moved a few methods and properties out of the console class and into the ConsoleComponent class because they really were more suited being in the ConsoleComponent class.
  7. I also added a WordWrap property to the ConsoleComponent class so that text that gets written to the console will now wrap to the next line if it does not fit.
I should hopefully upload Release 2 within the next week. I would also like to mention that I noticed some of the xGameConsoleXNA code may not be 360 compatible, even though I cannot test it on the 360 because I do not have a creators club subscription. For example the LoadAlias command was using the IO.File.ReadAllLines method and the 360 xna api's do not contain the ReadAllLines method. I will try to keep an eye out for more code like that. I modified the code so that it no longer uses the ReadAllLines method but I will not be able to ensure that xGameConsoleXNA will seamlessly run on the 360 until I get a creators club subscription.

It is my intention to eventually get the xGameConsoleXNA working on the 360 but I promised myself that I would only purchase a creators club subscription after I had completed or had come close to completed a working game. So yeah, being more of a tool developer it might take me a while to get a subscription. :(

Created by: X

Just another personal website in this crazy online world

Name of author Dean Lunz (aka Created by: X)
Computer programming nerd, and tech geek.
About Me -- Resume