ProceduralPlanet for XNA 4.0

/* jwatte's ProceduralPlanet sample working on XNA 4.0!  Although I do see 
some small jaggy edges near the polls of the planet that was not a problem 
in the original.  It may have something to do with the fact that I changed the 
heightTexture from SurfaceFormat.Single to SurfaceFormat.Color because I 
was getting the following runtime error in XNA4 that did not occur on XNA3:  
"XNA Framework HiDef profile requires TextureFilter to be Point when using 
texture format Single."
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Two product ideas

I've been thinking about two separate products that I'd want to purchase if they existed, but they don't. For an enterprising entrepreneur, this might be the point where you MAKE one of those products, and see if there's a market. However, I'm already enterprising within IMVU, and as they say -- ideas are a dime a dozen, it's execution that counts.

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In a browser

I'm taking some time to learn how to actually use Unity3d.

Here's a screen shot of my initial set-up for "space invaders in a browser" (or probably more like "galaga" or "galaxians" or something). Btw: I'm sure those are all trademarked names of games, and they are only used for comparison in this article.

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Dealing with noise and off-center in joystick input

A joystick is a nice input device for certain kinds of games, like flight simulators, space games, etc. A mini-version of the joystick is the gamepad, ubiquitous in console games.

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MUD/Telnet terminal emulation

Now and then, someone will say "hey, I want to write a MUD (or some other text-based program), and I want the text to be in color -- how do I do this?"

The answer actually requires a little bit of understanding of pre-Internet computer arcana, so here we go:

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A texture of grass!

Here's a texture of a grassy field.
I made it by customizing a downloadable filter for the wonderful FilterForge application (which now comes in version 2!)
I hereby grant this texture into the public domain.
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Digging through older code

In my career, I've dug through a number of scene graph renderer internals. Almost always, they claim to be "hardware independent" by abstracting the hardware, and then they go ahead and expose functions like "bindSecondTexture()" and "setAlphaBlendFunc()" to objects, and have objects "render" themselves by calling those functions.

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Taking XNA 4.0 Beta for a spin: Terrain Editing

I'm taking the XNA 4.0 beta for a spin. I don't have a Windows 7 phone (who does? :-) so I can't get motivated to start porting things like kW Animation / X-port to it, but I thought I'd check out the new and improved render target and effects APIs. Here's a little screen shot:

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APB: The Good, The Bad and the Tech Support!

All Points Bulletin -- a great idea for a MMOFPS. Also, a nice vehicle for in-game customization of clothing and vehicles.

You can draw decals. You can sculpt avatars. You can paint cars. The game even has a built-in step/pattern sequencer!

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So you want to be a game developer?

Once in a while, I'll hear a question like "I'm tired of flipping burgers/school/my job as a sewer cleaner; how do I get into games programming?" Some people will say "don't do that -- game developers are treated like the scum of the earth, and careers are brutal and under-paid." I think that doesn't quite capture reality, though.

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