Funding a game project

Every once in a while, a new game developer will ask himself The Question. And, if he realizes that he doesn't have the answer himself, he will often go online and ask The Question of some web forum or mailing list.

What is The Question, you may ask yourself?

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It seems the screen grab for XNA Device Center is broken

The XNA Game Studio has a component called the XNA Device Center. You can configure your X-boxes in this tool, if you have more than one, and switch which one is active. You can also right-click on a connected X-box and choose "Screen Capture."
However, I think something broke in the latest update (3.1). What do you think?
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Engrish is funny

One of the Google Adsense advertisers that showed up on this site have a sign-up page with the following beautiful ad copy on it. You'd think that if you had the money to develop a computer game, and host servers, and pay for advertising, you could find someone to proof-read your Engrish for another $50...

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HouseMaker -- simple cutout creation from texture images

Recently, I had the need to turn a hundred different texture images into "profiles." A profile, in this case, was a 2D shape that follows the outline of some feature in the texture (like a house facade), texture mapped with that feature. Rather than build them all in a modeler such as 3ds Max, and separately exporting them, I came up with a simple tool for loading a bunch of images, building those profiles straight on a copy of the image using clicking, saving all the profiles I've built (for later re-use or editing), and exporting to a bunch of .DAE (collada) or .X files in one fell swoop.

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Microsoft Connect issues

Microsoft has the Connect site, which works as a public feature request and bug report database for most of Microsofts products. At times, I do file bug reports on that site. The bugs have a "vote" feature, where the Microsoft groups apparently may pay more attention to a bug with higher votes.

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Static reflection in C++ using minimal repetition

Don't Repeat Yourself.

That's a great rule for writing code. If you find that you repeat yourself in code, then you're probably doing something wrong. Writing code should be about expressing what's unique about something, not filling out standard forms of data. (Copy-and-Paste coding is the worst version of this)

Unfortunately, when it comes to providing serialization and editing information about classes in C++, the language falls down. In C#, and other .NET languages, and even in Java, reflection is rich and allows you to build nice, automated editors and serializers using minimal mark-up. Also, if you need mark-up, that mark-up can be done in-place where members are defined, typically using custom attributes.

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The onward march of complexity (LRBni)

It used to be, a microprocessor was simple. It had instructions like "Load the accumulator from the address stored in the X register (LDA(X))." Or "Add register B to register A (ADD B, A)." And that was pretty much it. Time marched on, and we got more esoteric instructions, like "load effective address of scaled register indirect with offset" (LEA eax, [ebx*8+ecx]).

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Procedural Planet models generated in XNA

Show how to generate a random planet based on midplace displacement noise and
a simple height map color ramp. Note that you typically want to add some cloud
cover for the best effect.

Press Space / A to generate a new planet.
Press Backspace / B to view the height map.
Press Y / Y to view the color map.

Released into the public domain by Jon Watte. You may freely use this in your

jwatte's picture

Mouse Picking in XNA Framework using Viewport.Unproject

When developing a PC program for the XNA framework, you usually find that you need to do mouse picking. This means taking the mouse coordinates, and turning them into a ray that you can then raycast in your world to see what, if anything, is being hit when the user clicks the mouse.

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The Direct3D/XNA vertex transform pipeline -- how to go between model coordinates and screen coordinates, and back again!

1) WORLD matrix. This takes vertices from object-local space (0,0,0 in the middle of the object) to world space (position and orientation applied based on 0,0,0 at your "world origin" position). This is a convenient space to do normal mapped lighting and environmental reflection in.

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