Just a shoutout, I'm not dead, just trying to figure out things in my life!  I'm working on a blogpost concerning a multi-threaded load balancing server, am re-organizing and working more on my Warp engine, though with starting anew I may rename the engine and lead it in a slightly different direction.

Concerning what I'm trying to figure out: I had lost hope in going to gradschool given that I would be in debt for a ridiculous amount of money with my combined debt from undergrad and the cost of the program as well as the cost of living.  However, financial aid may save me, maybe.  I was planning on applying to various game development companies, but I'm not going to say as to not hurt my chances. ;P  Even with the possibility of financial aid saving me, I've grown a bit fond of the idea of getting a job now, as there's going to be a lot more competition in 2 years from all the new game development programs that have popped up.  So, maybe I will just try getting a job in the industry, as it'll be harder down the line.

I just bought Masters of Doom, and I must say it's quite good thus far.  The book concerns the two Johns, John Carmack, and John Romero, the founders of Id Software, the creator's of Doom, and pioneers of the First Person Shooter (otherwise known as the FPS, for those of you who don't know).  So, important guys.  I've found it interesting and comforting to know that both of them at my age hadn't quite settled down yet, so I still have some time. ;p  Just graduating, and the condition of the job market, I can't help but feel a little anxious.  I would also like to point out that this book is so far quite inspiring, and as the fire of my passion has been a bit lacking in fuel, this is re-ignited it a bit.  So I must say I'm glad I picked up this book! :)

I'm possibly starting a new project, though thinking about the undertakings I'm planning on scaling it back a bit.  Essentially I'm looking into creating a Farscape fan-game, mainly for educational purposes, at this point anyway.  The Farscape game that was made, was a let down to fans, it seems.  As such, I wanted to take a stap at it, modeling the game after Mass Effect and the Star Wars role-playing games, possibly bringing the game into an MMO form.  I've been doing networking lately, and would love to setup the possibility of players running dedicated servers and having a Farscape universe that they could sculpt and explore.  Of course, the reason I want to scale back, is that I realize there is a lot of content creation that would be needed; and right now the art assets needed for the game, are too great in magnitude to make this feasible with the small number of people that would originally be involved.  If anything, I'm going to start by making a tech-demo of sorts and using it to attract people who want to devote time and effort to the project.  You can find a thread concerning project ideas here: Farscape video game? We're trying to gather ideas, so please feel free to post there or on this page! :D


Anyway, I'm working on designing an interface for my networking solution, then reprogramming the backend so a server can support more users, and use the appropriate Windows functions to calculate how many connections can be supported on a port.  So, I'll be messing around with lots of C++ networking, and doing research and coming up with ideas for how to deal with security issues that may arise.  Look forward to more details!

So I've noticed there are a lack of Direct X tutorials or posts, specifically with 10. So I'll make some posts, specifically starting with creating and drawing sprites in DirectX 10, either using the built in ID3DX10Sprite system, or creating your own quads.

So I've got a basic render system setup with windows classes so you can use them in a small game engine. I'll be making posts diving into more details behind the PlasmaTech engine I'm helping work on for Foundations of 2D graphics, as long as it's okay with everyone else. This is the first school project I've worked on where we're paying attention to memory management, and I'm setting up memory allocators for the different game systems.

I've realized the importance of content management, though only finally writing a robust one that abstracts as much of the work as possible. Another thing I like that I'm doing in this, is error checking and handling, which is going to make the process of making this game easier. If the game fails to startup, you will get an error message indicating what went wrong. Though I'm still fleshing out how we want to handle displaying errors from subsystems. Also going to look into using a persistent log system, I have a class I can use to write formatted rtf files, so we can use colors and other formatting to make reading the logs easier.  So, the thing I like about this new engine, is that when things break, it will fail with grace.

I also did research into dumping an error report upon an unknown crash or exception; what I've got is a mini-dump file being written, and used with the .pdb debug information we can look at a stack trace and see what the error was. One step further from this, I want to setup a system where upon this game crash, it'll upload the mini-dump file to your game server for further analysis so the game devs can make a patch for their game. I got this idea from hearing about how Steam works, and that upon crash Steam automatically sends a bug report to the game devs, and thought this was a beautiful system. I don't like the idea of using try and catch blocks over the whole game, in-fact, that is a HORRIBLE idea; but, there is a windows function that basically acts like one global catch handler; I'll get into detail with that when I make the block post on writing a mini-dump file. Since we're working on PC's, we have to worry about maintaining support across a wide array of hardware platforms and variety of different operating systems and system setups.

I also bought a number of potentially great books, though one of them is arguable, as it's just a book for class and I had trouble finding something considerably better. So maybe there isn't a great book on animation algorithms and systems, but I think the one I got should get me by. So here's the list of books I just recently bought:

Computer Animation, Second Edition: Algorithms and Techniques: Amazon link.

Real-Time Collision Detection: Amazon link.

Game Physics, Second Edition: Amazon link.

Physically Based Rendering, Second Edition: From Theory To Implementation: Amazon link.

I'll be sure to give some of these books a good read over my Christmas break, and if you have any other recommendations, feel free to let us know in the comments section.