Archive for the 'Code' Category

Feb 10 2011

Artify

Published by under Code,Games

ArtifyKodama Studios first app for the iPhone and iPad has been released!  Artify is now available in the App Store!  It transforms your photos and pictures into works of art.  Have fun playing with it and show us what you create!

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Jan 11 2011

Kodama Studios

Published by under Code,Games

KodamaI am very happy to announce that Sarah Stocker and I have started a new company, Kodama Studios!  We have worked together for years and are really excited to be moving into new areas.  It is has also given me a chance to get back to programming again, which is something that I have really missed.

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Oct 27 2010

Mozilla Labs – Game On 2010

Published by under Code,Games

Mozilla Game On 2010For any Web game developers out there, you might want to look into Mozilla Labs – Game on 2010.  I am one of the judges for it this year, and it looks like there will be some very cool results!

The combination of HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS3 is going to make the Web a much more dynamic and exciting place, but is also going to require much more programming skill.

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Oct 27 2010

Programming Languages

Published by under Code,Games

Objective-CMost of my time lately has spent coding up apps in different languages than I normally use. I’m very comfortable with C/C++, SPU ASM, Lua, etc. Basically, all of the “hardcore” languages which are used to make big console games.

But recently, I’ve found myself spending most of my time in other languages.  Programming languages which, until recently, wouldn’t have been used by game programmers.  Things like JavascriptObjective-CPHP.

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Oct 22 2010

Mac Command Line Tricks

Published by under Code

Mac OS XI’ve slowly been moving over to a new MacBook Pro and trying to learn a new system. One of the things I’ve never given up from my Unix days is the command line. Even on my Windows PC, I have tcsh installed, which is my normal way of navigating through my files.

One of the “must have” hacks for my terminal window is getting the current path into the title and customizing the prompt.  With a bit of Google-fu, I was able to figure out the command sequences to do this.  Just add the code below to your

~/.bash_profile

To set the title of a Mac Terminal Window:

function settitle() { echo -ne "\033]0;$@\007"; }
function cd() { command cd "$@"; settitle `pwd -P`; }
settitle `pwd`

To set the command prompt so that it displays the current directory name with the history number of the command:

PS1="(\!):\W>"

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Oct 19 2010

The Games Industry

Published by under Code,Games

cracked eggThe games industry is going through major upheavals these days.  Historically, developers could make a console game for a few million dollars and expect to get their money back on royalties (and publishers didn’t have to worry too much about the risk involved).

These days, everything has changed.  The console market has moved to only big blockbuster titles.  Indie and B-level games don’t sell and publishers are running away from them.  Social/web/Facebook games are all the rage these days, but they depend on millions of eyeballs where a few users spend money to support all of the free players.  iPhone and Android games are trying to figure out how to navigate a market where anyone in their garage can publish a game, even if most of them are garbage.  And the Wii market has imploded for 3rd party publishers (IOW, everyone except for Nintendo).

So does this mean that it is all doom and gloom for independent developers?  I think that it is the exact opposite.  Developers who can be quick and nimble are going to succeed.  There are a lot of opportunities out there, but they aren’t the traditional business models.  Finding ways to leverage HTML5, social games on mobile devices, connected games on XBLA/PSN, etc are the wave of the future for developers who aren’t making God of War nor Halo.

However, it also means that if anyone outside of the guaranteed funded triple-A game tells you that “they know how to succeed”,  I would question how fast they can respond to a changing market.

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Sep 02 2009

Flexibility in Development

Published by under Code,Games

joystickMoving back to development with my studio means that I have seen a lot about what publishers are looking for these days. Wii is, of course, very popular, but there is generally a desire to be “casual.” The interesting thing is that most publishers are unsure what that means. They want the popularity of the Wii, but still want to make games like they did for the PS2 and before.

A few publishers have figured out that the Wii market is different than the hardcore market from before, but that requires an understanding of a very different demographic than has bought Doom, Gears of War, and Call of Duty in the past.

Now that Microsoft’s Natal and Sony’s motion controller have been announced, the day for the joystick might seem to be limited.  However, not every player nor every gamer wants to jump around the room, regardless of the genre.

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May 19 2009

Zoe Mode San Francisco

Published by under Code,Games

Zoe ModeI am incredibly excited to launch my studio today.  I am the co-studio head for Zoë Mode San Francisco!  We are hard at work on a number of games and I am extremely honored to be working with such a great group of people.

Press release

Interview at GamesIndustry.biz

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May 18 2009

Asynch File Loading

Published by under Code,Games

BucketsIn most modern games, asynchronous file loading is a standard requirement.  This is especially true for open world games or games which never want to show a loading screen.  On the surface, it seems like an easy thing to do: spawn a new thread and load files on request.  However, there are a few complications which get in the way.

One of the most obvious issues is knowing when the file has actually been loaded.  In an asynch environment, you issue a request, and some time later, the request is fulfilled.  Most systems return a handle which the game can check periodically to see if the data has been read.  This is fairly easy to implement, works well in a multithreaded environment, and is pretty easy to debug.  Other alternatives are to use a callback mechanism or put the calling thread to sleep until the data is loaded.  The sleep option is usually done in custom scripting languages, instead of trying to do it in C++.

A standard approach is to compress the data at build time and decompress at run time.  If you are reading from DVD Continue Reading »

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Mar 02 2009

Hard to Develop For

Published by under Code,Games

PS3 A recent CNET article has much of the blog-o-sphere commenting away like crazy.  The article contains a quote from Kaz Hirai from SCE that the PS3 is hard to develop for.  In reading the article, the author does not appear to have thought much about why Kaz might have said that.

As a note, these are only my views and do not represent my current employer, SCE, EA, or any past employers.  These views are also not based on any “inside” information, but instead are based on many years in the video games industry.

It is absolutely true that of the current consoles (PS3, XBox360, and Wii), the PS3 is the most complicated.  However, there are two aspects to developing on a console.  1) The hardware and 2) the development environment.  The thing that the author of the CNET article seemed to forget is that (excluding Nintendo), selling software is what makes the money, not selling the hardware.

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