Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Witch Doctor

Almost typed Necromancer again, but this time is way different than the last time I had to worry about exchanging a hard drive. In this installment, it turns out that A) the hard drive inside Shiney (that's the old laptop for those of your keeping score at home) is just underneath a single panel. Unlike in Lazarus (that would be the one before Shiney - much like in Project Mayhem in death, a Star Frog Computer gets a name) where I basically had to reduce the system to pieces and literally pry the thing out. Also, B) Windows Vista and Windows 7 use the same file structures. Unlike, I figure, Vista and XP. I know this because my data just copied right over, uncorrupted, and without extra "Zombie" characters.
After some doing, I've even managed to get the whole thing dancing on my ultrabook.

Now, I know that the readers (HA!) prefer to hear about the things that go stupid, since this can sometimes come across as all congratulatory or "positve." In that case, here's the bad news. Turns out that XNA and Visual Studio 2010 don't really get along too well with each other. Worse, VS10 tried being all helpful and stuff, converting my code to VS10 format. Which is swell, but you know what can't read VS10 format? Visual Studio 8, that's what. I could copy the files from the Shiney Drive (which sounds like the engine on the USS Happypants) and I think I may end up doing that.
Also, would you believe that an ultrabook has a smaller screen than a full fledged laptop? That's because it does. Would you also believe that XNA does not support the resolution that my ultrabook runs at? That's also true. Instead, it shrinks the game window on my already smaller screen so it's like I'm playing on a Game Boy. I'm not sure if that's just something I'm going to have to deal with or not, assuming that it's Visual Studio 2010 trying to be helpful again. Bastard.
If that is the case, I very well may be learning the fine art of motherboard replacement in a laptop so I can Steve Rogers Shiney and its bigger screen. I'm sure that's gonna go just fuggin dandy. Although, this is the kind of thing that plagues / makes indie dev special. I mean, the dudes at BioWare are catching flak about the ending to Mass Effect 3, meanwhile me and my no budget get to worry about trading coding and development time to actually fix hardware. I keep having to remind myself periodically, that if it wasn't hard, it wouldn't be cool - and then try to get back to work.

Also, I was going to install the memory (all 4 high quality gigs!) into the Ultrabook, but they are the wrong shapes. So that fails.

Finally, something else did go wrong. You see, I tend to code in a series of tests. I'll start writing a bit of "Test" code to see if something works or is possible. If it does, I usually just keep whatever it was called and move on. So I occasionally have bits of code that have odd names. Sometimes these are tricky toc change after the fact, since other parts of the code may reference said function by name. This happened today with a little something called LearningGame. It's a class that handles certain drawing duties. The name is a leftover from when I started coding up Paper Zeppelin to see what I could do. Test ran into test and eventually I had an entire engine to show for it.
Problem is I also had a program I called LearningGame where that was the entire program. When I imported Paper Zeppelin into Visual Studio 2010 it could not find the bit called LearningGame that was supposed to be in the engine. Like a dumbass, I just inserted the wrong one. So, technically speaking, when I compile I run 2 different games at the same time!
I want to hate it harder, but it's difficult to hate something that appears so tiny on my screen.

Work it harder, make it better
Do it faster, makes us stronger...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Exchange Student

And we're back now. New computer and new resources to get some quality code done. First things, although it's not en vogue to give props to "evil" corporations, I have nothing but props to Microsoft and their awesome Dreamspark program. Once I figured out I can sign in with my verified Dreamspark ID on the main MS site and download .exe installer files (instead of rotten DVD images - my new ultrabook lacks a physical drive - grrr) I'm dandy. I've got C# Express (which I used previously) but also Visual Studio 2010 and 2011. Oh yeah, that's money.
Actually, it's not. Since I am technically speaking a college student, it didn't cost me a thing. From the business side I get it. I learn the software and then when I'm in a position to buy software I buy the stuff I know. It's like the first, sweet digital hit of the goods was free. Then you're hooked for life. Strangely, I'm okay being a junkie for what's I needs in this case. You know who else needs to do this? Every software package that I need to make stuff. Then they needs to talk to each other so those awesome assets import easily - since that sucks sometimes.

-Right, so we're currently in the middle of what I'd call the second Necromancer Saga, but since I've gone through this already, I don't have the same worry/hate as before. I need to surgically extract my old hard drive and copy the files to the new one. Hells, they're even in the same folder for ease. I have started looking at cloud storage solutions, and I wonder if I can automate an upload to Dropbox or something like that. One would think that having suicidal laptop would be the exception, but having this same bloody thing happen to me twice? On 2 separate projects? That makes me want to cry and possible punt a bunny (CID would like to expressly comment that it does not condone the punting of bunnies. Unless the teeth could be described as "sharp" and  also "pointy" at which case punting allowances are on a case by case basis)
Anyhow, I don't have any new code to write about or project updates, which as always, makes me a sad panda. I do have IDE and that's cool, now I just need to score the code that I lovingly crafted and I can be good to go. My code is doubly important, since I wrote so much of it to be explicitly portable. I'd say 80% or so of the code could be almost directly applied to The Star Frog EP, which is nice. Or will be once I get it out of the Shiney.

Speaking of new laptop, I've decided that Windows is just fuggin needy. "Hold on, let me update this." "You have to let me restart now. If you don't then I'll do it myself in 1 hour," like some kind of deadline. Honestly, if Microsoft would make Visual Studio usable in Linux (specifically JoliOS - love that crap) I could ditch Windows like a vestigal tail. Other than software installation (which for Linux is both baffling and archaic) I'm liking the easy to use layout which reminds me quite a bit of my phone.
However, to continue my previous point, my laptop is a dual boot, since I need that vestigal tail to swing through the code jungle that I've grown. Or will swing, once I can get the trees from their old home.