Repo

One of the tools that I always felt was a secondary thought and did not matter much was the VCS. That was until I finally started using Git last Summer. It took some getting used to since I decided I wanted to force myself to use command-line controls instead of a tool. I felt that this gave me the most control, and the best way to truly understand the power of the VCS rather than what an intermediate tool was making easier or harder and go from there.

If you are reading this, I am sure you have had a similar experience with Git, and if not… you need to give it a try. The online tutorials where you can play with a sample repo is pretty amazing… and above all, you will learn that a VCS can take a lot of pain out of your development process. I remember the first time I heard about branching and how amazing it sounded… but after trying it through the years and experiencing painful merges upon painful merges, felt it was not really a solution. Git just makes that simple.

I need (really want) to get back to coding so I am going to keep this short… but another recommendation I cannot talk up enough is BitBucket. It just works. Easy to use, free for even small (5-10 depending on current promotions) team member repos. It is a great service and I never hesitate to recommend to everyone I can. Give it a try.

New Horizons

Where I have been? Well I got further into Unity deving than I expected and actually got a game into a late Alpha state with another dev friend. We were able to do some test plays and get a fun product… but with the overwhelming costs of licenses on the horizon we turned to Kickstarter to see if our game (KickPunchFireball.com) had a chance of getting funded. We saw a bunch of friends and family come out to support us and were able to get new faces, but it ultimately did not succeed.

Is this the end of our hero? Not by a long shot.

The one thing I found that bugged me during the first game though was that my oldest son was interested… but because of the violence I did not feel it was something I could readily share with him. That had to change.

I have had a lot of ideas in my head the past few years… and some kept coming back up. One of those was a fun kids game that could appeal to older ages as well. So I enlisted two other friends and we have started making a very straight forward version of the game. Why? Well I want to see how the reaction to the game is. We are doing it on Android because that was what we all owned, and I like the environment. We already have a playable version in just a few weeks and should be able to launch it in the store in a few more. (More to come on that).

It has been an amazing release from the stress of the day. Just coding and having fun coding. Sure I am using some design patterns and other tricks I have learned… but when I get into a situation where I am not sure the “best way” to code something… I remind myself just to get it to work and I can refactor it later. No one is going to judge me on the code … and I have found myself coding faster and better as I go. And most importantly… having fun.

And now I have been able to show my son and even let him play some early rough versions to see if he liked it.. and he even came up with a better name for the game than I did that we are going to use… something which made his day that he was going to have a credit in a real video game.

So much fun. Never realized how far from my initial love I had moved… coming back to it has been a great experience.

Unity

I have started to dive into the world of Unity. While not perfect, it is remarkably at the same time easy and massive for a game engine tool. You can quickly get something to start running (like the classic Hello World) or develop games that rival ones that are featured across your game platforms today.

 

I really like that I can dive right into it with C# and the store feature is a really nice touch. There are some quirks to how projects work and are tied together that remind me more of the Eclipse world than Visual Studio, but at this point I think that might be an okay side to be on.

The emulator is nice as you can dive right into screen size, resolution and platform with really no set up time at all.

 

As I become more experienced, expect more posts from me. Thanks!

Just realized I have not updated this in

Just realized I have not updated this in nearly a year. Shame on me. Going to start posting later (Hmmm… I wonder if that is how this started)

Doctor Who

Just caught the season premiere of Doctor Who. I love this show more and more each time I see it. The writing is smart yet fun. It is nice to be able to have a show that I can watch with my son, not too many sci-fi shows like that left on television right now.

Nexus 7 Day

I got my Nexus 7 (16GB) today. Loving it. It is quick and responsive. Found all the apps that I was hoping would be ported to Android and then some.

Biggest (and only real) headache came trying to run debug mode through Eclipse on it. Took me a few boards and posts before I figured out the proper OEM installation procedure and got the drivers installed. Once that was done however, I was able to see my code running for the first time on the actual device instead of a simulator. It was wonderful. One of the joys that all programmers share when we see some of our creations come alive the first time. Granted it is not doing much at the moment… just a spaceship bouncing around the screen and drag enabled, but it was mine and I loved it.

Favorite Unknown Feature

Found this a couple of months ago, and it has helped so much in debugging my C# apps:

[DebuggerDisplay("{<propertyname>}")]

Add that to one of your classes, and now in the debugger you can see the property (or properties) that you want to view that are set for the object without having to expand all the time. Really nice when dealing with large collections!
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