Games, programming, and Magic: the Gathering. What more could you want?


Well, I’m sorry to say that the current version of Crystal Lotus (for Windows Forms) is going away. I will spend a blog article or two discussing the code, but essentially the main progress I made was with the deck editor and core card functionality. The majority of my time was spent being frustrated with NeoForce Controls, XNA 3.1, and .NET 3.5 before I finally switched to Windows Forms. The code was all ported successfully, but the project stalled not long after due to school-related workloads.

Thankfully, I’m switching to EnigmaEngine, XNA 4.0 and .NET 4.0 for a fresh start. I’ve also talked and read more about designing and writing a rules-enforcing application, so I feel better prepared. I will do an entre-mortem of Crystal Lotus 0 (I’m a programmer… I count starting from 0). Then, after my tests in May, I’ll jump start Crystal Lotus.

Before I begin my entre-mortem, I would like to mention that I’m a high school student. As a result, I haven’t taken an actual CS course at a college or university, but I have been programming C# for well over 2 years. Therefore, kindly judge by quality of code or end product rather than age or the fact that my life is hectic with AP and IB tests and classes.

Abstract

Generally, in the games industry, a development team will conduct and publish a post-mortem of their game several months after the first or second patch of their game. However, since Crystal Lotus is nowhere near finished and is instead adopting a ‘one step sideways’ plan of action, an entre-mortem seems more appropriate. An entre-mortem is simply a reflection on the design and development of the application. For Crystal Lotus, the entre-mortem will focus on the code and code design but will stray into art and UI occasionally. Additionally, the optimistic scope of the project will be discussed, with the intent about reaching a reasonable conclusion about the development timeline for such audacious projects. Read the rest of this entry »

Still There


Unfortunately, I’m still busy for at least another week. I do have a sizable blog article stewing, however…

Still Around


I’m still alive and ticking, but unfortunately I’ve been deluged with work for the past three weeks, and it’s likely to stay that way for another 2 weeks. Expect a new blog entry on the 26th of this month.

Brainstorm


It has nothing to do with Gravestorm! Honest!

At any rate, I spent this past week researching more on game & UI design, as well as game-specific design patterns. Honestly, the game engine seems like it’s going to be one huge Mediator pattern at this point. I’m rewriting quite a bit of my code to allow for better design.
*chucks the old code out the window* Truth be told, I didn’t intend to go back a few months of work in order to make the next three months of work easier… but that’s how it happened. I’ll start writing a Tech Spec, and hopefully by next week (work allowing) it’ll be done.

Pen and Paper


Well, I’m working on a community-designed MtG-based RPG right now. It’s interesting, to say the least.
However, I’m also coding an application to download data and pricing from the internet and analyze it, which will be useful for Crystal Lotus. Additionally, I hope to apply the RPG system to the (eventual) RPG aspect of the game.

Wishful Thinking


Well, I did the Global Game Jam this weekend (solo!) and didn’t quite manage a game to the extent that I wanted. It started off pretty awesome, but I ended up adding actual gameplay (simple enemy logic and a survival mechanic) in order to end up with a game rather than a tech demo. I did this in the last hour before submission, so it was essentially an alpha version. Not bad for 20 hours, though.
How does this relate to Crystal Lotus? Well, much of the engine that I developed for this RPG is easily reusable, and the data-driven format makes it even better. I started experimenting with Perlin Noise algorithms to generate terrain as well, meaning that it’s possible to create an extensible world. Additionally, Perlin Noise algorithms could be used to determine AI traits/features in a manner better than mere random numbers – related traits would located nearby each other on the generated texture, allowing for a certain amount of dependency and randomness without hardcoding it in.

$3.99 + S & H


Nope, not sellin’ my blog! Just commiserating with the ‘conomy. On that note, a few items to know…
1) MLK day was yesterday. A moment of silence is better than doing nothing, but a kind word or deed to someone who needs it is unsurpassed.
2) Crystal Lotus got a bit of UI work done… screenshots coming sooner or later.
3) Still looking into a decent Java project to work on.
4) Finals & studying for them over the next couple of weeks means less free time. This post in itself is a bit rushed due to tests tomorrow.

And finally… take a breather, take a break, go do something you enjoy or you want to do. Better better late then never and better now than later, so why not now?

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