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Thursday, July 13, 2006

Mom, coding, linux and happy stuff

My Mom's still in hospital, she finally went in for a gastroscopy (sp) procedure yesterday morning, and we haven't had feedback from the docter yet, so at this stage it's back to the waiting game. She did say this morning that she felt like she'd been beaten up, but apparently that is a reaction to the anaesthetic.

I have started digging back into smallfry stuff, as it's basically slowed down to a crawl since the beginning of the year thanks to wedding planning. The first task I'm undertaking is upgrading the preprocessor stuff in our engine (and game) code to use the Antenna compliant preprocessor in NetBeans 5.0. When we started using Netbeans 4.0 (giving up the old SunOne which didn't have anywhere near the same level of support for mobile development) we had to switch over to their dodgy, unwieldy preprocessor syntax. I raised the fact on the NetBeans website that there was actually an accepted preprocessor 'standard' in mobile Java dev in the form of Antenna, and they resolved to migrate to it in their next version. They delivered in fine form, and besides having a proper antenna-compliant preprocessor, 5.0 adds a couple of nice preprocessor related bonuses such as a debug level controlled from the project properties, and semi-automatic upgrading of existing preprocessor code. The new version obviously has many other new features that are not necessarily confined to mobile dev, including a much more usable settings dialog, editor enhancements, and lots more.

The next task I'll be looking at is to remove our high score code which makes use of our own MySQL database on our site, and replace it with the free RumbleX API. Besides relieving us of the burdon of maintaining the data ourselves, RumbleX provides us with a 'prebuilt' community site that displays high scores and achievements, and allows us to display RumbleX scores on our own website with a bit of provided JavaScript. To top all this off, the only requirement is that we use RumbleX as one of our distribution outlets-what a pleasure, we get another outlet thrown into the deal, awesome :)
Besides the forums and per game high score groupings available to RumbleX users, they have the option of using a system-generated profile image that shows their achievements, score and avatar, not unlike what is possible with Xbox 360 Live's Gamercards.

One of the guys at work finally recieved the pack of Ubuntu 6.06 CDs he ordered a while ago, and I took one home to have a look.

The Live CD is great, just pop it into your CD drive and the machine boots to a Linux installation-without ever actually having to install the OS. Because everything gets loaded off the CD, it takes some time to start up the OS as well as individual applications, but that little inconvenience is obviously removed when you actually install it. Natz PC is so vrot with viruses and stuff at this stage that I need to totally reinstall it (and this time it'll have antivirus, antiadware and firewall software thank you very much!), but until then she can use the Ubuntu CD, which is great. As an aside, why in the hell, in this day and age, do PCs from big chan stores not come with all that protection preinstalld? An antivirus package alone is bloody useless, and so is the windows firewall! Something free like Kerio would do the trick nicely.

And finally..
Some happy, shiny Internet goodness news. Yaaaaay! The guy who started a site a year ago with the dream of trading up a single red paperclip for a house has finally achieved that dream. Seriously, this guy started with just a paperclip, and he now has a lovely renovated 1920s home in Kipling Saskatchewan, Canada. Some guys have all the luck-and great ideas.


Justin Paver said...

Oooh, ooh, you're getting into programming again? Excellent! Glad to hear it :)

Flint said...

I never really gave it up-although I wish I could. Seriously, I would much rather have a team of uber-coders at my disposal to implement all the game ideas I have than to sit and code myslef. I'd prefer to focus to level design and maybe story :)

Mr Underhill said...

Hey Flint, sorry mate this is the first time that I've checked out your blog. Sorry to hear about your mom, I really hope all is well.

In case you're wondering it's ol' Frogs here, from the Pond.

Flint said...

Thanks frogs. She is doing much better now, she should be back at work next week, and latest tests indicate that the pneumonia is totally out of her system. Now if she can just keep away from the damn cigarettes everything should be fine!


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