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Current Posts
Friday, October 19, 2007
Revisiting Numbers
Posted: 2:18:00 PM 1 comments
Some time ago, I decided to rewrite Numbers from scratch. This is now its 5th implementation, the previous versions written in C64 Basic, Apple QuickBasic, C128 Basic, VB6, and now a combination of VB.Net & C#.Net 2005.

This version, while not yet complete, is playable. My original intent with the game was to learn how to get good performance out of GDI+, and I don't think I did too badly with the game running approximately 60 fps on my work computer. But I knew that GDI+ performance blows, and wanted to do better. So, I downloaded the DirectX SDK, and in my free time over the last few days, created a new option to use DirectX for rendering. After much code crunching, I got a version that performs 5 times as well - that's over 300 fps - than the GDI+ renderer.

Granted, DirectX is overkill for a game as simple as Numbers, but the proof of concept for creating rich 2D games - and even 3D games if I ever bother to learn that much - is now there for the taking.

Still to come is a high score list, a full screen option, and a few tweaks to the game to determine what happens when blocks reach the bottom of the display. Once all that's done, I'll give it the ol' freeware release and take what I've learned along the way to the next project.

My goodness. I might actually finish a project for once. What's the world coming to?

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Monday, October 15, 2007
Niagara Falls Roundup, eh?
Posted: 5:14:00 PM 0 comments
Kathy and I spent the week of September 24th in Niagara Falls, NY. We stayed at the Seneca Niagara Casino. What a beauty that place is, much more upscale than most of the stuff in Vegas.

Granted, Niagara Falls, NY is still a dump, perhaps even more so now than it was when I left the area back in 1999. The Rainbow Centre mall is completely closed, and the awesome indoor garden they had next to it was replaced by a kids fun center. Stupid.

The falls itself was awesome. We took the Maid of the Mist boat to within the horseshoe falls and got thoroughly soaked, enjoying every minute of it. The Falls really is an awesome power. I read somewhere that the American side of the falls will eventually flatten out and become rocky rapids, because the water can't erode the rocks that collapse fast enough. But the Canadian side has no such problem right now.

I once again met up with Martin Kilner of Outpost fame along with his "grl"-friend. We had a blast on Cliffton Hill playing Minigolf, enjoying the food, and riding the huge ferris wheel with a falls view. Then we went over to Casino Niagara where Jenn won thirty bucks in like 15 minutes. Martin finally got his hat back that he left in our rental car in England 2 years ago, and couldn't be happier.

We went to Toronto to worship the Hockey Hall of Fame, and dined atop the CN Tower. Wow, what a massive view from an incredibly tall building! They had a glass floor that neither me nor Kathy could bring ourselves to walk on.

Of course, we gambled throughout the week. While I went home $150 short, Kathy managed to make $250, the highlight being her winning 10 hands in a row! With the progressive betting that we do, she would have easily pulled in $1,000 if her last hand hadn't been a loss while doubling. That hurt!

Finally, on Saturday, we saw the Buffalo Sabres beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in preseason action 4 to 3. Sidney Crosby wasn't playing, but the game had tons of exciting moments, including one point where the Penguins goaltender was out by the blue line, playing a puck, and getting knocked over by a Sabres forward. The atmosphere was amazing, almost playoff in nature. For a preseason game! Buffalo's fans are hungry for hockey, and it was awesome to be a part of a game. I'm hoping to go to the 1/1 outdoor game against the Penguins, but we'll see if I can scrape up the money for that.

Next vacation, believe it or not, is back to Buffalo in December for Christmas. Gonna be a long one for me, too, as I play to be there from 12/22 to 1/2.

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Windows Activation Woes
Posted: 5:11:00 PM 0 comments
Last night I was up fairly late, and towards the end of the night had a lovely melody in my head. Actually, it was more like a concept song in a new style. I was really excited about getting the song down, I even had my keyboard on to play the melody out a bit.

So I log out of my gamer profile and log into my roncli profile. All of a sudden, I'm hit with "Your activation of Windows has expired!"


Turns out that I forgot about the motherboard and video card change, and apparently switching profiles triggered Windows's activation mechanism, thinking it was now a pirated copy. One call to Microsoft's activation center fixed it, as I could not activate online. "Product key already in use!"

So after I'm off the phone with Microsoft, I sit down, ready to load up reason with a melody... Wait a second, I had a melody. Where'd it go? What'd I do with it?

ARGH. I had FORGOTTEN the stupid melody because I focused my attention too much on my computer not working. Talk about frustrating.

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