Friday, December 30, 2005

So, this was christmas...

Man. Haven't had time for blogging because of the christmas madness, and what a hectic one it was this year. We have been visiting family from the 22nd until yesterday. Touring round the country - Vedbæk, Farum, Tommerup, Odense, Vejle, Rødovre, Hvidovre. The worst part was all the food. Because I just can't seem to get enough. Katrine (my fiancee) and I have decided that it is time for the big weight loss tour strating january. Let's see if we hold up for long.

It wasn't as bad as it probably sounds. I had a great time. But it is also great to have some time to yourself. Not that there is much of thet. Today we ventured into the snowstorm - it has been snowing all nignt and most of today as well - to get most of the stuff for new years. We are having 10 guests at new years, so It'll be a blast.

I have been playing some Kameo. Katrine gave it to me at christmas. It is a great game. It looks stunning - would be better if I had an HDTV... That's number one on my gadget wishlist for next year! The game is great. Has a good balance of adventure vs. action and is not too tough, yet, but still challenging enough to be interesting. So I am racking up gamer points. I have to complete NFS also. Now I have gotten to where it gets hard, so I shouldn't quit now. The rewards will be greater as well!

Before christmas I had a good talk with Kristian, who seems to be interested in joining the company. We will try to create a demo game together. An RPG/Action thing probably. So I have been brushing up on engines for C#/Managed DirectX, because that is what we are going to use. I found Artificial Engines which I am taking for a spin. They seem to be encapsulating MDX in a great easy to use way, and it is not a COM wrapper for another engine - which is a good thing.

Monday, December 12, 2005

A new nephew and old school coding

All right then. It finally happened. My brother and his wife were expecting their second child. Weel, four days ago was his first in the world. I saw him yesterday and he is small, cute an dvery sleepy. The last part was great, because I got to hold him a long time without him complaining at all.

I also got my first freelance job. It is an OK assignment, pays well, the only hurdle is that I have to use C++ and ATL (WTL). It has been so long since I did any work with those techs. But surprisingly enough it is going OK. Slowly but steadily I am learning. I could need some books on the topic if I am ever going to do anything more with it. The great part is that after getting bogged down with C++ macros I am REALLY enjoying C# and .NET more and more. :)

As you can see from the gap betwen posts this time, the 360 is really chomping my time. I am up to 325 gamer points, mostly with Need For Speed. But I am having much fun with the arcade games as well. Hopefuly there will be more of them soon so I can spend more money... It's like drugs you know!

Well have fun. Ta-ta for now. Catch me on XBox Live. My gamertag is Fehaare.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

I've seen the future of gaming, and it's alive, kicking and live

One of the greatest things about trying to foresee the future is that you just KNOW that you'll be in for a whuppin' when you're wrong, and noone but yourself is there to tell you that you were correct. Nevermind though.

The future of gaming is here ladies and gentlemen. And it is called XBox Live for 360. Why? You say. XBox Lives been here for a long time, and it hasn't caused that much commotion. Sure. There have been a lot of gaming there. But it has not really been taking anything to the "next level". Whatever your definition of that is. Well, the Live experience on 360 is fiting my definition of "next level" very much. And in many ways I think it is suceeding in unexpected ways.

I've always been an avid gamer. But the last couple of years I've been using my XBox more for viewing vids than for gaming. Not because the games for it were bad as such. But more because I am a social gamer more than anything else. In the ol' days we always sat 2,3 or four guys around the C64, Amiga, PC whatever hardware was providing our kick. When the PC swept the scehe, I had a lot of fun netgaming. But the posse just lost touch, got kids, worked too much, and the social aspect fell apart. And in a way that put a lid on my gaming as well.

But now that I have gotten the 360 I see things getting pulled back together again. We were trhee of the team that got hold of a box a launch. We all got NFS as our only launch game, and we are already in competition even though we haven played against eachother. And all of it just because of the ingenuity of achievements. You can always check up on your friends, see what they have been playing and how far they are. I just love that. Bragging rights right there my friends!

Better yet. More and mor egames seem to be coming out that have coop modes. Even on the old XBox it was possible - but not many games did it - not enough. Now, it seems, it is going to be a factor for a succesful game. My prediction is that focusing so hard on Live as MS is doing with the 360 is redefining the future of games. And about time! Gaming has always been a social experienca. Ask any nerd who games the night away. True, gaming is fun, but when you have someone to share the experience with it is triple fun.

Then there is the Arcade element. Having these small downloadable casual games is another feather in the 360 hat. Not everyone gets their rocks off on FPS, racing, survival horror and sports games, which seem to be all thats coming from the biggies these days. It is too expensive to make games, so nobody wants to gamble. With the arcade there is a prime spot for indies and others that have a good idea but are not ready for the big time. Hopefully we get to see games that are inspiring and toy with the game media in new ways - without needing a multi million dollar budget. It all comes down to how liberal MS is with letting people get games on the arcade. Information that is very hard to come by while the launch motor is still roaring.

So I sincerely hope that making games for the Arcade will not be limited to the established houses, but that Indies will get a shot at having their work on it as well. Hopefully that can bring more innovative ideas into the hands of the customers and break the monotomy on the game market.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Double Back Flip 360 to Total Ecstazy

No, the title has nothing to do with the SSX series games, not yet at least. It's even better. I got my XBox 360 today! On the launch date nonetheless. Man, was I ever a lucky b'Tard getting it. So, you want the long story - all right! I pre-ordered my first 360 in the beginning of November - way to late actually - but I didn't know that. A week later they mailed me saying they couldn't deliver December 2nd as promised. In fact they couldn't tell me when they were able to deliver to me. So I went to my local EB Games. They could deliver one to me December 16th. OK, I thought, I am gonna miss out on the first 14 days and my buddies who all have their boxes are going to taunt me, nothing to worry about. I had worse... Or what... I just couldn't let it rest so I got another lead ordering one there but they could not tell me when I could get it either. So things were looking bleak. Then out of the blue comes "El-Giganten". In this weeks catalogue they told the world that you could buy it starting monday November 28th. It seemed VEYR unlikely t say the least - but I had to check it out. So I went to the store and as expected they had to wait until friday like everyone else to sell it. BUT. It was still possible to make a reservation. TaDA! So four days before launch I managed getting one - and without standing in line for it either. Oh, and 400kr. cheaper than in most other stores as well. Me So Luuuucky. :)

So what can I say. I am loving it. All day I have been playing NFS, which rocks, I'm gonna check it out on live later this evening. I've also checked out the Marketplace and Live arcade and I am SO looking forward to playing Gaunltet on Live. It is so immensly retro cool to have that game there. Takes me back to the old dasy when we pumped coins into it in the basement below Palads cinema. Those were the days. The only thing wrong with the XBox 360 is that it is screaming for me: GET AN HDTV YOU DARN IDIOT... So I have to save my money for a new TV. And how am I EVER going to do that when I am going to spend ALL my time in front of my old TV. Tell me that! :P

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Today is the day... Or tomorrow

So tomoorow it happens. The Xbox 360 release here in good ol' Europe. I am going to a release party at EB Games this evening, so in a sense it is already today for me. I will of course first get my grubby hands on my own machine tomorrow morning, so guess what the weekend will bring - and the next week - and the next...

I have been working on streamlining the flow between my VS.NET -> local FitNesse -> CruiseControl.NET -> Gosuman FitNesse, so new versions of code can be easily and automatically brought to the eagerly awaiting customer. It is working great right now. Everything is methodically written down. Perhaps I will write a tutorial some day.

Yesterday was my birthday so I am now officially 34 years of age. Congrats to me. :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The power of FitNesse

Since I bumped into the Fitnesse wiki/framework and got it up and running, it really solved all the issues I had with what I was missing for my development efforts. The first thing hat was obvious was that I needed a Wiki. Any Wiki could do, but after trying out some of the more popular Wikis out there and trying to get them to run on the SourceForge? servers, I sort of gave up. If a Wiki is all about ease of use, why is it so DAMN hard getting it to run proper! Well, fair is fair, and some of the isues were actually related to the environment at SourceForge? more than the Wiki itself.

So then there was FitNesse. I had been giving it a hard look and decided that I would like to try and use it for acceptance testing one of these days. But I never really seemed to get to that point. There was so much else - hacking away at the SourceForge servers for one - but also the fact that I didn't have a server that I could run it on for everyone to see. Then one day I just jumped right in and fired up the bastard on my local machine. And what a great experience! The first thing that hit me when I started the .BAT file and opened my browser was. 'Wow, is it that easy?'. After reading up on some of the pages I wanted to fire up a Wiki of my own, so I customized the .BAT with my own root and started that one... That was even easier! Boom. I had a very functional Wiki... Gradually I began jotting down random stuff. Trying to create some structure is always the hard part. I tried. And well, not all pages are created yet, but it doesn't really matter to me, the point is that the IDEA of them is there. The tool is perfect for capturing the random thoughts I have in that random way. And if you want to tidy it - there's the Refactor support.

So you say. Well Wikis are just so 5 years ago, or something like that. How come you first discover them now? For one, the whole WikiWords concept ticked me off. It still does some - but I can see why it is there now, so I pretend that it is not bothering me that much. I'll probably get used to it someday.And then there have always been the issue of getting one on-line. I am primarily a Windows developer, doing ASP, ASP.NET and using IIS and those are the servers I feel comfortable with. It is pretty hard to find a supported Wiki on that platform! OK, I know my UNIX - especially FreeBSD which I like very much. But not everything I'd like to do can be done on a FreeBSD box. Especially not being a build server for .NET on the Windows platform or doing .NET 2.0 stuff. And I did not like to have to run more boxes becuase of that issue.But using FitNesse made me realize. It does not matter right now! This post was first written on the FitNesse server running on my local machine - then ported here. No one on the whole wide internet could see the post when I first posted it. But it matters less. The point is I am writing it and it can easily get on-line when I find a machine to put it on. Do I not care that people read it? Yes, it would be nice - but it is not prime concern. Getting things out of my head is!

Back to what makes FitNesse great. Yesterday I started using it for the d20Sharp project. I had picked the project up again after having a breather following the Beta 2 release. So I started creating some pages for acceptance testing. There were some snags getting it to use .NET, mostly because I hadn't read that part on the FitNesse page that thoroughly (maybe a Quick start would be nice?), but when I got it up it was amazing. The process of tieing the pages and the code together was much easier than I had dreamt of. And before I noticed, I was doing unit testing, coding and acceptance testing almost in one flow. The power to have both kinds of testing (a subject I will elaborate on another day when I've used it more) is simply great. And having the power to so easily write test and examine results using a Wiki page is a blast.

Bottom line: I can't get enough of FitNesse. It rocks. I am a convert and an evangelist. I am looking forward to trying it out in a group or with non-coding people to see if it can deliver there as well. For now I will just be happy about this great new tool.

Blogspace beware

OK... After having been a lurker in Blogscape for a while, stripmining other peoples blogs, it's about time that I get one myself. So here goes.

Actually I tried seting one up on my new company Wiki. But security issues made it very hard to use properly. So now it's here. The limited amount of posts on that Blog will be ported here.

In other news. Nothing much. Tomorrows my birthday and hopefully I'll get my gift for myself - an Xbox 360 on friday - that is if El-Giganten can keep their promises. Not many other vendors in DK seem to be able to deliver on time. I had three other pre-orders out there that didn't make it. Shucks. And all I ever wanted was to BUY something. :D More on that, I am going to a 360 lauch party at EB Games thursday evening and hopefully find out what games I must have.

The Gosuman project is still underway. I am working on a public site. The restricted Wiki is on-line, not that y'all really need to know cause it's on a need-to-know basis you know. So more on that as well. Isn't that dandy: Using your Blog to tell people to keep watching cause theres more to come! Man, I'm so influenced by TV ain't I?

Tune In, Turn On, Burn Out.