If you are into gaming at all, especially on the PC, you have may have been aware of the Summer Sale Steam had a few weeks ago. I ended up spending way too much money – which seems to be pretty common during their sales, but I picked up a game called Torchlight from Runic Games. It plays almost exactly like Diablo 2 and the company does have a few people from Blizzard (including two founders of Blizzard North, Max and Erich Schaefer), so it’s not too surprising. The art is very “Blizzard-ish”, which doesn’t bother me at all.

So all that said, I picked up numerous other games – but this one I can fire up and play in 10 minute bursts if needed – which is what I end up doing since we have a newborn in the house (Sean Jr!) who has been getting PLENTY of lung exercise (meaning, he cries a lot). But hey, that’s what babies do right? So I can sneak a few minutes in during those rare quiet moments.

I started playing with TorchEd, the Torchlight editor. Needless to say, I am confused and need to read some tutorials. I guess I better get started on some mapping, would love to maybe work my foot in the game-development door that way (hint hint Runic guys!).

In closing, if you haven’t checked this game out yet – DEW EHT NAO!

Quick plug for some great free software

I recently ordered a hard drive upgrade for my main PC, and needed a quick way to clone my OS drive. Typically when I upgrade my PC, I tend to reinstall Windows. It gives me a nice reboot to my desktop – but I didn’t want to lose some of the files on my current drive, didn’t feel like searching for – and backing up – those files. You know how it goes. So I decided to google around for free disk cloning tools. Since I was upgrading to a 1TB from a 250GB drive, I didn’t know how the clone would work. Would it create a ~1TB partition and copy the contents? Would it create a partition the same size as the source drive? I figured I had best grab some kind of partition management software.

For disk cloning, I grabbed Clonezilla and burned it to a CD and gave it a shot. It uses a text based interface that is probably familiar to anyone with a Linux background, though the boot manager claimed a 800×600 GUI. Anyhow, it gave me the option to clone via using a disk image or via a straight up device to device copy. I opted for device to device. I told it NOT to load GRUB, as I am booting Windows only right now and have no need for a boot loader. It took about 70 minutes to clone my 250GB drive, which had about 40GB free. Clonezilla created a ~250GB partition on the 1TB drive, so I did indeed have to use a partition manager, which leads me to –

Easus Partition Master Home Edition. I installed this handy little program, and fired her up. It has a somewhat similar interface to what I remember of Partition Magic. You can slide the drive sizes back and forth to quickly queue up a resize operation – which is what I needed. It took about 5-10 minutes, and I was back up and running after a few reboots, with my system drive now expanded to take up the full ~1TB. I had never heard of this company or program, but I just had to give it a shout out as it came in very handy, especially when I am also tending to my newborn son.

I just won a copy of Telerik’s JustCode Visual Studio add-in

I just received an email from Carol over at DotNetCurry stating I was one of the winners in their recent contest. It looks like, based on the winner listing, that I received a free license for Telerik’s JustCode Visual Studio addin. I am currently using DevExpress’ offering, and have noticed it really gets in my way and slows Visual Studio down quite a bit. I am hoping Telerik’s product is faster (as they claim it is). We shall see!

Thanks to DotNetCurry for holding the contest, and thank you to Telerik for contributing the licenses!

Telerik releases beta of FREE dotNet decompiler: JustDecompile

I just received an announcement that Telerik, makers of one of the leading dotNet Control suites on the market, has released a beta of their new Decompiler for dotNet. It is named JustDecompile and is being advertised as “free, forever”. I gave it a quick download and picked apart a custom control assembly we have to use from a prior contractor. I had a few issues with this particular assembly when we took over the codebase, as they provided outdated source code for this control library. I was able to use another decompiler to pull some of the newer code, but none that I tested were this easy to use. Red Gate’s offering, .Net Reflector was nice – but not free (not expensive either).

If you have a need for a decompiler for dotNet assemblies, then I highly recommend you give Telerik’s new JustDecompile offering a preview to see if it meets your needs.

Verizon Wireless and Google to partner

It seems Verizon Wireless and Google are partnering up to offer a series of Android based phones in the US. While I don’t like the partnering device makers do with providers, I have to say – It’s about damn time. AT&T has had the iPhone for a while now, and I would love to have one. But AT&T has a horrible network in my area, and Verizon’s network is great. I live in a rural area and get very good coverage from Verizon. Here’s hoping this is competitive with the iPhone! I have not yet seen any announcements about the development platform, but I think it’s safe to assume the standard Android SDK would be all you need (in addition to a Java IDE, like Eclipse).

I may start developing some apps for this platform 🙂

A new project begins

After working briefly with my boss on a rewrite of Chivalry and that really going nowhere (due to lack of time – thanks a lot work!) I have decided to attempt my own browser based game. This is going to be my first game – though I dabbled with my own 2D tile engine way back in ’98 or so written in C++. Anyhow, here’s the abstract from the design doc I am working on:

Project Overlord is a battle for supremacy over the land. Each player joins the game and must work their way up the social and political ladder. Eventually, the player will be able to start townships and they can progress into full fledged cities with castles and strongholds. The player *can* start a town from the get go, but without other players pledging loyalty from the outset, their town will not last long. This is a mix between MMORPG and Time Phased Strategy

This is something I can work on in the evenings a little at a time. Eventually, I will be pursuing game development MMO style with a Silverlight front end.

Baby steps young padawan.

At this time, the working title for this project is “Project Overlord”. Inspiring, I know. Once the game gets closer to completion (hell, I am still on the design phase – it will be a while) I will select a release title. As for the specifics of the architecture for this game:

  • Written in C#
  • architecture. I have not decided if I want to go with Webforms or MVC
  • Sql Server Express backend. Once more players join (if that ever happens) I will look at SQL Server 2k8
  • Initially, I will probably deploy this to a cloud-based VPS. Sure would be nice if my cloud hosting platform of choice supported Windows images. I may have to look at another provider – the price is a bit outrageous however.

So keep your eyes here for more information. Eventually I will get a website setup specifically for this project – but I need to at least get out of the design phase first 🙂

reboot in 3. 2. 1.

I decided to reboot my blog and bring it back in to focus on what it was supposed to from the start:

No more intimately personal posts and no more politics – unless they relate to code, tech or games.

I hope you enjoy the blog 🙂