Archive for the ‘Technical’ Category

CodinGame with Visual C++

Saturday, April 29th, 2017

I’ve been enjoying some of the challenges and contests at www.codingame.com recently.

CodinGame

There was one thing about the site that frustrated me, which was that their web IDE only supports code in a single file. This isn’t such an issue for small problems, but as your code gets more elaborate it becomes more and more of a nuisance finding things and moving around in the file.

While they provide some nice features to help with that, such as code folding, my preference is to write regular C++ code, complete with header files, and to do that in an editor of my choosing.

So, here’s how to set up Microsoft Visual Studio for doing proper C++ development for CodinGame.

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DIY Arcade Joystick

Saturday, October 24th, 2015

I recently received a couple of arcade fighting games in some software bundles I bought from humblebundle.com. Namely, Skullgirls and Street Fighter IV. While they are both playable with a regular XBox controller, they are designed to be played with a proper arcade style joystick. Like this one:

DIY Arcade Joystick - v2.0

This is my DIY Arcade Joystick made for roughly £20 using only basic tools. Read on for details on how I made it.

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How to connect a Commodore 64 1541 disk drive to your PC over USB

Sunday, March 29th, 2015

I recently dug out my old Commodore 64 computer hoping to retrieve some of the old code I wrote when I was younger. It was my plan to transfer it to my PC so that I could run it using the Vice C64 emulator.

C64 1541 Connector

As I no longer own a television I couldn’t connect up the C64 and see it working. Even if I could, I’d still have been left with the problem of how to get the data from the 5.25″ disks and onto the PC. There was a mass of outdated information on the internet about how to make a cable to connect to a PC parallel port, but it’s been many years since PCs have had those. There were also a couple of nice looking products for extracting data from floppies (Kryoflux) and for connecting a drive over USB (ZoomFloppy) but given that I didn’t even know if my disks would still work, I didn’t really want to pay a lot of money for one of those.

And then I found this article. I don’t own a Teensy, however, I do own the very similar Minimus AVR and it turns out that it was perfect for the job!

Read on for instructions on connecting your Commodore 1541 to your PC, no special electronics knowledge required.

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Hearthstone Ladder and Arena Simulator

Friday, August 8th, 2014

One of my favourite games at the moment is Blizzard’s online card game Hearthstone.

Hearthstone

This article is about my attempts to answer the following questions about the game:

Roughly how many games would I expect to have to play and win to reach Legendary rank in Ladder play?

How good a player would I need to be to make a profit (in in-game gold) playing Arena?

Read on for the answers.

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Trials Fusion Bot

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed playing both Trials Evolution and the recent Trials Fusion sequel. The Trials games are physics-based off-road motorcycle simulators, requiring the player to negotiate tricky ramps and obstacles, using just throttle, brake and leaning the rider forward and back.

Trials Fusion

The objective of the game is to complete each track as quickly as possible with a minimum number of faults. Since levels play out exactly the same each game, this game seemed to me to be the ideal candidate for adding some automated assistance.

I pondered how to do this for quite some time, trying various ideas. Eventually I came up with a solution I was happy with.

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“Ores” Web Game Playing Bot in Python

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Recently whilst looking up information on the internet I came across this tutorial on How to build a python bot that can play web games. I’ve written similar things myself before, but this looked like a nice simple method, so I thought I’d give it a go.

This is the game I picked as my target:

Ores Web Game

(You can play it here)

The goal - to write a program that will automatically play the game exactly the way a human player would play. That is, using only the information visible on screen with no behind the scenes fiddling or poking with the game’s code.

And here’s how things worked out …

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O2 Headphone Amplifier Project

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

O2 Headphone Amplifier

I made this! It is a headphone amplifier for use with my Sennheiser HD650 headphones.

I’d love to be able to claim that I designed it, too, but that wouldn’t be true. It was designed by NwAvGuy and sold as a self-assembly kit by headnhifi.com. All I did was buy the parts and put them together.

Read on to see what’s inside and how I got on …

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Creating a Texture Atlas using Inkscape

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

Following on from my previous article on Creating Game Graphics in Inkscape, here is a further look at how to integrate your graphics into your game engine.

Assembled Character

This time I will be demonstrating a way to combine all of your graphics into a single image file and create an XML file to describe that file in a form that your game engine can understand. This is called a Texture Atlas. Using a texture atlas (sometimes called a Sprite Sheet) allows your game engine to handle your graphics resources in a far more efficient manner than if it had to deal with individual files one by one.

My provided solution will create the files in a format that can be read and understood by the Starling Development Framework, but the method would be easy to adapt to other formats.

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Creating Game Graphics in Inkscape

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

Inkscape is an Open Source vector graphics editor. I was introduced to its use in game graphics design by the articles on Chris Hildenbrand’s excellent blogsite on 2d game art for programmers.

Dinosaur

What follows is not a guide to creating your graphics, but a set of instructions for getting your finished graphics out of Inkscape into a form your game engine will be able to understand. In a later article I’ll be going further into using Inkscape as a tool for game development.

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