News, updates, and other wonderful things

Posted on Jul 12, 2016

Yes, it's that time again -- another Unity Asset is almost ready for release.  This time, it's uTemplate -- a truly smart templating system that makes script creation easier, and more streamlined.  You can read all about it on its product page, here.

Instead of releasing it straight to the store and charging money,  I'm trying something a little bit different with uTemplate -- I'm going to be giving the beta away for free.

"Wait, seriously?" you may be asking.

Yes, seriously.  The beta version of uTemplate is 100%, no-strings-attached free.  You can read about how to get it over here.  I'm really proud of uTemplate (and have been using it in my personal projects for a couple of months) but given how complicated code-generation can be, I've decided to do an open, free beta.  And if that wasn't crazy enough, there's also the Early Beta Giveaway, where multiple copies of uTemplate, U2DEX and uNote are all up for grabs -- just for giving me feedback on the uTemplate Beta.  Am I crazy?  Quite possibly.

So there you have it -- uTemplate is something truly great, in my opinion, and it's available right now, for free.  What are you waiting for?  Everybody loves free stuff -- go grab it before I come to my senses!

Spoiler alert: the beta will remain free -- I'm not going back on that.

And that's a wrap.  Until next time!

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Posted on Aug 24, 2015

It's been quite a while since my last post.  A lot of stuff has happened, between being featured in a few Unity Asset Store sales, to Space Crüesader being greenlit, to the creation of a new Unity plugin, uNote.  To say that the last year has been busy would be an understatement!  A play-by-play of all of the milestones and accomplishments would be a very, very long list, so, instead, I'm going to stick to the broad strokes.

So, to sum up, here's some information on things past, and future.

  • U2DEX received multiple updates, lots of praise and a featured spot in the Unity Asset Store March Madness sale
    Over the past year U2DEX has really come into its own.  Some new features were added along with various refinements to the already-existing feature-set, but the most exciting development was receiving fantastic comments like "Why is this not part of Unity?", "I can't imagine not having it now.", and "Mandatory purchase for 2D work in Unity.".
    A lot of this culminated in getting an email from the Asset Store team telling me U2DEX had been selected to participate in one of the Asset Store's sale events.  Being chosen was an amazing thing in and of itself, but the after-effects of the sale were also really great.  Word-of-mouth for U2DEX has really started to pick up, and I'm truly humbled by the response and emails I've gotten from satisfied users.  You guys rock!
  • Space Crüesader was Greenlit for release on Steam
    After almost three years, Space Crüesader was finally greenlit!  Honestly, I had pretty much given up hope, but now that it's happened I'm pretty excited.  Given that Space Crüesader is about two and a half years old by now (and was heavily targeted for the Xbox 360), I made the decision to remake it in Unity, targeting PC this time.  There are numerous bonuses to this approach, but the biggest will be better cross-platform support, as well as a much better representation of what I wanted the game to be.  It'll be a lot of work, but the end result should be worth it.  This is less of a retread/remaster and more of a from-the-ground-up, version 1.5 remake -- so once it's a bit farther along, I'll be sure to share more about it.
  • A new Unity plugin, uNote, was released
    uNote was released earlier this year, and already has many satisfied developers using it (including myself!).  It's a relatively simple plugin, in terms of what it does, but it's really handy to be able to drop notes wherever you need to while editing.  It's done pretty well thus far, so I'm excited to see where it goes from here.

That's the broad strokes for 2014-2015.  There's still a lot of work to be done, but overall things have been moving at a pretty brisk pace.  I've got some more stuff planned, but Space Crüesader is my priority for now.  It, too, is coming along nicely, but there is still a lot left to do.

Maybe this year I can get in more than one blog post? (Hope springs eternal!)

Until next time!

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Posted on Dec 23, 2012

Space Crüesader version is now out on the Xbox Live Marketplace!

There’s ton of fixes, but the #1 most important thing is that backgrounds can now be disabled entirely, if the player wants it.  Following closely at #2 is that nobody is shunned from the highscore boards if they play with backgrounds or flashes off.  Instead, they get an icon next to their entry for each thing (flashes, backgrounds) that they have disabled.

Another huge plus is that, although the Marketplace name hasn’t been changed, Bing can now find the game!  Woo-hoo!  Turns out that Bing does, in fact, look at the game descriptions, so all I had to do was remove the umlaut from the description.  Now you can find the game by typing in “Space Cr” into the Xbox’s Bing search, and it’ll give you “Space Cruesader”.  Follow that link and it’ll take you right to it!

Have fun!

If you’re interested, you can read the full, behind-the-scenes changelog below.
You might learn something!

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Posted on Aug 11, 2012

Nine times out of ten, if you were to ask someone "What is the best way to store a key and a value in .Net?" that someone would answer something along the lines "Well, you'd probably want to use a Dictionary.".

Now, if you were to ask that same question but phrase it slightly differently to "What is the best way to store a key and a value in .Net on the Compact Framework?" you probably wouldn't get "Dictionary" in your answer.

You see, it is a common (misguided, I should add) notion that Dictionaries are, usually for garbage reasons, completely evil, and you would have to be monumentally stupid to even contemplate using them. Even worse, if you even vaguely approached the idea of using enums as your key value, most (misguided) programmers would have you tarred and feathered...and then marked with the red cross, as you have obviously contracted the plague of incompetence.

So, I went ahead and built an input manager revolving around Dictionaries, with enums as my keys.

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Posted on Jul 10, 2012

I've been working with XNA's MediaPlayer class a lot lately, and I've come to learn many of the typical pitfalls associated with it. (Hint: There's approximately a million of them)

One of the biggest is the fact that it's so slow. I mean, it will literally slow your game to a crawl if you check Volume more than a few times every few seconds. However, I'm getting off-track here. Maybe I'll go into that in some other post.

For now, I'm going to post about something much more important. You see, XNA has this nifty feature that will mute either your Music category in XACT, or the MediaPlayer class, when the user starts to play music through the Guide. This is fantastic, and I've never had a problem with it (I'm an XACT man, myself), until I started using MediaPlayer for my Custom Playlists (so the user can play their own music in-game).

MediaPlayer pitfall #1,000,001: While MediaPlayer will mute your music when music is played through the Guide, it will not resume your music if that music from the Guide is turned off! Like a spoiled, bratty kid, it will do half of what it's told, but then firmly dig in and say "Screw you!".

So, then, how do we go about fixing this behavior?

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