Archive for the ‘General’ Category

An Interview with me and!

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

Shameless self promotion but…

I’ve been interviewed for

Check out the interview here


p.s. I’ve been going BIG GUNS lately to prep Air Legends for the Dream-Build-Play contest entry. Expect a considerably more polished version real soon, with some spanking new game play features, and loads of improvements.

Sharky’s Blog – now with 50% added *bling*

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

I was feeling artistic last night. I finally updated my blog’s theme!
(a slightly modified version of the “Pure” WordPress theme)

I hope you like it!

p.s. don’t forget to help me win a Nintendo Wii!

Please help me win a Wii… for my kids

Monday, April 14th, 2008

…cough. Ok, so I may actually play with it too!

Last year I was deeply involved in a really exciting project at work called ActionThis.  It’s a global, web-based service providing task management for Teams.  It’s strength is in helping you and the people you collaborate with get things done. It also works well for individuals, and makes a fine todo list.
Best of all it’s FREE

There are also some very attractive premium features available if you choose to pay, such as:
- a Microsoft Outlook 2003 & 2007 plugin
- a Microsoft Excel 2003 & 2007 plugin

Personally I reckon ActionThis is a perfect tool for those XNA game, Indie game & Mod developers so often distributed across the world.

Enough with the sales pitch! 

To help my chances of winning the Wii, I need to get as many ActionThis sign-ups as possible. If I get more than anyone else in the company I… I mean my kids get the Wii!

All you need to do is sign up for a FREE trial of ActionThis using the Referral code INT413. When the trial is over it will automatically downgrade to the FREE plan. Of course you may choose to pay and continue with the premium features!

Click here for the free trial.
and remember to use the Referral code INT413.

Oh, and tell all your friends! 

So, are you interested to know what “Air Legends” features/bugs I’m working on?  I’m using ActionThis for Sharky’s Air Legends.  Any time you want to see what I’m working on next, just take a look at my “What I’m working on” page here.  (thanks to my good friend Jeff for the fine ActionThis widget)

Got a feature request or bug?  Assign an Action Item to – that’s me.

Introducing ActionThis – get stuff done. go home early.

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007

As a personal blog, my posts tend to focus on personal things, hobbies etc…  I could blog a whole lot more, but I do tend to wait till there’s something people might be interested in actually reading! 

Reading this blog, you’d probably think all I do is XNA game development, occasional tutorials on the subject, and most notably journal my work-in-progress on the “Sharky’s Air Legends” game.

I do in fact have a day job.  Something has to pay the bills after all. And as we all know day jobs tend to take the majority of our precious time.

So breaking with tradition, I’m now going to introduce you to something very VERY cool that I’ve been developing in my day job.

At Intergen, I’m proud to be team-leading the software development of a great new product called “ActionThis“.

ActionThis - get stuff done. go home early.

It’s is a Web 2.0 application that simplifies working as a team. I’m sure you’re all familiar with this problem: “you go along to meetings, agree a bunch of action items, then nothing gets done?. We’re going to fix that, and then some more! Where Project Management is all about planing & tracking, we’re adding execution & recovery to the mix.

Exciting times, and we’re going to be launching world-wide later this year.  I’m not allowed to talk much about this right now, but you can signup for the newsletter and get on the beta.

Now I started by saying that said that this isn’t strictly XNA game dev related. But hell, I can’t think of a single reason why this wouldn’t suit teams of indy game developers working on the next great XNA game.

What’s coming in the next release of "Air Legends"

Thursday, May 10th, 2007

Once again, apologies for the quietness of the blog lately.  Life’s got exponentially busy lately.

While I may not have been blogging about it, I have actually been doing quite a lot to “Air Legends”. 

I still have some polishing and bug fixing to do before I can release, but here’s what I’ve been doing…

  • I’ve added a much requested Special Maneuver (aka. evade) feature!  I’m stoked about this.  It really makes the gameplay a lot more dynamic.  Essentially, using the Special Maneuver button you can trigger the plane to pull the maneuver.  Currently there are two maneuvers.  When climbing the plane will pull back into a verticle loop ending in a dive. When in a dive, the plane will pull up into a climb. So you end up with a 180 degree turn.  The two maneuvers blend into one 360 degree loop if you hold the button down.  Besides the variety this adds to the gameplay, the coolest thing is how the plane flys towards or away from the camera during the maneuver.  Including the bullets comin’ right at ya 3D stylez!  This also makes the maneuver a natural way of evading a collision if you time it right.  I plan to add maneuvers for horizontal flight (left & right).  I’m also planning to add the ability to make any maneuver a fake maneuver, so you can “fake out” your opponent, fool them into following and then counter attack. :p
  • I’ve added a geeky console option, to help me diagnose problems, even on release builds. The console is non-interactive at the moment, but overlays the text above the action while you play. It shows the conventional log of game events.  But my favourite feature is the unscrolling display of key game state, such as each plane’s position, rotation etc… I’m grateful for XNA’s new font support.  Pretty easy really.
  • I had to tweak some controls a little to make the Special Maneuver feature more accessible.

There’s probably more good stuff that I’ve forgotten.  Anyway,  I’m looking forward to releasing these new features soon.  Just got to fix the bugs I’ve introduced first!



Soul food + a new "Sharky’s Air Legends" release, BF109 included!

Monday, April 16th, 2007

Soul food

I recently revived another old hobby.  Surfing – the waves, that is. Actually Bodyboarding to be specific (which is why my gaming name is SharkBiscuit).

Anyway, this weekend the surf was absolutely pumping here in Wellington, New Zealand.  I went out both days and I’m stoked, and still buzzing.  Soul food.

A funny thing happened on the Saturday session.  I paddled out, caught one great wave, and the waves inexplicably stopped coming.  Must have been a good 20-30 minute wait before any worthy sets came through again.  During that time I got chatting with another surfer.  Inevitably, we discussed the option of paddling in closer to shore for some smaller waves.  Of course, we both realised that as soon as one of us did, a big set would roll in and we’d regret it.  Murphy’s Law/Sod’s law, whatever you call it.  Still, it got to the point where with nothing to surf I started getting pretty cold. I said to the guy, “You know, I’m gonna paddle in for some small dribbly surf, so that you guys don’t have to (because the big sets would surely start rolling in then) I’ll take the hit for the team. Y’know, for the greater good ‘n all”. yada yada yada.

So I did, and sure enough the big sets started rolling in again, and everybody was happy.  No regrets - I needed the exercise anyway.

It got me thinking though…

Here am I holding off on releasing my most exciting ”Air Legends” release yet.  Preferring to wait for Microsoft to release their latest and greatest XNA framework first.

So I’ve decided I’m going to invoke “Sods Law” once again, and take the hit for the team.  I’ll release early after all.  If the XNA release comes shortly afterwards then so be it.  You’ll all be able to thank me!


Get my best release ever… here.

(I’ll release an XNA version just as soon as it comes out and I’ve done any conversions.)

Acceptable texture sizes, "Air Legends" progress, XNA Screenshot code snippet, yada yada yada…

Thursday, February 8th, 2007

Ultrahead has blogged a wee post seeding some discussion on acceptable texture sizes. Already some good info there in the comments, so definitely one to watch.

“Air Legends” progress…

Lately I’ve been looking at making a proper Installer for “Air Legends”. C# express does not seem to have Installer projects, and I am not a fan of Visual Studio 2005’s installer projects. So I’m currently looking at using Microsoft’s Windows Installer XML (aka. “WiX”).

Shawn Hargreaves helped me solve the problem with my “not ready for public consumption” screenshot feature in “Air Legends”. As it turns out, it actually renders fine on some hardware, but not others. The solution at the moment is not to save in an image format that supports transparency. BMP format works fine. It’ll be fixed in the next release…sometime…when it feels right.

Screenshot code snippet…

Meanwhile here is my screenshot saving code… (more…)

XNA Community pimpage: Shout-out to Ultrahead’s blog!

Thursday, February 1st, 2007

Greeting earthlings.

I’ve been meaning to do this for a while actually.  Ultrahead’s provided me personally a lot of feedback, help & ideas for my own XNA adventures.

Check out his “Do as I say, not as I do …” blog.

He frequently blogs answers to things I haven’t even got round to searching for.  But there’s more to it than just XNA stuff.  Animation, movies, shameless pimpage of Sharky’s blog!  ;)

This one particularly caught my eye…

“TIP: Deploying games to the 360 without sharing source code”

Once again he’s saved me the trouble of actually reading the forums!  Now all I need is a 360!!!


Thanks Ultrahead.

December’s here (in NZ)! Quick update & news from the XNA world

Friday, December 1st, 2006

Yes, I’m still here.

The relative silence is because lately I’ve been far too busy at both work & play.

I’d like to say the “play” has all been XNA, but I’ve been enjoying Battlefield 2142 a bit too much for that.

What I have done is add the “skywriting” feature (my 6 year old daughters idea) to my “Air Legends” game. Basically the plane puffs out red smoke trails while you press a particular button, so you can do lovely pacifist pictures in the sky. ;)

A very easy feature to do with some tweaks to my existing smoke particle system.  So a nice quick win on the progress front. 

It’s certainly not a historically accurate feature, but that’s why it’ll be presented like a seperate game mode with no enemy aircraft. (actually it should probably be a different themed game altogether).  Anyway, doing the menu for it is taking longer than the feature itself. Go figure.

XNA news

It’s December at last.  So not long to go now for the Full release of XNA.  December 12th, I believe.

David “LetsKillDave” Weller posts some exciting news that the migration of code built on XNA Beta 2 to the Full release, should be relatively painless.

Those of you that are fearing the RTM version of XNA will result in the same kind of pain as the Beta 1 to Beta 2 transition, take heart.  There are VERY few API changes this time around.  All the “beta 2″ code that I’ve tested so far has worked without needing code modification (or very minor modification).  Those of you that have invested time in writing Beta 2 games or tutorials will most likely find your code works perfectly.

He also introduces us to another great XNA resource. Michael Anderson’s blog is putting out some very cool info with source code included. 

Check out “Manders vs. Machine“.  Definately one to follow.

The XNA game Video Montage is here

Thursday, November 9th, 2006

Especially for JD, I will try to reduce the number of Exclamation marks & capitalised words placed in this post.  ;)

Microsoft have produced an impressive wee video showing off some of the cool stuff people are doing with XNA.

I’m stoked to say my game features.  They even dubbed some conceptual sound on for me, so I better get busy and make that a reality.  (no sign of my nice smoke effects, so I’m guessing they used an older build)

So if you thought my game was a little perty, just wait till you see some of the other stuff folk have been doing.  Truely stunning.

David Weller of LetsKillDave has the sweet details here.

p.s.  a higher resolution video will follow, but for now it’s a fairly small “Zune” sized one.