Mirlixs thoughts Programming, gamedeveloping and the rest


Unity3D Tips #1 : Unity and svn

We are in the middle of finishing our game play prototype for Caravan, in another post I will write a post mortem on how it was to give up my student job in exchange for developing a game with some friends. Just now I wanted to change a small token of knowledge we discovered today.

When working with Unity3D and version control, it can get ugly sometime. But we got it working using the official manualĀ  found at http://unity3d.com/support/documentation/Manual/ExternalVersionControlSystemSupport.html .

This works create but we had some problems with the optional seventh step, it didnt work, because no editor was set. When we change propedit to propset an explicit target was missing. What worked in the end was svn propset svn:ignore "*" PathToProject\Library

With this we now have a clean commit window making developing a lot less painful. Hope this helps some of you.


The next level

After a long time silence I would like to announce that I'm moving my game development hobby to the next level. Starting with December I will no longer work at the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research and start working on my first commercial game, in the mean time I will live from my saving. Depending on my spending we will have around 6 month to publish this game, otherwise I will need to look for a new source of income. I dont know where this experiment will lead, but Im excited about all the possibilities which lay ahead.

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My book was reviewed for the first time, the review can be found here. This review and a lot of feedback I got directly tell me that I have written a book which can help people start using Ogre3D without much hassle and that the writing style is clear and my points can be understood. So all in all I have done what I wanted to do and thats whats most important to me. Any other options of the book are welcome, just comment or write me a mail.

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Writing a book

I just received a printed copy of the book I wrote. I will use this post to describe what I learnt while writing a book and try to give some tips which might help you when you are thinking about writing a book yourself.

Writing a book was a rewarding task but also quite demanding. I had a rather tight schedule and also had to study and work for my part time job besides trying to keep my social life, so I had to keep a lot of different things ,which happened side by side, in my mind, which taught me how to multitask and also showed me once again how important a good calender synced with your mobile-phone is, otherwise I probably would have forgotten most of my appointments. Keeping to the schedule itself wasnt such a problem, but rather the constant nagging in my brain that I should work on the book instead of going out with friend/playing a game/reading a book was unnerving. Thankfully I have this part of the process behind me and now Im eagerly waiting to hear the first responses from readers.

I learnt a lot during writing this book. The most important thing was that writing the text itself is quite easy, what is a lot harder is to come up and implement examples to show the point you want the reader to understand. Creating a good example and making the code complete and understandable at the same time is difficult. For me the best way was to start with an easy example and then use this example to create the more complex ones, this way the new examples are based on something the reader already know and the reader can see what exactly has changed from the last example to this one. The book has over 100 examples and they all come from around 4 different source examples.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you cant read your text often enough, each time I reread a page I found some errors and sentences I wasnt satisfied with, also look at your graphics and diagrams, errors there are a lot harder to spot then in text itself, especially if there isnt a spelling mistake but an error in the graphics.

An interesting thing I noticed was that like many others I didnt allocate a fixed time frame in which I wrote my book. I knew when my deadline was and after the first two chapters I could guess how long I would need for the next chapter, so I just worked on the book when I was in the mood, of course when a deadline was near I had to work even when I wasnt really into it, but most of the time I was able to finish the chapter only using time where I was really motivated to do so, which I hope helped to quality of the book.

And now for a bit of advertising the link to the book : https://www.packtpub.com/ogre-3d-1-7-beginners-guide-for-real-time-3d-applications/book

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Devmania 2010

After several month of preparations the Devmania 2010 is now over. Devmania is a conference/meeting for German speaking hobby game developer. There are project presentations, talks about different topics and of course the overnight contest where a theme is given and the participants have around 20 hours to create a game. I was one of the main organizer for the Devmania for the second year and will be for the third year. All in all it was a lot of work and fun to organize the Devmania, besides the first two hours where our beamer wasnt working or rather the connection cable was damaged. After this the event went as smoothly as it could and I had enough time to talk to several people I havnt seen since the last Devmania.

Organizing such a big event is quite demanding but rewards one with a lot of fun, praise and experience. In the last two years organizing this event I learnt how to calculate food for around 100 people, how to get speaker, create a time table and then change this time table completely because some speaker dont show up, other speaker want a certain time slot and after the start of the event some people come and want to also give a talk. The result is that our printed time tables where outdated 5 minutes after the the event had started and then changed every other hour. But it worked out in the end and each person who wanted to give a talk could give one.

I also was in the jury which ranked the overnight contest entries and we had a lot of create games created and all where interesting and used the given theme "moonlight" in their own unique way. Its always fantastic to see what a few people can create in just 20 hours, the only downside of being in the jury is I cant participate in the contest myself :) .

Also a lot of great projecst where shown in the course of the event, most of the talks I couldnt see because I was running around to keep the event running, but luckily we taped all talks so I can see them later. I didnt had a chance to sleep during the event so I slept for 13 hours afterwards and now Im quite fit again.

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The end is near

Today the rewriting for the book begins and hopefully will be finished before the next semester starts. If all goes well the book will be published in December, right for the Christmas sales :) .

Writing a book was a really great experience, but all these deadlines, each chapter had its own, where a bit annoying and Im happy that this phase is over now. Also I have noticed a drop in my grades and I have even failed one exam and I think it is because I concentrated a lot on the book and not enough on my studies, but in my opinion it was worth it. I learned a lot not only about Ogre3D but also how to organize work that is regularly due. All in all it is a lot easier for me now to write English texts and hopefully this will help my in my thesis.

Right now Im eagerly waiting for the day when I can hold a printed copy of the book in my hands.

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Ogre3D Tutorials

In the last year of my school I wrote a paper on how to use video games to teach programming in school. Here you can download this paper and also five tutorials for Ogre3D which where an byproduct of this paper, all the content is in German so be warned :)

Here a link to the static site where the tutorials will be until later this year my own Ogre3D book is released and this will be in english

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Mayagarden and Unity3D

I work on a small game named Maya Garden and the first prototype is almost finished. This is the first project with Unity3D and up until now the experience has been rather pleasant. Of course there are some things to learn and even small details that drove me insane at the beginning, but now its a pleasure to work with Unity. After this game I will work on a small 3D game, after this I will be able to judge the complete pipeline and functions of Unity, but I think Unity will keep the good work up, so no worries here.


Hello world!

And here it starts, I will try posting regularly , but I wont promise anything ;)

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