Monday, December 29, 2008

ActionScript 3.0

I'm having a fun time converting Brainiversity from ActionScript 2.0 to ActionScript 3.0. There are a lot of little things that are different between the two versions, so I have a bit of work to do to get things up and running again.

But it will be worth it. AS3.0 has a lot of benefits over 2.0 and I love the fact that the language has stronger error checking - especially when it comes to catching mispelled variables - which I do a lot.

Oh, and I'm loving the iMac even more. Being able to see my Flash screen layout AND my Actionscript code at the same time is awesome. I love 24 inch monitors! And thefact that Apple fonts seem to be a lot easier to read helps a lot too.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Moving to the Mac

I set up my iMac on Christmas Eve and have been using it for just over a day now. It's amazing how quickly you just "click" with OS X. There are a lot of little differences to Windows that take some time to get used to, but we're talking a day at most.

Stuff like:
  • The command key is used instead of the CTRL key to cut, paste and copy.
  • The Menu bar (with File, Edit, etc) is actually disconnected from each app. Luckily I always kept my menu bar at the top of the screen in Windows - as I was wanted to keep it this way when I moved to Windows from the Amiga. So the Mac feels just right with the menu bar at top!
  • The close button (a little red X in a circle) on each app doesn't actually quit the app, just closes the window. And these buttons are to the left, not right of the app.
  • You use option arrow key to navigate a word at a time, not CTRL arrow key.
  • Installing software requires you to drag the application into the Application folder. Once you get used to this concept it makes the Windows way seem really, really complicated. All my apps are in my Application folder. How simple is that?
But there are so many amazing things straight out of the box that make you say "Man, this is so simple and obvious - I new Windows was bloated and complicated, but I didn't quite realize it until now."

Stuff like:
  • The Dock is a graphic representation of all your favorite apps on the bottom of the screen. Click once to launch. It's easy to add and remove favorite apps. Active apps have a light below them and the mail app will bounce to let you know you have new mail.
  • The Finder is a cool piece of software that lets you find any app, document, photo or movie within seconds.
  • The Mac environment is so simple - and Finder makes it really easy to navigate. You have Devices and Places. Devices are hard drives, external stuff like iPods and cameras. Places is where your stuff is - it consists of the desktop, your home, applications and documents. Just click on one of these to see the contents - and you can view the contents as lists, icons or in cover flow. Unlike Vista which I have on my laptop and still find it hard to navigate, with OS X I just know where everything is. Amazing!
  • The iMac comes with so much cool software pre-loaded like iTunes, iMovie, Garage Band, iChat, Safari, etc.
  • In the Finder you can see all your documents and quickly search for things using the search bar. And you simply have to click on a doc then hit the SPACE bar and you see the contents of the doc instantly. No loading Word or PowerPoint - it just appears in a window for you to read. Magic.
  • It's blisteringly fast to power on and power off (you can put it into sleep mode with one press of the Power button).
  • Expose is really cool. It lets you see all your open apps at once and choose the one you want. Vista has something like this but I could never work it out. On the iMac you just hit the F3 key to activate.
  • The number of cables is staggeringly small. You plug one power lead into the wall. You plug the keyboard into the monitor. You plug the mouse into the keyboard. That is it. No mess, no clutter. It also has a number of USB slots and other cable slots behind the monitor that are super easy to access - unlike most PC boxes.
So, I've migrated my docs, my mail and my music across. I've also moved my Flash environment over and downloaded the 30 day trial Mac version of Flash and everything works fine. I just have to cross-grade from my Windows license to a Mac license and I'm done.

I was going to install XP using Boot Camp, but at this stage I don't see the point. All my dev is done in Flash at the moment and if I need to create a Windows program I will boot up the old PC box.

Well, those are my thoughts after a day of use. I'll let you all know what I think in a weeks time!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all! I hope everyone is having a very happy holiday - and if you celebrate Christmas, then I hope you got some cool presents (and maybe a game or two).

So, keeping with the Yuletide spirit, here is a special Christmas Card...

PS. I'm writing this on my shiny new iMac I got for Christmas. It is truly cool. And shiny.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Some Fun Holiday Viewing

To celebrate the Christmas break, here are some fun holiday movies for you to enjoy!

First up is Game Damage, a video game TV pilot featuring Yahtzee, Yug and Matt.

Next is the Star Wars a capella... nerdy, yet cool.

Followed up by the opening credits to Heat Vision and Jack, an unaired Jack Black/Owen Wilson TV comedy.

And lastly, a cool indie game by ratloop called Mightier.

Mightier from Ratloop on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

New "Proverbs" game for Brainiversity

That's right folks, I've added a brand new game to the Facebook version of Brainiversity. It's called "Proverbs" and has you reconstructing famous proverbs out of a series of jumbled words, as illustrated below.

Simply click on the words in sequence to make the proverb.

I've also removed the 100 point cap on each game. It seems that a lot of people out there are waaaay smarter than I anticipated and are scoring 100% on a lot of games. So now the score is represented as an uncapped number. It will be interesting to see what sort of scores people start to get now!

Why don't you give it a go on Facebook Brainiversity by clicking here?

On a side note I was excited to see my friend Jody appear on the world leader board as this month's top Word Smith. I'm used to seeing people I don't know in the charts - so it's great to see a friend going head to head with some really smart people from all over the world! You go Jody!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

One stop site for gaming news goodness

I use to rely on Game Tab for all my latest gaming news in one place, but Alltop has a very good gaming page with feeds from lots of sites.  Check it out here!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Knytt Stories design tour

David Rosen of Wolfire Games has posted a Design Tour video of the whimsical Knytt Stories by Nifflas
After you watch the video, download the game frome here.  It's free and fun to play.

Monday, December 08, 2008


5th Cell have made some very interesting games on the Nintendo DS. Last year they released Drawn to Life, following that up with the Tower Defense inspired Lock's Quest this year.

And next year they will be releasing a game that sounds like it could be quite innovative indeed. That game is called Scribblenauts, and this time it's a puzzler for which the tag line is "Write. Anything. Solve. Everything."

The goal is to help the main character Maxwell reach Starites that are placed in each level. You do this by writing the name of an object which appears on the level for Maxwell to use. According to 5th Cell you can write anything. Football. Ladder. Shark. As long as it's suitable for kids and not trademarked, you can bring it into existance.

It sounds pretty exciting. I'll be interested to see how many real world objects they manage to cram into the DS.

In the meantime, you can find out more in this IGN interview.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Bug with Animal Crossing for the Wii

I'm a huge Animal Crossing fan and was excited to have picked up a copy today to play with my daughter. A big selling point of the game is that you can transfer your DS stuff to the Wii - and having played the DS version a lot, I was excited to get my cool DS gear into the game.

I followed the on screen instructions, downloaded a program to my DS and ran it, but got the following message:
An incorrect DS Game Card has been inserted. Please turn the power off, insert the Animal Crossing: Wild World DS Game Card and try again.
Right. So I rebooted the Wii, rebooted my DS and tried again. And again. And again. I even got my old school silver DS out and tried it. But no luck.

So, I went off to the internet to find out what was up and thanks to these forums I discovered that the Aussie version of the DS game is actually a US version, and that the Wii game (which is a UK version) will only work with the UK DS cart.

It's already hit the news, so I'm hoping Nintendo patches the game - and soon! This is a big feature - it's mentioned on the box and the game actually asks you if you want to do it in the opening sequence.

If it's not fixed soon I imagine there are going to be a lot of frustrated kids (and adults) in Australia this Christmas...

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Keynote Komplete!

I did a keynote on Wednesday at this years Interactive Entertainment conference here in Brisbane.  I spoke about the impact of researchers and academia on game development.  

While researching the topic I uncovered a lot of interesting facts about the early years of game development and was surpirsed at how many of today's genres were defined in a university setting - from RPG's to FPS's - it's eye opening.

I'll post up some of my notes with links later.