Business at the speed of game production: OpenGL or XNA?

Business at the speed of game production: OpenGL or XNA?

A common start ups question in the gaming industry is : Which graphical environment should we use ? As time is money, a crucial factor in a choice is time: not only the time it takes to build complete games with each API but also a fluid timing during the gaming experience to make it enjoyable. In this analysis, we compare the OpenGL industry standard to the Microsoft XNA game framework on the speed factor. The study includes learning curve, programming, modeling and rendering speeds on both sides....

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Phidgets: First Steps In Robotics?

Phidgets: First Steps In Robotics?

Phidgets are a set of "plug and play" building blocks, some low-cost electronic components that you can control from your personal computer via USB. They provide you with some extra input/output methods beyond the classic mouse + keyboard + screen. As Harold Thimbleby mentioned in his book Press On, phidgets are a very nice way to get into hardware programming, as you may want to build real systems, not on screen or web browser simulations : phidgets are so-called because they are the physical equivalent of on-screen widgets (Windows Gadgets). Phidgets = Physical + Widgets (Widgets = Windows + Gadgets) Where to find them ?...

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How to Debug a Windows Service in Visual Studio

How to Debug a Windows Service in Visual Studio

When you create a Windows Service project under Visual Studio, you may have noticed that the following dialog box appears when you try to run the service. In summary, it is simply impossible to run a windows service in Visual Studio, you must necessarily go through the NET START command to start the service after having previously installed it with the command INSTALLUTIL. Except that this method prevents us from easily debugging the Windows Service. As a matter of fact, to debug our code, we must install the service, start it, then link the debugger to the relevant service process from Visual Studio. And by the way, let's keep in mind that we will also have to stop, recompile and restart the windows service in order to load up any change we make to the code. In short, it's kinda annoying. There is a simpler solution though....

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On reading books and self-education: My Essentials

There are a lot of great skills you get from school/university lectures, no doubt. But on the other hand, for some specific and practical "super powers" you want to acquire or enhance, you have no other choice but teach yourself. The potential reasons are legion. That could happen by mere interest or if you want to deepen your knowledge in one of your subjects. Or maybe for the sake of personal projects, say learning some essential life skill they don't teach you in class. So yes, when college doesn't prepare you for life battles, you have to coach yourself. Anyway, I am not here to complain about any education system. I am writing this post because I would like to share the best and most useful books I went through, as I have been reading a lot lately. I read on a variety of fields and for each of them I am suggesting the top books (according to my humble opinion). Here we go:...

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Why I like C# so much

If you are not into programming, I need to start by telling you that a programming language is basically an artificial language (system of communication) designed to communicate instructions to a machine, typically a computer. Now there are a lot of programming languages out there. Some are more popular than others, some are more recent, some are more powerful to some extent. In an ideal world, each programming language serves a specific purpose. So an engineer should be able to adapt to the on going project and choose the optimal technologies. But the truth is,...

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8 reasons why you would enjoy being a programmer

8 reasons why you would enjoy being a programmer

If you are a programmer, there are probably a lot of reasons that motivate you to do what you do. I hope you find here some more motivations. If you want to be a programmer, you may find here some more reasons to go for that awesome path. However, I guess I am writing this mainly for those who don't know what to do with their life. Here are some clues about a job that is fun, useful and satisfaying to many extents. From the top of my mind, here are 8 reasons why you would enjoy being a programmer. I hope this inspire you. 1. Programming makes your dreams come true. When you understand programming, you can give life to your thoughts by applying them to real life. You can litterally create things....

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Dual Shock 3 - Part 1: History of game controllers

Dual Shock 3 - Part 1: History of game controllers

This study is about a device which is probably the best joypad of all times: the Dual Shock. It has many variants and we can expect it to keep evolving in the coming years, however, we will focus here on the current version, the Dual Shock 3. In this article, we will go through the history of the game controller in general and then focus on the history of the Dual Shock itself, so that we understand in which context and how it was built. In a next part, we will then analyse the controller by studying its specifications and comparing it to its most direct competitor, the Xbox 360 controller. Basics There are many categories of game controllers, among which we will retain the most popular one, the gamepad, as that’s exactly what the Dual Shock is. Gamepads, also known as joypads, can have many action buttons combined with one or more omnidirectional control sticks or buttons. They are held using both hands with fingers (typically thumbs) used to provide input; as mentioned on Wikipedia, most modern game controllers are a variation of a standard gamepad. Common additions include shoulder buttons placed along the edges of the pad, joysticks, centrally placed buttons and internal motors that provide haptic feedback (as in, they typically vibrate). Some history In his article intituled “History of the game controller”, Catalin Ivan stated “Ever since the very beginning of video gaming, the controller has been the best (and usually the only) way of man-machine interaction.” That’s actually an interesting fact, and it would be good to follow the evolution from that “very beginning” to see how we reached the current gamepad technologies. There had actually been many, many gamepads released throughout the history, we are not going to study all of them, we are just going to review those who appear like important milestones that we observed from a study by John Honnibal and that we are summing up in the following table:...

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Launching Your Application At Windows Startup Without Hacking The Registry

In this post I will show you two methods to configure your .NET applications so that they would launch as soon as Windows starts. These two methods do not require any change to the registry, hence you don't need to worry about cleaning up that database if the user uninstalls your application. The first method: From the Windows Installer Deployment Project, follow these steps:...

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Paper Prototyping

Paper Prototyping

Last week, I had to make a paper prototype for a mobile application I was working on. I ended up building a quite nice thing (picture above) but at the beginning I was not sure about how to go about it. So I just thought I would write about it to share how I proceeded....

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