Friday, December 29, 2006

HAVE A HAPPY NEW YEAR 2007 ...

Well, the same as last week: I won't be publishing any new posts till next Thuesday so I just want to wish you all have a Happy New Year 2007 !!!

See you next 2007 ... ;)

PROBLEMS WITH FULLSCREEN MODE IN XNA?

Some members of the XNA community (including me) have experienced problems with XNA games when running on fullscreen mode -in particular, I have a GeForce 6600 GT card.

The problem: when a XNA game tries to get/set the presentation parameters for accepted fullscreen modes, it takes the list of rates accepted by the gfx card and in some cases uses the higher one -for instance, like 240 Hz on 800x600. Phewww! So you will see nothing more than a black screen and your monitor trying to warn you that something is attempting to set an invalid refresh rate.

The workaround: if the user forgot to (or cannot) forbid any rate above the maximum accepted vertical retrace on the gfx card, just catch the "PreparingDeviceSettings" event and then set a common rate like 60 or 72 Hz. How? In the class that derives from "Microsoft.Xna.Framework.Game" class, add the following line (say, within the constructor):

graphics.PreparingDeviceSettings += new EventHandler<PreparingDeviceSettingsEventArgs>(MyMethod); // "graphics" is a reference previously instanced as "GraphicsDeviceManager(this)" usually in the same constructor

Then add the following method in the same class:

private void MyMethod (object sender, PreparingDeviceSettingsEventArgs args)
{
args.GraphicsDeviceInformation.PresentationParameters.FullScreenRefreshRateInHz = 60; // for instance, or 70, 72, 75, etc.
}

I've modified the code of games like Rocket Commander and Wildboarders and it all works great!

Let's hope Sharky modifies Air Legends soon so that I can finally play the game.

Enjoy!

XNA: COUPLE OF NEW FRAMEWORKS

I was wondering lately what had happened with Visual3D.Net's CTP -due to be released this month, so I directed my browser ro V3D's forums so as to get some answers -which I did not, but for my surprise someone posted a couple of links to new XNA-targeted frameworks: "3D Evolution" and "XNA Magic".

To be honest, I didn't have time to browse 3D Evolution's site as much as I did for XNA Magic's one -I promise I will sometime soon, so I will talk about the latter in this post.

XNA Magic looks pretty cool. It reminds me of "Unity" (for MAC). The demo videos do a great job on showing off what this framework has to offer.

So, pay a visit to both frameworks' site and compare them while we still wait for V3D's CTP (c'mon guys, hurry up!).

More later.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Saturday, December 23, 2006

MERRY CHRISTMAS ...

Well, I won't be publishing any new posts till next Thuesday so I just want to wish you all a Merry Christmas !!!

Let's hope Santa brings peace and prosperity to those in the world who need them ...

XNA - PART 2 VIDEO

You wanted it, you've got it!

The second part of this series is showing in detail not only some of the games we are all already aware of, but new ones that you -like me- may have never heared of until now.

XNA GSE v1 is just the beginning ...

NVIDIA GEFORCE 8800 LAUNCH EVENT VIDEO

Published on GameTrailers.com, the video shows a few but still impressive images of what the new card has to offer to gamers and why not, developers.

If the computer-hardware industry continues to grow like this, and users eventually buy this powerhouses, techinques like static lightmapping may become an antique.

Coming next: XNA - Part 2 ...

Thursday, December 21, 2006

RECOVERING VISUAL C# EXPRESS' PROJECT TEMPLATES

After installing XNA GSE v1 I happened to find that the project templates that come by default with the express version of VS C# - that is, Windows Application, Class Library, Console Application, etc. - had vanished from the IDE's templates browser ... :(

My first desperate move was uninstalling and reinstalling the whole thing (of course, after a very laoud scream of terror), but before jumping to a pool where maybe there was no water at all, I though (and look how clever I am): "Weeelllll! Maybe it's time to watch some TV ...", but adding almost instantly: "... but first let's do some search on MS's forums so as to get some answers, put the blame on someone else and common daily things like that ...".

For my surprise I found not one but two threads related to a similar issue which gave me a relevant hint on the workaround. And as we are approaching Christams Eve I'm going to share with all of you ...

The solution is simple, just execute the following line -either through the command shell (cmd.exe) or browsing your windows explorer to "start > run":

"%vs80comntools%\..\..\common7\ide\vcsexpress.exe" /installvstemplates

Of course you'll have replace "%vs80comntools%\..\..\common7\ide\vcsexpress.exe" with the correct path to "vcexpress.exe" in your local machine.

Although it all should work, it may occur a catch: the templates might still be missing according to the IDE's templates browser (this happened in my case, meaning, another scary scream). No sweat! If you open the folder where "vcexpress.exe" is located you will also find a folder named "VCSExpress", right?

If you don't, contact your local administrator, who will recommend you to (un/re)install everything.

If you did, open "ProjectTemplates" folder and then "1033" folder so as to find at least 4 zip files (usually 6) containing the missing templates. Copy these zip files to "ProjectTemplates", run again the above-mentioned command line and voilá! The IDE now recognizes all of the installed project templates.

It seems that XNA GSE installation process changes the "cache" file located in a folder named "ProjectTemplatesCache" in a way that all of the project templates installed within the "ProjectTemplatesCache\1033" folder are disregarded.

Thus, after applying the workaround commented in this article you will find the recovered templates duplicated in the "ProjectTemplatesCache" folder (that is, 6 inside and 6 outside the "1033" folder) until a MS's team fixes future installers of upcoming XNA GSE versions ... ;)

See ya!

XNA GSE: UK LAUNCH

On10.Net has published a video covering the UK Launch of XNA Games Studio Express which includes an interview to Chris Satchell as well as some scenes of high-quality games that show off the power of the framework.

Stay tuned ...

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

XNA: MORE VIDEOS

Channel 9 has published "The Best XNA Movie in the UNIVERSE" ... or at least they claim they have ... ;)

... well, anyway, the video covers the official XNA launch event, so you'll find interesting interviews with the guys we can thank for bringing to life this baby named "XNA GSE" as well as some community members that attended the meeting.

On GameTrailers.com you'll also find a video new covering XNA GSE -in line with previous videos available on this regard at GT's site- with more interesting interviews: XNA - Part 1. This video can be also found on YouTube with some other XNA-related videos.

Watch this space ...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

JOSEPH BARBERA DIES AT 95

More sad news for the comics industry: "December 18, 2006 - The other shoe has fallen. Joseph Barbera, co-founder of Hanna-Barbera and co-creator of such favorite anmation characters as Huckleberry Hound, The Flintstones, Yogi Bear, Scooby-Doo and The Jetsons, died of natural causes at his home with his wife, Sheila, at his side, in Studio City, California, today, Dec. 18, 2006, according to Warner Bros. spokesman Gary Miereanu."

My most sincere condolence to Barbera's family and friends.

No more posts for today.

['Tom and Jerry' is one of my favorite cartoons of all times.]

Friday, December 15, 2006

TWO INTERESTING ARTICLES ABOUT XNA GSE

Yeap. It's true ...
  1. New Opportunities Offered by XNA: interview to Lionhead Studios boss, Peter Molyneux -by GameIndustry.biz.
  2. XNA In-Depth: 4-page interview to Microsoft's Dave Mitchell -by Gamasutra.
See ya.

MY FIRST GRAPHIC AD: REALM CRAFTER

Wow! I'm excited ... I have witnessed the appearance of a graphic ad in my blog: "Realm Crafter - Make Your Own MMORPG". Sometimes it shows up at the top-left corner of the side bar.

It's very difficult to get those kind of ads even if you set "Only graphic ads". Believe me ...

This blog is going up in the world ... ;)

Anyway, Realm Crafter is a framework that helps you create a Masive-Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG). Until this year-end (December 31st, 2006) you can buy the current version for only $65 and get the upcoming version 2 for free.

If you want to know more about this promotion visit RC's site as well as check out the public portions of its forums to see some screenshots and read some news related to version 2.

Later.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

DECEMBER 2006 DIRECTX SDK

Microsoft has released the latest SDK for DirectX.

Among what's new in the release you will find the official launch of DirectX 10.

I'm downloading it right now ...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

GREEN LANTERN CREATOR DIES AT 91

Sad news for the comics industry: "MIAMI - Martin Nodell, the creator of Green Lantern, the comic book superhero who uses his magical ring to help him fight crime, has died. He was 91."

My most sincere condolence to Nodell's family and friends.

"In brightest day, in blackest night, no evil shall escape my sight! Let those who worship evil's might, beware my power... Green Lantern's light!"

No more posts for today.

NEW ARTICLE ABOUT XNA GSE

GameIndustry.biz has published an interesting article with an interview to Chris Satchell -general manager of Microsoft's game developer group.

The interview covers the launch of XNA GSE plus future plans for it.

See ya.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

TORQUE X OPEN BETA AVAILABLE

Well, yes. It's true. I have received an email message from GarageGame notifying the availability of an open beta of TorqueX.

You can download and test the demo of it as well as pay a visit to the new forums areas related to this product.

Now, it's time for Visual3D.Net to come out, don't you think? Let's hope so ...

Later.

Monday, December 11, 2006

XNA GSE V1.0 RELEASED!!!

As you may already known -given the large amount of blogs' news pointing out the same- XNA GSE v1.0 is out. Check the official words from the XNA Team itself.

One question though, any news regarding the release of TorqueX? We are still on December 11th ...

Friday, December 08, 2006

XBOX 360: THE NEXT WAVE

I had forgotten this video -also available at GameTrailers.com- with more interviews to XBox360 product's managers covering some of the games published and to be published for this great console.

Ok, ok, this time I mean it! No more posts for today ... ;)

XBOX 360: BEYOND THE BOX

GameTrailers.com has also published a video with interviews to XBox360 product's managers who explain the new strategy on peripherals available for it: wireless technology.

I'm really a lazybones today, so this is it for one day!

A COUPLE OF NEW XNA VIDEOS

GameTrailers.com has published some interesting videos XNA-related:
  1. Rally X: "the classic racer hits Xbox Live Arcade and will have you grabbing flags to complete stages", and
  2. Tank Buster: "wreak havoc on the skies up above in this game created using the XNA software".

I don't know whether this one relates to XNA or not, but I like it: Mutant Blasting: "blast away in this sequel to the Live Arcade shooter".

Also, high-definition videos are available for the above-mentioned three -just do a little search 'cause I'm lazy enough today to avoid posting the links.

Enjoy!