Monday, November 26, 2007

Which he then guided

OK, this is getting cooler and cooler, after a 30-minute session of watching another tutorial and then studying the code a bit so I understood it, I was able to give the model some speed and control it's direction in the XZ plane. Very cool! XNA is growing on me, and I can definitely see how you bypass a bunch of low-level coding by having a lot of helper classes already done. Of course these will add to the overhead, but I am not aiming to make the visuals as complex as Crysis or Far Cry, so I should be OK. "Should" is the key word here.

And on the second day, he made a model rotate

My investigation into XNA is going well. I found out some good video tutorials at the XNA Creators Club. The first one showed me how to get a model in your app and rotate it. The shot to the left is of a free Ferrari model I got from Turbo Squid rotating around it's Y axis and rendering at 60 frames per second. Not too shabby, considering it took me all of three minutes to get this done, from the moment I opened Visual Studio C# Express. Now, to the next tutorial... Oh, by the way, the frame counter on the top left is Fraps.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

And yet another programming twist

I spent the day yesterday reading about the possibility MS is going to release a managed API for DirectX10. Although that is not looking very promising (even though some inside the DirectX team state they are indeed working on it), I found out that XNA support and development seems to be on the rise. XNA is Microsoft's new API for creating games for Windows and the XBOX. The fact it includes the XBOX made me think this might not be a really good platform for a tower simulator which will run in Windows, but upon further reading, it seems that there's a lot I can benefit from this API. Several things you need for creating games, such as timers, access to graphics, audio, and input hardware, networking, etc., have been standardized and made available through XNA. It looks interesting enough that I am taking a look at it today. Oh, and what impressed me quite a bit was a short video of games made with XNA that I found in Michael Klucher's blog. Michael is one of the team members at XNA Game Studio. Time to roll my sleeves up and dig in...

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Reading material

So my language of choice will be C#. I am not 100% sure this will work as far as I can tell, but I like managed code a lot and feel it deserves a go at it. The graphics API of choice is DirectX. I have worked with OpenGL a little in the past, and chose DirectX simply to try and learn something new. Since I don't really know anything about this API, I am reading a couple of books that cover both C# and DirectX. One is Beginning C# Game Programming, a book written with humor, which I appreciate, and that covers the very basics of C# and then moves into DirectX. Another is Managed DirectX 9 Kick Start. Both use DirectX in its managed API, which is still non-existent in DirectX 10. I am not sure if Microsoft will publish a managed API for the latest version of DirectX, but once again, I am trying to stick with managed code. If it doesn't work, no worries, we move on to unmanaged DirectX. The dice are rolled, let's hope it's not snake eyes!

Testing posting from my email

Cool, apparently this works well.  This should allow me to post from mobile phones, in case I become obsessed to that point...

Welcome one and all!

Well, this is it! I have decided to bite the bullet and commit to creating a tower simulator. As a pilot and former Microsoft Flight Simulator user and add-on developer, I have always felt the lack of a good ATC Tower sim since the good old BAO Tower. Couple that with my interest in programming and here we are. I don't really know what else to say, since this is my first blog, but from reading other blogs I have learned one thing: I am not going to say "I'll try to update this as frequently as possible", as that seems to be pretty much an assurance that it won't happen. So, without making any promises, check back when you can and see if there's anything new.