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IfThen Software

Development log for IfThen Software. IfThen Software is a family owned and operated indie game development company. http://www.ifthensoftware.net/

Author: InvisibleLf

Newsletter #6 - Mibbit and a New Section

Posted by InvisibleLf Tuesday October 28 2008 at 9:12PM
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Cross-posted from members.gamedev.net/ifthensoftware/journal/

News

We have added a new section to the newsletter entitled "Community Spotlight". This section is written by members of our community and will discuss current topics and events.

And while we are on the subject of sections, the Dev Demo Report has been removed until development on Loradon 3.0 resumes. We are expecting this to happen sometime next month (who knew a simple chess game could take so long to create).

The IfThen Software forums (www.ifthensoftware.net/forums/) have been upgraded with an IRC client at the top of the main page. More information can be found in the community spotlight section.


From the Programmer
Written by Invisible

If you read last week's newsletter, you'll know that I was planning on upgrading the memory management system further by combining the custom safe pointer class I wrote with a central memory management class. It turned into more of a project then I was originally expecting, but ended up working correctly. I plan to make a small tweak to the memory management system, and hopefully I can get back to finishing the chess game with no more hiccups.


Community Spotlight
Written by Lee and Ace

As you may already know, from the newsletter two weeks ago, the Stick Adventures Online forum has been merged with the Loradon Online forum. As it was the SAO community which had to move to a new forum, some of the SAO members (Including me :P) have taken a while to get adjusted to the new forum. Merging the two forums, however, has allowed both the Loradon Online and SAO communities to merge together and get to know each other. Previously, this was only possible via IfThen Software's IRC channel. Both of the communities seem to have adjusted well to the forum merge, and are starting to get to know each other.

Another step towards allowing the community to interact and socialize easier is the implementation of an IRC client in the forums. The IRC client is embedded within the index of the forum, and allows members of the community to easily connect and start chatting amongst each other. The IRC client used is known as Mibbit and is easily accessible by anyone using the forum. This chat also allows people who may not wish to register to the forums or download an IRC client to casually chat, or contact Administrators and Moderators with inquiries about any of IfThen Software's games.

Newsletter issue #5

Posted by InvisibleLf Monday October 20 2008 at 7:34PM
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Cross-posted from members.gamedev.net/ifthensoftware/journal/

News

We have reached 39% overall progress on Loradon 3.0.

The Loradon 3.0 Progress Page is located at: www.ifthensoftware.net/loradon_online/progress/


From the Programmer
Written by Invisible

About the middle of last week, I redesigned the memory management system. jpetrie showed me a feature of classes that I did not know existed; the copy constructor, which opened up the possibility to track an object as it is passed around. He also gave me the idea to create a safe pointer class, which is what I ended up doing for about 3 days.

The safe pointer class is a template class that acts like a pointer. The difference is that it keeps track of how many references have been made to the allocated memory, and only deletes it once there are no more references. This is similar to my old system, but references are now added automatically whenever a "pointer" is copied by being passed to a function, returned by a function, or assigned to another pointer. I had been trying to find a way to do this before, and the copy constructor was the bit of information I was missing.

I plan to merge the "safe pointer" system and my previous "allocated memory manager" system. The safe pointer will register a new allocation with the memory manager, and will also notify the memory manager when a new reference to that memory has been added or removed. The memory manager will keep track of references (their ID and pointer) and handle deletion of a memory block once there are no more references to it. Having a central location where all blocks of memory are tracked will allow debug reports to be generated if need be.

Latest Dev Demo Report
Written by Invisible

No dev demo report this time either. We are expecting the dev demo reports to return next month though.

Newsletter issue #4

Posted by InvisibleLf Tuesday October 14 2008 at 11:08AM
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Cross-posted from members.gamedev.net/ifthensoftware/journal/

News

We have merged the Stick Adventures Online (www.ifthensoftware.net/StickAdventuresOnline) forum (which used to be on invisionfree.com) with our main IfThen Software board at www.ifthensoftware.net/forums/. The forums have also been given a new festive theme.

Ace, a member of our community and SAO moderation team, has released an IRC channel where you can read the current in-game Stick Adventures Online chatter. To talk to players in-game however, you will need to connect to the game like normal.

IRC Server: 69.59.199.16
Port
: 6667
Channel: #HAL


From the Programmer
Written by Invisible

I'm not sure if it was a bad idea to agree to this, but I am working on an online chess game for a chess tournament that a friend of mine is hosting. Since he needs it soon, I've been working on that for the past week instead of Loradon 3.0, but I've learned some interesting things along the way.

First off, creating another game from the ground up allowed me to try out new program designs. So far, I am liking the new structure of the code and I will probably convert Loradon 3.0 to the same structure at some point in time.

Secondly, I am writing a memory manager. This is something I have wanted to do for a while, but never really had time to do it.

A GDNet+ journal entry by ApochPiQ (www.gamedev.net/community/journals/) gave me the inspiration to try coding a memory manager for the new chess game, and so far it's going smoothly. The memory manager is contained in a single class and contains 2 structures, one to represent a block of allocated memory and another to represent a reference to that memory. I'm using linked lists for the allocated memory blocks and references, which is something new to me as I have never had to use them before. I "borrowed" the memory type idea from ApochPiQ to help with debugging, and will probably also apply it to references.


Latest Dev Demo Report
Written by Invisible

There wasn't a demo last week, so there won't be a dev demo report this time. Sorry people!

Newsletter issue #3

Posted by InvisibleLf Tuesday October 7 2008 at 2:53PM
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Cross-posted from members.gamedev.net/ifthensoftware/journal/

News

The formula used to calculate the overall percentage shown on the progress page (www.ifthensoftware.net/loradon_online/progress/) has been upgraded. It now takes into account how long each feature might take/did take to finish. This way a feature that was finished in 3 minutes will no longer affect the overall progress by the same amount as a feature that took a month to finish.

Because of this new formula, the overall progress is now at 33%. This is much more accurate then the 90% it was at previously. We got to 90% in a single month and finishing the remaining 10% would have taken a couple months or more.


From the Programmer
Written by Invisible

I got to jump in and fix some problems with the font engine last week and I'm glad I did. I was able to not only fix the problem, but I also made the code shorter and easier to read. The parameter list for the PrintText() function is still way larger then I think it should be, but at least it works for now.

On a possibly related topic; changing the parameter list for a function that is called over 300 times takes a very long time. The macro keys on this G11 keyboard really come in handy if you know how to use them right.


Latest Dev Demo Report
Written by Roarman

The October 3rd demo brought the testers some exciting new features to play with. Grouping got a small overhaul which made it more esthetically pleasing. It also got a lot easier to cast spells on your teammates; you no longer have to try and click on your group members while they are running around. The reply system was also enhanced, making it a lot easier to send replies.

As far as bugs go, we found one that allows you to move while casting a certain spell. It looked cool, but made mages way over-powered.

I didn't play long enough to find my usual long list of bugs due to personal time restraints, but that probably made the programmer happy. Looking forward to the next demo, but til then, over and out.