brandorf.com The everyday ramblings of one nerd.

25Apr/09

Gold 2 : Electric Boogalo

Well, I just realized that I forgot to mention it, but Task Manager is done. You can head over and learn more about it at http://www.teamrecursive.com

We all hope you enjoy the game, we worked very hard on it.

Some other games from my graduating class:

http://www.runningincircles.org/
http://dystopiangames.com/

9Apr/09

Book Review: Racing the Beam

51dk8vvgetl_ss500_As my technical skill grows I'm always a bit more disappointed at the Computer/Programming book section at any local book store. Years ago I would have found most of the selection fascinating or, at the very least, new. However, Full sail has greatly expounded on both my technical knowledge and my book collection, such to the point that there's really nothing for me at the bookstore anymore.

Luckily, all three of the book sellers at GDC had some wonderful books that I had never seen before, and some of them were brand new. Racing the Beam was one of the books that I crammed into my bag to take home with me. Racing the Beam serves both as a history of the Atari 2600 platform, but also an account of how some of the bizarre hardware constraints of the system shaped the fledgling art of game design.

Its quite enjoyable to read the sort of "war stories" that come from working on games or any sort of technical or design challenge. And the fact they they were able to do anything at all with such incredibly frugal hardware specs is laudable. The 'lowest' platform I've ever worked with is the Gameboy Advance, which is an absolute powerhouse in comparison. The 2600 does not have a framebuffer meaning not only do you have to manually redraw the screen every frame, but since you lack the framebuffer, you have to do it as the TV's electron gun was scanning across the tube, taking care that whatever calculations you needed to do happened when the electron gun was resetting its position either horizontally or vertically (hence "racing the beam"). Also mind boggling is that the system only had 128 bytes of ram, to help you put that into perspective, the total number of bytes of raw text I've written so far for this entry is over 1700 bytes.

It was both enlightening and inspiring to read about the devious hardware trickery that went in to some of the early Atari games. Perhaps because I enjoy reading about other people being clever. This book is supposed to be the first in a series, so I look forward to whatever platform they do next.

Better insight into the book itself at wired.

The book on Amazon

Filed under: Books, Programming No Comments
5Mar/09

Another Alpha Milestone

Task Manager has just passed its 'Alpha' milestone today.  Things are going rather well.  We have less than six weeks of development time left.  Innumerable bugs and 'not completely implemented' features left sure, but I'm confident now in what we will have as a final product.  I'll be updating the project webpage as soon as I figure out what exactly I should put up there.

trtcredits_image1 trtcredits_image2

13Feb/09

Post-process glow in a GLSL shader.

As the render monkey for my final project team, I've been doing extensive research as to some interesting techniques with which to make our game pretty. I'm pretty proud of the effect I just finished, so I figured I'd share it with you.

This is the model for our scout unit, with his post-process glow effect turned on:

Very Tron, eh?  Well that's where this sort of effect came from, the Gamasutra article about the Real-Time glow effects used in Tron 2.0.  The Specifics as to how this effect was constructed is an article for another time, as it is pretty complex, and I want some time to refine the effect.

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