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Quick Update

Posted: Tuesday, 2012-02-14 11:20 | Tags: Site, Programming

Hey guys, as I should be working at this time of the day, I'll keep this update very brief.

  • At beginning of the month I was at the FOSDEM 2012 which was quite interesting. Beyond others I heard a talk about Data-Driven and Component-Based Game-Entities which was quite interesting
  • As you might have noticed, there is some activity recently on github. Thanks to feedelli who started working on the dialog system, we now have a plan for 0.1
  • There where some problems for I don't know how long with commenting on articles, it should work again now, if not please drop me a mail.

Twitter feed

Posted: Wednesday, 2011-06-29 18:28 | Tags: Site

There is now an "inofficial" twitter bot for this blog in order to keep you updated on my (far too few) postings. Thanks dear anonymous creator ;)

Keepalive

Posted: Tuesday, 2010-09-07 09:52 | Tags: Site, Grail, Releases

Hey guys.

I know it was very quiet here in the past 2 months. Good news for me is that I really like my new job. Bad news for grail is that I don't have much time for it at the moment. That does not mean its dead though. For my part, the commit rate hos "only" slowed down remarkably.

zdctb also mentioned that he might have some more time to work on grail in the near future. However we'd prefer a more regular stream of updates. So if you're a C++ developer who always wanted to participate in an adventure game engine (or you know of one), don't hesitate to contact us!

For the holy grail!

IRC Channel

Posted: Saturday, 2010-07-03 17:45 | Tags: Site, Grail

Just got over it in my previous post: There is an IRC channel for Grail on Freenode now, its called #grail (creative, eh?). Feel free to join there for any questions/suggestions regarding grail or any other stuff related to me or this site.

Site updates

Posted: Saturday, 2010-07-03 17:24 | Tags: VIM, Site, Giga

Hey guys. I'm glad to announce that I finished my diploma thesis a few weeks ago and am now working at the TU Braunschweig as PhD student.

As I'm not sure yet how the regulations regarding publication are, I will not publish my thesis here yet (probably its not of much interest to any usual leetless reader anyways).

There are also some changes in the VIM Section: I removed lots of the older themes in order to focus on the real good ones. Also I'm proud to present a new theme, called PhD, hopefully its useful to someone.

Another thing, which I neglected to post for months now is that the Giga Mansion 2 adventure game project is dead. They used the Indiana engine (the predecessor of Grail) which I developed in parallel to the game. At first I wanted to wait until they announce the end of the project themselves which seemingly never happened. Nevertheless it had been fun working with these guys and really pushed the adventure game engine stuff forwards a lot.

And while I'm at it: Because of the diploma thesis there was some pause, but I managed to include OpenGL into Grail, which makes it run about 10 times faster (at least on my machine). Check out the OpenGL Branch if you want to try it. If during compiling there is no OpenGL found, the engine will be compiled with plain old SDL, so this can not come to anyones disadvantage.

Going to github

Posted: Monday, 2010-05-03 16:15 | Tags: Repository, Grail, Site

Currently data is being pushed to GitHub. I plan to let this run in parallel to the current self-hosted solution for a while and if it is good I'll shot down the self hosted git repository.

Reasons for github in favor of hosting the repository myself:

  • Wider audience
  • Integrated issue tracking system
  • My git web CSS is broken and I'm too lazy to fix it ;)

Check it out at The grail github repository.

Oh by the way, you may have noticed the latest commit is already a few days ago. That's because I'm currently very busy with university stuff. But don't you be afraid, I have no intent to give up this project. If you want to contribute though, it will probably advance somewhat faster :)

Feed problems

Posted: Monday, 2010-01-18 16:20 | Tags: Site

Sorry for the feed problems lately (wrong urls, complete feed gets pulled twice etc...). Should now be fixed.

In general: When you discover something doesn't work well/correctly, please report, I can only keep the site up with proper feedback.

libregamewiki.org linking (2 Comments)

Posted: Saturday, 2009-12-12 18:57 | Tags: Site, Grail

Grail is now findable on the Libregamewiki thanks to BAM, so another reason for me to spend more time on grail in the future.

Somebody feel like making CSS?

Posted: Thursday, 2009-12-10 13:38 | Tags: Web, Site

My current gitweb CSS looks terrible, the standard stuff doesn't fit very well into the rest of the page so I started this but I didn't really finish and now lost fun on it ;)

So if somebody feels like making the existing CSS more pretty/useable (or, if you prefer, creating a complete new set of CSS rules for the gitweb area) your help is very welcome, just drop me a mail.

"Relaunch" (3 Comments)

Posted: Saturday, 2009-11-21 14:24 | Tags: Site

I dunno why but I hate the word "relaunch". Maybe it's because it makes more fuss about the thing than its worth it.

Nevertheless, you might have already noticed some of the changes. To sum up:

  • Everything on the page except for the comment function is now static html, ie I post with creating text files in my git repository and running a html generation script, which I think is very cool/geeky.
  • I tried a new style, hope this one looks a little more serious/professional/friendly.
  • I cleaned up a bit, since I'm now moving towards "Grail" instead of "Indiana" (see previous post). So things like the indiana screenshots etc... are missing now partly because of lazyness and partly for a reason: I want to avoid yielding more confusion about Grail vs. Indiana then necessary. Some blog posts are missing too because I was to lazy to convert them, if you really miss something lemme know, but I think the most important ones should be there.

So that's it for now, stay tuned!

The thing with D (1 Comments)

Posted: Saturday, 2009-11-21 10:31 | Tags: Programming, Site, Giga, Atlantis, Releases, Indiana, Grail

Suddenly...

Some of you might already know, I experienced some severe/general problems with D compilers lately, namingly I ran into a situation where I was not able to find a D compiler(version) that would have no compiler bugs that influenced indiana and would run with phobos/d1. Another constraint was that we need one compiler on windows and one on linux (preferrably x86_64), both naturally being able to compile & link the same code.

I wont get in any further detail here, I just say: I really tried for about 2 full days and at least 8 compiler versions on 3 different platforms and I came to the conclusion that these were my options:

  • An old version of gdc I used until then had only one compiler bug that nulled a pointer in some circumstances, rendering "only" the serialization module (and thus the whole savegame system) unusable. I could have tried to stick with the old version and ship the code around the bug.
  • llvmdc would have been interesting to try, unfortunately it doesn't seem to support phobos, so for this maybe-solution a switch to tango or at least tangobos would have been necessary.
  • Take the newest available gdc/dmd and fix indiana that seemed to actually lay behind the current D1.0 "stable" language definition so the compilers would work with it. Note that the most current gdc releases (from sourceforge/goshaw) both couldnt even build phobos correctly (at least that day).
  • Do a complete rewrite in a different language with more stable toolchain.

I decided for the last one for a lot of reasons:

  • The incident that GDC didn't receive updates for at least a year (or so) while DMD did shows that the D community is not yet "mature"/"stable"/"big" whatever you wanna call it. I wouldn't call the D community "unreliable", but at least for gdc you never know what you get.
  • A complete rewrite offers some interesting opportunities of restructuring the code, kicking some old mistakes that werent worth the effort to do it up to now.
  • When I started with indiana in D, I didn't plan the lua part from the beginning, now when rewriting I can keep it in mind and/or do it on the way.

So which language did I choose?

Well it had to be a language that runs at least on windows and linux, allowed relatively easy usage of SDL and lua on those platforms, could somehow produce binaries for easy distribution on windows and needless to say that I'm now looking for a big community.

This, and my knowledge of languages in mind (learning a complete new one would cost lots of additional time), there weren't many options:

  • C#/other .NET stuff, possible, but I'm really not experienced with it, nor do I have knowledge about how reliable the linux toolchain is, how easy you can bind to SDL etc...
  • Java: No wai. For a "dynamic" language the syntax is way too clumsy, distribution of small binaries isnt possible (at least not that I know of), performance can be a problem. Plus a personal dislike + lacking experience ;)
  • Python: Confessed, I like python. Naturally with python I wouldn't have built a lua interface, I'd just have the games be written in python. The windows executable would be made with py2exe, which afaik just stuffs the complete python interpreter and all libraries into one big exe file. All in all, a good candidate, development speed has been always fast in python (at least for me), but definetely we would run into performance problems sooner or later and thus would need to have some parts in C/pyrex/whatever.
  • C++: There you are. Long time I ran around and told people: The only reason for choosing C++ over D is popularity/interfacing with existing code. I still believe so (except for some little language parts maybe), but this is all about community, so no need to lie to myself here. Also it might not be too hard to find a few helpers when I feel I need them.

So what happens next?

At the moment I'm coding what I will call "grail" (you know, the holy grail from indiana jones III / last crusade) in C++ right along with lua support. I'm not sure yet what I will do about the gui part (ie if I just alter atlantis to generate lua-code, if I extend it to be a more full-fledged editor, or if I build something new).

But one way or another in the end there will be

  • libgrail - Similar to what indiana is now, just in C++. This will theoretically allow you to build your adventure games directly in C++ without using/linking lua at all, although regarding documentation and "making it easy/fun to use", I'll focus on the runtime first as I think most game developers will rather use lua than C++.
  • grail-runtime - A binary application that takes a game as input and runs it. Where a game is a directory full of lua code, graphics, sounds, etc... Naturally later on it will be possible to stuff the game into a zipfile and append it to the grail-runtime so you can distribute you game in a single binary. Also I'm thinking about an open lua interface that developers can enable, so you (or the gui) can control the engine while it is running allowing cool debugging/testing things.
  • The GUI, as said, I'm not sure yet what it will be. Maybe not much more than atlantis is now (for first at least), just that it generates lua code. Maybe a full-fledged visionaire/wintermute - like editing system that does most of the work you have to do.

Later, I'll put up my grail git directory, don't judge me for the code yet, it has been a while since I did real c++ coding. And naturally at this state you can't expect something to look at really. When I have it that far that a character can walk around again, I'll post some screenies and inform you!

It's a trap!

Posted: Saturday, 2009-11-21 10:16 | Tags: ItsATrap, Site

I'm hereby creating a new kind of postings on this site: I want to post about common programming traps, you know that kind of stuff you think at first "Obviously it works this way" and later on you feel... trapped!

For general reference to this topic see:

Admiral Ackbar, Sheldon and/or Captain Picard

Traps ahead, be prepared!