All software developers have an appreciation and necessity for mathematics of some kind, whether it be trigonometry for positioning bullets or logarithms for calculating the efficiency of algorithms. Recently, I found myself revising a topic from my high school era, Similar Triangles. Admittedly, at the time of studying, I did not think that this topic would serve any use in my post-high school life. This changed when I was given the tedious task of spinning a web for a game to be entered in the App Game Kit competition. After flicking though my old textbooks, I had a nicely spun web within minutes and a newly found appreciation for high school mathematics, and spiders.
This month we take a gander at the App Game Kit competition, the Visual Studio 2011 beta, a Character Workshop designed by Steven Holding and much more. Once again, a thank you goes to Chris Van Wijmeersch for his artistic eye and graphical skills reflected in the newsletter cover.
'Til another eight phases of the moon,
App Game Kit Competition – Snake Remake
Feel like a little competition? Open to all ages and all tiers, this fun-filled competition challenges you to create a Snake remake except, in order to win, you’ll have to impress the judges by adding a unique twist to your game. The competition ends May 31st so get your entries in soon! The winning entry will be published by The Game Creators on multiple platforms including iOS and Android. Runner ups will receive sprite packs to utilise in future endeavours. Feel free to trial the current entries and return feedback. Also keep an eye out for other entries that are yet to make appearances. Check out the competition here.
A few screen shots from the competition:
An exciting space themed snake remake.
A colourful game which varies gameplay by extending the snake movement beyond the usual four directions.
Adding an interesting twist, this game features a spider instead of a snake.
AGK Character Workshop
Steven Holding produces many wonderful and useful tools for the developer community and he has another one for you. AGK Character Workshop is a procedural animation system for the App Game Kit language allowing you to create fantastic animations on the fly. Although it is still a work in progress, this tool allows you to rotate and reposition limbs, save and load characters. Try out this fantastic tool in the making and let Steve know what you think here.
Microsoft has released a beta of their renowned development software Visual Studio allowing you to get a head start in learning your way around the new features this version has to offer. Start development on metro apps for the upcoming Windows 8 operating system or continue with your current projects utilising Visual Studio’s brand new tools. The latest version boasts an updated debugger, updated profiling and code analysis. Learn more here.
Mobile devices not ready for HTML5?
Upon release, HTML5 was embraced by developers because it combines powerful features with great simplicity but are these new features too much for mobile devices to handle? App development firm Spaceport.io has performed tests on multiple devices using a new set of benchmarks designed to test the capabilites of HTML5. The results showed that mobile browsers averaged 889 times slower than desktop browsers and even the best mobile devices were six times slower than their desktop counterparts. A report on these tests stated that since Flash is not widely supported on mobile browsers HTML5 is needed but unfortunately, performance is lacking.
Innumeracy made Good
After hitting a dilemma, Steve Vink has pieced together a tutorial for App Game Kit programmers on how to display, resize and recolour visually large numbers by adjusting the font. If you need to display large, eye-catching numbers in your game but the current command set can’t quite do the job then this tutorial could be the answer to your problems. As well as showing us some neat, new tricks, Steve also reiterates the idea that true programming genius isn’t limited to the languages we use. View the tutorial here.
As mentioned above, mobile devices appear to not handle HTML5 very well. What are your personal thoughts and experiences when rendering HTML5 on your mobile devices? Voice your thoughts here.
Last Month’s question and responses
Can you copyright a programming language?
ʽʽThe API is the main issue I think here, that Google "copied" the Sun API. Java itself cannot be copyrighted if it is released to the public domain as a free language.
That's like someone saying "Hey can I use your phone?", you say "Sure!" and then when they're done you say "Hey that was MY phone. Give me $1,000"..ʼʼ
ʽʽAs to copyrighting a language, I'd say realistically no. Too many languages already have many words in common, eg "for"/"if" which appear even in batch scripting. Could you copyright new words that were not from any spoken language? Maybe... Ethically though, it's wrong. Pragmatically, it's even more wrong because coders like a certain level of familiarity/consistency.ʼʼ
ʽʽHowever on principle, I have to say that no, you should not be able to copyright a programming language nor a whole load of other stuff that you currently can. Reason being; I don't know about you guys but I was always brought up on the principle of "1% inspiration, 99% perspiration". The idea being that having an idea is only 1% of actually making something. It has to be followed by the 99% of hard work if you are actually going to create it.ʼʼ