Sunday, September 27, 2009

New Website -

I have started moving more over to my new website at - once I move everything over I will leave this site as an archive.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Saturday, August 8, 2009

New Site in the works

I will be moving everything over to my new site very shortly, and I will include a better tutorial on how to mod you controller with the d-pad as well.  Thanks to the many who have emailed asking for it.  I want to get my first game project out on the Indie Games channel, and then I will move everything over.  So hopefully within the next two weeks.

Flash Cards

Getting back to a project that I started with almost a year ago, a project that was my first attempt with any form of programming outside of Basic in Junior High that is. This is based off something I made using many years ago with a presentation program, I had it simply loop through cards every few seconds with the alphabet, numbers, colors, shapes, different objects and animals.

I decided to use this as my first program idea for Xna, it is something my son now uses and used in the past. And it was neat to see him very early on in his life identify something that he had seen in the game(ok it was a slide), and try to say the word. The first time we took him to the Zoo it was a neat experience for many reasons.

As it stands this game does not yet include animals or other world objects, I cannot draw well enough, and I am still checking on the rights for using clipart.

The neat thing about what the Xna team has done, is that we can now upgrade our games at any time, and when you load your game it will notify you if there is in an update. You no longer have to go and check to see if an Indie game has been updated.

So here are the latest screenshots, I fully expect to put this game out for peer review next week.

I have added the ability to pause on a certain object, if you want to concentrate on a certain letter for instance. You can play without audio by pressing X to select that set of cards, while pressing A will play audio. There is a mini game in the credits, you can move a rocket around the screen with the left thumbstick.

After each screen is done looping it will exit back out to the main menu, currently it takes 3 seconds between cards.

There is also a trial mode, but it limits each screen to the first three objects.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Early shots of new game

Here is an early screenshot of a game I am working on for the Zune and 360, all graphics are still placeholders. I am using the platformer engine from MS, and building on that.

When you collect the letter, it says the letter aloud. I was working on other versions with different engines, but decided on the stock MS engine so I could customize it to my needs and better understand how things work.

Here is an updated shot, playing around with the graphics.

I will try and post some videos soon as I progress along (having problems with the capture software and Windows 7). This game is geared for 2 and up, will not contain any violence, etc. It will have enemies, but when you jump on the enemy like in a traditional platformer, it will announce the name of the animal for example.

Still tons of work, and many thanks so far to Robert Stokes for the voice acting.

Friday, January 2, 2009

360 Controller Mod

Here is a prototype button layout/cover just cut from a thin plastic lid like a pringles can. I used two layers, it gives you enough feel to find all the buttons. Pressing the upper layer has not caused any misfires on the other buttons. Now to make something nicer looking.

More info coming soon, I plan to put this on Instructables as well. I just need to drag my tripod out so I can take a few pictures that are not blurred.

I cannot take a good image unless I use a tripod, my natural shake is evident in most of these pictures (soldering was worse), this one below is no different. And it was the best of the many I took..oh well, you can see the copper trace exposed on SW14 near the bottom. This is where I soldered the switch leads, and since the controller uses a common ground, I soldered only one ground lead to the vibration motors terminal post. Just for the heck of it, I covered the switch pad with silicon glue to help stabilize the wires a bit.

My goal is to make a new set of buttons that will make sure when I hit the upper left portion of the dpad, I actually get that action. As you are aware with the current dpad you can shave away some of the plastic to make it work better, but you still do not get the accuracy of having eight individual buttons. I will paint the lexan cover plate to match the rest of the controller as best as I can. This will at least hide the ugly pcb board from Radio Shack.

I still need to fabricate a new set of buttons that will cover this, and currently I use a small piece of carbon fiber rod to hit the switch on the bottom layer. So far it works like it should, and in short testing it was 100% accurate.

I am using 6.5mm x 6.5mm x 5mm tact switches, a total of eight. Additionally, I have eight Schottky diodes on the bottom layer board to separate the diagonal (upper level) buttons from the main buttons. All the parts used were locally purchased, and so far my budget has been under $15. In the future I could order smaller switches off the internet, but for now I just wanted to make sure everything would work.

Additional images.

Computer Case Project

This case is mainly a beta case, there are things I need to change on the next case, and I built this case rather quickly.

Please do not mind the mess on the floor, I try to get what my three year old throws around, but that is a constant task.

This is a rather large case, since we mainly use a projector for our TV/Games I wanted something that could sit in the living room and not look out of place. This computer is mainly used for MCE duties.

I put the PSU on the other side of the case, behind the motherboard, this allowed me to have a very clean cable setup. Additionally, the whole case breaks apart into three pieces, the bottom piece has a washable air filter. After a year of running, the inside today still looks like these pictures. Again since this is a MCE machine it has been running for almost a full year now.

Under load the cpu was only getting to around 109 degrees, and the GPU in this case was getting 120. In the pictures it is one HD3850, and an Intel Core 2 2.2ghz that is clocked to 2.8ghz. So 109 degrees was not a bad temp I thought. The motherboard is an Asus P5E3 Deluxe Wi-Fi, with 4gb of DDR3 memory.

I call this a beta case since I never did complete it fully..

My Xbox 360 sits in this filtered area, the filters sit angled almost like the radiators in an F1 car. Behind the 360 sits two 120mm fans that are powered off a wall wart, and there is a sheet of lexan to prevent and heated air from entering. So the 360 gets all the fresh air from the front only. When my DVD finally failed and I took the machine apart, the inside was clean and free of dust.