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kryo's Articles
October 2, 2011 by kryo
Having just recently transitioned to Visual Studio 2010 (finally) at my day job, I found myself in a bit of a predicament. Previously we'd been using VS2005, for which there was a little extension called MetalScroll (based on another named RockScroll); this extension changed the scrollbar into an actual thumbnail of the code in the editor. For very large and complex files, this makes navigation considerably easier and quicker because you can learn the code's physical layout and identi...
April 24, 2009 by kryo
This week, I-Mod has announced the public release of their Tech Tree Viewer tool. You may recall their past holiday releases of high-quality tech tree posters--now you can make your own for personal viewing! The Tech Tree Viewer will not only read in your base game tech trees and produce tree maps for them, but it will also scan any mods you have, and produce a high-quality tech tree map for each race in each mod you have installed. No more wondering just how the latest mod's new tech trees ...
March 25, 2009 by kryo
The crew over at I-Mod Productions has been hard at work the past few months, and this week they've announced not just one, but two major new releases! First off, we've got a teaser release of the upcoming New Frontiers fan-expansion. This demo, titled Ultimate FX, includes a variety of non-gameplay enhancements, including new textures, new weapons, and new soundtrack. More details and a download link can be found over on the New Frontiers thread . On top of that, I-Mod has announced t...
December 3, 2008 by kryo

So, after some more digging, I figured out the trick to getting XNA games to run on machines without needing Visual Studio and XNA Studio installed. It seems that the normal DirectX9 package, which I prefer (I don't like web installers), and most people probably used to install DirectX, does not actually install everything that XNA needs from DX. You must use the web installer to be able to run XNA games independent of VS/XNA.


In light of all that, I can now release Asteroid Rage in a form that (mostly) anyone should be able to play! Without further delay, here's what you need...

November 30, 2008 by kryo

Just a quick post for anyone who might be interested--Asteroid Rage (briefly mentioned in my last journal) is done. After another weekend of work (finally), it's fully playable, now with explosions, sounds (courtesy of yours truly), and the possibility of losing!

The only proviso: it seems that XNA games (at least, those from VS2005/XNA2) can't really be made into any easily distributable format. So it will require VS2005 SP1 and XNA Game Studio installed in order to run; sadly I can't seem to find any way around that.

But if there is anyone else out there looking at XNA development, feel free to give it a spin. I'll see if I can't do a real journal on this weekend's travails later in the week, as well as post the source project (going to hold off on that one until I've gotten the project turned in for credit, just to be safe ).

For now though, here's the .ccgame package for anyone who can use it.

November 11, 2008 by kryo
Is Twilight of the Arnor 2.0 still not enough to fill your hunger for Galactic Civilizations? I-Mod Productions has recently begun work on a new fan-expansion: New Frontiers. This massive new mod will be packed to bursting with original content, including: Two brand new races, the Asa and the Vanir. Tons of new graphics--weapon effects, models, backgrounds, and more. New ship templates, styles, and modules, with more variation between races. New main interface design. Several ...
October 14, 2008 by kryo

xnaAs many of those reading may be aware (at least those on our games sites), I work offsite. Probably less known though is where; I'm currently studying programming at university, with hopes to move on into Stardock's game development team after I finish my degree.

So anyway, this semester I'm studying C#. As part of this, we're going to have an open project at the end of semester, in which we will make pretty much anything we want, so long as it demonstrates a sufficient skill and knowledge in the language. While the professor is a command-line die-hard, referring to anything with a GUI as "dog and pony show", we have the option to make our projects as fancy as we like.

Toward that end, I had some time this past weekend and figured I'd better try and get a handle on at least getting 2D graphics on-screen in windows programs, beyond the simple form elements that you can drag and drop in Visual Studio. First I looked around for some tutorials on GDI or DirectDraw, but couldn't find anything all that helpful. So I then looked around for some stuff on XNA, and came across this pong clone tutorial.


pong1th pong2th
Pong main menu. Pong, with tweaks.
October 2, 2008 by kryo

games128In an interesting new twist on the popular 'save on car insurance' line we see on TV all the time, Allstate has announced that they're looking into giving drivers discounts on insurance for playing driving sims and visual or mental exercise games.

It's certainly interesting that more people are now taking note of the benefits of games such as Brain Age, which has helped bring gaming to a wider audience, particularly with those older than the typical gamer demographic. Though the benefit of the driving sims I'd question a bit; since they're supposed to simulate actual driving, is Allstate going to provide wheels, pedals, and extra monitors, or (more likely) will people need to go to the insurance office to play?

But alas, there's a downside: you have to be over 50 to participate. So it looks like youthful twitch-gamers won't be getting dirt cheap insurance purely by virtue of their place on the high score list.

September 25, 2008 by kryo

gavel128In a sudden and baffling outbreak of common sense, the President and the Department of Justice have announced their opposition to some rather disturbing legislation that's been snaking its way through congress of late.

In the proposed bill, among other things, the DoJ would be given the responsibility of enforcing copyrights and prosecuting infringement, formerly civil offenses within the responsibility of the IP holders to deal with at their own expense.

September 3, 2008 by kryo

Ah, Wikipedia. Savior of internet debaters and bane of those who try to set themselves in a positive light against the connected masses. And now, apparently, the Department of Homeland Security is relying on it to reinforce their own legal arguments. Or maybe not.

It seems that the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals had to tell the DHS and the Board of Immigration Appeals that Wikipedia is no excuse for evidence to use in their proceedings. In this particular case, an Ethiopian woman had entered with false papers, seeking asylum. The DHS and Immigration dutifully looked up her real papers from back home on Wikipedia and decided (based on the wiki article about the documents she was using) that they weren't good enough proof of identity.

August 27, 2008 by kryo

Does it really take a rocket scientist to install an anti-virus app and keep it up to date? If the astronauts aboard the International Space Station are any indication, even that's not enough!

Apparently, earlier this month NASA detected that a worm had infected some computers that were taken up into orbit in July. Smart as astronauts have to be, it seems none of them thought to even install an AV program on their laptops.

August 21, 2008 by kryo

Microsoft announced today that they plan to soon add a new "game" to Xbox live soon--the 2008 elections themselves! Starting next Monday, Xbox Live users will be able to register to vote directly through the console's online system; polls and forums are planned as well.

Is this really a good idea? While there is certainly an argument to be made for getting gamers involved in government, is this really the right (and secure) way to go about it?

August 18, 2008 by kryo

gavel128Having returned from a much needed vacation last week (my first since starting to work for Stardock two years ago), it's time for me to get back on the old soapbox and talk about the latest news on software and law!

It seems that while I was away last week, a ninth circuit court of appeals overturned a previous ruling in the matter of open-source developer Robert Jacobsen versus a company who'd taken parts of his code, stripped all attribution to him, and used it for their own purposes in violation of the terms he released it under.

The previous ruling, made a year ago yesterday, was that the code had already been released to the public and that the company's use of it didn't constitute copyright infringement (dramatically limiting the developer's options to stop them). This new ruling holds that it is indeed infringement to redistribute open source code in violation of the terms it was released under.

August 5, 2008 by kryo

In this week's Mars news, NASA has officially denied rumors from over the weekend that they'd told the President that there was proof of life on Mars, and counter-rumors that they'd said life is impossible there.

In actuality, Phoenix's latest efforts in its tumultuous quest for space-dirt have resulted in ambiguous findings as to whether or not the Martian soil contains perchlorate ions, which may or may not even mean very much (some microbes use it here on earth, but it may be toxic to others, and in particular it inhibits thyroid function in humans). More, we don't even know which of many possible perchlorate salts it was, if it's really there.

So uh, yeah. More dirt, more questions, few or no answers. Just another day on Mars

August 1, 2008 by kryo

The Entertainment Software Association released its annual report this week, with a variety of tidbits about the gaming industry in general that some of you may find interesting (I did, at least!).

  • Gaming's not just for kids. Contrary to what some senators or representatives would have you believe, video games aren't chiefly made for or played by kids. In fact, 63% of console game players and 73% of PC gamers are adults. More, it's not just guys either. 28% of console gamers and 40% of PC gamers are female.

  • When kids are the ones playing games, their parents aren't as ignorant of their habits as you might think. 91% of parents with gamer kids buy the games or are present when they're bought, and 90% keep an eye on what sort of games they play (kids may borrow games from friends, after all). A majority (55%) say that games are a positive thing for their kids.