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A couple of people have recently asked me about linked lists and how they compare to arrays. It came up in the last CGD episode and again in a programming interview questions group I’m a member of on facebook. I figured rather than talk about it in both places (and anywhere else that comes up as it is a common question) I’d just write a blog about it.

Linked lists are a very important data structure to understand. Almost every library and API you will ever use will have some sort of linked list class used somewhere. They can be a great way to manage a varying number of objects on the fly but just like anything else in coding there are advantages and disadvantages to them. (more…)

Kerry


uDraw for Xbox 360I went looking in the games section in Wal-Mart a couple of weeks ago and saw that they were selling a game for Xbox (and indeed for PS3 and Wii but I’m a Microsoft enthusiast) that came bundled with a drawing tablet. The bundle was reasonably priced (around $40 if I remember right) which made me think that maybe this was not a new thing and I just hadn’t heard of it. Bundled packages with games and accessories are never less than the price of a full priced game unless they have been out a little while. I was intrigued though. Every commercial game I have worked on so far has had some sort of experimental gadget that comes with it. Having been out a while I thought perhaps there might be quite a library of information about the tablet for me to play with. I also wish I was more artistic and thought that a game that would motivate me to be so would be a welcome addition to my library.

After getting home I did a little research and found out that Amazon was selling them for even cheaper! I promptly put my order in and waited for my new pet project gadget to arrive! (more…)

Kerry


I have recently participated in the Global Game Jam (more to come on that soon) as well as a number of smaller, personal game projects. I’ve also recently been on team projects with small scope, quick production cycles. I wanted to share a couple of things about designing a game quickly to get it out to the public in the shortest time while keeping the quality bar high. (more…)

Kerry


Molyjam 2012 began with an introductory video. The video kiiiinda told the story of a pixel, certainly in an artistic way that rung out with me. I thought I would take that as an inspiration for the next 48 hours. I wasn’t all too familiar with the tweets of @PeterMolydeux but I think it’s best to take the theme of every game jam with a spoon of sugar. If you feel inspired by something it’s always best to run with it and then try to work the theme in later if it doesn’t naturally fit itself in at some point.

The Green PixelSo, I can’t really say that The Green Pixel was born then… The Green Pixel has made many appearances over the years as the intro video stated. I like to think of my contribution as somewhat of a documentary recording some of those years. I wanted the game to have a retro feel and show a journey. The pixel was to seamlessly transition between games. Some transitions are better than others but for the most part I think I was successful. (more…)

Kerry


I wanted to reserve this space for my Molyjam game, “The Green Pixel”. I’ll definitely write more on it as time goes on but for right now I’m racing against the clock!

The game jam ended yesterday and I was very happy with the results, though I need to meet a few more requirements before I push my game out to the Windows 7 Phone marketplace. The website submissions are available to me apparently until tonight so I am rushing to get a PC port in the space so people can play now, as well as write as much as I can on the game before I am not allowed to any more. Wish me luck!

Kerry


A common problem I’ve seen with a lot of student code is with header files. I remember when I was a student I made similar mistakes. A header file should be easy to read and if the classes and their member functions and variables are named well it can even serve as a good piece of documentation for the entire class. Whenever I’m trying to learn what the purpose of a class is I will always open up the header and read through what’s there to get a good idea of how to write my own code using that functionality. I thought I’d talk a little about what can be done to make the header file clearer not only to the user but to the compiler too. (more…)

Kerry


Making games is no easy task. If you haven’t got that much from reading my blogs yet then let me just say it again. Making games is no easy task! There’s no way to get teams of a hundred plus developers together and let them do their thing and have it all come together without a lot of structure and organization. There are lots of different approaches to bringing order to this chaos. Each has its advantages and disadvantages but one I’ve been reading about recently is Scrum. I just finished the book “Agile Project Management with Scrum” by Ken Schwaber, so I thought I’d share some of my thoughts on the book, Scrum and project management in general. (more…)

Kerry


Although I didn’t really start programming seriously until I was in college I was introduced to programming as a very young child. I think I was around six years old at the time. I owned a Sinclair Spectrum +2, a rival system to the Commodore 64 in the UK. Anyways, my uncle John had an interest in programming and he showed me much of what he knew. You’d be surprised what a motivated six year old can learn!

The first code we wrote together that was of our own engineering (well, mostly his of course) was a simple guessing game.  The computer would pick a number from one to five and you would have to guess at it.  It wasn’t particularly amazing by today’s standards but it worked and I thought it was awesome!  It wasn’t long after this that I decided I wanted to program computer and video games when I grew up! (more…)

Kerry


This generation of consoles and video games has seen some pretty innovative features added to enrich and enhance the gamers experience!  It used to be that you would buy a console and without a game the console was useless.  You couldn’t do anything with your Super NES console if you didn’t have a cartridge to put in it!  The focus of a game console is still the same now and gaming is still the primary reason for owning a console, but a console is now a much more personal device.  You can watch movies, chat to friends, make yourself a profile/Avatar/Mii, even update your statuses on a number of social networking sites; All before even inserting the game disk!  Most, if not all of these features have been either introduced or perfected this generation.  I do think though that even with all these nice, new features the greatest idea we’ve seen introduced to gaming consoles this generation is the Achievement system.

So, why is the achievement system (or trophy system to Playstation 3 owners) so great?  It can prolong the gaming experience by adding a lot of replay value to games.  It can let the game designer suggest new ways to play the game that the player might not have considered.  It can assist in keeping the player on track throughout a game.  It can give the player a primary measurable level of accomplishment in a game that does not have one, or a secondary level in one that already has.  It can really do quite a lot if used correctly! (more…)

Kerry


The Kinect SDK for windows came out a couple of weeks ago.  What does that mean?  Well, now anyone with a little programming experience can make games that use the different aspects of Kinect’s tech.  A popular belief is that Kinect has a high potential that it has yet to reach.  It has however steadily evolved over its short life, and the things we saw at E3 are fairly exciting.  The SDK is another step forward for Kinect too.

Now that everyone can implement their own gameplay ideas themselves and Microsoft has given them the sign off to do so perhaps we will start to see a lot more clever mods and ideas that center around Kinect.  Perhaps we’ll even see some creative and innovative independent games that make use of Kinect and set a precedence for motion gaming! (more…)

Kerry

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