More Random Thoughts (and XNA)

First of all, I just want to say that I haven’t been able to make as many blog posts as I would have liked to. I currently don’t have the internet at home (gasp!) and I don’t have any immediate plans to get it (double gasp!). I have just found that I am busy enough without killing a few hours a day surfing the GameDev.net Active Topics, or playing online games…

Programming wise, I haven’t done too much as of late. The other night I did do a little playing around with making an XNA DrawableGameComponent that prints text to the screen. (Just think of the classic Quake Console, but at this point you can’t type anything into it). I think it could come in handy for debugging purposes. It was really quite quick and simple to do. I should post the code here (if I can remember to bring it from home on my flash drive). I suppose the next step is to get it so that it does accept keyboard input.

If you haven’t already done so (and you are an XNA Game Developer, or even a wanna-be game developer like myself) head over to creators.xna.com and check out the Game State Management sample. (I think that’s what it’s called). It is really quite incredible. I mean, it doesn’t look incredible, but it works amazinglying well. For those of you who are too lazy to download it and check it out (or are otherwise unable to), it is a series of menus that slide on and off the screen. What is amazing about it is the code behind it, and how it works. I haven’t ever programmed anything like it before, and now that I see how it is done, it is incredibly cool. It took me quite a while to figure out how it fits together, and I am still a little fuzzy on some of the specifics on how it works, but once you see how it works it is pretty cool.

Future projects:

I have been thinking a little about things that would be cool to do with XNA. Here they are:

Trespasser Remake (done in XNA)

The original trespasser took something like 3 years and $7 million to make. Given today’s technology and tools, I bet someone could do a pretty decent remake of at least part of the game in only a few months. I think the concept from the game was great, and it was a pretty cool game, but there were a few flaws that held it back. Fix the flaws, crank up the graphics a bit, and it could be an absolute blast. Throw in some co-op multiplayer and it would be even crazier (although take considerably longer to do).[/li]

Deus ExNa

Make a remake of the original Deus Ex, but use XNA for the graphics, input, and sound. The original game was amazingly well done, but by today’s standards the graphics could use a bit of a facelift.

That, and Deus ExNa sounds cool.

Short Period Game Contest

There have been a few of these hosted by GameDev.net – everyone has to make a game based around a particular theme. No one knows the theme until the start of the contest. The length of the contest can vary – from 3 hours to a week. Some interesting gameplay has been produced during these contests. Using XNA, it would be interesting to see what could be done.

Some other random thoughts to think about:

Perfect Engineering: I don’t know how many times I think of this. You have an object, or a device, or whatever. It’s great, and it works. But there is some sort of small flaw – it’s hard to clean, it can’t get wet, etc. Take for example the bathroom door in the house where I am living. It’s a door. It does a great job of being a door, but it has a decorative design that collects dust, which in turn, makes it hard to clean. If the decorative design was changed just a little, the dust wouldn’t collect, and it wouldn’t require cleaning as often. The same goes for so many other things – there is always some small caveat that prevents it from being perfect. How does one prevent this? Create the perfect design through iteratons? Does design improve over time? Can something be perfected in one iteration? Something to think about I guess…

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