Have You Decorated Your Coding Environment?

For the last 10 years or so I’ve never cared how my coding environment looks: all I’ve needed is table for computer and something to sit on. Today, since I have this mini-office, I want to make it look nice. I have this tiny room and I’m planning to paint one wall orange (something like this orange, maybe somewhat less-red though). I’ve never painted anything indoors (except miniature figures), but having one big orange wall and one big orange carpet (at least big when compared to the room size) should make this room look a tiny bit more inspiring.

I’d also want more light, since currently this room is 70% underground and has only tiny window (which happens to have the sort of glass that somehow manages to keep the light outside), but at summertime it feels bit silly to even consider keeping the lights on. I did research for “self glowing paint” but the green alien colored paint looks too sci-fi for my taste.

Anyway, with orange wall paint, some paintings on the wall (note to self: I gotta do some game art and print that stuff in the wall too!) and things should look more fun.

Do you care about your coding environment? Are you doing something to ensure it’s inspiring and fun place? Or does it matter at all?

13th IGF Dates Announced, You Prepared?

IGF is coming once again, now with some changes. New thing is that mobile games will be allowed to enter the main competition. They are also “expanding experimental focus” and while I don’t exactly know what that means in practise, it sounds like an indie thing.

Initial reaction could feel like “they’ll be spammed with mobile games and artistic non-games”, but my thinking is “this will make my victory taste even sweeter…”

Important dates for IGF 2011 are as follows:

June 28th, 2010 – Submissions are Open
October 18th, 2010 – Submission Deadline, Main Competition
November 1st, 2010 – Submission Deadline, Student Competition
January 3rd, 2011 – Finalists Announced, Main Competition
January 10, 2011 – Finalists Announced, Student Competition
February 28 – March 4, 2011 – Game Developers Conference 2011
February 28 – March 1, 2011 – Indie Games Summit @ GDC 2011
March 2 – March 4, 2011 – IGF Pavilion @ GDC 2011
March 2, 2011 – IGF Awards Ceremony (Winners Announced!)

I participated first time last year, and plan to participate this year as well.

What about you?

Spam Contest Winner

The spam contest is over and the correct answer is: 116,109

The closest Twitter answer at the moment seems to go to wagenheimer. He guessed the same number as stuartF16, but since wagenheimer guessed an hour earlier, he goes lead.

Twitter says “Older tweets are temporarily unavailable” so I’ll wait a bit before announce the Twitter winner.

Here on the blog comments, the winner is Saad – one pint coming right up. (In case I messed up my count, I’m giving an additional beer to the guy who can prove a real blog comments winner. I think it’s correct).

Congratulations to winners and thanks everybody for participating.

What’s The Most Mysterious Bug You’ve Ever Encountered In Your Own Code?

This thread got me pondering about mysterious bugs that I’ve encountered. I saw one “odd” bug where I could not debug certain value that got carried over network, but the game just kept crashing.

After a bit of debug… I spotted that I was editing the wrong function (and was too stubborn to take a very little time to step through & use breakpoints to get it solved – I thought I “knew” where to problem lied already).

But that perhaps wasn’t so mysterious.

You have some strange bug experiences to share?

P.S. the spam contest ends pretty soon… take your guess if you want to get this cold drink. Beer-worth tip: nobody has not tweeted it only one or two has tweeted about it, so there’s a pretty easy drink available.

Guess Spam, Win Beer (24 Hour Competition)

I’ve been blogging about 5ish years now and there’s quite of bit of spam that Akismet has helped bury for this blog. Now I’ll present a competition (bit like we had at 2006). There is 2 pints to be given as prizes. 3rd one I drink myself. One pint goes for the winner who guesses closest here in the blog comments, one for the twitter guesses (read more for the detailed instructions).

Next step: Guess how many spam comments my blog has received so far

  • Make a comment in this blog post, announcing your guess.
  • Make a tweet about this blog post, including your guess (and a link to this post: http://bit.ly/bLVTJE < -- the link needs to be exactly this).

You are allowed to make 2 guesses, one here on the gameproducer.net blog comments, and another one by using twitter.

Winners will be the guys who answers the closest by (1) commenting to this blog post and (2) by tweeting your guess + a link to this blog post.

Winners will receive a pint of Guinness. (And of course if you happen to guess closest in both mediums, you win 2 pints).

If you don’t drink beer… then tough luck.

Let the wild guess contest begin!

(The contest ends after 24ish hours – the moment I close the blog comments)

Speeding Up Windows Vista… (Yeah, Right)

I tested that it took about 3 minutes 40 second for windows to boot in such shape that there was several programs running, without the timer (Tweetdeck, MSN, Explorer, Mail, Firefox were my test candidates).

I took pretty much the whole day (except little bbq and child caring in the middle ;) to clean my computer. I removed programs that I don’t use, I deleted useless downloads from the harddrive, I disabled certain services (according to these tips), and run the defragment analyzing (“no need to defragment”), and then got rid of some startup programs.

After this, the boot took over 4 minutes (maybe even more than 5 minutes, but I don’t know since I threw away the watch around that 4 minute mark). After second boot, it was 2-3 minutes, so bit faster.

Yes. Cleaning my Windows actually increased the load time. I didn’t mess anything. That’s a promise. (Maybe next boot will go faster – who knows what kind of post-setup-defragment-hidden-install-something the Windows did).

For this, I considered different options on how to handle this:

  • Clean registry (that’s something I prefer not to mess with).
  • Install linux, Ubuntu boots so fast (I would, but Blide isn’t working on Linux so I’m stuck on Windows)
  • Get SSD drive (they are fast… but bit on the expensive side, for example a 64GB SSD thing costs 200ish EUR)
  • Buy & Install Windows 7: costs either 160 EUR (oem) or 270 EUR. This kind of sucks since (1) I already have Vista business version that I’d like to upgrade and (2) Windows 8 is scheduled for year 2011 if I remember correctly.
  • Consider getting more memory: I have 32 bit Vista, but this probably wouldn’t do much since there’s already quite a bit of free memory (I got 3 Gigs in use).
  • Hibernate more often. The computer. It’s supposed to help with this.

I’m sort of slightly not satisfied with my Vista purchase. I mean… I get this superfancy fast computer. I get Vista. End result is: Vista eventually gets slow. I want to upgrade and they say to me “sorry, you gotta buy this new Windows 7″.

I feel bit stupid to even consider spending additional 160 euros (not to mention 270 euros) to get my bloody OS to boot in such time that I don’t need to order pizzas while waiting.

Are You Categorizing Your Nails… Or Putting Them In Use?

Not talking about fingernails here, but organizing your work.

I’ve noticed that there’s a chance that I find myself making a fuss about organizing my work. I might set up some fancy folder structure for different type of emails and whatnot. And after carefully going through all the stuff and getting everything organized… I just don’t want to do the damn thing. Organizing thus becomes just an excuse to avoid work.

It goes like this (almost a true story to illustrate the matter):
Me: “Hmm, I have this big pile of tasks. Let me categorize these tasks and organize them depending on the house work/repair needed and priorize the work. After that, I’m so totally prepared to get massive progress! Our home will be fixed, clean and so cool in no time.”
(day later)
Me: “Hmm, I’ve now organized the work, but goddamn it’s sunny day out there. I’ll grab some soda and sit on the bench for just a little while.
(another day later)
Me: “Okay… stuff is still in right places, so it doesn’t matter if I’d rather play some video games. I have plenty of time to do that stuff tomorrow. After all, it doesn’t matter if that wall is missing the painting for a day or two.”

And so on.

It’s easy to fall in the trap of thinking that organizing stuff would somehow mean progress.

The number of nails isn’t getting smaller no matter how well you organize the nails.

Where To Start Building Community…

My traitor game networking code got a breakthrough when enet (gnet) based system: the client is loading the correct map! (In other words: I managed to send a string from server to client without crashing them. Talk about progress.)

Now, with that being sorted, I’m starting to feel that I want to have this place where to announce all stuff. From Dead Wake dev I learned that community forums are double edged sword (good thing is that fans love ‘em, the bad news is that they need moderation time, even with helper mods around).

For this reason I’m pondering where to start announcing this game:

  • Moddb would be cool, but they require more complete games.
  • This blog might seem like an obvious choice, but I try to keep this for game dev audience, and not too much about player audience.
  • Forum (see above: moderation issues)
  • Facebook page: issue, I don’t like the fact that I’m giving control to somebody else
  • Twitter: it’s not a community building place. Sort of.
  • New blog: hmmm. (has some issues: while people cannot start new threads, at least they have opportunities to comment and blog can be tied to Twitter and others. This feels pretty good.)

To me, a new blog sounds like a solution (dedicated to traitor game).

Optionally, a blog that would appear in my own company site (I haven’t needed that for 5 years, so haven’t set it up yet) – but I really want to promote game sites on their own, and then cross-promote games on these different gaming sites.

Where you guys build your community?

I Have Issues With Network Programming…

I have one relatively tiny issue with network programming. This problem is potentially making my development stall.

I like network programming too much.

I like seeing those packets arrive the right places. I like checking speed of UDP transfers. I like watching what the server does when clients join and leave… I like coding this stuff and testing different solutions and libraries. I like reading the material about handling lag and think of how to plan do network code (excellent article I wrote back in 2006). This might sound fine, but I suspect that there’s a chance that I’m using too much time to programming this network code.

…maybe I just call this “thorough testing”?