.:: Alex Erne :: PHP/MySQL & Unity3D/C# projects ::.
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  23 March 2015 - Unity upgrades :: Posted in General

Yes, you read it right, I'm talking about multiple upgrades for the Unity engine.

Up until now I was using Unti version 4.3.4.f1, but with the end of the PlayStation Mobile platform, there's no longer a need for me keep using that old version for compatibility reasons with the PSM platform. But up until now I wasn't sure if I should upgrade to a newer version of Unity or stick with the old version I was still using. After all, I didn't encounter any problems with it.

No problems, until last week. When I started using the movie sequencer for the Bubbles project, I wasn't able to use any of the (2D) animations I made with Spriter Pro. Somehow the thing kept bugging me about legacy settings for the animations, while there is no way to change them to legacy, which would imply that they were in the current version written. But somehow the movie sequencer just didn't accept the animations I made and kept nagging me that I should use the animations in legacy mode

So I decided to make the updates for the Unity engine today. I have installed the latest version of Unity 4 (which is 4.6.3.f1) for the current Bubbles project (and I hope the movie sequencer now will work normally) and TetraGems. For the (currently on-hold) Droid Quest project I have installed Unity 5. I figured that my first game I'll make in 3D I should use the latest version of Unity and enjoy every new thing that's been added

The only problem now is that I'm still not sure about Unity version 4.6.3.f1. I figure that it'll work just as well as the old 4.3.4.f1 version with a lot of fixes and enhanced options, but in the past when upgrading from my 1st Unity 4 version (iirc it was 4.2) I had a severe problem with TetraGems where certain functions worked quite different all of a sudden I hope that this new upgrade to Unity 4.6.3.f1 will not give those problems (again).

The most important reason for me to upgrade Unity to 4.6 and 5 is compatibility. On the Unity Asset Store there are quite a lot of good plugins I can use (and use already - 2D toolkit is one of them) which have followed toe Unity upgrades through time. Some of them (the uSequencer for instance) is no longer compatible with the old version of Unity I'm using.

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  28 September 2014 - 2nd game in the making :: Posted in General
While TetraGems is still in it's beta stage, I'm already brainstorming on the upcoming game I want to make. The upcoming game will be a 3D platform puzzler game based on the old (MSX) Eggerland series.

Like the Eggerland series in my new game, you have to move blocks, avoid traps and monsters and make your way to the exit of the level. But what Eggerland could never do was add an actual 3rd dimension to the game (because of the lack of technology back in the days), while I will add stairs/ramps to access next layers of the level.

This new game will become available for both Android and Windows. The Android version will have both Free2Play and Buy2Play versions while the Windows version will only be Buy2Play and include a level editor. Both the Android and Windows versions will have a store where you can download new (player made) levels, but when you have the Free2Play version of the game you will have to pay a small fee to buy these levels. Of course, levels you have made will be available to you for the Android version of the game as well.

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  24 April 2014 - Won't make iOS games :: Posted in General
I've taken a look at the requirements to publish games on the Apple store. Where for Android I have to pay a one time $25 to upgrade my account to a developer account, for Apple things are a bit different. There you have to pay an annual fee to publish games to the Apple store - a fee which was set to $99 for 2012

More over, after having paid the fee to publish games to the Apple store, there's no guarantee that a game will actually be published. Apple their self decide which games will be published to the Apple store and which don't.

With such a steep annual price to publish my games for a declining market, I really have my doubts if it'll be worth it to even consider porting my games to iOS. The port to iOS holds some work, and when the game is ready to publish, I have to wait for Apple's whim to publish it...

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  14 January 2014 - Should I see programming as a job? :: Posted in General
With TetraGems getting close to a beta release, I'm wondering if I should start to see my programming activities more as a job or still see if as a hobby. Programming has been a hobby of mine for close to 30 years now, but when TetraGems will be release it'll be my first real commercial work. I know I said real there (and in italics too), because TetraGems will actually be my 2nd commercial project, but the first one I think (hope) to make actual money with. The other commercial project was FireFox (a FidoNet <> Spitfire BBS mail converter), of which I have sold 2 licenses and sold the sources of when I abandoned it - total money earned was $130

If I am to release TetraGems commercially and sell it on the Goodle Play and Apple App store (at start, Windows, OSX and Linux will follow later), I think I could say that my programming hobby has become a job indeed. But it that's the case, I should also keep track of the hours I spend working on it. Not to calculate earnings per hour, but more because I'm disabled and unfit for work for 70% - I'm allowed to work 30 hours a week tops.

But when limiting my working hours it would mean progress might slow down, or will it? Limiting the work on TetraGems (and future projects) to 15 hours a week (I already have a job for the other 15 hours) might mean that I'll be more productive during that time while at the same time force myself to take breaks from time to time. Basically, I'd set myself to program for an average of 3 hours a day and give myself a weekend at the same time.

On the other hand, limiting my programming hours could also slow progress. I know when I'm restless and can't sleep at all (which is quite often), I might get out of bed and work on my projects. When limiting my hours, I can't do that anymore. Also, TetraGems being a one-man project doesn't really give me 'time off' of the work on it. Most of the time I'm thinking about how to continue on the game and how to solve problems that I have encountered.

Or is it possible to keep a good mixture for my between hobby and job? I just work on it whenever I want, trying to keep it around 15 hours a week, but not really keep track of time or set times that I *MUST* work on the project I'm on. This way programming might still stay hobby, while progress won't be slowed too much...

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  26 November 2013 - About AE games :: Posted in General

Before I start writing about our project and such, let me give you a small introduction about AE games...

AE games stands for Alex Erné games, the founder of AE games and is aiming to develop and publish Indie games. Most games published will be made by Alex Erné himself, but with both his brother and his son showing interest in game development as well, chances are that we'll also publish games from their hand in the future, or even team up with them as well...

At this moment, we have one game in development and two more planned. We will tell about these games through our blog when the games are ready to be announced and tested. Games that are not yet announced can be found on Alex Erné's blog.

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  23 October 2013 - Looks real nerdy now :: Posted in General
Now that I've picked programming more serious I had the need to 'upgrade' my hardware a bit more. Well, not a real upgrade, but I had the need for an extra monitor where I could drop my eBooks on, while programming and testing on the main monitor. I ended up buying a Samsung SyncMaster 151S at our local recycle shop (is this the actual term for this kind of 2nd hand store that sells off donated stuff?) for only €10. It was one of the few good monitors they had that I could turn easily 90% and had a size that looks like a piece of paper (though the resolution is only 1024x768 max)

 photo 23102013333_zps3981d126.jpg

With the 'new' in place, I now have my main PC available to play games on and program in C# and the laptop available to script in PHP/MySQL. All I need to do when I want to use the laptop is swap the keyboards and mice, and if I wish to use the 22" monitor, turn that one on as well.

Just like the 'main PC', the laptop also uses 2 monitors. One is the standard one of the laptop itself, while the 2nd one uses the VGA input of the 22" monitor. This way I can use 2 screens as well, with the big one for scripting and the smaller one t for the output in the browser.

I have also installed the C# compiler (Microsoft Visual Studio Express 2010) on the laptop, but I doubt it'll be able to efficiently run it. The laptop is old and (compared to the main PC) very slow, but it does meet the requirements to run the C# compiler (and I think then it stops doing anything else ), so I'll most likely use that one only for scripting in PHP/MySQL from now on.

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  07 April 2013 - Pages form Sages project update :: Posted in General
I've decided to drop the old idea of making from Pages from Sages a guild forum and create the scripts of it myself. Reason being that I don't think I'll be able to be busy on two different projects at the same time. For this reason I've taken an other approach for the Pages from Sages site and have transformed it into a computer role-playing game forum powered by phpBB.

With this course of action I can concentrate completely on the future development of the I am Blog project.

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