Testing Times

So got back tonight from a day at the office. No trains for the week so had to feel sick on a bus. We live in Rural Wales and that means no road goes anywhere straight. Twists and turns everywhere and the bus bounces all over the place too. Bluuuurrrrggggg! Green is not a good colour for me.

Handed over my baby. An app I have been working on. Its been passed on for testing. Always a nerve wracking thing to pass your baby over to someone to poke, rip and destroy, but after 10 years of this I have started finally to not take it that personal. Its difficult, takes a long time to see bugs as things that just happen. You can’t remember everything. No matter how careful you are it isn’t possible to have 100% error free code. It also does not help that you sort of become blind to the errors. You just simply don’t push the weak points that hard. Everyone does it, you need a fresh pair of eyes to look things over, to use it for a while to see the problems.

So I handed it over and paced the rooms and corridors awaiting the first bug reports. The first few things were easy to fix, mainly functional interface things. It is a programmer for micro controllers and supports about 60-70 devices. I made a few errors in their setting which I need to fix, but basically so far all is good. And the FW is only 2.5k, and I consider that bloatware, lol. Largest FW I every wrote was 4k. They do 128k devices but pah, who needs that much space. Oh and Atmel, 2313 = 2k 4313 = 4k? Please! Pin compatible and I will love you forever. Must be pin and package compatible with the 2313 remember 😉

So I wait for more reports, and on Friday will take the sick bus back to the office to get my next bunch of bug reports. Oh and a mention here to something I heard on John C Dvoraks Tech 5 podcast. I have a multi-threaded DLL addon for one of our kits that can run 8 programmers simultaneously, which DOES use multi-core processing. Thread based apps should use multi-cores easily, problem is that not enough people do threaded code, it is a pain to debug but makes a big performance gain over single process code.

Also had the thought that what I would love to see is a new OS. One that is not compatible with anything else written. Something that is small, HDD efficient, pretty, stylish, modern, memory efficient. Something completely new. Is there any alternative to Windows, Leopard or Linux, something out of the ordinary new bright and gleaming? Maybe that could be my next project. The MS, Apple killer OS 😉 If you know of any projects along this line, leave a comment with a link and I will check it out. Remember though, not Linux, windows or Leopard, totally new and unique.

Right back on my head 😉

Start of the week

So what have I been up to this weekend. Well mostly thinking 🙂 Thinking about what I am going to do in the future, brainstorming ideas. Writing them all down, for later sorting out. In September I am looking at going freelance, basically to give myself more time to do the pbbg things, but I have other projects and ideas that I have been unable to do any work on due to full time work commitments. Those of course will still be there but I will be paid hourly for my time and not get a monthly wage and feel obliged to work the 37-40hours because I get paid for them.

So pbbg is basically going to be my living. Its a bit scary, but I have ideas that should help me earn a living from it. I also do a lot of other stuff which until now I have done for free. Like all tech savvy people, I get numerous requests to fix PC’s, fix copies of windows, rescue hard drives etc, and in my area of rural wales there are zero people that do this so i basically have the market to myself here. Not going to be rich from it, but don’t want to be anyway. Money don’t buy you love, although it does buy you more tech, Mmmm! Need to think that out more.

So I have a schedule for work over the next 3 months. This involves the finishing of KoR 3 before the end of May, then June a new game, and July another, lol, not telling what they are going to be. Then I will be concentrating on promoting all of this new stuff. And as you can see at the side of this paragraph, we have a logo too, saying we, not sure why, should be me, lol.

The voting site is coming along slowly, we have 5 members, I do not expect a ground swell of games joining straight away, but this should help marketing new games in the future, visitors are up every day.

So I have a busy 3 months ahead of me. Fingers crossed it all works out.

Oh and this blog. I plan on adding new posts during the week. No posts over the weekend. That gives me the weekend to think of things to post, and also allows me to get on with other work and not sit thinking of blog posts. I get distracted easily, and so I need to keep it focuses. Although Twitter does not help me there either, lol.

Some pics

Ok, not development related, not anything to do with any of our games, but… I was trawling through some old digital pics and thought they would be cool to post.


River view, on one of our many walks. Liked the rain dripping from the branches. This winters rains washed the bridge away that I stood on to take this one. Hopefully they will replace it. Taken with my now dead cheap Jenoptik JD1300f camera.

Those berries are just good enough to eat. If you want to die of course, lol. Taken with my JVC GR D73EK camcorder, at least thats what I think it is the label was a bit worn, so the reason its a bit washed out, but I like it.

I caught this just as the sun was setting, enough light to get those reflections. This is the bridge on the way into the town were I live. Everyday that I wake up, I thank the lord I’m welsh.Taken again with the Jenoptik JD1300f.

Right thats it. I plan to go out with my JVC and get some video’s and pic’s over the next few months and maybe if you comment here that you like these, I will post more. Looking around for a new digi camera, as I miss having one at hand, and the JVC is just too big and bulky.

Updating a live game

One of the problems I have had to wrestle, and I am still wrestling with it, is changing the layouts, making the scripts more standards compliant, is doing so without breaking the game while people are playing.

Its difficult. Any change brings in a response, good or bad. The current Kingdom of Riches layout is about 12 months old so it does need a change, but I also have a lot of game play changes. Lots of layout changes, but more importantly to me and the staff of the game is the coding changes in the background that the players never see.

I want to make it easier to add new things, at the moment, the code is crap. No other word for it. Its had 2 years of adding new functionality to it without any real structural control. The new code is more efficient, profiled and will be 100% xhtml standards compliant.

Over the next few months, and it will take months, as I will be adding stuff to the live game slowly, and making sure it does not break everything else. The layouts will change on the pages, hopefully the changes will make the game easier to play, and easier to add new cool features.

I’m hoping to make good use of the tabs rather than having all those menu’s everywhere. Also the tabs will allow me to use the whole screen rather than losing part of the screen to a menu. Also means I can have different types of page in places to add a bit more variety.

We will have to see how it goes.

Voting Sites

One of the things a game owner has to think a lot about is user numbers. PBBG games are usually low financed so advertising isn’t exactly the best way to promote the sites. Then there is the fact that if you are using advertising, are the people seeing the ad actually interested in playing a PBBG anyway.

So the best thing you can do is get listed on voting sites, this has its own problems.

Other game owners can get jealous if you overtake them, reporting you for using proxy addresses. Some sites give more votes for plugging or advertising on their sites, which can be an expensive thing to do on a regular basis, and to be honest, gives very little real return for you cash. Some have few visitors to pass your way, some don’t care about proxies and get ridiculous amounts of votes for games with 2-3 people online at a time, some being lucky to get that in a day.

Game voting sites though, are the cheapest way to advertise, but you need to get onto the first page or they don’t do you any good at all. Most users, me included do not get past the first page. This means you really need to catch these sites early in their development, keeping an eye on the fact that they need users for you to advertise to in the first place.

I’ve tried lots of things over the last 2 years, but have not really found a good way to promote the games. What we need is a one stop place for all PBBG game players to accumulate. We also need game owners to lighten up about other games advertising on their games. I for instance added a forum for this. We do not allow URL’s posted in mails or in any other topic, sig etc but if they use the “other games” forum and do not include a reference link, they can post news about another game. I think this works well, also most players play more than one game anyway so your not losing anything.

There are also far to many PBBG’s on the market, many that are just stagnant and need removing from voting sites etc. We shall see what the next year brings us.

GHIII currupting our kids! NOOOOT!

I am speechless Check this story oh my! Can understand the rant about his song, obviosly more upset about the lack of royalties, but hey its a game and its not real. Get a life. As if any kid gives a damn about anything but playing the game and winning. And as for the images on the game when you play. Well unless you know the songs by heart, you are looking at the onscreen fret board so you don’t miss a note. Doh!

5th Romecom Dog Fight Tournament

Romecom announces its 5th Virtual Dog Fight Tournament. Come join the game to have a chance of winning. Only 5 days of training left. You have to join to have a chance.

Prizes

first place wins a Collectable Trophy and a whopping 500K cash prize!!
second place wins a collectable Medal and a 250K cash prize!
3rd place wins a collectable badge and a 150K cash prize!
4th place wins a collectable badge and a 100K cash prize!

All prizes are in game items and cash.