Thursday, September 30, 2010

An ERD for... Elite?

Or perhaps a Privateer style game... no attributes, just keys showing the relationships.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Small Mercies...

The words create, select, insert, update, delete are all six characters long.

If you work with databases and programming languages, you will understand why this is a small mercy for us poor developers. :-) Or perhaps I am just losing my mind to GDB induced psychosis...

Monday, September 27, 2010

I'm Knee Deep in GDB...

Learning things I never wanted to know...

I'm working with a Stackless framework which uses the asynchronous features of Psycopg2. On top of this, I've been using SQLAlchemy... unfortunately I have recently noticed that after a few hundred or so requests, the application simply hangs. After analyzing a core dump, it seems that something is attempting to acquire a lock... and deadlocks. It is very deterministic, as it always happens at the same point in my unit tests.

I've narrowed down the issue to something inside SQLAlchemy... I attempted to fix it but SQLAlchemy is so full of dark magic that I'm really quite lost. I guess I was expecting a bit too much to think that regular SQLAlchemy would would correctly with an asynchronous driven psycopg2...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Postgresql Introspection.

Postgresql introspection is easy once you know where to look.

Despite working with Postgresql for the better part of a decade, I only recently discovered the Information Schema. It has all your database metadata laid out in nice, human readable views. No more wrestling with pg_catalog and other obscure system tables!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Is the ERD useful for Game Dev?

I think ER diagrams are very handy tools for designing data requirements for a game. I don't see them given away or even talked about (in this context) on the web, and I'm not sure why.

Does anyone else use them? I think if they are stripped of attributes, and simply specify entities and relationships, they can be useful for general design, and perhaps are even re-usable? I have a theory that they form an excellent domain specific language useful for specifying game mechanics. Attributes can be added to a generic ERD, which add behaviour to the model, unique to the game being designed... hmmm.

This is a quick little design I put together to hold the required data for a Master of Orion (4x) style game.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Interesting Postgresql Feature...

I found something new today, Postgres supports asynchronous notifications between different database sessions! What does this mean?

try this in a psql window;
listen SomethingHappens;

then in another window;
notify SomethingHappens;

Now go back to the first psql session... It's like a mini pub sub system built into your favourite database!

Flashback - 1993

Flashback. A hard game, with awesome rotoscoped animation.

I played this on DOS. It is essentially a puzzle platformer, with relatively complex movement. Jumps, rolls, ducking, running and shooting could be all combined in a very fluid way, with flawless, seamless animation. Solutions to various puzzles sometimes required a running combination of several moves.

The graphics were outstanding. The cinematic cut scenes were very well done, and would draw a crowd if you played this in a class room. :-)

This is a great game, with a great story. It is easily equal or better than any platformer produced today. If you want to play it, it should be available on abandonware sites (it was developed by Delphine Software) and there are also version released for NES and Sega Master System... I think. :-)

Indie Game Makes Huge.

Check out these two links then connect the dots...

First, check out Minecraft.

Then read about some development problem's they are having.

Two things can be noted here.

1. Minecraft is bringing in a truckload of euros, every week. Good games can make money on their own merit, with or without the Indie tag.

2. PayPal cannot be trusted with your money. Don't use them.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Aircraft Simulation - Unity3D

Controlling an aircraft using physical forces is... hard. I've managed to implement something realistic using various Fin objects which apply forces on the aircraft. This video shows the autopilot system using these fins to keep the aircraft stable.

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