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1  Game Development / Game Mechanics / Re: Making GUIs on: 2015-02-26 10:01:49
I'm finding myself rendering a bunch of images using hardcoded coordinates, and the code seems messy in general. I can't seem to find general advice/advice for Slick2D here on JGO for GUIs. Did I not look hard enough?

There's some relevant discussion at

I used FengGUI on a project I was working on back in 2008/2009: it was a bit clunky, but with some theming and a few bugfixes I supplied I was happy with it. But I was using JOGL rather than Slick, and I don't know how good the integration is; and it's a dead project. (Or "stable" - it's a question of perspective!)
2  Java Game APIs & Engines / Engines, Libraries and Tools / Re: Java OpenGL Math Library (JOML) on: 2015-02-20 11:13:31
So why not have a degrees to radians method so that people can use their intuitive knowledge in, for example, initial conditions.

Because that's included already in java.lang.Math, and one shouldn't duplicate core library functions like that.
3  Game Development / Newbie & Debugging Questions / Re: Picking the 'top' tile in isometric games (images included) on: 2015-02-18 09:34:11
The "easy" solution is to draw a pick buffer. That is, an image which uses the same rendering process as the buffer you render to screen, except that instead of using the stone, earth, etc. textures it uses a different solid colour for each tile. Then the picking just comes down to a look-up in the pick buffer.

The other approach you could consider is to modify your current code to use a suitable loop. I think the standard approach is to loop from the back to the front testing whether the current tile is under the mouse. In your case, though, it might work better to have a loop something like

Tile tile = null;
for (int h = minHeight; h <= maxHeight; h++) {
   Tile layerTile = getHoverTile(h);
   if (layerTile.height() == h) tile = layerTile;
4  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: New feature: appreciation results in post medals on: 2015-02-05 09:21:05
Consider it done (mostly because it is).
5  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: New feature: appreciation results in post medals on: 2015-02-04 18:07:07
  • JGO Spiffy Duke (for those that actually published proper games)

I think I should have this, but I don't seem to. Is this the right place to file a bug report? (Or if I don't have it because of the plural in "proper games", I can add showcase threads for the other games I developed at Jagex. I had preferred to only show the one which I consider the best, both as a game and as an advert for Java technology).
6  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Schemes to teach the masses to code on: 2015-02-02 17:19:29
One element of basic logic is that statements which make category errors are not effective support for a position in an argument. So IMO you're setting a bad example to any children who are reading this thread Tongue

And I would put forth that arguing about whether I should be using the term programming or computer science (or even logic and problem solving) is a bit pedantic and doesn't really have anything to do with the actual conversation.
Pedantry is an essential skill for computer programmers, because computers are more pedantic than all of us.

I would further argue that saying "well this is how it was in the 1940s" is not a valid defense of a position, and in fact, only strengthens the other side.
I'm arguing with your presentation of the situation in the 1940s that you're using to support your position. I'm not arguing for or against the position itself. In fact, given that your main thrust is to promote teaching programming rather than to promote teaching CS, you could regard my nit-picking as improving your argument.
7  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Schemes to teach the masses to code on: 2015-02-02 16:15:51
My point is that programming != computer science.

Okie dokie. And what does that have to do with whether we should teach basic problem solving and logic to children?
One element of basic logic is that statements which make category errors are not effective support for a position in an argument. So IMO you're setting a bad example to any children who are reading this thread Tongue
8  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Schemes to teach the masses to code on: 2015-02-02 15:56:38
Even if I concede that you're right (which I'm not), I'm not sure what your point is.
My point is that programming != computer science.
9  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Schemes to teach the masses to code on: 2015-02-02 15:38:08
The fact that computer science **started out** as a **feminine career** sorta proves this.
Computer operation started out as an extension of secretarial work, but computer science is something very different, which started out as something for maths and engineering graduates (i.e. mainly men). E.g. (Cambridge Mathematical Laboratory, 1948):

10  Discussions / Miscellaneous Topics / Re: Can Word Lists be Copyrighted on: 2015-02-02 09:28:28
I have three independent points to make:

1. Don't trust legal advice from unqualified strangers.

2. If you're based in the EU, you need to worry about "database rights" in addition to copyright.

3. There are word lists which have been explicitly released into the public domain: e.g.

11  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Schemes to teach the masses to code on: 2015-01-30 09:50:40
This could be caused by the same reason: Businesses want good programmers but only want to pay for mediocre ones. And forcing kids to take programming classes in school is certainly not going to help improve the situation.

I disagree with your wording. We aren't talking about "forcing" kids to take programming classes. We are talking about **making it an option** in a way that it isn't yet, in the same way that we offer art courses, or music, or physics.

Are you still talking about elementary / primary school? If so then the system where you live is clearly very different to the system where I grew up, in which pupils didn't get any options until they were 13.
12  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Schemes to teach the masses to code on: 2015-01-26 16:46:19
I have no idea what goes on in schools these days in the UK tbh

KS1 and KS2 now include programming, but I doubt that many primary school teachers understand it well enough to teach it properly.
13  Discussions / Miscellaneous Topics / Re: Article: The Rise and Fall of the Lone Game Developer on: 2015-01-15 14:40:05
I really learnt to program with the manual that came with the computer. Back then, manuals were serious documentation. The manual for my second computer even included circuit diagrams.

In fact, I don't agree that it's easier than ever to get into programming.

I mean, doesn't that sorta prove my point? Back in the "golden days" you had to trudge through some serious documentation, basically be an engineer.

I was 8 years old. I probably couldn't have told you what "engineer" means. And actually I didn't understand a lot of the documentation. For example, the computer came with a version of Logo which could be run with CPM, and there was a fat chapter on Logo in the manual, but I didn't understand the point of all the list-processing instructions until 10 years later when I learnt functional programming with SML.

And with movements like trying to (and succeeding at) convincing schools to start teaching programming (in kindergarten!), how is it *not* easier to get into programming?

Give it 10 years for the teachers to learn the subject, and maybe we'll have another "Golden Age".

Couple that with the fact that *everybody* has a computer in their pocket (not just geeks in a basement trudging away), and I'm not sure how it's possible that it's just as hard to get into programming today as it was back then.

I still haven't got round to figuring out all the steps to getting a Hello World running on my smartphone. It's certainly not a case of turn it on and start typing.
14  Discussions / Miscellaneous Topics / Re: Article: The Rise and Fall of the Lone Game Developer on: 2015-01-15 11:29:09
I mean really, if you had to learn how to program by manually copying machine language from a magazine, how many of us would have learned how to program?


I will admit that it's easier than ever to get into programming. But how can that be a bad thing as a whole?

That wasn't the only way to learn to program. I learnt to program in the 80s, and while I did get my hands on some magazines with type-in programs I really learnt to program with the manual that came with the computer. Back then, manuals were serious documentation. The manual for my second computer even included circuit diagrams. There were also plenty of books around on programming.

In fact, I don't agree that it's easier than ever to get into programming. It's easier than ever to learn a second language, because of the resources available on the Internet, but a non-programmer has to find advice on which language to learn, sort through the contradictory opinions to arrive at a decision, and install the compiler or interpreter. Computers no longer boot into a shell in which you can start using a REPL for a language stored in the ROM.
15  Game Development / Game Play & Game Design / Re: Lost beauties of Game Design on: 2015-01-09 15:58:57
Once upon a time, in every game you played, you had three lives, or attempts. Be this the game, the level, the area. Unless you found more lives in the game, you stopped playing after a few tries. This was likely due to the move from arcade games to home entertainment, but it was a good design feature nonetheless.
Most people would consider a design feature which causes people to stop playing after a few tries to be a bad design feature. A more qualified view would be that it's a feature which appeals to the hardcore élite and repels the mass-market / casual player, so it should be something you offer as part of a "hardcore" mode and not in the "normal" mode.
16  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Developing a multi-player game - How should I approach this? on: 2014-12-10 09:15:27
Turn-based or real time? It makes a massive difference.
17  Games Center / Contests / Re: Java4K Competition 2015 on: 2014-12-08 16:44:59
Oops! I should have said .jar file rather than .class file!
What I meant was no proguard, pack, gz compression etc, so the entire build chain would be;
jar cfM game.jar game.class

That way anyone with vanilla java and the source code could play the game.
I foresee disputes about size. Different versions of javac will produce different size class files: older ones include less cruft. (And you're even including debug information!)
18  Games Center / Contests / Re: Java4K Competition 2015 on: 2014-12-08 11:04:39
2. Does not require complex compression chains. However, it remains to be seen whether the effort to golf code is more than using the compression chains

Much more. It's possible to set up a decent compression chain from scratch in a few hours - varying according to how much you already know about what's out there: if you know that you want Proguard, Zopfli, and the zip2gzip I uploaded to the forum a couple of years ago, you could do it in less than one hour. It takes a few hours to do a proper golf of a 2k Java source file, and then once you see how small you can get it, it's in a format which makes it really hard to add new features which use the remaining space.

I'm pretty sure 8K uncompressed gives one even less (significantly less) room to work with than J4K did.

You're quite right. To inform the discussion, here's the breakdown of the three Java4k entries I finished:

GameSourceUncompressed class fileFinal file
Gravitational Fourks *29315136534054 (jar)
Quadriletteral37178117683899 (jar.pack.gz)
Stick Shift 4k48059166083704 (jar.pack.gz)

* I actually did a bit more work, so these are for v1.3 rather than the submitted version, which was 1.0.
19  Games Center / Contests / Re: Java4K Competition 2015 on: 2014-12-06 21:20:39
2) we measure the source file's file size however the source code is reviewed by the judging panel to ensure no unfair tricks have been used, and it is down to a vote of the judges whether or not a trick is fair or unfair... probably needs some more clarification there I think maybe.
This doesn't make any sense in conjunction with your point 4), and it is a major change in direction. It also forces people to write submit Java source. I know that might sound a bit silly in the context of a Java competition, but previously there was nothing in principle stopping people from writing in any other language which targets the JVM. In fact, I squeezed out the last few bytes from one of my entries by disassembling the class file, tweaking it, and reassembling it with Jasmin.

In order to stay true to the history of the J4k, I think that the download should be what's explicitly limited in size and not the source.
20  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Designing a game - hard work? on: 2014-12-02 13:01:18
I think Julien is probably correct in guessing that when you say design you mean draw (perhaps as a false friend from the French dessiner), but can you confirm that?
21  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: Legends of Fore on: 2014-12-01 09:50:52
Some of the strings use phaser and others use phazer. I assume this is an unintentional difference? Another spelling mistake I spotted is Abadoned.

There are also some strings which probably shouldn't be translated (e.g. levels/moonbasealpha/mission3.xml). And thanks seems to be in there twice, which is a bit odd.
22  Games Center / Contests / Re: End of 4K. Thanks all! on: 2014-11-30 08:50:03
Just keep the site running for historical reasons, be a shame to lose all those games. Smiley

Even though half of them are broken.
With some combination of old JRMs and decompile-tweak-recompile it should be possible to get most of the broken ones working.
23  Discussions / Miscellaneous Topics / Re: The C family, should I dig deeper? on: 2014-11-28 11:59:12
C is just a portable assembly language.

I would say more that C is a high-level assembly language which allows you to use a portable style, but no-one ever does. Just at the basic level of types: stdint.h / inttypes.h are 15 years old, but still terribly underused even in new projects.

I highly recommend the book The C Programming Language 2nd Edition by Brian Kernighan and Dennis Ritchie

I see a possible connection. Why do people keep recommending using a completely outdated language reference? You wouldn't recommend a book on Java 1.1 to someone wanting to learn Java in 2014.
24  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: Hexara -- work in progress on: 2014-11-28 09:31:50
I like the text you wrote. May I use it or a slightly edited version?

25  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: Hexara -- work in progress on: 2014-11-27 23:47:02
If both source and dest are already placed then they should switch positions instead of clearing the source.
I concur. The clicking on a line thing isn't something I discovered by just playing the game.

It IS a difficult puzzle, like the last half of a good hard sudoku. I was envisioning it being something where one would only tackle one a day, and it would take a pleasant part of an hour to solve.
I've solved all but a couple of gold ones in 20 minutes.

Still, it seems I should make some more examples that are easier to solve, to give folks some practice and a leg up. Having been at this a while, my perspective on difficulty is skewed.
That's always a problem with puzzle game development. (And with most game development, in fact).

This is the biggest challenge of this puzzle game: communicating how the puzzle works.
Instructions are a good first step until you have time to work on a detailed walk-the-player-through-the-level tutorial. I would say something like:

Each vertical banner contains a sequence of tiles which must be present somewhere on the board. The sequence may be present in a straight line, or bend all over the place. Arrange the tiles so that all six sequences are present.

I haven't had problems with sound dropping out. One feature that I would prioritise is a way to give up on a level and go back to the list of levels. I'd also add the text "Choose a level" to the level selection screen, because it's not immediately obvious that it's a level selection screen. I thought at first that it was just a splashscreen. And I would find it helpful to be able to hover over a tile on a banner and see the other instances of that tile, rather than just getting that highlight when I hover over a tile on the board.
26  Discussions / Miscellaneous Topics / Re: C#, did Microsoft just want to be different? on: 2014-11-27 12:13:22
Things I'm definitely not keen upon:
  The coalesce operator.


Things that could do with adding to Java other than those features mentioned that are nifty about C#:
  The elvis operator. I take back what I said about ascii Wink
The coalesce operator ?? and the elvis operator ?: are functionally the same.

Stuff I know nothing about:
Basically it's a limited form of coroutine. It is very useful for people who want to write implementations of Iterator; I haven't seen many other uses for it.

I think C#'s approach to lambdas is slightly better than Java's, although both of them would be improved (for the user - maybe not for the compiler implementer) by being more functional. Effectively they both require you to define a placeholder (respectively a delegate or a one-method interface) for the type. I would rather just be able to specify something of the form (String, String) => int as the signature.
27  Discussions / Miscellaneous Topics / Re: Should the player control the head or torso on: 2014-11-26 11:00:59
You don't have to force a dichotomy. The third option would be to let a player whose head becomes detached from their body switch between the two.
28  Discussions / Miscellaneous Topics / Re: C#, did Microsoft just want to be different? on: 2014-11-26 10:53:17
My original post seemed biased, apologies. I know it never began at Java lol. I was merely saying that when I had a look at Java, C++ and then I opened up VS and looked at my C# code, it seemed that things were different; for no reason other than "just because".

C# wasn't only aimed at people with a C++/Java background. It was also aimed at people with a Visual Basic background. I suspect that that's the reason for the naming conventions: the .Net library followed the pre-.Net VB library and the Win32 API in general. (Quite a few parts of the .Net API are just thin wrappers around Win32).
29  Game Development / Newbie & Debugging Questions / Re: How to distribute database with game on: 2014-11-24 11:03:14
SQLite has JDBC drivers. No need to listen on ports: it just needs to be able to access a file, and it supports basic SQL.
30  Discussions / Business and Project Management Discussions / Re: Love DC comics, Love card games, Looking for someone who wants to helpout on: 2014-11-18 07:58:15
Just the barebones in order to play, leaving the mechanics to the user, no card rules or logic for now, as if we were playing in real life on a real table. Automated things will come in the future.

You have a far more realistic goal than the vast majority of requests for collaboration on this site, for which I commend you.

On the down side, DC already have their own card game based on the comic characters. This is the kind of project which can't succeed, because if it attracts attention it will also attract lawyers.
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