What I’ve been up to

Where are the SFML News? Where are the Nightlybuilds? Where is eXpl0it3r? Those or other question might some have asked themselves or even me. Of course all the awesome people at the SFML IRC channel know that I never left. There have been quite a few changes in my personal life as well as in my “digital” one. After failing the base exam for computer science at the well-known ETH Zürich, I’m currently aiming for a more practical university, but to get in, I’m doing an internship at the moment. Luckily I’m able to do the internship for a company as a programmer, unfortunately it’s web development thus no C++. With that change my focus in programming shifted slightly away from SFML and C++ itself and I started to dig deeper into the world of PHP. Yes, I can hear all you all scream back there, but I’ve never been an anti-PHP guy and while I see the flaws, it’s still a simple and effective language to work with. I won’t go further into detail what I’m currently working on for my internship, but many things that do there, start to bubble up in other web projects that finally get some more attention (again).

SFML Projects

Some might know that there has already been attempts on this in the past and as a fact, the domain itself has been registered over a year now. I’m talking about this domain: http://sfmlprojects.org/
Currently there’s not much to see, but I’ve decided to go the open source way and not try to hide as much as possible. I’ve already gotten a bit of help by zsbzsb and a few pointers by veltas, other than that the project is still in my hands. The only thing I can do, is to encourage people to look at the current development state and open tickets as well as creating pull requests on the official GitHub repository.

For those that still haven’t look at it: The main idea behind it came from the fact, that there are so many nice projects that simply die in the depth of the SFML forum project section and if that happens, chances are high that the linked binaries will sooner or later get lost as well. To prevent all of this, SFML Projects should enable users to create projects and add various types of content that won’t get taken down after a few days. Next to that the site will automatically promote SFML itself, by showcasing what people have created already with it.

It is and will the longer the more be an interesting journey, thus if you like to help in anyway, don’t hesitate to contact me or tweet us @SFMLProjects.

Kohana & Modules

For the things at work and for SFML Projects, I’m currently using the very light PHP framework called Kohana. Coming from some rather basic PHP background, all this new stuff was and still is slightly overwhelming, but it’s slowly starting to grow on me. Kohana if I remember correctly was originally a clone or rewrite of CodeIgniter and when looking at the basics, the similarities reveal themselves rather quickly.

While starting a few times over with the whole project, I noticed, that it would be easier to create a repository with all the “normal” and boring setup things included and thus KOstart was born. KOstart is basically Kohana with only the needed and additional modules and already includes Bootstrap.

Since the latest Kohana version lacks a non-ORM auth driver, I’ve started to write one and create a module repository just today, which you can find on my GitHub page as well. It currently misses role management, but that should get added pretty soon.

Firefall & RAWR

Quite a big chunk of my free-time, I’ve spent with an MMO FPS called Firefall, which is currently still in its Beta phase. The game is awesome and pulls you in quickly, unfortunately recent changes to the basic systems in combination with the lack of new content, made it a bit less fun for me.

After some ups and downs I’ve been “elected” as the commander of the RAWR army, for which I’ve been creating and maintaining the Live Resource Feed. For RAWR I’m currently also working on a fresh website, but it’s based on Drupal for simplicity reasons. Things are still in development and I feel a bit bad to not having worked on for a while now.

Firefall is not only fun, because of the game content, but because their whole UI is written in Lua and thus moddable. Thus I ended up combining the game with my C++ knowledge and we ended up with SecondaryMap, which as its name says, is a map for your secondary monitor, so you can keep track of your own position and the position of events around you. It’s pretty awesome that this small application uses SFML, Thor and SFNUL – all very nice projects.

SFML Game Jam 2

Before I close this blog post, I just want to mention that the second SFML Game Jam has been held a few weeks ago and as last time, we’ve gotten quite a few awesome games. Originally Jebbs wanted to create a website, but then he had some time issues and zsbzsb took over that burden and create this awesome little site where you can also find all the games of the jam.

Also don’t forget to checkout the game A Temporary Outbreak Nexus and I did for the jam, while both being on quite some time constraint.

Final Thoughts

With that said, I hope to be post a bit more here once again, but if you want to stay updated more often, you might want to follow my Twitter account @DarkCisum. Ever since Grimshaw created that one forum thread, Twitter started to be a very interesting place for getting information. I hope to get some more time at some point for all the nice things like SFML News, but currently I’m just too busy with all my other projects. However as always, don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

SFML News – Week 38-40 (2013)

And I’m back with my weekly based SFML News! Given that it’s just a bit more than two weeks, there thankfully isn’t as much content as for my last entry, but it’s also not like, nothing had been going on.

Projects

Dead or Run

seobyeongky has created a small network racing game and by racing I mean running, not driving cars. It looks interesting and the sound effects are taken from various places, thus it’s kind of fun if you recognize them. I’m not sure if there’s a hidden executable somewhere, but I couldn’t see one on the forum. You can however still enjoy the video below or if you understand Korean, you could also take a look at the source code.

Continue Reading “SFML News – Week 38-40 (2013)”

SFML News – Week 31-34 (2013)

It looks like, this is going to be one of the longest news entry so far, mostly due to the Game Jam, which alone gave me nine projects to present and write down my thoughts about them. But as long as you’re not going to lynch me, for delying the release, I’ll keep writing those news articles and if you really feel like supporting me, there’s some strange orange button on the right side… ;)

Projects

Uoke’s Recovery

Our first project is a simple platformer developed by datMoka as his second project. If you expect something to start and finish in a minute, you’re wrong, because the levels aren’t that easy. I really hope datMoka is going to keep polishing things and fixing some minor issues.

So if you like a bit of a challenge, then Uoke’s Recovery might be something for you. Fun fact: Since I wondered what Uoke could mean, I quickly Googled it and the game’s forum post come up as forth result.

While having this article lying around for a week or so, with parts already written, this game got an update to version 1.1, which now even includes a working patcher.

Continue Reading “SFML News – Week 31-34 (2013)”

SFML News – Week 30-31 (2013)

Whenever I collect topics for forum post, you can be sure, that I’m missing one or the other by accident. If I notice it, I’ll make sure to include it in the next news.

Projects

Mega Man

Are you a fan of Mega Man? Then you should already know of this awesome project, otherwise what are you doing? Go check it out! ZackTheHuman is putting quite an effort into it and personally I think it totally pays off. Unfortunately I haven’t gotten around to build it, so I haven’t played it myself. It’s definitely worth keeping an eye on that project.

Continue Reading “SFML News – Week 30-31 (2013)”

SFML News – Week 29-30 (2013)

So I couldn’t cover all the projects from last week, thus I’ll mention a few old ones as well.

Projects

Cloud Wars

We’ve seen the first screenshots of Cloud Wars, a space tactical game in the spirit of Battleships Forever, but with significant RPG elements, over a year ago and if there would’ve been an update, I guess everyone would’ve thought the project is dead, but it’s quite the contrary. There seems to have been a lot of changes, even changing the programming language for C++ to C# but still using SFML.

I hope we’re going to see some binaries in the near future, since the game looks quite interesting.

Continue Reading “SFML News – Week 29-30 (2013)”

SFML Game Development – A book on SFML

I should’ve posted about this long time ago, but better late than never.

A few month ago the publisher Packt Publishing contacted Laurent, the creator of SFML, and at the same time Groogy, a relatively active member of the community who also wrote the SFML Ruby binding. Packt seems to have noticed the potential of SFML and the lack of books and thus wanted to get a book out. Since Laurent is a very busy man, he asked the community if someone wanted to write a book. After a bit brainstorming and people checking their schedule a small team was formed and the work began.

Now after eight month the book, written by the SFML community members Nexus, Grimshaw and Groogy and supported by Laurent himself, has been finally released and is for sale on Packt’s website with a few different options. Grimshaw has also created a forum thread, so feel free to leave some nice comments regarding the book there. I’ve bought the book myself, but haven’t been able to completely read through it. Once I’ve finished it completely, I’ll certainly be writing a review.

There have been some negative comments on the forum and also in IRC, thus I want to quickly clarify a few things. This book was written by a team, that means you’ll be able to find different wirting styles and things might seem a bit inconsitant from time to time. The authors of the book are all three non-native English speakers, so you should not be expecting a high-toned English, but instead prepare yourself for some grammar mistakes. As the title of the book suggests, the book is about SFML and Game Development, thus the focus is not on pure Game Development nor SFML. If you expect to learn every bit and pieces of how SFML works etc., then you should rather read the documentation and the source code. If however you think you’ll be able to develop you’re dream 3D RPGMMO which is of course better than WoW and alike, then you’re clearly in the wrong, because the book only gives an introduction to game development in the 2D space with focus on highlighting parts of SFML. At the end of the book, you’ll have a game to play with, but since a lot of the stuff was handed to you, it may seem easier that it actually is developing a game from scratch. And one last comment regarding the publisher, although given that Packt gave a few members the opportunity to write a book about SFML, they seem to be lacking a bit on their editorial part. From a good publisher you’d expect them to proofread the book in details and be able to fix many of the English grammar issues, which they apparently Packt hasn’t spent too much time on.

Overall this book was never meant as the perfect book about SFML, but rather as just another book on game development and yet the first one using SFML. With that in mind you should get disappointed if your mind isn’t completely blown and you find some mistakes, but instead you should be happy that SFML has finally gotten an official book!

SFML News – Week …-29 (2013)

Although I’ve once wanted to make weekly updates on SFML News, the amount of content go more and more, while my time got less and less, thus I eventually stopped. Since there have been many new posts on various projects in the last few days, I decided to make another quick update and present some text and images and because there is so much nice stuff, I’m not going to limit myself on a fixed date in the past. Unfortunately I can’t write about every single project, otherwise this blog post would never end!

Projects

Academic project: Simulation of Scorpion & Mice

This project was presented on the forum for the first time on the 7th if July, it’s an academic project from the Swiss university EPFL and created by the Mac OS X guy behind SFML, namely Marco Antognini aka Hiura. Now the aim of the project was to simulate full life cycles of mice as the prey and scorpions as the predators. The hard part of the project seem to be lying with programming the neural network, rather than getting something displayed with SFML, but in any case it’s quite nice to see SFML being used in notable universities and projects. With this project the use SFML wasn’t just temporarily and won’t stop now, but Hiura says that they’ll be using their SFML based setup in the future, so the next class might be actually learning SFML!

Postmortem – One must die

Postmortem has been first shown over a month on the SFML forum, but it went into Closed Beta just recently and now even tries to get the green light on Greenlight – although I’m still wondering how they’re going to get a free game on Steam…
Here’s a quick description from their website:

Postmortem is a FREE Indie narrative-exploratory game that will stress your moral compass this August 15th! Think The Walking Dead meets Home and The Last Express, with a dash of To The Moon – a perfect mix of exploration, conversation, meaningful choices, discovering clues and some puzzles.
You are an agent of Death sent to take ONE life from a cast of influential and ambitious characters at a charity Gala, in a rich and complex setting of industrial-revolution, conflict-torn country.

They are of course running their own website and a nice dev blog. It’s nice to see, that they’ve already gotten an article on US Gamer. Personally I think it’s an intriguing idea and definitely worth checking out!

Colonies – A Retro Sandbox Survival MMO

Not a new game presentation either, but they’ve now gone into Closed Alpha phase and since it looks really well polish, I just had to include it here. As the title suggest this is going to be a sandbox game with RPG elements and it should be an MMO or at least O(nline) as well. You should be able to settle, create a village, and defend your friends from the horrible creatures who lurk in the forests. You can change the landscape, farm, or hunt in order to survive the conditions, etc. Whenever the word “MMO” drops people get suspicions, since it’s hard to get done right and needs a lot of skill and time, but feel free to follow Jungletoe’s dev blog and don’t forget to stop by their own community.

Basis: Bone and Sprite Integration System

Some of you might have noticed the Spine project from a few month back, which also has support for SFML and I’ve even helped on Kickstarter. While Spine costs you some money Basis doesn’t cost you anything. Both mentioned applications are for 2D animations of skeletal and sprite creation. Although the tool is free the development still needs to be financed, thus they’ve started a Kickstarter project as well and they could really use some help! A download can also be found on the Kickstarter page.

Council of Torment – 2D dungeon crawler with a rich storyline

Although Council of Torment is still in rather early development it still deserves its place here.

Council of Torment is a top-down 2D dungeon crawler inspired by Ultima IV, with a very rich storyline, gameplay elements that’s been under development for 10 months.

From the description on the forum it seems that a big portion of the development will also go into the story. There’s not much more to talk about for now, but it’s certainly a project to keep an eye on.

Rock, paper, scissor.

I think, I don’t have to explain how this game works or I at least hope everyone knows “Rock, Paper, Scissor”! Although there still seems to be some animation issue, it works fine and can be interesting to try and figure out, if it’s based on some pattern or simply randomly generated. Not only can you download the game itself, but if you want, you can also look at its source code.

Metanact – Filesystem spaceshooter

While nobody has ever heard of Schnommus aka Seb, he seems to have been reading the forum for quite a while now. Judging from his progress on Metanact so far, he also seems to know quite a bit on programming. Metanact’s goal is to explore and conquer your own computer’s file system in a 2D environment. So while playing, the game will go through your file system and pick out various file names and represent them as enemy. While this game reminds me of other “file system” games, which would actually delete the files you’re shooting (e.g. Lose/Lose), Metanact is not such a game. It does not do any harm to your file system. You can find out more about Metanact on their website or even help Seb getting a bit more money together for some more nice content on indiegogo.

2D Platformer using SFML and Box2D

It always amazes me how some is able to create such a rather nice game as their first project. I still haven’t managed to get my own little platformer running (most because I end up doing unnecessary stuff) and others just go ahead and get it done in their first project. Though it seems, he’s using the Public Domain tile-set, I’ve found yesterday as well – visuals are something that can blur the actual vision between good and bad.

GoPlanets

One of my favorite game in the current list is GoPlanets. The idea is rather simple but much fun! You’re red and can send out a certain amount of ships to other planets to take them over. The numbers on the planets display how many ships you can send and based on this number a given percentage will be taken away when sending out ships. The number increase over time automatically, so the longer you wait, the more ships you get, but keep in mind that the computer will try to win everything in the meantime as well. Although the current AI isn’t really challenging it’s still very fun to play. I really hope to see some further development on this project!

Project Blastorium: a Bomberman-esque game

I don’t think anyone will really remember my attempts on a bomberman clone for one of the SCC. I got some result, but it was very messy and I think I’ve never got it really finished after I’ve missed the deadline. Project Blastorium on the other hand is very well polished and introduces some different weapons to the playground, which seems rather interesting. You can follow the progress on the game on the dev blog or just in the forum.

Black and White and Colors

Molyjam 2013 a game jam, where you have 48h to start from scratch to the finished product. They seem to have been three people involved in this project and their final product after only 48h is just mind blowing. It’s simple, but very well polished and the game idea is very good. It would be totally awesome, if they’d go and add some more content, i.e. new levels, since you’ll get to the last level in just a few minutes. You can get the Windows binary from the Molyjam site or read some more information on the forum.

Discussions

SFML Game Jam

This discussion just popped up on the forum, thus it’s still very hot and it seems many people are tuning in on the idea – even Laurent would be excited to see something like this.
The goal would be to have a contest going for a specific amount of time (24/48/72h) to start and finish a game using SFML. How, when, where and why is what the discussion is all about, so don’t forget to give your own voice!

Clipboard and Open with Default Application feature for SFML

Originated form the GLFW 3 thread FRex went ahead and proposed the two features. The discussion is still open and if you really want this feature, you should definitely go and write there why you’d like to see this. Personally I think this could be nice, but since it should be relatively easy to implement on my own, it’s not something that should get on a high priority list.

Changes on SFML

There have been so many commits and issue discussions, that I’ve totally lost track. You can however always go and look at the commit history yourself!

New Nightly Builds

I finally got around to rewrite my build scripts again. But first let’s see what has happened in the past. As my notebook got stolen a few month back, I’ve lost the original scripts. Then I tried to write a “smarter” and more “modular” system, which ended up being just another mess after all and limiting me for the correct compilation of the Thor libraries. In between the last update and today, SFML has finally seen its long, very long, extremely long, awaited release, which also included an update to SFML’s website and the choice of the final logo. From now on I think many people will just stick to the official 2.0 release and wait for the next version, thus I didn’t feel obligated to keep the Nightly Builds update for every new commit and let it slide for a while. Till yesterday, when I decided to rewrite all the scripts and ended up doing so not only for SFML, but also for Thor, but since GCC 4.8 has been released in that timespan as well, I decided to switch out some compilers. In the past I’ve been quite happy with the rubenvb builds and I believe they are still very good, but I decided to switch to the MinGW Builds. On the search for GCC 4.8 MinGW versions, I’ve stumbled across nuwen.net, which is a project, where someone is keeping his development environment up-to-date with the public. Thus you get his own MinGW version, plus a few quite popular libraries pre-compiled. I believe this could be quite nice for people, that don’t feel like recompiling stuff every other week, which is why I’m supporting that project with my SFML builds. As a final note, I’m totally not a fan of the TDM builds, mainly because their default behavior regarding static linking goes against all the other GCC versions, but since it’s still the one compiler Code::Blocks ships with, I’ll keep it in the list for now.

Enjoy and as always, I’m very open for feedback!

SFML News – Week 12-13 (2013)

Projects

Updates on the Nightly Builds

My SFML Nightly Builds were quite a few commits behind last week, mainly because I wanted to keep the matching SFML version for Thor and thought I could get the automated building system to work with Thor. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to do so in time and thus I only update the latest version section and left the previous section with the older version. Now that GCC 4.8 got released this week, I’m thinking about providing binaries for yet another compiler, but I’m not sure which one I should use. What do you guys think?

Kroniax 5.2, Preview & Source Code

AlexAUT is not resting and keeps polishing his game Kronaix. We’re not at version 5.2, which brought a working Challenge Mode with online highscore and fixed different bugs. He also moved the updates to Indie DB and thus might get some more people to play Korniax.

I’ve posted the last weeks LP not only here, but also on the forum thread and AlexAUT asked me, if he could use my LP as a Preview. I gave him of course the permission, but also offered to create a ‘stand-alone’ preview, which he was even more excited about.

Besides the new official release and the preview, AlexAUT finally published the source to GitHub and with 5 pull requests, he already got some contributions from Haze, iostream and me. Haze made sure, that the source code will compile on Linux, iostream made a conforming Markdown ReadMe and I’ve mainly cleaned up the file naming and structure and added a CMake build system. Feel free to check it out and contribute to it.

Kroniax on GitHub

Open Hexagon’s Linux Port Released

Vee has been working hard on Open Hexagon last two week, but since he’s not that experienced with Linux, he has been deploying Open Hexagon for Windows only. Luckily he got flibitijibibo to continue his older ports. Thus releasing Open Hexagon 1.84 for Linux.

But with help from my side and even more from Aster’s side, Open Hexagon now uses CMake to build and thus is way easier to deploy on Windows and Linux and we might even see a Mac version, if anyone is willing to test it and compile it for Mac. With those new changes the time was right for version 1.9, which adds a new level pack and a few other changes and fixes, see the full ReadMe for more information.

Thor’s Particle System in Action

Tank has posted an example video on a small game he’s been working on, to get back at C++ again, after a longer time doing web development-only for the company he’s working for. It looks quite nice and demonstrates how easy it is to get a good effect with particles. If you’re looking for easy way to start with particle effects, you might want to checkout Thor, which of course offers many other handy things.

Mini Crown

kaB00M who has been or still is working on a Mana fan game called Seiken Densetsu, posted his newest creation Mini Crown. It seems to be based on Vanillaware’s Dragon’s Crown upcoming RPG/Beat’em up game and is available for Windows. The game is still work in progress, but it’s still nice to see that people are working on projects with SFML.

Platform – The simple platformer game

The author of yet another platformer called Platform is santiaboy. He has been on the forum only since the beginning of this year, but has now already released his first SFML game. The controls are quite fluid and from the technical part it seems well done, but one of course still notices that it’s a very rough version and needs some more polishing.

Personally I’m quite impressed how far he got his platformer, I always failed at the basic concepts or the collision detection, got frustrated and left my approaches to a simple platformer lying around on my hard disk.

 

Discussions

Will SFML 2.0 ever see the daylight?

Believe it or not, but the people who’ve been with SFML for quite some time, are waiting on the release of SFML 2.0 already for around three years. I’ve started with a bit of SFML 1.6, but since the ATI bug wouldn’t let me properly execute my applications and since SFML 2.0 already came with a few more bug fixes I switched over rather quickly. The SFML 2.0 back then, wasn’t anything like the SFML 2.0 we have today. We were still using CamelCase for the functions and nobody had ever heard of sf::RenderTexture, sf::Vertex or a few other classes. The API was way more similar to SFML 1.6, what made the switch easier. The big graphics API change was introduce around 1.5 years ago, which was a good day and basically turned SFML into what it is today. The opinions of the community got split when changing the function names from CamelCase to camelCase. Some hated it, some loved it and others found it just ridiculous to even do such a change. Then nearly 1 year ago, we got a release candidate, which made everyone believe that a release would follow within the next few weeks, but as we all know, this hasn’t happened.
So getting back to the title question, will we ever see a SFML 2.0 release? The answer is yes and looking at the milestones on GitHub, we can only see a one open issue for 2.0, where Laurent stated that the tutorials are complete and only parts of the website need to get updated even gave, he even gave a rough ETA, “next month” – you better keep your word Laurent!

New SFML Logo

Unfortunately nobody has commented here on the blog about the last logos, but the discussion on the forum keeps constantly going. Haikarainen posted a new logo, implementing some suggestions by others. The font style looks really well, but personally I don’t see any reason to use an animal for a logo. The most interesting part is though, that Laurent has kind of pointed out the most fitting and we just might see a basic pentagon has SFML’s new logo. Obviously not everyone agrees and thus Nexus has introduce an idea with arrows and made an example. But one should also not forget the two contributions of jabza. Let me know in the comments what you think about the logos.

Changes on SFML

Unfortunately there have been no changes to SFML this week.