Tuesday, September 29, 2015

PacktLib has reduced it's subscription rate for a limited time!

Good morning everyone!

I am pleased to announce that Packt Publishing is reducing the cost of its subscription to their entire library of books to just $100 for one year.  PacktLib, is just wonderful and has the following benefits:

  • All 3,000+ books are available to read.  This includes the latest available titles!
  • All the books are available to read using their special reader
  • Books cover a wide range of technical topics including web development and gaming.
  • Code and errata for the books is usually available as a separate download. 
All of this is available for just $100 for a single year.  What a great way to improve your mind and abilities! So please check out this special deal that's available for a limited time  at their website.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Here's what I've been up to lately!

I've been playtesting/writing for a mod for Shadowrun: Director's Cut called Mercurial.  It is based on an old FASA module of the same name.  We released a beta version a little over a week ago and most people seem to like it.  You can check out the mod by going to this website Shadowrun:Mercurial Enjoy!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Packt Publishing results from their Skill Up survey!

The results are in and they make for some interesting reading.  In celebration of the survey results Packt Publishing is offering some very wonderful deals.

  • Every ebook and video is just $10.
  • There are some amazing course bundles that give you access to several ebooks at a huge discount.
  • You can subscribe to their complete library of over 3000 titles for $80/year.

All of this is available for a limited time.
So head over to Packt Publishing and check out all their awesome books.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The 2015 Indie Game Making Contest!

  For the second year in a row, The Indie Game Making Contest is being hosted by Game Dev Fort and Humble Bundle. The dates to create your game are from July 7, 2015 to August 7, 2015.  The theme this year is "Growth." Humble Bundle has a fantastic Bundle just for this contest.  Its pay what you want for a few game engines but as you increase your donation you get some wonderful extra tools and engines.  As it stands right now if you pay at least $12 you will get close to $2000. worth of game making tools and some indie games to show you how its done!  Good luck to everyone that submits a game!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

My review of "Learning Raspberry Pi"

“Learning Raspberry Pi” by Samarth Shah is not the introductory book to the Raspberry Pi that you might think from the title.  The book is meant for someone who already has some experience with the device and is looking to expand their knowledge of what’s possible.  The book assumes that you have a model B Raspberry Pi and the special camera that was designed especially for the Raspberry Pi which you usually have to buy separately.  Additional hardware is required to complete some of the exercises in the book.
    The book begins by explaining how to set-up your Raspberry Pi and use New Out Of the Box Software (NOOBS) to load the Linux operating system on the device.  Once this is done all sorts of wonderful things are possible! Each chapter in the book covers different projects that you can complete with your Raspberry Pi (usually some extra pieces of equipment).
The second chapter discusses how you can set-up a web server and create web pages with the Python computer language and Wordpress.  By the end of the chapter you can have your own music station running from the Raspberry Pi.
The third chapter does a brief explanation of basic electronics and then helps you create your own digital clock and finally an actual alarm clock.  This all requires extra parts that you would need to purchase separately.  On a side note I got my Raspberry Pi in the form of a kit (many of which are available online) that came with several pieces of extra equipment including diodes, resistors, etc.  Most of what you need for the clock is contained within that kit.  
The fourth chapter covers robotics, one of my favorite aspects of having a Raspberry Pi.  The projects in this chapter definitely require you to purchase extra equipment including the special Raspberry Pi camera.  Three separate projects are created and then these three are combined together to make a robot.  Lots of scripting in Python is required to make each part of the robot work.
The next chapter is about image processing and some of the amazing things that can be done with the camera and your Raspberry Pi.  The OpenCV image processing software is used to let you manipulate pictures that you capture with the camera.  You also learn how to take time-lapsed pictures and how to set-up a Twitter controlled camera.
Chapter six dives into software algorithms that can help with the image processing.  Details are given on how to set-up facial recognition and even object tracking.  So your Raspberry Pi can be set-up to be a surveillance camera of sorts.  How cool is that?!! All of this takes patience and determination but is achievable with the details provided in the book.
The book ends with some tips for using the Raspberry Pi as well as help with common problems that can occur.  Resources for more advanced projects are listed and author provides his email address so that you can tell him of any Raspberry Pi problems you may have.
This is a very interesting book and is great for someone who has completed a couple of projects from the Raspberry Pi website.  Many hours of enjoyment and learning can be had from following the projects provided in this book.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

I will be posting my review of "Learning Raspberry Pi" on Saturday June 6th.

Good afternoon everyone,

Something a little different for this blog.  I am reviewing a book on the credit card size computer, Raspberry Pi.  This little gem lets you do all sorts of wonderful things, from playing a special version of Minecraft to learning the Python computer language to building your own robot.  The book that I am reviewing doesn't cover all of this but looks to be a great start figuring out what a Raspberry Pi can do.  Look for my review of "Learning Raspberry Pi" by Samarth Shah next Saturday.

Monday, April 20, 2015

My review of "Unity 2D Game Development Cookbook"

Packt Publishing latest book on Unity is “Unity 2D Game Development Cookbook” by Claudio Scolastici.   Since it is a cookbook that means there are recipes on how to do many things with Unity 2D on 3D objects.  Packt Publishing also provides asset files as well as the code to download.  There is also a downloadable PDF that shows the colored images from the book.
    The book begins with techniques for importing models and scenes from Maya.  Maya is used for this demonstration because of its popularity and its ability to export FBX models.  Most 3D software can export FBX and this chapter explains how to import these models into Unity with little hassle. Importing of animation for the 3D models is also discussed.
    The next chapter discusses importing textures from Photoshop or other 2D programs and then turning them into materials that you can place on objects. One of the recipes also discusses how to set up a texture atlas from a group of images.  Another recipe covers animating 2D UV maps on a 3D object.
    The third chapter is all about creating and animating a game character.  The recipes cover everything from setting up an animation tree to creating a blend tree.  This is a nice overview of the Mecanim animation system.  I really enjoyed this chapter because almost every game is going to have some sort of character in it and being able to animate your character and have it move in a variety of different ways makes your games more realistic.
    The next two chapters take the character that was created in chapter three and give it a scene to move around in and provide physics to let the character react to objects.  First Unity’s standard assets are imported from the Unity store.  These assets contain a character controller package which includes prefabs, textures and scripts that are modified and used in our game.  Later on collision detection and scrolling backgrounds are discussed.  Lastly, a recipe for creating a camera that keeps our character at the center of the screen is created.
    Chapter six has us code a game manager that is a state machine that gives us better control over the game.  Recipes are provided for setting up the games UI as well as displaying “GAME OVER” and “GAME WIN” conditions. Chapter seven is focused on adding audio and video clips to the game.
    Finally, in chapter eight setting up a 2D game with sprites and spritesheets is briefly talked about.  Recipes are provided for animating the sprites and using keyframe animation with sprites.
    Overall the “Unity 2D Game Development Cookbook” was a very interesting book on using 2D objects in a 3D game.  I learned a lot from the different recipes and plan to keep this book on my reference shelf.