Marmalade SDK

marmalade-smb

Attended a Marmalade Developers’ Day to have a look at the new version. Marmalade offers a C++ development kit with libraries that will interface to a number of PC/Mac and handheld devices. It has been around for a while but I haven’t looked at it recently.

I was impressed by the how low level interfaces to phones and tablets are there now, with more to come in the future. There were a bunch of developers there who were largely positive, although a few talked about needing to be ready to handle occasional bugs. The number of platforms available now covers all the normal Android, iOS, Blackberry machines and there are options coming that will push games to the desktop for PC, Mac and to Smart TV platforms as well. There is a push for Blackberry apps at the moment and you can get a free Blackberry tablet and/or a development phone if you can upload an approved app to their app store soon.

The day’s sessions were recorded and are now at,
http://www.madewithmarmalade.com/blog/marmalade-developer-open-day-videos-now-online

Addendum – Feb 2013

They have now released an even easier route into games with their Marmalade Quick package. It has a simple GUI for Rapid Application Development, uses Cocos2D graphics system and the Lua scripting language. Apps may be built with no C++ programming at all! We looked at this for some of our tablet control systems, as they only need a simple interface and Lua has some TCP socket facilities built in.

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XBox controller with C#

Just testing the interface with an XBox controller for the a Boxing punch counter app, so these are a few notes of what I’m using.

Main drivers for the XBox controller are downloaded from the Microsoft site, http://www.microsoft.com/hardware/en-us/d/xbox-360-wireless-controller-for-windows I used the 32 bit version with Windows XP and I tested with the wireless version. Under another test with Windows 7, the drivers updated automatically when the wifi section was plugged into the USB port.

I looked at some examples and decided to use the SlimDX open source C# interface, rather than a full XNA library. It’s lightweight and we don’t need all the 3D facilities of the full XNA sdk. We’ll start with that and see how it goes. The SDK details are here, http://slimdx.org/ and it may be downloaded here, http://code.google.com/p/slimdx/downloads/detail?name=SlimDX Runtime for .NET 2.0 28September 2011%29.msi This needs to be installed. It’s a .msi file. They may be producing an update for .Net 4.0 soon, so keep a check.


This is a simple example that works from this guy, http://visualcsharp.webs.com/projectdownloads.htm

Unity3D

I went on a two day course for Unity3D arranged by Tink at the LFPUG. I have been on a couple of these before and can recommend them; they are usually right on topic and at a price that even a freelancer can afford. This one was no different. Bartek Drozdz was over from Sweden to give the course and he took us from nothing to a small game in two days. It was a fast paced event, so I would suggest students have a go with the software and learn some 3D basics before they get here. We had excellent lunches provided at the local pub, and I can recommend the pint of Blond Witch that I washed it down with.
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XBox pushes the boundaries at Microsoft E3

A host of new XBox titles at E3 this week. Most surprising for me was the first. Beatles Rockband. What were the politics involved in bringing Apple Corps to the table to produce this. Did they just do it for the money, or do they think that the time is right for the XBox to become more of a central media centre. It was certainly done one hundered and ten percent, with appearances from Olivia and Yoko, then Paul and Ringo who were allowed the luxury of talking. I wasn’t too impressed by Sir Paul and his chewing gum. Sometimes that man has no style.
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Game09 at Imperial College

An interesting day looking at some new techniques in games software, pushing the angle of how a clever department at Imperial College in London, can help game studios with their research and production. It was a smaller group than I was expecting but it had an interesting group of talks, with some stimulating conversations around some of the research areas that the college students are involved with. I’ve been talking with contacts at other universities and they do seem to have the time to look into areas whereas a commercial company has to keep more tightly to their production plan. The computer department here has a lot of AI studies, which reflected in some of the talks.
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