Amy Kidd
What She Said

Wednesday, May 29, 2002
8:29 PM
Right, so it's been a little while since I've posted here. In any event, I now know a LOT more about .NET, I have a version of ViaTexas.com laid out in .NET's GridLayout mode (which helped me discover how much the site pushes the limits of GridLayout mode) and now I'm fiddling around with I Buy Spy. I Buy Spy is a web portal and shopping cart made by Microsoft and a consulting group to promote .NET. I tried to install it, but it died since I didn't have SQL Server or (as it turned out) MSDE. MSDE is the Microsoft Data Engine, and it's basically SQL Server without all the nice stuff like GUI's and automatic maintenance. So I installed MSDE and tried to install I Buy Spy again but it wouldn't work. After a lot of searching I figured out how to manually install it and use the osql.exe utility to replicate the SQL database propogation process. Problem was, it still wouldn't work - something wasn't pointing to something else. After some days of searching again, I figured out (read) how to make the security settings work so I tried again and this time it worked. Kick ass.

The single most useful thing I have run into on the web recently, more useful than Google has been Google Groups. An old dot-com company called Deja News started putting up newsgroup archives (except for the binaries groups) years back but then Google bought them when they were nearing extinction. Late last year Google finally finished a project Deja was undertaking where they put up an archive of nearly every newsgroup post ever since 1981, a project which entailed combing nearly extinct and destroyed tape archives. Consequently, anything anyone's ever posted about anything in the last 20 years can now be searched. The information is mind boggling. Some conversations have been drug out over decades. Google is the shit.

Something else I've noticed - people harp on Microsoft and people harp on developers who choose Microsoft platforms, but the trust is I've discovered that Microsoft is pretty damn fair, all things considered. They came up with DirectX and they give it away for free - anyone in the world can write for it. Sure, it's not compatible with Macintosh and Linux, but why should it be? Why should Microsoft bother with platforms they don't own? They came up with the .NET framework and they give it away for free, complete with the compilers. You could use DirectX and the C# or VB.NET compilers they give you and write a computer game for free, not paying dime one (except of course for the Operating System they run on). Sure, Microsoft also sells VisualStudio.NET, an IDE for .NET but you don't 100% need it (though it makes things really nice). They're even going the next step and contracting a company to port .NET to Linux. How's that for playing along? Plus, Microsoft has developed their answer to the next C++, C#. They went on and made C# a downloadable free standard and there's already companies making C# compilers for other platforms. Meanwhile Sun has never made Java an open standard, despite making many broken promises to do so. Finally, Microsoft takes SQL Server, their, um, SQL Server product, and makes a free scaled down version of it, MSDE. Sure, it doesn't have the nice GUI the ~$20,000 version has but it's nice and free.

Say what you will but Microsoft is actually pretty damn fair all things considered.

Man I really want to get back to Torque. Soon. After I get some ViaTexas things sorted out.

Monday, April 15, 2002
8:55 PM
A nice individual pointed me to the latest build of his work in progress TGE game, saying he had gotten vehicles and weapons to work. I tinkered with it for some time before cracking open the script and figuring out how to get vehicles actually in the game. The game had one vehicle with weapons, a flying vehicle with weapons, and two cars. I figured this would be good enough to study and get to work. However, I finally noticed that the tank with the weapons was not a wheeled vehicle, and the wheeled vehicles did not have weapons. I'll study this tommorow night as well, but I'm not sure it's as useful as it seems. This code also crashes when the vehicle picks up a weapon.

Perhaps I'm attacking this wrong. I figured that I needed the little robot vehicles to pick up weapons and such. Perhaps I don't need them to - perhaps they can just come with their own weapons and not need to pick them up. If this above mentioned code is a bust, I'll probably try that other route.

Tuesday, April 02, 2002
8:20 PM
I spent the majority of this Torque evening tracing down how weapons work in TGE script. I picked the terms "weapon", "rifle" and "crossbow", discovered which files they occured in, and then reverse-traced it back to the orignal loading files (i.e., which files loaded which other files). It's late, so I won't attempt anything tonight, except to check out the latest head revision and make a new build, setting it up overnight.

Also, I'm exploring the possibilities of reimplementing ViaTexas with Microsoft.NET. Previously, I laid out the site using Visual InterDev 6.0 as a layout tool. Worked great, except for the fact that it used DHTML to do the layout translation, and Microsoft and Netscape didn't agree on how DHTML worked. The .NET framework, however, coupled with VisualStudio.NET, figures out the DHTML on the server end, interpreting it based on what browser is hitting the site, so a page I laid out last night which would have choked non-IE browsers worked perfectly in Netscape, Mozilla and Opera.

Have I mentioned how much I love .NET?

Thursday, March 28, 2002
7:47 PM
I mapped a preliminary texture to a preliminary model. The top looked good at least :) I may be able to devote more time to it tommorow - only have to work half a day (Good Friday).

I've been developing a work-related .NET application on the side at work. If I could work in VisualStudio.NET all day that would be the shit. Sure as hell beats COBOL at a Terminal window. If only...

And for the second time in three days I've had to fix my Wife's Outlook 2000. Similar problem, same fix. Gets annoying. Makes me wonder...

Tuesday, March 26, 2002
7:14 AM
Okay, I FINALLY figured out the model texture bug. I'm cheap and I use MilkShape to make my models (it's $20 pricetag pales in comparison to the $4000 3D Studio Max). The exporter plugin for the .dts files Torque uses was developed by another Torque developer. Certian export properties aren't natively supported by MilkShape, so as a workaround, the "Materials" that MilkShape uses (usually the textures you wrap onto the polygons) can be used to do things like scale and animation sequences. As it turns out, however, the FIRST material MUST be the skin texture - the others can be the options. This doesn't jump out at you, which is why it took me a while to stumble across it, and it's also why no one else was able to help me - most people just happened to have their first Material be their texture.

Then this morning I fixed my Wife's Outlook 2000 problem. Life is good.

Wednesday, March 20, 2002
8:22 PM
Tonight I worked once again on getting a skin on a vehicle model, which I am utterly failing at again. I had this problem a while back and then it fixed itself, but now I'm stuck with it again. The GarageGames community is great, but they've been so far unable to help fix the problem. The GG guys are at a conference this week, so once they get back I'm going to ask Tin Gift what I'm doing wrong. Also, I intend to revive my post on the topic.

Oh well, that's what I did tonight. I'll work on it again on either Sunday or Monday - headed off to Dallas after work tommorow.

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