Hugoware

The product of a web developer with a little too much caffeine

Archive for October 2010

Teaching Software Development With Games

with 6 comments

Since an early age I was always interested in doing game development. I’ve made several efforts at developing games doing both the art and the code. I can honestly say that it was my interest in games that led me to become a software developer as a career.

Games have always been a great way to teach. You can see it applied to many different topics and to many different age groups.

So this last week I started on a project to do just that using Canvas and Javascript. The general idea behind the game is to build a better ‘bot’ to pilot your ship. The ships fight it out and the last one standing is the winner.

The logic for the ships, how they move, when they shoot, are all actually written by developers and then plug into the game.

Sounds complicated? Well that is up to the developer. In order to create a ship you only need to create a simple Javascript class.

var yourBotName = function() {
    
    //a visual name for your bot
    this.name = "Display name";

    //the preferred weapons for your bot
    this.weapons = ["lazer", "burst", "tracker"];

    // a method to update your bot
    this.update = function(gameState, botState) {
        //do something here
    };
};

And there you have it! Your bot is ready to go!

The developer is passed game and bot state information that they can use to determine how to behave. This means a developer can write their code to behave anyway they like. That means if you write good code then your bot will do great – if you write bad code (the kind that causes exceptions or tries to cheat) then your bot is penalized.

I have some more work to do to get the game in a web ready format (meaning people can upload their own bots, challenge others, etc…). But so far the game is coming along great.

Below is a quick video showing how the game works and what you can expect. Enjoy!

[Watch the preview video]

Advertisements

Written by hugoware

October 31, 2010 at 11:23 pm

Campfire, Google Chrome and Extensions

with one comment

If you’ve never heard of them before, there is this little company called ’37 Signals’… they made a couple mildly popular products one of which is called Campfire.

Campfire has a really neat chat client you can use to collaborate with other team members. It even comes with some pretty handy features such as uploading files or tracking (and searching) chat history… and it all works even when you aren’t online.

That said, as neat as Campfire is – it is still a website so some of its functionality is a bit limited. For example, desktop notifications. Of course there could be stuff out there but I haven’t checked.

So with a bit of tinkering I came up with a handy little Chrome Extension to do the job.

You can click the image above or this link to install the Extension.

Chrome is especially useful with the Application Shortcuts feature. I use it in a variety of places like Grooveshark or Toggl so naturally Campfire chat fits in perfectly.

Anyways, if you use Campfire and Chrome then this might be a handy extension for you!

Written by hugoware

October 19, 2010 at 11:50 pm