My platform game engine using MonoGame

I would like to present the hobby project that I’ve been working on for a while now. It’s open source, and the repository is located at https://github.com/bramdemoor/MonoGame-PlatformerPOC.

It’s a proof of concept of a multiplayer platform game, built using MonoGame, the (pretty awesome) open-source XNA port. The main idea here is to play around with the POC until I have a solid foundation for a game. After that, I will start to develop the ‘real’ game (design document is ready, I’m looking forward to implementing it!).

I work this way because I often tried to do a lot of things at the same time in the past. Eventually, all these attempts failed miserably, so that’s why I’m taking the step-by-step approach now. And it’s working out pretty good so far.

When it’s completed, the engine will feature:

  • LAN network play for two to eight players (using the Lidgren network library)
  • Basic AI bots (allows up to 16 players in total)
  • In-game console
  • Full debug mode
  • Tiled level editor
  • Horizontally scrolling levels with parallax backgrounds
  • Multiple characters
  • Multiple game modes
  • Multiple weapons
  • Different tilesets and level backgrounds
  • Unit tests
  • Compiled to run at many platforms (“everything monogame supports”)

Some of these features are already partially implemented at the moment. But I still have a lot of work to do, and because of my limited time, it will take a while before everything is done.

Anyway, it’s in no way meant to be a one-size-fits-all game engine. It’s just a pile of code for my own use, but I hope somebody else can use it too.

In a while, I might post a video of the game in action, and also some follow-up posts about this project. All depends on the interest of course, so make sure to follow the project on GitHub or comment/tweet. That’s the best encouragement for a lazy developer 😉

Finally, here’s a screenshot of what the thing looks like now. Please note that I used some free graphics in combination with my own uber-sucky photoshop skills. The result: It looks like crap 😉

Don’t worry, the final game will feature graphics by a designer.

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Book: The Agile Samurai

First post in the category ‘Recommended books’. More to follow soon!

The Agile Samurai: How Agile Masters Deliver Great Software

Verdict: This book is a great and fun to read overview of agile techniques.

Agile Samurai

  • It’s certainly not for project managers exclusively. Anyone involved with software development in any way benefits from reading this book.
  • Good eagle-eye overview of agile practices. Touches on a lot of topics without diving too deeply into the details
  • I made a lot of notes while reading:
    • General notes about the contents of the book
    • References to actual projects I was working on at that time (very applicable content!)
  • We used the book as an inspiration to improve our dev process at work
  • It’s a book from the ‘Pragmatic Bookshelf’, which is a great quality indicator in my opinion.
  • The book itself is very ‘agile’ and fun to read. Doesn’t get boring
  • Really, nothing bad to say about this book 🙂

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Bram’s toolbox: Evernote

Let’s kick off this relaunch of my blog with a series: Bram’s toolbox. It’s a simple concept: I introduce a tool/application that I’ve been using for a while and that makes me happy while I use it.

Today’s tool of choice: Evernote – an application to manage notes.

When I started using this application a few months ago, I instantly liked it. I’ve been using it ever since, stockpiling notes like a maniac. I’ve used a lot of other approaches for managing my notes in the past, and they all sucked. But this just feels right.

My evernote account currently holds more than 500 notes. This is a massive amount of information that would be hard to manage with most other tools. Can you imagine working with 500+ word docs organized in folders?

Some of the stuff I store in it:

  • Interesting things I read about programming. And that’s a lot of content!
  • Interesting articles about various subjects (news, history, health, lifehacking,…)
  • Guides to games I play
  • Guitar tabs
  • Some really funny pictures
  • Recipes
  • My own ‘sysadmin’ notes about configuring  PCs, smartphones and networks
  • Some blogpost drafts
  • Small code snippets
  • Inspirational stuff, like interior designs and website designs
  • My own notes about programming, e.g. libraries I used, tricks, procedures,…
  • Memories of nice moments (picture + quick notes)
  • Interesting tweets
  • General notes about… Anything
  • Inspirational/funny quotes

What I really like about evernote:

  • The web clipper. So much better than bookmarks, because… It saves the html and images for eternity.
  • The free account, which I use, is good enough. I’ve never hit any limits so far.
  • It just works
  • Store massive amounts of information without thinking about ‘files’
  • Easy searching, tagging etc.
  • Organize stuff YOUR way. The application doesn’t get in your way
  • Don’t waste time creating ‘documents’ with a ‘layout’ in a ‘folder’ when all you want to do is dump text and hit ctrl + s

Things I don’t do in evernote:

  • Everything that involves dates (that stuff gets messy fast, and belongs on my google calendar)
  • Overviews of stuff I’m currently working on, todo lists, goals I need to keep track off etc => those things go in Trello, which is another great app that I will feature in this series.
  • Links to websites I visit regularly. That’s what bookmarks are for.

Anyway, hopefully this post helps someone. I personally know some chaotic bookmark-hoarders who would certainly benefit from using Evernote. 🙂

Disclaimer: I’m not affiliated with any tools I promote in this series. I don’t get any money or perks.