Saint Seiya: Soldiers’ Meh

After playing it for at least 25 hours, I decided to write a few things that I did and didn’t like about Saint Seiya: Soldiers’ Soul. This post is the result of such experience.

SS:SS is a fighting game developed by Dimps and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment. It was released on September 2015 for the PS3 and PS4, and on November 2015 for PC.

Even though I’m a longtime fan, I never had the chance to play a proper game based on the series as they were mainly released for the PlayStation. Besides a very old GameBoy RPG game, the only official game I tried once was Saint Seiya: The Hades in a PS2 emulator. I also tried fan-made games –created with the M.U.G.E.N., a 2D-fighting engine– but they were bad. Actually, the best, and only, one around is the french project: Ultimate Cosmo.

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2015: En avant, en avant, chevalier!

It seems like an eternity since the last time I wrote here.

Although I haven’t been neither able nor inspired to keep the blog as updated as I’d wish, I have been reading it again from time to time. Aside from finding typos in several posts (time to hire an underpaid intern, I guess), it has been a great experience to see how I have grown across these 3 years.

Bonus Disc is now three years old!

Back on the first post, I stated that my goals were to practice my writing skills, share my experiences and discoveries, and talk about game development. Those goals are truer than ever.

The second half of 2015 had me full of work, first trying to finish all the necessary paperwork to start my post-graduate studies and then starting it. Aside from the missing exams, I have already finished the first three modules of the Computer Game Engineering MSc at the Newcastle University in the UK. But there are no excuses for the lack of new posts or advances in my projects.

I had to learn a very hard lesson in the past months, as I spent valuable time writing over the tool we used during a course. While I regret nothing, as I’m sure I learnt much more from that than by blindly using the given framework, it still cost me half my grade. I’m striving towards continuing building my little game engine and, hopefully, write about it in this blog.

2016 will be a decisive year for me. I need to focus myself and give my 100% on the remaining modules of the master studies and do my best to find a great place to work afterwards, a place where I can unleash my full potential, learn even more and finally begin my life as an independent person.

It won’t be easy but what a ride will it be.

Until then, en avant, en avant!10476987_1155277577832274_3055249333693485411_n

How to use old color themes in Visual Studio 2015 ♪ I see a red door and I want it painted black ♫

With the release of Visual Studio 2015, I tried to import the color themes I used previously in VS 2013. To my surprise, they didn’t work correctly. After trying several themes available at Studio Styles, I realized that something changed in the latest incarnation of Microsoft’s IDE in the way it handled color (or named its attributes).

After doing some research over the internet, I found no mention to the problem. The available color themes at Studio Styles were up-to-date but apparently still weren’t 100% compatible and no one had new versions created specifically for this. What I did found was an extension for Visual Studio 2015 called Color Theme Editor.

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Null references D:

Checking for null references in Unity «There's no reference, only NULL»

Early, when learning how to develop games in Unity, programmers come across with the need to check for null references. Null checks are necessary to avoid exceptions when trying to access or make use of an empty position in memory.

The problem is that there are several ways to check for them and (surprise, surprise) they aren’t equal in terms of performance. To answer the ultimate question of which is the best way to check for null references in Unity (using C#), I decided to do some tests and determine once and for all who’s boss.

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atlassian git logo

Introduction to Git Got git?

Sir Windows Churchill once said:

To each programmer there comes in their lifetime a special moment when they are figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to improve their workflow and save them from future pains in the ass. What a tragedy if that moment finds them unprepared or unqualified for that which could have been their finest project.

That tap is usually the first time one hears of this mystical thing called version control.

This post is an introduction to Git –arguably the best and most popular version control system around– meant for anyone with zero or almost nil experience on the subject. Also, it isn’t supposed to be a detailed tutorial as there are plenty of those on the internet; this is a reference guide to (hopefully) help you understand the basic principles and begin a more thorough research on your own.

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Iterative Development

Iterative Development is my shepherd I shall not want

There’s this old phrase, some call it the mantra of business, that says:

Fail fast, fail often.

Nowadays it’s regarded as a hype. Whether that’s true or not, it certainly describes very well something called iterative development.

When working on a project, there are several ways to break down and structure the whole development. For instance, there’s the infamous Waterfall model; a sequential approach where the project is divided into various steps that don’t repeat: just like a waterfall, backtracking is impossible. Usually, these steps are: requirements, design, implementation, verification and maintenance.

In Rework, authors Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson (from Basecamp) talk about the nature of plans. They argue that «plans are inconsistent with improvisation», guesswork at best. There are many unknown variables at the start of a project (specially longterm ones) impeding a clear view of all the roadblocks on the way; roadblocks that may require expensive solutions. Sadly, the waterfall model operates this way; first the requirements are determined, then a solution is designed and later implemented, finishing with some QA and a wrap up of the project. But, what happens if the requirements change or a redesign is considered necessary?

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Awesometracks: Mass Effect

I recently started listening and enjoying a new soundtrack from a trilogy of games that hooked me up a while back: Mass Effect.

Mass Effect is a science fiction action role-playing third person shooter, developed by BioWare, that represents one of the cornerstones of modern sci-fi.

The trilogy spans over 9 albums of futuristic ambient music and was inspired by classic sci-fi movies like Blade Runner.

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Super Hexagon in a nutshell

Super Hexagon is a game by Terry Cavanagh, based on an earlier version made during a game jam.

The idea is pretty simple: the player controls an arrowhead, moving it (radially) around the center of the screen, while trying to avoid incoming obstacles.

Despite the simplicity of the concept, the genius of Super Hexagon is in its design.

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Snap! Devlog #1 Photography Evolved

Since a couple of years ago, I’ve wanted to develop a game inspired by Pokémon Snap (an on-rails photo capturing game).

I began the development of a prototype, last year, using Unity 4.x; however, I was using the old Unity UI system (OnGUI, plus other hacks) and things started to get messy. I also got busy with other projects and never continued this one… until now.

Several factors influenced my decision to pick up the project again: the release of the new Unity UI & Unity 5, and me working as a freelancer in 2015.

And so, on June 10, I restarted the development of Snap! (tentative title).

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