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Visual Studio 2005 SDK V2 (April 2006) released

by Benjamin Nitschke 26. April 2006 21:27
Microsoft released a Visual Studio 2005 SDK update this week and it contains a lof of updated features:
  • Updates to the IronPython sample (very useful for me because of syntax highlighting stuff for my addin)
  • Visual Studio Team System integration (yeah sure, like I'm will ever be able to affort VSTS)
  • Domain Specific Language (DSL) Tools (sounds interessting)
  • Visual Studio Tools for Applications (VSTA) (cool for office stuff, but not important for me)
  • Reference samples for C# and C++ Editors, Version control integration, XML designer, and many others! (thats always good)

Why am I telling you this? Well, I'm going to continue my Boo Language plugin for Visual Studio I started earlier this year. I never had time to continue it, but now with the new VS SDK out I will give it another try.

Other news: Steve Pavlina blogs this month about stopping polynapping. Steve was one of the most known polynappers of our time, he was polynapping (sleeping only 2 hours per day) for almost 6 months. I was polynapping in february this year too, but because of many fairs and meetings I wasn't able to keep the schedule and switched to bi-phasic sleeping and after a while I was back to monophasic sleeping (just sleeping once per day). Steve Pavlina had similar reasons and said that he had problems with social events, you can't go to sleep every 4 hours in our society that easy.

I will give polynapping another try this weekend. I'm not expecting it to last, but maybe I will do it I month from time to time, just for the fun of it. It was also interessting to see the reactions from other people, when I tell them about polynapping.

Visual Studio SDK:

New Rocket Commander Mod: Fruit Commander and other cool Tools

by Benjamin Nitschke 25. April 2006 05:47
I wasn't checking the Rocket Commander for the last few days and today I was adding the new Mods to the Website. I was amazed how many games were played in just 3-4 days (more than in the whole month till then). Seems the Coding4Fun site on MSDN is attracking a lot of people to try it out ^^

I've been working on the Fruit Commander and Pizza Commander Mods for Rocket Commander (sorry for the delay, had a couple of other things to do), they are both similar to the Flower Commander Mod, but more advanced and include a lot of new cool features. The Pizza Commander is still in the Beta-Stage and will be released tomorrow (I think ^^). The Fruit Commander is finished and tested, so why not release it :)

In the Fruit Commander you have to collect as much fruits as possible, but beware: There are also rotten fruits, which are bad for your health. You have also to be careful about the Vitamin levels of each fruit, it will not be healty for you just to collect 1 fruit type (you need all vitamins). There are also a lot of other cool features in the game. Just to name a few: New camera with auto-roll, SpecularMap shader, cool chilling soundtrack, new UI and a lot of game logic changes. The full source code is also provided, check out

Another cool tool would be the Rocket Commander Model Viewer, which allows you to view all kinds of models in the Rocket Commander game and its Mods. It is easy to use and very useful to check stuff out. There is also a and c# Version available and the best of all: It is just 300 lines of code and very easy to understand. I made the VB version just for fun, changing the code into any other .NET language shouldn't be hard either. You can find all download links in the Mods/Other section on the website.
RC Model Viewer Tool:

Again: Check out the Rocket Commander Video Tutorials on Coding4Fun if you haven't already: gamedevelopment/rocketcmd/default.aspx

Btw: Thanks for all the news, blog posts, etc. mentioning Rocket Commander, the website traffic increased by the factor 10 in the last couple of days ;-)

Fruit Commander Main Menu

Fruit Commander Game Screen

Pizza Commander, coming soon

English Rocket Commander Tutorials are finally up on Coding4Fun

by Benjamin Nitschke 19. April 2006 20:13
Good news: The english version of the Rocket Commander Tutorial Videos are now avialable at
Check them out in case you couldn't understand the german ones yet ^^

There are 10 Video Tutorials and a lot of links and help avialable for anyone interessted in game programming. This are the 10 Tutorials, each video is 40 minutes and there are plenty of links and information in the tutorials.

  • Tutorial #1. How do I setup Visual Studio for our project?
  • Tutorial #2. Design and Concept
  • Tutorial #3. Helper classes
  • Tutorial #4. Graphic classes
  • Tutorial #5. Music and Sound
  • Tutorial #6. Shader Introduction (TangentVertex class and FxComposer)
  • Tutorial #7. Shaders (Parallax, Instancing)
  • Tutorial #8. Post Screen Shaders
  • Tutorial #9. Input and Interface
  • Tutorial #10. Game logic and the Flower Commander Mod

Another good news is coming from microsoft, who decided to make all Visual Studio Express editions 100% free (prior to this they were only free to download until October 2006). In just 5 months over 5 million copies of Visual Studio Express were already downloaded, thats really a lot for just a developer tool!

Last but not least there is also some cool stuff coming up tomorrow: 2 new Mods for the Rocket Commander and more cool stuff on

Rocket Commander Tutorials:

DirectX SDK April 2006 and Quo Vadis conference pics

by Benjamin Nitschke 12. April 2006 01:29
Before I begin brabbling about my problems, first the good news: The DirectX April 2006 SDK came out yesterday. There is more new Direct3D 10 Beta stuff and more samples for XACT (thats for audio creation), etc. This is the news for Managed DirectX:

Managed DirectX 2.0 Beta Update

Microsoft is working on a new managed gaming framework which will target Windows and Xbox 360 known as the XNA Framework. The majority of what exists today as the Managed DirectX 2.0 beta will become a key component of the XNA Framework. Managed DirectX 2.0 will continue to ship as a beta in subsequent SDK releases of the DirectX SDK until a beta of the XNA Framework is made available. While we are striving to deliver a smooth transition from code written to use the Managed DirectX 2.0 beta, Microsoft can make no guarantees about the API compatibility between the Managed DirectX 2.0 beta and the upcoming graphics API’s in the XNA Framework. Microsoft will be providing guidance about the API differences as well as migration assistance as more information becomes available regarding the XNA Framework.

The following is an initial list of known changes which will exist between the Managed DirectX 2.0 beta and what Microsoft will deliver with the XNA Framework. This list will be updated as more information is available, and is as always subject to change.

  • Managed XACT and managed XInput will replace managed DirectSound and managed DirectInput respectively. Managed DirectSound and managed DirectInput will no longer be available in the XNA Framework. However, DirectSound and DirectInput will still be available for developers who choose to use Managed DirectX 1.1.
  • Managed DxDiag will not be available in the XNA Framework. DxDiag support will still be available for developers using Managed DirectX 1.1.
  • Microsoft is actively investigating how to bring forward functionality from Direct 3DX 9.0 into the XNA Framework. D3DX9 will still be supported in MDX 1.1
  • Please note that Managed DirectX 1.1 is fully compatible with the .NET Framework 2.0.
The XNA Framework will be supported on several architectures (including 64-bit) for both Windows and Xbox 360.

So what does this mean for us fellow Managed DirectX programmers? First of all: Forget MDX2, it will never get to any final version. If you need DirectX in .NET just use MDX1 for now. The XNA framework will replace MDX2 in the future, but it isn't here yet. And to confuse us .NET programmers even more there is now a managed Direct3D 10 wrapper (but like native Direct3D 10 it requires Vista to run). For me this means I will stay with MDX1 until XNA becomes useable.

Another thing I find very annoying is the fact that there is still no documentation for MDX2 and MDX1 is still in the "August 2005 state". I hope that's going to be better with XNA ... don't really know what Microsoft expect developers to do with a beta version like MDX2 with no documentation at all. Want to read more discussions about this DirectX release? Then check out this post from David Weller yesterday at

Ok back to the topic about Quo Vadis: Sorry for posting so late, but I wanted to post my impressions and pics of the Quo Vadis last week after we drove back. Sadly my handy (mda pro) decided to stop working and I couldn't charge it up again. When connecting to the PC with USB the connection was only available for a couple of seconds and then everything went dead. Today I finally opened up the device and found out that the whole usb connector was broken and actually fell of the main board in my PDA. Tomorrow I will try to mess everything up by soldering it back together. If I'm not careful that's it for the device.

Anyways, the problem was I couldn't get the photos back and I have no idea who called my since last week and I don't care anymore ^^ today I got some of the pics on the memory card back to my PC with help of a card reader (I don't have one). But most of the pics are missing, I only got a few boring ones ^^

Quo Vadis Conference pics:
Driving to the Quo Vadis with
way to high HDR lighting.

One of the conference rooms.
This is were I held my talk
about .NET 2.0 too (room 3).

People at Quo Vadis

The autodesk booth

Chilling between the sessions.
On the right side you can also
see the Rocket Commander poster.
We presented and played RC there.

Sorry, don't have any more pics :(

Quo Vadis April 6.-8. 2006

by Benjamin Nitschke 2. April 2006 10:56
At the end of next week the German Quo Vadis Developer Conference will be held in Oberhausen near Essen (germany). The event will take place from 2006-04-06 to the 2006-04-08 and a lot of german game developers and even publishers will be there.

At the first day 2006-04-06 at 16:00 I will present the newest tricks of .NET 2.0 in game development and talk a little about Rocket Commander too. The session name is "Vortrag - Making of Rocket Commander - .NET 2.0 Technologie. Ein exDream Project - Benjamin Nitschke, exDream", you can check out the full schedule here: Quo Vadis Program pdf. Don't ask me how I will do that, I never done such thing before, but I think I will be fine. Shouldn't be much different from making video tutorials, except maybe there will be an audience, ahhhh ^^ just kidding.

In the next few weeks the english Rocket Commander Video Tutorials will be available on Microsofts Coding4Fun site. But there is even more! I will perform also 3 webcasts in May about game development and the Rocket Commander game. They will be in english and hosted by Microsoft, dunno the links yet (links will be posted as soon as I know them), but here are the times:

  • Tuesday, May 16, 2006 9AM - 10AM PST (6PM - 7PM CET)
    Rocket Commander Part 1: The graphic engine.
  • Wednesday, May 17, 2006 9AM - 10AM PST (6PM - 7PM CET)
    Rocket Commander Part 2: User Interface, Sound and more
  • Friday, May 19, 2006 9AM - 10AM PST (6PM - 7PM CET)
    Rocket Commander Part 3: Game design and creating a game mod
More on that later.

I wanted to post a couple of tools (Collision, physics, enemy unit AI, etc) earlier this week I done over the time for Rocket Commander and Coop Commander, but I got the flu and was very sick and weak all week. Maybe I will be able to finish the tools in the next couple of days and post them here, we will see.

Other than that: Hope to see ya at the Quo Vadis conference.

Quo Vadis Developer Conference

Coding4Fun site:
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog are own personal opinions and do not represent the companies view.
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