CopperCube on Steam Greenlight

After quite some people suggested this, I finally added CopperCube onto Steam Greenlight. This is basically Valve's pipeline for testing if unknown games and apps are worth for publishing them onto their game selling platform 'Steam'. You can vote for the software you like, and in theory, if you get enough votes, maybe Valve considers your software for putting it onto Steam.

I think this might be a nice way for getting CopperCube more popular, and if this will be successful, I would be able to invest much more development resources into CopperCube. I'm a bit afraid if the audience on Steam is the right for CopperCube, I know that there are a lot of teenagers with harsh criticism on there, but let's see, maybe they like it. It is a great game development tool after all.

So if you have a steam account, please vote for CopperCube on there:

It would help CopperCube development quite a lot.

Problems with uploading to youtube

I created a short video for CCB5, and uploaded it a few hours ago. Strangely, it doesn't show the correct thumbnail. Must be a youtube bug? Not sure. Here is the video:

As near Youtube-Noob I'm wondering if I have to re- upload it.
Update: Yes, re-uploading fixed it.

My book is (nearly) feeding my family

I just received the financial report of the last quarter of my book sales. And a couple of people seem to have bought my Book during the last three months. That's great, thank you! If a few more buy it, I can invite my family to McDonalds from the earnings, next quarter.

If you wonder: I only earn 50 cents after taxes from each book which gets sold. It is a pity that book writers only earn so little, so I'm probably not going to write a second book in the very near future. Nevertheless, I only received positive feedback until now, which is quite motivating, so I'll probably do it anyway some time.

If you are looking for a nice end time / scifi book in german language, you can read the first few pages on Amazon.

CopperCube 5 and the Race to the Bottom of the 3D Engines

After quite a lot of work, finally, I uploaded CopperCube 5. It includes a lot of new features, such as terrain support, physics, video playback, network communication, iOS 8 support via WebGL, shader programming, animation blending, and much more.

I also created a list with screenshots with detailed descriptions of the changes in this new update. People seem to really like this release, and I received a lot of overwhelming feedback for this release of my small and apparently quite useful 3D game engine. However, there are also voices like these getting louder each release:

"WTF, 99 euro for this? $OTHER_ENGINE$ is free!"

I already once wrote about the new race to the bottom of the 3D engines, where the most popular 3D engines currently seem to be in a battle, making their software packages cheaper and cheaper. App developers know this phenomenon from the app store, which resulted in the current state, where mostly only developers of very, very popular apps can make a living from their work anymore.

I have no plans to participate in this race to the bottom. CopperCube has a set of quite unique features, and isn't a direct competitor to those products, fortunately. And my users seem to understand that it won't be possible to get the same amount of support, dozens of free updates and this set of features if I made CopperCube a free product.

But I'm curious about how this will end. For a short time, when Crytek payed its employees late a few months ago, I thought maybe this would be the first visible victim, but for now, it looks like they will go on.

But it's true: All this has made me thinking about the pricing scheme of CopperCube more than once. The Basic edition now is 99 euro, but since someone actually still complained about this price point, I thought about adding a monthly subscription option. Not sure if anyone might be interested in this, but 5 euro / month for example really looks a lot lower than 99 euro. Hm.

Kerbal Space Program

On the weekend, I had some little free time, and I was able to try out the game Kerbal Space Program. It is a game where you are able to build your own space ships, launch them and try to do stuff with them, like orbiting or landing on the moon. It's actually a quite nice idea, and is fun to play. The game isn't finished yet, and unfortunately, the user interface isn't quite there yet, and it gets a bit frustrating in the beginning, because the game doesn't tell you which buttons you have to press in order to do anything. I even didn't know that I had to use the keyboard at all, so I was completely lost in the beginning, but the kerbal wiki website helps a bit.

Initially frustrating, but very fun and interesting. And I still haven't achieved a lot in that game yet. I'm looking forward for the game to get polished a bit and to be finished.

Terrain renderer

I'm currently working on implementing terrain rendering for the next version of CopperCube. I have some experience with implementing stuff like this, but this time it is a bit different: The implementation needs also be able to be editable, as being used in an editor. It currently looks like this:

It is not that difficult, but a you have to try around a bit until it not only looks nice, but also works nice with all the features of the editor, such as undo management, material editing, light mapping, serialization and so on. I like how it works so far, but a lot of work is still to be done.

Wait, is this the right page?

I log into LinkedIn about once every 6 months or so. And I feel every time I do this, the page looks completely different... :)

Shadows: Heretic Kingdoms

Shadows: Heretic Kingdoms an Action-RPG developed by Games Farm. Honestly, I never heard of this game before - I'm really not totally up to date with current PC gaming - but it looks promising:

I like the idea that you can play as demon in this game. The early access version was released just a few days ago. And the game probably has some nice sound. Because it uses irrKlang as audio library :)

Why developing in C++ for the Windows App Store sucks

As you may know, I have a Windows RT Tablet and since the update to Windows 8.1, I'm very happy with it. My only main concern is a bit the lack of apps for it, although that situation seems to get better every day.

Last weekend, I had a small problem which a small app could have solved for me, but on the Windows Store, I could not find any app doing this. Being a programmer, I decided to write that app myself. I even have a Windows Store developer account, so I would be able to publish that app then for free, for others. C++ being my favorite programming language (although I'm also very fluent in C#, which would be the second option here), I decided to start writing that app using the new Windows API, or 'Windows API for Windows Runtime apps', how it seems to be called now. I've developed a handful of Windows Store apps already, so I knew that it would be no picnic, but this time, the design of the API stopped me from being able to create that app at all. Or to make it more clear:

Microsoft! Developing for your new Windows API sucks! And here is why:

First, not to be unfair, there are also good sides.
But the bad sides are sometimes a real show stopper:
So in short: The API works, but - IMO - it is only usable for creating toy apps. Maybe one reason why there aren't that many Windows Store apps is that it might be a bit too complicated or sometimes - like in my case - even impossible to implement your idea for an app. If you want to do some serious app, then this is sometimes simply not possible. The API is young, so I hope Microsoft will make some changes to it - That's why I wrote this blog post. I know a few Microsofties read this blog :)

HearthStone Review

On the weekend, I was able to try Blizzards latest released game HearthStone, finally. It is free to play, and apparently not one of those evil "pay to win" games. In short, it's basically a collectible card game, and reminds me very much on Magic: The Gathering - admittedly being the only collectible card game I ever played :)

In short, the game is fun, the rules are very simple, it is learnable quickly, and seems to be fair and balanced. If you are a PC gamer and in your mid 30s like me, you will also like the occasional Warcraft II reference, including various Warcraft 2 soundtracks playing in the background. Additionally, the game is ideal for an "old" gamer like me: I don't have much time to play games, and it is possible to quickly start it and play it for a short amount of time, and have fun.

But there are also bad sides:
I'm pretty new to this game, so my impression might be wrong, but as newbie, it is very, very difficult to win a game against people who already own hardened decks and advanced cards. I currently have a win-loose ratio of about 1:20, I think. One time a player decided not to kill me although he could have, but to heal me instead. Assuming he had done a misclick, I continued to play, struggling for my life. But after a few rounds, the same happened again: Instead of finishing me, he healed me and continued playing, demonstrating his superiority. I felt like a mouse in the clutches of a cat, pretty helpless. It's a bit frustrating, being confronted with overpowered players like this. I'm not sure if the disabled possibility to chat in the game is positive or negative in that respect.

Regardless, it is fun and I'm looking forward to the game being available on my Windows RT tablet. :)