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Looks like WebGL for IE is coming

Last week, a build of Microsofts update to Windows 8 appeared on the web, code name "Windows Blue". FranÁois Remy took a closer look at it, and when testing Internet Explorer 11, he noticed that there are WebGL interfaces defined in it, although they do not seem to be functional yet:

I didnít get webgl working, even by trying using iesl, hlsl and other combinations. So, it seems like WebGL interfaces are defined but not functional at this time (if you are curious, you can find the property list of properties reported on WebGLRenderingContext at the end of the blog post)

If this is true, it seems that WebGL will really become the future technology for browser games, yay.

Asus VivoTab

My notebook broke a few days ago. It was a nice Sony Vaio with Windows XP, and I think it was about 8 years old. I used it nearly every day during these 8 years (mostly for doing work), and it was a great companion. I was surprised that it worked that long. Anyway, so I needed some replacement, and I shortly thought about buying some of those tablet PCs, which are currently so fashionable. But apart from surfing the web and watching youtube videos, what are tablets good for? They are made to consume media, but not to be productive, right? So I went to the computer shop, looking for a nice laptop.
Fast forward, I came home with a tablet PC. I bought a Asus Vivo Tab, and it feels great :) In contrast to all the other tablets I saw, this one has a real, hard keyboard which can be strongly fixed to the display, making this computer look and behave exactly like a real laptop. But it is still very small and light, and can be used without that, it's a tablet after all. It's not like this Microsoft Surface thing, which I worked with before, which isn't really fun to work with because of that soft keyboard. This one feels quite robust, and you can type normally with it. Thus, I can work on it like usual: Answer support request while I'm on the move, read mail, and so on. So far, I can recommend that thing. But I've actively used it only for a few hours, so let's see.

Small bank run

Last week I physically visited a bank for doing some paperwork, and what I saw was really unusual: There were dozens of people queued up, depositing money from their bank accounts. Doesn't sound strange, right. But the amount of money they took was what caught my attention: It looks like they were taking everything they had off their bank accounts. The money counting machine was running constantly, and there were only very big notes in there. Every second person was taken aside and escorted to another room, for their own safety (so I heard the guy at the account say), because the amount they wanted was too big.
Note that I live in Austria, not in Cyprus. What the EU politicians did with Cyprus appears to have made some people really nervous, also here. And I think rightfully so.

Announcing GameDevNews.net

This weekend I had some spare time and hacked together a small new website, based on a PHP framework I developed a few years ago: I present to you, GameDevNews.net.
There isn't much content there yet, but hopefully this will change soon. You can even submit infos yourself: If you are developing some game development related tool, library, framework or similar, you are free to submit news on there. I'm going to update this page from time to time to during the next months, let's see, maybe it will become useful.

Personally, I have lost overview of interesting and important new developments in the game development area. "There is this new library for developing mobile games available? Wow, totally missed that." I had this feeling a lot of times recently. Probably because all those game development pages don't seem to care much about those infos anymore, and tend to report more about business developments and similar. But maybe that's just my impression.

I even implemented an automatically updated RSS feed, and it seems to be valid with the first try: :) [Valid RSS]

So I'd be happy about some feedback. Try the website: GameDevNews.net, and submit some links to your projects, if you like.

Linux, Steam and irrKlang

If you are programming a game and planning to sell it on Steam, you might want to consider irrKlang as audio library: I just uploaded irrKlang 1.4.0b, which includes some Linux improvements. Some developers of games which are using irrklang had a preview-build of this, and it appears to be working fine even for those who are being sold as Linux version on Steam. You can get irrKlang here. Happy programming!

3D Game AI in WebGL and Javascript

Programming artificial intelligence for games, aka Game AI usually is a challenge. And if you are limited by CPU, lines of code, memory and even the programming language itself, it quickly isn't that fun anymore. I just released a free update of CopperCube, version 4.0.3, which includes an update to the included Game AI behavior. If you ever used it, you know that it is very basic, but with this new update, I made it a bit smarter and a bit more tweak-able. But see for yourself, in this WebGL demo:
Both game AIs in this demo only use 20 KB of JavaScript code to do what they do: One AI is instructed to try to go along a path forming a circle around the room, while the other one is set to 'randomly patrol'. Both are set to hate each other, so attack each other. I've not given them any weapons, but they don't know this: They still will try to fire at each other. What this demo tries to show is that the AI doesn't know anything about the obstacles in the room, so they blindly stumble around in the area, but try to keep at least their countenance up a bit. If you would have tried this with the previous version of the AI in CopperCube, this would have looked pretty ridiculous.

The same AI behavior is of course also available if your publish your app as Android app, Windows .exe or Flash .swf file: It uses the same minimal amount of code on all platforms, so it runs very quickly everywhere. As most game "AI"s, there is a simple state machine behind it. Thus calling it "AI" is a bit exaggerated. In this case, the AI has just 4 high level states ("do nothing", "reach position", "attack item" and "die and stop"), and based on the situation, it will switch between the states.
In this CopperCube update, the AI has been tweaked so that it can handle obstacles better, and the user now is also able to set waypoints where the AI is supposed to go. Also, specify how long the AI should wait once it reached its target position is possible now. With this, it should be easier to create nicer games, I hope. But of course: The AI still can be improved a lot. And it is no comparison to the AI in modern games. But it is a start. :)

SearchCode and Bug or Censorship on /r/programming

Do you know SearchCode? It is a nice little search engine for source code. Since Google CodeSearch has closed some time ago, I didn't use any code search engine anymore, because I didn't like the alternatives I tried. Their URL was to long or difficult to remember, and their UI was to complex. Today, I found SearchCode, and I liked it very much. So much that I immediately bought an Ad on their pages in order to support their work.

I also posted a link to it on /r/programming, as I sometimes do when I find or blog something which might be interesting for fellow programmers. Strangely, my post on reddit instantly disappeared. It's still linked in my user submission list, but doesn't appear on neither the 'new' or 'hot' lists of /r/programming. This already happened a few times before for me, always on /r/programming, not on other subreddits. Wondering if there is some harsh, strange censorship going on? Or is it just a bug?

Doing a startup? 50% of your work will not be what you expect it to be.

With the existence of the Internet, it should be rather easy to create your own startup today. Especially if you are into digital stuff, like if you are a programmer like me. You sit down, code your product - be it some software or maybe some online service - hack together a website for this and start selling, right? A dream job: Program stuff as long as you want, fix a few bugs here and there and make money with your favourite hobby: programming stuff. Unfortunately, it doesn't work like this. What a lot of articles about startups don't mention is that your work isn't done after you programmed and released your product:

At least 50% of your work in a startup is marketing.

Yes, that's right. Somehow people need to get to know about the existence of your product. If they don't visit your website, you won't get any money. If you don't do marketing, you won't sell your stuff, simple as that.
For a programmer, this is hard. Marketing isn't easy. I would even say that marketing is more difficult than programming: Somehow, this article now has become more a rant than an informative piece of text, as a lot of my blog posts tend to be. Sorry for that. But should you want to try to sell stuff successfully on the internet be aware that only creating your product and putting it into an app store or on your website isn't enough. You will fail. I had a few of customers who worked for months and years to finish their product, then put it online, and then go bankrupt within one month after release. Because they thought once the product is out, the customers will come and buy it. that's not the case. So remember: Marketing. It sucks. And I hate it. But it is necessary.

Shameless marketing plug: try WebsitePainter, my web editor. Or CopperCube, my WebGL editor.