Develop in C# for mobile with Xamarin, now it’s free!

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Recently Microsoft decided to include Xamarin into Visual Studio, also into the free version. This means that from now you can use the C# language with .NET / Monodevelop framework to develop crossplatform applications with the support not only for Windows, Linux and MacOSX, but also for Android and iOS!

Before this news, you had to pay for Xamarin, but now it's free (with certain conditions, visit xamarin.com). If you didn't want to pay for it, the only way you had to support mobile devices was to rely on existing frameworks, like Qt, Unity and Oxygine, or produce extra code with Android SDK and xCode. The problem is that all these solutions use different kind of languages. Qt and Oxigine are C++, Unity is a 3D engine that uses C# scripts,  Android SDK and xCode for iOS are mostly Java oriented. If you wanted to support multiple platforms before, you had to change your habits to adopt a solution (even if you didn't like it) to cover an high range of machines. Now you can continue to develop your project with Visual Studio in C# and then decide to convert part of your project to make a mobile app using the same framework, with a little bit of effort for the platform specific features. If you want to develop an app in short time and share it to the world, Xamarin will make your life easier.

Nice acquired by Amazon Web Services

nice_amazon

It's a while that I don't post anything on this website, mainly because the society where I work (NICE s.r.l.) was acquired by Amazon.com and I was very busy with my job. Now I can say that I'm part of the AWS team: this is great because in this way I have the opportunity to work with great people, improving my programming skills. This doesn't mean that I will not work on my own projects too, in my spare time. I'm still working on my cjs framework project that is going on very well, I almost finished the serialization part getting great performances. So stay tuned, that the best is yet to come. Thanks for your attention.

Announcement: GemFinder V5.0 (work in progress)

After thinking for a long time, I decided to produce the 5th edition of GemFinder using the brand new CJS framework. It's still a project in its infacy but I'm pretty sure about the new features that this program will have (if you like the genre, this is going to be amazing). The huge news is that the software will be crossplatform and totally programmable in it's main components: screen capture -> image analysis -> decision maker -> input repeater.

It works exactly in this way:

- Each component implements a default algorithm to make the program work. If you use the default component, you have to do nothing at all.

- If you are a software developer, you can change the internal code with a JIT language and save the source code in the configuration file. Like a shader, you don't need to build the source code.

- The JIT language is basically C and allow you to dynamically link an external library, so you can implement your own algoritm in another existing language (using directx, opengl, opencl...).

- You are not forced to reprogram all the components by scratch, so you can change only the components you want to.

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Super Mario Bros clone for Amstrad CPC464

When i was a little kid I remember that i really wanted to create a Super Mario Bros game for the amstrad cpc 464. Now that I am 33 and I work as a software engineer I asked myself: why don't you make your old dream come true? :) Finally I found the time to create a demo with the famous first Level 1-1 of Super Mario Bro:

The horizontal hardware scrolling needs a double buffer in order to get an accuracy of 4 pixels. The demo runs on original Amstrad CPC 464 speed emulated by Caprice. It is pretty fast and can loop horizzontally for a limit of 512 16x16 tiles meanwhile the level 1-1 takes only 212 tiles. I readjusted the original smb graphics to fit a 256x192 Mode 1 with 4 colors. I really like the effect of the gray scale map mixed with the blue sky, like in the original NES game. This demo has been programmed with SDCC in C and Z80 assembly.

The next challenge is to make a playable demo. For now i'm trying to produce a game for the Amstrad CPC 464 with only 64 KB of memory, trying to store the entire game into the available memory to make it portable for the old cassette system. I'm using pucrunch for z80 with zrle algorithm to save a huge amount of memory. The compressed tileset is about 3.5 KB, the chars 5 KB, a single level 500 bytes. A single level uses only a subset of the available graphics, so i can make assumptions to save memory during the decompression. I estimated about 9 KB for compressed data with a single level and 10 KB for the decompressed ones. At this rate, i can make only 4 levels playable but maybe it's good for a first version of the game. I don't know if i can implement more optimizations to store the remaining 28 levels or if i have to switch to disk loading or just use 128 KB, I'm still evaluating. Another challenge is to program 1 pixel precision blitting algoritm to move the characters. Unfortunately, I'm pretty busy with my job so i have very little time to dedicate to my projects, so it will proceed slowly, but it's good to know that i will post updates on this website as soon as they will available for the public.

Warning: I created this project only to improve my programming skills and not for commercial purpose. The original design, concept and graphics of Super Mario Bros are owned by Nintendo and not by me.

CJS Framework – Work in progress

After a long research for the perfect crossplatfrom multitarget language i didn't find anything that satified my expectations. I wanted to create c++, c#, java and javascript projects around a set of basic classes, functionalities and serialization to import/export files in a custom format.

In a first evaluation, Haxe language with json seemed to be the perfect choise, but after using it i realized that the code produced for the languages of my interest is too heavy, bad indented and hard to reuse in the context of a specific project. That's because Haxe and the other multitarget languages are studied to produce a final result (i.e. a game) and not a source code that is easy to understand for the human reader or to include in other part of a wide project. For instance, if i create an Hello world example with haxe and convert it to c#, it will generates alot of useless .cs files in a well structured (and unreadable) project that you can build and run at first attempt, but that is barely readable and hard to reuse into other clean c# projects. If you are thinking of creating a library in haxe to include the source code into your projects, it's better if you change idea: the final result of your cpp, c#, java or javascript projects may end to a gigantic mess.

For this reason, I decided to create from scratch a new framework that is called CJS Framework, which stands for CppJavaScriptSharp Framework. It's mainly a full bridge between these four languages (but it's not improbable that it will support other languages in the future). The basic idea is very simple: make a set of classes that are useful in a project and a serialization system that easly load objects regardless of the used language. For instance, we can decide to take advantage of the .NET framework and produce an editor in C# to manipulate the maps of a game that will be programmed in javascript and it will run on facebook or the web browser. Or a server application in c++ that communicates in a binary format with a client application for html5 coded in javascript. The framework is projected to satify easly all these tasks and much more.

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GemFinder V4.0

New Features:

- You can configure the game strategy
- You can choose the timing for the moves (it resolves many glitches on different systems)
- The window size and position are saved for each state
- Improved autoplay for the latest games (es: candy crush > 200.000, midas miner > 8.000.000, bejeweled etc...)
- I fixed some memory address so it's more stable now

Instant Download

€9.68 €4.84

BUY ONLY THE ORIGINAL AND KEEP THIS SITE ALIVE. THANKS.


How to use it:

It's very easy. Just launch the application: then you'll see a window (there is a GemFinder V4.0 label on the top) with inside a screen filled with a set of coloured tiles. At this point, you may run your game (on internet or pc) and overlap the GemFinder's window to perfectly match the screen of the game (it's important). This time you can also resize the gemfinder's window to match the game screen as best as you can. If you have positioned correctly the gemfinder's window you will see some circle around the gems that you need to move (in order to complete a triplet). If you press one of the automatic keys (shift, control, space or 0-numpad) the program will play the game for you. Furthermore, you can disable these auto-keys from the settings table in order to leave the gemfinder program on the background and searching for another game to try.

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Unrelated Engine – Deferred Rendering and Antialiasing

I tried to implement the explicit multisample antialiasing and I got good results, but it's slow on a GeForce 9600GT. A scene of 110 fps became 45 fps with only four samples, just to point out the slow down. While I was jumping to the ceiling for the amazing image quality of a REAL antialiasing with deferred shading (not the fake crap called FXAA) I fell down to the floor after I seen the fps, what a shame.

UnrelatedEngine01

Anyway, I decided to change from a deferred shading to a deferred lighting model just to implement a good trick in order to use the classic multisample (that in my card can do pretty well also with 16 samples!) reading from the light accumulation buffer in the final step and writing the geometry to the screen with the antialiasing enabled. The result is a little weird, but you can fix it by using that crap fxaa on the light accumulation buffer which is smoother than the other image components. For example, I can use: a mipmapping or anisotropic filtering to eliminate the texture map aliasing, a FXAA to eliminate the light accumulation buffer aliasing and finally a MSAA to eliminate the geometry aliasing.

ps: I used the nanosuit model from this site: www.gfx-3d-model.com/2009/09/nanosuit-3d-model/

TSREditor – Last screenshots

TSREditor is a huge editor in the style of Blender3D  projected to create or edit the resources like textures, 3d models, sound and levels for games and other stuff.

TSREditor07_l

In spite of the large amount of work needed to reach a decent version of this software, I decided that it will be free as a part of my Unrelated Framework. In this moment I'm far from a decent beta version to release, but I can show you two nice screenshots of the program at work.

TSREditor06_l

QuickDiamond (cheat games like Diamond Dash)

QuickDiamond V1.0 is a bot studied to increase your points record with games like Diamond Dash on Facebook. If you hold the autoplay key (CONTROL or 0 numpad) the program will match the highest number of coloured blocks on the screen. It is very fast and you can make a very high score.


Instant Download

IF YOU LIKE THIS SOFTWARE, FEEL FREE TO MAKE A DONATION AND KEEP THIS SITE ALIVE. THANKS.


Make a donation to support this project!

Why QuickDiamond?

I created this cheat because there are no other valid and user-friendly alternatives on the net. I tried Diamond Dash Facile but the point record on my system was only of 400k in the best case... to be honest, I can do it by myself. However, with QuickDiamond you can do easily more than 800k (my record is of 1400k). You can set up the window to cover the game table and you can resize it if your browser matches a different size for the game. With the keyboard you can play automatically only whenever you want.

How to use it?

Launch the application. Match the yellow grid to the game tiles. If you have positioned correctly the yellow grid you will see some circle around the gems that you need to click. If you press one of the automatic keys (control or 0-numpad) the program will play the game for you.

System Requirements:

This software can run only on Windows platforms. It works at best with a 32 bit desktop, 24 bit desktop it's not supported. A good CPU is very important to make an high hiscore.

For more informations and support, contact: gingegneri82@hotmail.it

Warnings:
I don't take any responsibility in how you will use this software.

Unrelated Engine – Work in progress

This is the first "work in progress" video of my 3d engine called Unrelated Engine. Some complex animated models come from Doom 3. They were converted to a maximum of 4 weights per vertex as well as the identical vertices have been cancelled to improve the speed. The shader language was used to obtain a large amount of skinned meshes and complex materials with a reasonable speed.

The 3d models are from doom3 and from http://www.models-resource.com/, they were used only to test my engine and to make this video. The rights of these 3d models and the music are reserved by their respective authors.

Unrelated Engine – A nice test with Mario 64 map

I created a nice video with an engine that I'm still developing and that is part of my Unrelated Framework. It uses:

- OpenGL (to draw the graphics)
- DevIL (to import images)
- Assimp (to import 3d models)

The 3d models are from http://www.models-resource.com/, they were used only to test my engine and to make this video. The rights of these 3d models and the music are reserved by their respective authors.

GemFinder V3.0

New Features:

- Load/Save your settings for different games
- A new fast method of object recognition based on fourier analysis of tiles
- Lab colour space to find colour distance between tiles

- A simple and intuitive Learn Editor to calibrate the program for different kind of games. You can discriminate different tiles with different shapes, also in gray scale (or if they have the same shape with different colours).
- Press F9 to enable/disable the alpha blending on the entire window
- Configure the keyboard for the autoplay
- Old GemFinder and BioSolver are included to maintain the compatibility
- Configure a different number of rows and columns
- Press F9 to enable/disable the alpha blending on the entire window. You can make it invisible or transparent.

Instant Download

IF YOU LIKE THIS SOFTWARE, FEEL FREE TO MAKE A DONATION AND KEEP THIS SITE ALIVE. THANKS.


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Unrelated Framework – Inclusion of OpenIL/DevIL

OpenIL is a library with very powerful image loading capabilities and I decided to include it in my framework. My standard can handle several image formats like the classic 8 bit RGB or more advanced  formats like 16 bit RGB or High Dynamic Range. The images are imported from file and used maintaining the original format (if it's possible).  For other feature check  OpenIL official web site (http://openil.sourceforge.net/)

Supports loading of:

* Windows Bitmap - .bmp
* Dr. Halo - .cut
* Multi-PCX - .dcx
* Dicom - .dicom, .dcm
* DirectDraw Surface - .dds
* OpenEXR - .exr
* Flexible Image Transport System - .fits, .fit
* Heavy Metal: FAKK 2 - .ftx
* Radiance High Dynamic - .hdr
* Macintosh icon - .icns
* Windows icon/cursor - .ico, .cur
* Interchange File Format - .iff
* Infinity Ward Image - .iwi
* Graphics Interchange Format - .gif
* Jpeg - .jpg, .jpe, .jpeg
* Jpeg 2000 - .jp2
* Interlaced Bitmap - .lbm
* Homeworld texture - .lif
* Half-Life Model - .mdl
* MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3 - .mp3
* Palette - .pal
* Kodak PhotoCD - .pcd
* ZSoft PCX - .pcx
* Softimage PIC - .pic
* Portable Network Graphics - .png
* Portable Anymap - .pbm, .pgm, .pnm, .pnm
* Alias | Wavefront - .pix
* Adobe PhotoShop - .psd
* PaintShop Pro - .psp
* Pixar - .pxr
* Raw data - .raw
* Homeworld 2 Texture - .rot
* Silicon Graphics - .sgi, .bw, .rgb, .rgba
* Creative Assembly Texture - .texture
* Truevision Targa - .tga
* Tagged Image File Format - .tif
* Gamecube Texture - .tpl
* Unreal Texture - .utx
* Quake 2 Texture - .wal
* Valve Texture Format - .vtf
* HD Photo - .wdp, .hdp
* X Pixel Map - .xpm
* Doom graphics

Supports saving of:

* Windows Bitmap - .bmp
* DirectDraw Surface - .dds
* OpenEXR - .exr
* C-style Header - .h
* Radiance High Dynamic - .hdr
* Jpeg - .jpg
* Jpeg 2000 - .jp2
* Palette - .pal
* ZSoft PCX - .pcx
* Portable Network Graphics - .png
* Portable Anymap - .pbm, .pgm, .pnm, .pnm
* Adobe PhotoShop - .psd
* Raw data - .raw
* Silicon Graphics - .sgi, .bw, .rgb, .rgba
* Truevision Targa - .tga
* Tagged Image File Format - .tif
* Valve Texture Format - .vtf

This is an example of how it works in my framework:

C_Image *newImage = new C_Image();
//load from file
newImage->ImportFormFile("test.jpg");
newImage->ImportFormFile(UF_FILE_JPG, "test.jpg");
//export to file
newImage->ExportToFile(UF_FILE_HDR, "test.hdr");
//set file format jpeg compression
newImage->SetFileFormat(UF_FileFormat_JPG(50)); //the image will be saved in my format with a jpeg quality of 50
newImage->SaveToFile("test.img");

Gianpaolo Ingegneri
Copyright @ 2010 – All right reserved

Unrelated Framework – Inclusion of ZLib

The Unrelated Framework got support for ziv-lempel compression of data using ZLib. The classes can be compressed in memory, loaded and saved with few rows of code and without limits. For example:

//this works only with resources like images, fonts, sounds, etc...
C_Image *newImage = new C_Image();
newImage->ImportFromFile("test.tga"); //load image from file
newImage->SetFileFormat(UF_FileFormat_Zip(6)); //set a zip file format of 6th level
newImage->SaveToFile("test.img"); //save the zipped resource on file, simple isn't it?

//if you want to load...
newImage->LoadFromFile("test.img"); //the system understands that it was zipped
newImage->SetFileFormat(NULL); //set it NULL if you don't want the zip compression in the future

or

//this can be used for every kind of object

C_Image *newImage= new C_Image();
newImage->ImportFromFile("test.tga"); //load image from file
C_Object_Zip *objZip = new C_Object_Zip(); //init a zip container
objZip->CompressObject(newImage, 6); //compress the image object
objZip->SaveToFile("test.zob"); //save the zipped object on file
delete newImage;

//if you want to load...
objZip->LoadFromFile("test.zob"); //load the zipped object from file
newImage = (C_Image *)objZip->UncompressObject(); //get the uncompressed object
delete objZip; //delete and free the zip object memory

Gianpaolo Ingegneri
Copyright @ 2010 – All right reserved

Unrelated Framework – Gui and Gui Editor

Finally I completed the GUI of my framework. The best feature is that the Gui can work in two modes: via software or using the OpenGL. It's  very helpful for cross platform compatibility, for video games or other OpenGL purpose.

GuiEditor01

The Gui is in his first version but it has all the widgets necessary to create professional applications. An interesting feature is that you don't need to program a single row of code to create particular interfaces: with the Gui Editor you can easily project all kind of professional interfaces and load them in your program using few functions. You don't need to code the widgets to make them work properly.  In this way you can save hours of programming.

There is a full list of widgets implemented:

- Button
- Radio button
- CheckBox
- Form
- Frame Window
- FrameBox
- PictureBox
- ScrollBar
- Scroll space
- TextBox
- ComboBox
- Menu
- ListView
- TreeView
- ToolBar
- Image button
- Graphic Api Viewer

Of course the GUI was coded in C++, it's object oriented and it's an integrative part of my Unrelated Framework.

Gianpaolo Ingegneri
Copyright @ 2010 – All right reserved