XNA Animations Viewer and Loader

Any of you who visit my site may notice that I haven’t been keeping my “Weekly Summary” promise that I made a couple weeks back.  Trying to get a job while under financial stress, as well as working on the project for IGF has left me little time to even enjoy myself.  So I thought I’d at least take a moment and post about what I’ve been working on.

Our tech lead discovered a WinForms XNA model viewer/loading project.  This helps us in a lot of ways because our pipeline for art assets was to have the artist make them, bug a tech guy to load them into the project so they could view them and make sure they look right.  If they didn’t, the artists would change something, bug a tech guy again, and see if it was fixed.  This process happened numerous times when we were first starting to load animations into our game.  And for each model/animation we loaded, increased our build time exponentially because we had the models set to compile every time we wanted to compile any code change we made.

With this WinForms application, we could have the artists load up this tool, open a model, and save out the .xnbs that were created into our Assets folder.  However, the program in it’s discovered state couldn’t do everything we needed, so it was expanded upon.  I was in charge of getting the Animations to load and save correctly.  It seemed like an easy task, but I managed to run into a couple problems getting it to draw correctly.  When I had thought I used pretty much the same code that we used to draw it in our engine, I couldn’t for the life of me get it to draw.  It wasn’t until a friend pointed out to me that the WinForms app didn’t have a Update loop and asked where I was updating the animation controller.  I felt a bit dumb for forgetting that, but then ran into the problem of it wanting XNA GameTime as a variable to pass the update, which I worked around by creating a stopwatch and resetting it every update.

We’ll hopefully be able to post our expansion of this tool on Codeplex or something in the future.  But for now, we need to keep working on our game.


Nintendo, you’re scaring me.

Nintendo has been doing a lot of stuff recently, and they look like they’re in a bit of a panic.  At E3, they looked like they were well composed and had something that could be innovative for the home console market.  They pretty much had an upgraded Wii (WiiU) with some cool new features that they showed off, and an upgraded DS (3DS) that everyone seemed excited for.

Then the investors started to pull out during/after that E3.  People felt the price point was too high, so they made a drastic price cut, while giving early adopters some old classics as compensation.  Now, the 3DS has had a few faults (store being delayed, not much original/new content), but I still felt like I wanted to get one. (Especially the red one).  Now there’s talk about some ugly attachment for a second control stick.  In my mind, that is a drastic change and one that will split the market.  Developers might want to use it, but it being an optional and not apart of the system at launch will either make the early adopters more upset, or the developers will not focus on using it for any main mechanic and the add-on will seem not as worth it.  This is something that should have been decided earlier, and I think since people have been less than enthusiastic about making games for a system that might fail, they appear to be trying to fix all the criticisms they had in the past all at once.


Now, rumors are circulating that the WiiU is not up to snuff and Nintendo is trying to rush it through production.  While I sincerely hope that is not the case, it would make a bit of financial sense since releasing early and taking the market by storm is what they did with the Wii.  However, if the rumors are true, I hope Nintendo doesn’t forgo any of it’s quality to get a product on the shelves.  The 3DS already has a lack of a library.  Wii don’t need another system with no games for itself.

Endless buffering...

Nintendo is doing a whole lot of things that are confusing and scaring me as a consumer.  I just hope they still have their head in the game and not in their wallets.  At least we can have the ability to buy a Metallic Rose DSiXL soon.

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