Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Tuesday Delivery

Back In The Office

After a whistle stop tour of England, I am back in my Welsh Office answering emails and getting my head straight with the week ahead. I discovered a LARGE box waiting for me, but resisted the urge to open it until I need it. I know what is inside, but it means opening up the new system I am building and a lot of fiddly finger cutting work. Replacing a power supply is simple but involving (and my 8 pin auxiliary power plug is completely hidden by the darn fan and located at the furthest point from the power block - madness). Lots of interesting emails and plenty of news, but I will cherry pick some of them for you!

The Ultimate Coder Returns

I am finally able to reveal my TRUE identity! In addition to being your own personal narrator for all things TGC, I am now a challenger in the second Ultimate Coder Challenge. Da daaaaa!

Official opening post here: http://software.intel.com/en-us/blogs/2013/01/27/soon-the-perceptual-conversion-of-7-ultimate-coders

If you where unfortunate enough to join my original blogging efforts, you will know that I entered the first such Ultimate Coder challenge and lost badly. I created an app that was incomprehensible to the judges and only impressed them with my general lunacy.

It was an honour and privilege to be picked the first time, and shocking to be picked a second time. They must be gluttons for punishment (as they have to read ALL my ramblings). This time around I have been tasked with creating an app that pushes the limitations of a device called the Gesture Camera. This hardware is a forerunner for the technology described by Intel as Perceptual Computing and promises the concept of interacting with your computer without the need to touch, type or wiggle your pointer.

All you have to do is wave your arms and talk in your normal voice, and the computer figures out what you want. If the computer feels like it, your instructions will be obeyed.  I will be keeping my app secret until the challenge starts mid February, and will likely start a new blog series just for that competition. If this sounds interesting to you, you'll be reading TWO of my blogs, but at least one of them is only one post per week so that's good.

I am looking forward to the challenge, and for all your DBP coders out there, I will be writing a DBP plugin to access the SDK/API for the camera, so you may find many of the blogs revealing.  That's right, this app will be written in Dark Basic Pro!  Watch this blog space for more details.

Freedom Engine Frozen

It is always sad when we lose a friend, and today we lose a lovely fluffy friend called Freedom Engine. In order to direct as much energy towards AGK development, we have decided to suspend all development on Freedom Engine in 2013. Official post here:

OFFICIAL POST : http://forum.thegamecreators.com/?m=forum_view&t=203265&b=47&p=0

The decision was not easy given the amount of work that has gone into it, and the extraordinary potential of it. For those who don't know about this, check out the landing page at: www.freedom-engine.com

The plan is to return to this brand once we have added more things to AGK. Things that are quite clearly missing from the 'complete package' including a debugger, an easier deployment mechanism, better help and a solid compiler and IDE.

A general feeling amongst the ranks was that Freedom Engine was a little too futuristic for most developers, who still prefer their offline tools and work pipelines. Cloud has it's place in this environment, including storage, code sharing, automated deployments so forth, but it makes sense to get those things running in the AGK product before launching off into orbit to re-invent the way we are used to coding.  Freedom Engine will have it's day, but not today.

Signing Off

Today is something of a half day shift half night shift, and looks to be that way for the rest of the week. I plan to go back to Wigan to clean a house so will not be frolicking with system builds this weekend, but you never know with my blogging habits.  More blog Wednesday!


  1. Congrats and best of luck at TUC 2--I'll be reading every word! I received one of those Gesture Cameras last week for Intel's Perceptual Challenge but haven't had time to play with it yet and doubt I can get a prototype built by the Feb 20 deadline. Does this mean AGK will be getting sensor support for the camera and others down the road? Right now it is only supported by three platforms (Unity, Processing and openFrameworks) so if I want to develop anything for it I have to go through these other venues. The SDK looks quite complex at first glance.

    It is sad to see development halted on Freedom Engine. It was an ambitious undertaking and, I agree, perhaps it is ahead of its time. With still limited support for WebGL in many browsers and numerous aspects of HTML5 still in flux (e.g., supported codecs) it might be much more usable a year from now when the dust settles among the top browsers.

  2. I will be writing a plug-in for DBP (internal) which will simplify the PerC SDK to make my own life a lot easier. A new API can be a real head scratcher, especially a brand new one! There is usually a way through it, and Intel have provided great support in the past so there is hope. Pity I could not get the new DBP plug-in out sooner as it would have made a great competition for DBP coders. The public perceptual computing competition (initial round ends 20th Feb) has LOTS of prizes, and I am sure many DBP coders would leap at the chance. I am pretty sure there will be a future opportunity, and on that day all DBP users will have access to my Perceptual Plugin for DBP so who knows, the next competition could have quite a few DBP entries ;) Wish me luck!