Tag: programming

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Site upgrade

I’ve spent the last couple of days converting my site to the WordPress platform, rather than using my own bespoke content management platform.

It’s taken me far too long to start espousing the benefits of WordPress over other systems, but having done an increasing amount of work with it in the last year I’m now happy that the majority of problems I had with it are no longer an issue, so why not take advantage of it, eh?

I’ve also changed the underlying markup to be based on the Bootstrap framework (version 4 alpha, to be precise) so please do let me know if you spot anything amiss.

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My Old Game Reviews

I’ve been programming these computer-ma-whatsits since the tender age of 6, when my Dad brought home from work a Sinclair Spectrum 48K.

Well, I say that, but my time with that machine was somewhat limited as I had two brothers living at home then as well, Bob and Mike, and they were even more interested in this alien bit of kit than I was, both of them being nearly 10 years older than I was.

Nevertheless, that lovely old squidgeboard was my introduction to the world of computer programming. 48K Sinclair BASIC isn’t exactly a powerhouse of a language, but it was more than enough for my tiny brain.

I never really managed to do anything particularly great with it though – it was only after I’d migrated to the Commodore Amiga that I started really digging my teeth into the biscuit that was creating my own computer programs. Initially I used AMOS BASIC, followed by AMOS Professional, and ended up using Blitz Basic 2.

Using AMOS/AMOS Pro, I created a number of games for the Amiga that I released on Aminet in the mid-to-late 90s. At the time, I was a subscriber to Amiga Format, and they ran a seemingly popular “Reader Games” segment – kind of like Readers’ Wives, but (certainly the first couple of times) making myself look more of a tit. Naturally I submitted my games for review in this magazine section.

I present these reviews to you now, for you to make up your own mind. They’re in the order of publication.

Amiga Format #97 (May 1997) – Alien Pong Trilogy (no, I don’t know either)

Amiga Format #102 (October 1997) – Alien Pong Trilogy 2 (Pong Harder?)

Amiga Format #103 (November 1997) – Shoot Out (I still like this idea)

Amiga Format #107 (February 1998) – Shoot Out 2 (I like my sequels)

Amiga Format #135 (April 2000) – Shoot Out 2000 (Why 2K? Let’s run this into the ground!)


Amiga Format ceased publication after the following issue, #136. Obviously this was nothing to do with me, but I still feel a little bit guilty.

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Xinha – hidden editors do not initialise correctly

As most web developers will know, there’s a plethora of tools out there on the Web that can provide What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) editing capabilities within web browsers.

My weapon of choice in this arena has always been Xinha – pronounced Xena (like the Warrior Princess) – mainly because the editor itself is very configurable and easily integrates into my custom Content Management platform.

I came across an issue this morning however, where having multiple instances of the Xinha editor on a single web page – with some of the instances initially hidden, caused problems. When the hidden editors were made visible, they didn’t work properly – they were frozen and did not respond to mouse or keyboard input.

I’ve come up with a quick workaround that gets around the problem without requiring much in the way of recoding.

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Games That Never Were: Arena

As some people may know, I’ve dabbled in the world of game development before. I’ve never been particularly good at it, if I’m honest, not really down to anything other than a lack of good ideas, and a lack of time to do any ideas I had justice.

It’s something I keep meaning to have another bash at, not in any serious manner of course, just in a "bedroom programmer" kind of way.

Still, I thought I’d make a post about a game of mine that never quite made it past development. It ranks as the most ambitious game project I ever undertook, and actually got quite far down the line.

The year was 2002, and the game was called Arena: Multiplayer Deathmatch and, as the name suggests, it was an Internet/LAN deathmatch game designed for up to 32 players (although I only ever tested it with 4 or 5 before the project kind of fell by the way side.)

 

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