2017: Year of Technical Debt Remediation

Over the holidays at the end of 2016 I looked back over the catalog of mobile apps that I developed and made the decision to spend some time bringing old apps up to date.  For some of them, the platform I used for development had changed a lot since the app was last recompiled, including the discontinuation of some plugins that were being used.  For others, they were missing screenshots for the new iPads, and it was only a matter of time before Apple’s quality assurance program caught up with them.

The first apps to benefit from updating are Spiky Swim and MMXLVIII.  These apps both used the old Corona SDK AdMob ad plugin and needed to be updated in order to keep serving ads.  So with Spiky Swim I pushed out a new feature, and with MMXLVII I gave players 3 extra bombs – both incentive for people to update their apps.

The rest of the apps will be updated as time allows.  It feels good to update the apps and make sure that they’re all still working for users on their current devices.

Importing Photos Into Windows 8

Microsoft changed the default photo importer in Windows 8, and I don’t like the new one.  It’s tied into the new Photos app, and it tries to make things easy – unfortunately, it also removes some important options.

To restore the previous behaviour and get the Windows 7 import options back, do the following steps:

  • Go to the Windows 8 start menu and type: cmd
  • When the app with the black box icon comes up, right-click it and select “Run as Administrator”

windows8_command

  • In the command prompt window, type:
    cd “C:\Program Files\Windows Photo Viewer”
  • Press enter
  • Type: regsvr32 PhotoAcq.dll
  • Press enter
  • Type: regsvr32 PhotoViewer.dll
  • Press enter

Close the command prompt window.  Now when you connect your camera, you should have a new option “Import pictures and videos (Windows)” Select that one.  Then when you see this dialog box, select “more options”:

windows8import_1

That will bring up the settings window as desired:

windows8import_2 If nothing happened, or if the wrong program started when the camera was connected to the computer, then you will need to go into the Control Panel and change the autoplay settings for that device.

First Game Jam in 20 Years

The last time I participated in a game jam was a couple of decades ago. Yes, literally 20 years ago in 1995. When I saw the announcement of the MeatlyJam I was interested and I decided almost immediately that I was going to be part of it.  It then took me 2 more days to commit to that decision and send in my registration. 🙂

The file of art assets was released before the game jam started, but I didn’t have any time to play around with it.  I looked at it and tried to get an idea for a game, but nothing was coming to me.  When the jam started on Friday morning I was at work, so I couldn’t start on it until later that night.  Then when I did start, I knew I wasn’t going to have the full weekend to work on it, so I truly needed to keep it simple. I didn’t want this to happen:

simple

Continue reading

Relearning Game Development

I first started programming in 1983 (read about my programming history here).  I don’t remember what I programmed on the Ti-99/4a, but I do remember one of my first programs on the VIC-20 was flying birds program, straight from the book that came with it:vic_20_flying_birdsIt wasn’t long after that when I started making games.  Sadly, none of them have survived my various moves across the country, however my friends still remember playing the games that I made – they were pretty fun for the time.

Continue reading

Influencing Viral

I’m a software developer.  I make mobile games, among other things.  I’m also a Dad to two teenage children.  The combination of the two leads me to watching what they’re doing with their mobile phones.

Back when the indie game “Threes” came out I bought a copy and played it.  I didn’t mention the game to my kids, but not too long after I saw my older daughter playing “2048”, so I said:

“Oh, I see you playing 2048.  That’s really just a copy of another game called Threes.  Do you want to play that?”

“Uh… OK.  I’ll try it.”

Continue reading

Area of Latitude/Longitude Rectangle using PHP

I went searching for how to calculate the area of a rectangle* on the surface of the earth using PHP and didn’t find one online.  Someone probably has one somewhere, but it was just as fast for me to adapt one as it was to continue searching, so here it is.  Enjoy.

This code is also available on GitHub if you prefer:
https://github.com/prairiewest/PHPRectangleArea

Continue reading

Windows 2012 Multihomed Domain Controller

In researching whether one can run a Windows 2012 domain controller with multiple network cards (aka “multihomed”) I ran into a lot of old posts referring to Windows 2003, Windows 2000 and even NT4 – but not a lot of new information.  All of them say something like a multihomed configuration “isn’t recommended” or “isn’t supported”; not many of the pages actually address whether it will work.  So here is my recent experience.

Continue reading

Corona SDK Volume Sliders

If you are developing mobile apps with Corona SDK that use volume controls, here’s a quick tip for implementing more natural feeling controls.  Assuming that the control is a slider with values from 0 to 100, all it takes is one line of code:

volume = (math.pow(3,sliderValue/100)-1)/2

But since I really like seeing things work myself, I’ve built a very small demo project that you can download and run:
screenshot
VolumeSliders.zip

If you would like to read more on why this formula works or why it’s even needed, this page may be interesting for you: http://www.dr-lex.be/info-stuff/volumecontrols.html