Vacation time

I got my new system last Friday. It has improved my productivity a lot. Went from a Core 2 Duo with 2gb ram to a Core i7 with 6gb ram. It is so much faster that I haven't had time to play any of my facebook games since.

I am still in bug fix and polish mode. It is really nice to see all the new info coming out about the game and to see all he stuff being put together for more updates. I especially like Chris' unit videos. It gives people a way to see each unit in detail. I can't wait until he shows off some of the more unique units.

I am oficially on vacation until 2010, so there probably won't be another new post for a while. Until then, Merry Christmas and happy New Year!

Milestone 14 is behind us, mostly

Well, the stress and chaos of milestone 14 is behind us, for the most part. There are still a few things Square wants done before milestone 14 is officially given their blessing. Now we are on to bug triage and squashing. From now until release (or I get assigned to our other project) my job will be going through any bugs assigned to me and fixing them.

I know it sounds monotonous, but I really like it. Every bug I squash makes the game better and more playable. Also, some of the bugs I have worked on this week are more like feature requests. A couple of them are just things to add to the overall immersion of the game. I really like that kind of stuff. I really can't wait for this game to be released so I can talk in more detail about some of the work I was involved in.

I have spent so much time coding in C++ over the past month and now I am having to do a lot more lua work to fix bugs, it is weird. My lua code is starting to look off. I am so used to putting semicolons at the end of lines that I have to stop myself from doing it in lua. I can't tell you the number of times I have forgotten to write "then" this week (C++ does not use "then"). I thought going back and forth between projects was hard, going back and forth between languages after such a long break between them is harder.

Our company Christmas party is tomorrow afternoon, so I imagine there wont be a whole lot of work going on after it starts. I will probably try to get a playtest in tomorrow morning sometime. I am betting the AI thrashes me, but we will see.

I saw some balance changes for Occulus go in either yesterday or the day before and a build got fired off. Hopefully this means a patch for Demigod is going through Stardock QA.

Still plugging away

So far I have not gotten a response from Square Enix, so I am taking that as a no for the time being. We'll see what happens.

Things have been very busy lately. Hence, my lack of a recent post. I am currently typing this up while waiting on compiles. To say things have been hectic would be a huge understatement. Every bug is a huge deal because at this point every bug is probably blocking someone else in some way.

Great example would be yesterday afternoon. I probably lost an hour (maybe more) when I was trying to get AI platoons to use a particular ability. It turns out the task that handles this ability was not working properly so it screwed up my testing. I had to go in and fix the task so it would work right. I lost another hour yesterday when I was trying to make a group of units break from a platoon. It turns out I was putting the units in the wrong squad. It should not have caused the game to crash, so it was not immediately obvious that that was the problem.

Despite the setbacks, things have been progressing nicely on the the AI. I just got told I was going back to fixing gameplay bugs for the remainder of the week. I just have to finish this last AI feature. Fixing gameplay bugs is not as fun as AI programming, but it is still fun and Gordon could definitely use a hand. After this week I will be going back and forth between fixing gameplay bugs, balancing the AI, and fixing AI related bugs.

In Demigod news, we sent Stardock a new build almost 2 weeks ago, so hopefully they should be releasing a patch sometime in the future. Not sure when, or even if they will.

Tools of the trade

I have officially passed the three month mark. Looking back it seems silly to think how nervous I was when I got the phone call telling me I got the job. I had no real C++ experience and no experience programming as part of a team. I had no idea what kind of tools or programs they used. I was actually quite nervous that I would fall flat on my face. That obviously didn't happen.

As it turns out, programming here is not much different than modding. I still use Notepad++ to edit Lua files, though most everyone else either uses Visual Studio or Ultra Edit (which I used for a short time, but didn't like as well). I have had to get used to using Visual Studio for C++ files, but that hasn't been hard.

I still use Araxis Merge as my file diffing tool of choice. I tried to get used to using Beyond Compare, but it just wasn't the same. Luckily, I was using Google code for my AI mod for Forged Alliance, so getting used to using the Perforce repository was easy.

The thing I didn't have to deal with until I started working here was resolving files before submitting them to the repository. I also didn't have to deal with the possibility of breaking the build by submitting a bad file or forgetting to submit a new one (done that last one a few times). It really sucks when a message pops up saying that the build broke and for breakers it lists your name, then you start getting the instant messages.

All in all, sitting down to program at work is not much different than sitting down to mod at home. At work I just have more workstations and more people to answer to if I screw things up. I also get the opportunity to do more than I ever did modding.