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Gamedev news update

Just a reminder: The website Gamedev news still exists, and you are free to post your game development related news on there yourself. Just hit the submit button. Until now, I am basically the only one posting on there, although companies have started to continuously send me their press releases already at least, which is nice. And the site already has readers, commenters and twitter followers.

So it looks nice so far, but the only problem is one I didn't anticipate: There aren't actually that much game development related news to report. I think this has changed a bit since the good old flipcode days: Maybe there are now much fewer developers creating game development tools and software than before? And with some of them and their just started race to the bottom, they will probably not become more now?

Working with Ubuntu 14.04 LTS

I am currently doing a bit of work on Ubuntu, to be more precise on their just released version 14.04 LTS. It was quite a pleasure installing it, much has changed since I tried my first Linux distribution (I think it was Suse 7.0 back in 2000). It also works perfectly with all my exotic hardware, to my surprise. I am used to have to spend days searching through web forums for the right configuration file change or shell command to make everything work correctly, but this time everything worked. Cool.

I'm not sure how popular Linux is, and if users on there are also paying for software (I don't think so), but it maybe would be an idea to port some of my software to that platform as well.

The Business Guy vs. the Programmer

I'm a very bad business guy. Maybe because I'm a programmer, and programmers and business guys don't mix very well, or only in very rare circumstances. Frequently, when some company contacts me in order to propose a partnership, buy a bunch of my products, or want some technical help, the conversation is very awkward because of this. In the worst case, the email conversation goes something like this:

Guy: Hi, I'm X from company Y, we want to do a partnership with your company because of your nice product Z, can you forward me to the person in charge?
Me: Yes, that's me. What do you want to do?
Guy: Can I get your phone number / When do you have time for a meeting, so I can talk to you in detail?
Me: My time is very limited, maybe you could first tell me roughly what this would be about?
Guy: It's about your product Z, we are very interested in it.
Me: You already told me that. But what do you want to do? What do you want to talk about?
Guy: Would Thursday, 14:00 GMT be ok with you? [Added in CC are now a CEO and other people I don't know from that company]
Me: No, you didn't even fucking tell me what you want to talk about.

I've had several dozen conversations via mail like that now. It's like these people don't understand that email is also a form of communication. You can communicate everything via email, no need to do some phone conversations or even real world meetings. In my opinion, phone calls are for details. They cost a lot of time, and should be reserved for talking about details. Just because you are better with talking than with typing doesn't mean that this is the same for me.

I don't know if I maybe lost a few nice business opportunities because of my attitude regarding this, but maybe at least I had more time programming new features for my customers that way.

Shameless plug: the software I am working on

Development tip: never remove features

If I have learned something since starting developing and selling my own software, then it is to never, never, ever, remove a feature when creating a new version of your software. No matter how stupid or irrelevant or buggy you think the feature you want to remove might be. Because there will be people who use this feature. And who will absolutely be pissed about you removing that thing they need.

I think this is also one thing which Microsoft didn't get, when they decided to remove the start menu in Windows 8, and replaced it with the fucked up start screen, which doesn't even contain half of the features of the start menu.
If you need to remove something, then don't remove it completely, but hide it instead, so that if users who rely on this feature can at least find it and continue using it.

On a related note: One similar important thing I learned as freelance developer is this: although it might be tempting as programmer to rewrite a whole, old app or parts of it completely because it is now absolutely fucked up and not maintainable anymore, don't do it, for the same reason. People rely on the strange and probably even buggy features deep inside of old software, and you can never reproduce all of them easily in a rewrite.

CopperCube 4.5 released and new demo

I just uploaded CopperCube 4.5, this update includes Oculus Rift support, but also WebGL and Flash fullscreen and pointer locking support, which is very nice for doing first person shooter games running on websites. There is a new demo showing this in action. If you can, try the WebGL version, the Flash version doesn't do pointer locking on some few browser/Flash player combinations because it is included on that page as an iframe.

It was really fun developing for the Oculus Rift, it's a very nice device and it's very elegant how they solved everything, both on the hardware and software end. I'm looking forward for the final, customer version of that VR device.

Oculus Rift Demo

I created a small Oculus Rift demo with my preview build of CopperCube, which will support the Oculus Rift. It is nothing special, and looks like this:

You can download the demo from here (25MB), it also works if you don't have a Rift.

A version of the editor with this feature should be released next week. But let's see. Any feedback regarding the demo is welcome.