Sunday, March 18, 2012

Episode 7 - Coordinates, New Project, PHP Setup

Revised Coordinate System

Ok, so it turned out my coordinate woos from Episode 4 were indeed "woos", it turned out the coordinate system I implemented before was totally impractical. Here is what I do now:
  • I simply provide the render system with a desired virtual resolution (800x480 in my case) for the view
  • The size of all sprites is interpreted relative to this resolution, i.e. a 80x48 bitmap sprite is 1/10th of the view
  • The render engine automatically applies letterboxing and pillarboxing on systems running a different aspect ratio, to prevent stretching
  • The upper left corner of the screen is at (0, 0), because this is the traditional approach I've been comfortable with since the days of the C64. There will be a flexible camera at a later stage, so this is not set in stone.

Letterboxing on an extra wide viewport

Kicked off a New Project.

I'm trying to get into the habit of starting and finishing short, smaller-scoped projects... so after a (fun!) little brainstorm session with Ye Balde Scribe I've set aside Seesaw Kiwi for the moment, and started a Brand New Shiny Project (tm).

The awesome part about this particular project is that it will be shippable at a very early stage, but still leaves room for massive amounts of improvement. Awesome!

Setting up PHP Development - NetBeans, XAMPP

The new project requires a server component. PHP seems the obvious choice for now, simply because it is the easiest/cheapest to setup... I've got more than a couple of Shared Hosting LAMP websites sitting around, doing mostly nothing.

After installing XAMPP, I hit a small hurdle getting Apache to run, because a running TeamViewer service (which I was pretty sure I'd never enabled) hijacked port 80. On a modern Windows 7 developer system it's quite hard to figure out which of the 70-odd running services is the culprit, especially because netstat -ano returned PID 4... which is the System process. Very helpful, netstat.

This being my first experience with XAMPP and the NetBeans IDE, I was a bit disappointed that I had to manually edit php.ini to get the debugger to work (why bundle it with XAMPP but not configure it?). And why do I have to manually edit httpd.conf to get the active NetBeans project running in Apache? Can I have my IDE a bit more Integrated, please? Good news: the debugging experience is really good thus far.

Rant: it's kinda unfunny how windows projects that originate as Cross Platform Open Source never seem to get UAC right. Same with XAMPP: You have to make sure you don´t install it inside Program Files (because it drops read/write config files inside it's install directory, which is a big no-no in Windows-land), and you need to explicitly launch the XAMPP control panel with elevated rights because it needs to manipulate windows services, and doesn't include a manifest of its own.

Oh well, enough complaining, it's free and it works. Hopefully the Mac/Linux users get a bit more love for their respective platform guidelines :-).


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