Saturday, 5 April 2014

Order and chaos on the iPad

I mostly play games via steam now a days, which is usually on windows ( though I hope to use Linux for most of them on day). I have also played quite a few games on my iPad. Most of these have been simple games to pass the time. My favourite type of games are MMORPG's so I though I would give Order & Chaos a go.

This is probably one of the best MMORPG's I have played on the iPad, they only other been pocket legends. Order & Chaos is pretty good. The controls are not to bad, work pretty well considering their is no mouse. The game has quite few features like RIFT and WOW.  I took part in a dungeon run. Itis also free to play once you have bought it

On the down side the graphics are a little basic. Also their seems to be a lack of animations. For example the charge skills has you just appear next to the thing you are attacking.

I will carry on playing because of the convenience of having it on he iPad, however I hope these kind of games carry on to evolve on iOS with I proved graphics.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Continuous integration

One of the tricky tasks with creating opensource software is building opensource software. I'm a big believer in continuous integration. This is the idea that everytime the code is changed, a build is performed by a build server and all the tests are run. Typically the server will notify people who checked in code and failed the build.

For a while now, I've been using Jenkins at home to build my projects. I've also been using it at work. This is a great which a massive feature list due to it's plugin architecture. It's been pretty useful at work where I have a lot more resources to host it on, but at home it was always a struggle to fund machines need for building things.

Since moving to using VM's on my server at home, I've been able to build my projects without to much problem and make sure they are fully tested. Successful builds get uploaded to a public section of drop box. This allows users to download nightly builds that have been fully tested.

Some of my projects such as the AtomicParsley fork or itunes remote server, need windows to build them. This is where I really start to run into problems. I'd have to pay for another windows license to run windows in a VM (A least thats my understanding). This would have to be done for each windows VM. Since they are not used for much else, this seems a waste of money.

It was for this reason that I was very happy to discover AppVeyor. This is a continuous integration service that can build windows software. It's a shame that it can't build linux software as well, but their are other service providers that can. I can also build Linux software on my home Jenkins system.

To test out AppVeyour I connected it to my bitbucket project for my AtomicParsley fork and set up the build. I ported the build of AtomicParsley over to cmake a while ago, which made building it really easy. My build script looks like this:

 mkdir build  
 cd build  
 cmake ..  

Imaging my surprise when it built. Next step was to configure the build artifacts. These are the things that are collected after the build has finished. So in this case, the AtomicParsley.exe executable. I shall have to look into publishing he builds as the next step.

I've also been looking into cloud solutions for building Linux software codeship looks promising and their support team have been very good. I'm testing this using my MediaManager project which is a much more complicated project. I'll blog more on this when I get things working.....

Monday, 24 March 2014

Playing RIFT again

I've been playing on RIFT again most nights over the last week. It's been good to be back playing! I think RIFT is a great game, it has an amazing amount of things a player can do and even better it's now free to play.

I used to pay a monthly fee to play rift, but now it's supported by optional in game purshases. This is great. It's also available from steam. I like this because all my games come from one  place. Just makes things easier.

Playing RIFT, I remember how fun it is, and how much their us to keep you entertained. It still suffers from the reason I stopped playing, which is a lack of other players. It is not as bad as it was, I guess been free more people are playing. I would also guess though that people don't commit as much time as when they were paying monthly.

Their is much todo in rift like dungeons, adventures, chronicles, raids, war zones, crafting, fishing and much more. Their are also rifts though out the land that keep things going.

People looking to pass the time should play RIFT, no excuse not to now that it's free! Just needs more players which is a shame.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014


So I've taken the steps to setup a twitter account @shield007. I figured it was time to stop avoiding it a figure out how it all works. I plan to tweet updates about the projects I'm working on and anything that is happening. So please follow me if your interested in the latest developments.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

MediaManager Release 2.2

Media Manager v2.2 has been released. This is a major update that focuses on iTunes integration. Here is a list of the major changes:
  • Able to use the latest XBMC addons as media information sources.
  • Many improvements to the XBMC addon source.
  • Handle TV episodes that contain more than one episode
  • Added new File Database store
  • Added ability to store seen file information within a database resources
  • Added command line tool to print database schemas
  • Added configuration option for strip tokens.
  • If sources, stores or actions are configured, sensible defaults are used
  • Added new database store
  • Show/Film search make use of ignore tokens to find media name
  • Added ability to configure database resources
  • Added images for seasons of shows. These are used by default for mp4 files.
This has been quite a while coming, but it's finally here. The project website has now move to here. Please use the project website to let me know of bugs or feature requests. Also if you find the application useful then let me know on my blog
The main focus of this release has been updating the XBMC scraper support to work with the latest scrapers and stores that make use of databases.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

The Road to MediaManager 2.2

The The next release (2.2) of Media Manager is has been quite close for quite a while now. Or at least I though it was. Each time I've been getting close to a relase I've had to put it off due to lack of time.

Well the good news is that it's had quite a lot of development over the last couple of months. It's also now hosted on bitbucket. The main reason for this is the removal of Google code features such as downloads! I consider hosting on github, but currently prefer bitbucket/mercurial. The move over will be completed when I make the next release, however all the code is now pushed to bithucket. Visit the project page here.

The main focus the last couple of months has been supporting the lastest XBMC media scrapers. Their have been a lot of changes in the scraper format since I first added support for them. Some of the changes has caused things to break and media info to be missing. The XBMC scrapers are quite a bit more advance than the initial versions I started using. Media Manager now handles these new scrapers, allowing full information to be fetched for TV Shows and films. We are also now default to the frodo branch of the XBMC scrapers.

In order to support the new features of the XBMC scrapers I created a lot of new unit tests. The scrapers are some of the most heavily tested parts of Media Manager. These test will help a lot with future changes to XBMC scrapers.

The main driver for this was getting TVDB show images to work correctly. Their were quite a few problems with the scraper custom functions that had to be addressed. Most of the web documentation on the scrapers seems to be quite out of date now. This took a lot of trail and effort, but it seems to be working very well now.

Their are still a number of features left to implement for 2.2, the biggest is a pure Java replacement for atomicparsely. This is almost their, just needs testing....

Sunday, 13 October 2013

PC Games

For a while now I have been playing mmorpg such as world of Warcraft, rift, guild wars 2. With the odd game in between on my PS3 and iPad. The mmorpg's have been pretty good, except they don't really work on Linux. Each of those games are pretty time consuming, so I've not had chance to play any others.

Things have change now, I have finally god bored of them and started to look around for other games. At the moment the PS3 is not a real option as it is on the main TV, which is always in use. Also PS3 games tend to be pretty expensive. 

I started by looking at steam again due to rumors of it's Linux support and a game console. I have been playing also rats of games. Quite a few of these were from humble indie bundles. Others were big name games.  All of these we're pretty cheap. While the humble indie games might not be the most advance, they have great game play! They also work on Linux.

One great thing about steam is the wish list. If you add games to your wish list, then you are notified when they go on sale. This is great and has allowed me to get a number of games for very cheap. I also have the mobile app for steam on my iPhone and iPad, so I get.a notification on their when things go on sale.

Interestingly I have been buying a lot of windows only games. My hope is that one day they will be updated to run on Linux. If the game console takes off, then I suspect their will be a lot of pressure to have games running on Linux. People looking of stats of game use on Linux via steam might want to consider that I now by much more windows games because of Linux gaming. At the moment I can't see my buying any games for the PS3 or non steam desktop games.

The other thing I really like about steam is that is a App Store. Once you have bought a game, it's yours. So I can uninstall it and reinstall it as I like. Also I have been able to use the codes off my half life 1 CD to activate all the half life 1 based games in steam! One of the things I used to hate with PC gaming was that once something was uninstalled I would never play it again. Also most my old CD games no longer work. Steam keeps older games playable, and I can install them on other machines like my laptop when traveling.

I have been giving big picture mode a go, which will be the console interface. It is pretty good. I think I like,the PS3 interface better, but suspect that is just because I am more familiar with it. I want to use a controller with some of the games. Since I had a PS3 controller I connected this to my windows machine via a driver called MotionJoy. MotionJoy had a horrible user interface, but once it working it's great. Somes games were just meant to be played with a controller ( street fighter for example ). However like been able to use mouse and keyboard for other games. Steam gaming gives the best of both worlds. Very much looking forward to their new controller.