Tuesday, 3 March 2009


Focus remains on XAGETOOL (maybe I should rename this XAGE Editor, or XAGEditor). I'm continuing to make general improvements to ensure its as stable and functional as possible before release. I'll give a general summary when I'm closer to completion.

I've also sorted my web domain and hosting. The hosting is free and supports the .net 3.5 framework - there are a few questions marks over performance but I can always upgrade to a paid plan at a later stage. Irritatingly, all 'XAGE' related URLs were already taken so I decided to go with http://www.clarvalon.com/. This will give me more leverage to add new projects as and when they take form.

I laboured a few hours looking at socket programming and managed to get simple data exchange between a client and server, but I was a bit disheartened by how fiddly everything was. I then came across Web Services, which are an absolute joy. After about half an hour I was able to write a program that effortlessly connects to my website. The upshot of this is that I can build nifty little features straight into XAGETOOL/XAGE Editor/XAGEditor like online exception logging, feedback and bug reporting with minimal effort. It would also be possible to have an integrated game upload/download client as a means of distribution (think Steam). Whether my bandwidth could handle this is another matter.

Another possibility would be to port everything to WPF and Silverlight. As XAGE is solely 2D I'm pretty sure Silverlight would be able to handle all the graphical aspects. This would give the added bonus of portability, as Silverlight is browser-specific as opposed to platform-specific, from what I can gather. For now I'll just work on getting the original incarnation completed as I think the Xbox360 platform remains the biggest draw. It's good to know that, whilst there are some very specific project milestones, there are also potentially lots of future directions for XAGE.

I was able to test on a Vista machine (all my development is done on a brilliant little Asus EEE 1000H netbook with XP) and finally found and fixed a bug causing a few people problems when opening XAGE projects. This will now be sorted for the next release, which will probably be a final private alpha in a few weeks time.

Finally, I need to start thinking about documentation. The options seem to be to go with either an included .chm help file or an online wiki, or both. I do like Wikis but they live or die by the popularity of the subject matter. Maybe I'm just being lazy in hoping a wiki would mean some kindly soul will write the documentation for me.

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