Wacom Bamboo Monitor Switcher has been updated to version 3.30. The latest 5.3.2-1 drivers changed the names of some of the windows, thus the old version no longer worked. The release now contains two sets of files; one set that works for the new 5.3.x drivers, and one set that works for the older 5.2.x drivers.

A couple of friends and I decided to have a mini game jam, and the idea of a sequel to Saucy Hater came up, cunningly named Saucy Hater 2. We had a story planned out before we ever started typing code in anger. A tail of a sauce conspiracy to take over the world. Me, the hero, on my continuing mission to rid the world of this evil. We never got around to completing the game, but here is as far as we did get. It’s a top down shooter in the style of Smash TV – you can move with W,A,S,D – and shoot with the arrow keys. Not all of the animations are there, but who needs animations when you have a gun to shoot and enemies to kill?

It’s been a while since I last posted something on here! As added pressure to make sure I made something new, I made a public announcement on Facebook that if I didn’t create a new game over the weekend, I’d eat some mayonnaise. I hate mayonnaise.

So the challenge was on; I decided it would be programmed in a language I’ve never used before, to add to the challenge: Monkey. It’s based upon Blitz Basic, but is multi-platform, compiling to html5, xbox, iPhone, android amongst others. It was quite a challenge getting used to the limitations for the language compared to the C++ I usually use; seeing its simplicity as a weakness at first. It was also slow progress at times, as I had to create some base concepts and components from scratch, rather than being able to get on and create the game.

But the end result is here, Saucy Hater! Since it was never going to be a spectacular game, as always I added a humorous twist; mainly, my hate for sauces of all kind! It’s a 2 player collect-em-up; race to collect the 5 yummy foods, whilst avoiding the 5 yucky sauces! Enjoy!

Tic Tac Toe Fighter isn’t actually the very first game I ever made; that honour goes to an ASCII Fruit Machine by the name of Turbo Moonrat Plus Gold.

Back in 2007 I was a Games Tester for a company that made old fashion mechanical fruit machines, but was interested in programming, so decided to see if I could write a version of what I was testing myself. The company coded it’s games in C, so that’s what I used; and because the machines were mechanical there were no graphical libraries I could use, hence the decision to create it in a windows console using ASCII graphics.

It only took a couple of weeks to create; much quicker than I expected when it replicates all the legalities of a Czech Republic fruit machine at the time. I only really made a few stylistic tweaks to the source code to get it ready for public consumption; a lot of it actually held up pretty well looking at it 4 years later!

I’ve updated the Wacom Bamboo Monitor Switcher to version 3.20, as the layout of the Bamboo Control Panel has been changed for the US release of the 5.2.5-2 driver. The app will now work with this new driver but will also continue to work on the older 5.2.4-x drivers.

Just over a year ago now I moved from being a games tester to becoming a games developer within the company I work for, and this is the game that helped me get there! Using the company’s development libraries, I created Tic Tac Toe Fighter in around a month; a good effort for my first attempt at creating a game from nothing in C++!

For my first game I wanted a simple game with rules that were easy to grasp, so that whilst programming I wouldn’t be struggling with game design decisions. Tic Tac Toe fit the bill perfectly; an easy to understand game but with the scope to create intelligent AI. The Street Fighter II theme was a light bulb moment half way through development, when the core game was already completed. I knew it would just be cool to see the characters in there, to hear the OC Remix music. It gave an otherwise low key game a memorable style to impress as my first project.

The second app I’ve made is the rather wordy Wacom Bamboo Monitor Switcher. I sometimes use a Wacom Tablet as a mouse replacement, and at work I have a 3 monitor setup. Although you can switch the monitor that your tablet is active in via a control panel, there is no way to do this on the fly. I’m amazed that Wacom haven’t added this toggle feature into the Bamboo drivers! A few people have attempted to solve this problem; I’ve based my app on George Yoyng’s effort. He used a clever method of using Windows handles to simulate the key presses required to change the active monitor in the Bamboo Control Panel. I’ve taken this approach, refined the code, and made it smarter, faster, more robust. My first experience of the benefits of open source code :)

The first app for the new website is Fireworks! This app loads a specially constructed .xml file and performs a fireworks display based on it. Producing an app that does this was actually a little programming test for potential programmer candidates where I work, but I thought I’d give it a go as well and get feedback on how I (self taught) compared with others programmers out there. It was actually a really good exercise for me: got experience with using both TinyXML and interfacing directly with DirectX. Considering it’s the first time using both of these, the result isn’t a bad effort, even if I’d go about things differently if I did it again.

After 3 years of having the domain, and 2 years of it being inactive, once again I am bringing it to life!

I moved from working as a tester to becoming a programmer a year ago now, so moonrat.co.uk will become the home to any personal programs & games I make in my spare time.

A thanks to Nearfrog for a nice and clean WordPress theme, and to skn3 for creating the banner at the top.