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DeltaEngine

All kinds of XBox News

by Benjamin Nitschke 19. March 2006 03:33
I'm not a XBox 360 User nor do I want one yet, but that has nothing to do with its great hardware features or that I like any other console better. I never owned any console and I always was on the PC side (or HC side back in the C64 days), just because it is more customizeable. But maybe this will change in the future?

Earlier this week: As many of you propably know already Tom Miller, the great Managed DirectX guy at Microsoft, switched over to the XNA team and is working on the XBox team right now. More information can be found at The Z-Buffer. This lead to some speculations and is now backed up at the GDC 2006, where several XNA sessions are held and at lot of people are bloging about it (and I'm sad I can't be there, too expensive trip for me right now ^^). Some interessting posts: Managed code on Xbox 360 Developer Kits by Dan Fernandez (Microsoft - Lead Product Manager - Visual Studio Express), did you just say .NET on XBox 360! by brains-n-brawn.com and A Market Within A Market (was .NET in HD) by Mike Zintel.

I think this all sounds promising, maybe in the near future .NET games like the Rocket Commander are possible on the XBox 360 without major pain rewriting all kinds of things.


On the other side: Hackers are working for 4 months trying to crack the XBox 360 .. and let just say they were not very succesfull in the past. I saw some videos and webcast about early XBox 360 hacking attempts in January from the 22. Chaos Communication Congress (CCC) and it didn't look very "hacked" back then.
But things have changed. Few hours ago this video was released: Xbox360 DVD Firmware Hacked. Hmm, that does not look good, does it? There are some interessting discussions about it here: XboxHacker BBS. There have not released anything but infos yet, but I don't think this will stop the "evil guys" from making prirated XBox 360 games soon and maybe there will be a "modded" XBox 360 soon too. I just thought this was interessting ...


Btw: I noticed that currently a lot of people are playing Rocket Commander, nearly 1000 games yesterday. Nice .. But there seems to be a bug with the daily details list .. hmm, have to fix that .. bye.

XBox 360 Launch in Asia.
This is a very big XBox in Hongkong:

XBox 360 hacked, the first video:

New Rocket Commander Site finished

by Benjamin Nitschke 17. March 2006 15:41
I finally found some time to finish the Rocket Commander website. A lot of features were still missing and it makes much more sense to have seperate highscores for each mod (each mod has a completely different scoring system). It is also cool to see who is currently good on a specific map. Maybe you are not the best overall player, but you maybe in the top players for the 'Easy Flight' Mission ^^

I'm also happy to announce that I will create Rocket Commander Video Tutorials in english (for msdn.microsoft.com/coding4fun), similar to the ones in german on www.Coding4Fun.de (check it out if you havn't visit it already - and you understand german ^^). I often get emails or icq message of people who want to do a specific thing like create a simple shader and now I can refer to the video tutorials and don't have to explain anything anymore :)

Btw: Thanks for the many positiv feedback about Rocket Commander, similar to EuroVernichter I see a lot of people playing it, but usually I never get much feedback. For example the boards are not really used right now (the german board has some discussions), but maybe this will start as people run into problems when creating their own mods. Or maybe everything runs so smooth that noone has any problems? Who knows ...

Other than that I'm now finished with all that Rocket Commander stuff and I will continue coding a little Coop Commander this weekend, but other than that I can focus my time back to my regular projects (currently writing a cool shader designer tool, if any of you want to know).

New Rocket Commander Site:
And the same site in the Flower Commander look:

CeBIT 2006 Pictures

by Benjamin Nitschke 14. March 2006 12:59
We are back from the CeBIT 2006 and made some cool pictures as always.
You can check them out at www.exdream.com.

Here are some previews:


Welcome to the CeBIT 2006. As soon as you enter you can see the
announcement for the next CeBIT ^^ But it was a big fair on the
world biggest fair ground.


The consumer halls looked a lot like the Games Convention,
especially on the weekeend. There were not really much big
highlights, but a lot of little innovations.


Yeah, that's what I'm talking about. On this Games Convention
a lot of bab .. hey, wait a second, aren't we still on the CeBIT?
Anyways, nice chicks, especially from Speed Link and ATI.
Just put them in front of your products so I don't have to see them.

More pictures can be found at www.exdream.com ...

Flower Commander V1.1 available and Coop Commander Preview Video

by Benjamin Nitschke 13. March 2006 16:21
I've updated the www.RocketCommander.com website a little bit, especially the Download and Mods sections. The new database for all mods is up and running, but I hadn't had time to finish the web application yet (lots of new features).


Anyways, the new Flower Commander V1.1 Mod is available too (added the features from Rocket Commander V1.1, especially the AutoUpdater) and it is available on www.RocketCommander.com now.

And finally I've made a Coop Commander Alpha Version Preview video. It just contains some basic gameplay, but it looks promising, doesn't it? Have fun. It will probably take another 1 or 2 weekends till the game is more or less finished and will be released.

Flower Commander V1.1 is out:
Coop Commander Preview Video

Rocket Commander V1.1 avialable now and www.RocketCommander.com launched

by Benjamin Nitschke 12. March 2006 14:05
Hey everyone. The game Rocket Commander and its source code is now available on www.RocketCommander.com. More features and stuff will be available on the website in the next couple of days, stay tuned.

I've also updated Rocket Commander to Version 1.1. It contains a couple of new cool features:

  • XBox360 Controller support, just plug it in and have fun with the rumble feature.
  • A new exciting mission: The Revenge. It will be very hard and it is full of tricks. Be sure to complete it a couple of times normally before trying to attempt special tricks.
  • AutoUpdater functionallity for future updates. Will be checked every time you launch the game.
And as allways full source code is provided. Have fun!
The new www.RocketCommander.com site

Coding4Fun.de Launch with the Rocket Commander and www.RocketCommander.com coming soon

by Benjamin Nitschke 10. March 2006 21:01
I bought an XBox 360 Controller yesterday just for fun. I'm not a console player and I'm not very comfortable with console controllers (they are not very good for RTS or Shooter games), but I thought maybe it would be fun to play Rocket Commander with the new XBox 360 Controller. Especially the rumble feature would make sense if hitting an asteroid.

I've implemented support for the XBox 360 controller this morning with help of XInput, which was pretty easy (there are just 4 methods, I only need 3 of them, thats it). The only annoying thing is that XInput is not available for Managed DirectX yet, only the c++ dll supports it and the beta Managed DirectX for .NET 2.0 dll, which isn't used for Rocket Commander. But importing the 4 methods with DllImport is no biggy. If you want to know more about implementing XInput either check out the new Rocket Commander V1.1 source code or this link:
http://www.brains-n-brawn.com/default.aspx?vDir=mcexinput


I was on the CeBIT today and it was pretty interessting, I will be there the next couple of days too. I can be found either running around on the Microsoft booth in hall 4 or on our own booth in hall 27/C29 (esports and entertainment). At microsoft you might see the presentation about Coding4Fun.de and ClubSite4Fun and GameDev4Fun, which contains the Rocket Commander and Flower Commander too. I haven't finished the website for www.RocketCommander.com yet, but hopefully I will finish most of it this night.

Thanks to Polynapping I still have some extra time these days, but it isn't easy with the CeBIT and staying awake for longer than 10 hours most of the time. I usually sleep after the fair in the evening for 1.5 hours and before going to it again 1.5-3.0 hours. Also every 4 hours 20 minutes of sleep in the night. Most people ask me if I feel tired all day and here is the answer: No! I'm even more awake most of the time because I feel refreshed after napping or sleeping for a short while.

Back to the CeBIT: On the right you can also see a picture of me in the new Volkswagen car "Eos". Tomorrow I will make some more pictures.

I will post another blog entry later today when the new Rocket Commander website is finished.

The XBox 360 Controller


and Rocket Commander working together now :)


That's me in the new Volkswagen car "Eos" on the CeBIT 2006:

CeBIT 2006 in Hannover

by Benjamin Nitschke 6. March 2006 15:04

exDream entertainment will be at the CeBIT again this year. You can find us at the  CeBIT 2006 in Hannover: Hall 27/C29 (Digital Media by nordmedia). The CeBit starts at 2006-03-09 and ends 2006-03-15.

Polynapping: I think I will adjust my polynapping schedule for this week to stay awake for 8 hours over the day. I have several meetings and I don't think it would be cool to fall asleep there ^^ I would bet the CeBIT is also not very polynapping-friendly. Instead of sleeping 6 times 20 minutes I will sleep now only 4 times 20 minutes (evening and night) and before I go to work I sleep 3 hours straight. This will keep me awake for 8 hours (at least it worked today :-) ), then 4 polynapps follow and the same thing starts over the next day. Thats now twice as much sleep as before (4 hours instead of 2-3), but still only half the amount normal people sleep.

Coop Commander: Looks quite good, the game physics and ship control are finished now and it is quite fun to shoot around and see everything exloding. There are still 2 major issues left: Good enemy unit AI (they move pretty stupid right now, either straight ahead or on a collision path) and multiplayer syncronization. Dunno if I can make it this week, but I should have some time at nights with my new schedule to keep working on that.

Coop Commander, New Arena Wars boards and Polynapping Update

by Benjamin Nitschke 4. March 2006 17:40
Ok, I have a lot on my mind right now, hopefully I will get to most of it ^^

First of all: Here is a new screenshot of Coop Commander. I've implemented laser effects for the ships and improved some of the effects. Today I will finish up the game physic and damage system and tomorrow some multiplayer code will hopefully bring this game to life. While it may not be realistic to release the game together with Rocket Commander, at least not in its final version, I still plan to finish most of the issues till thursday, when Rocket Commander is released. Maybe I will just release an alpha version and then go from there.

I also registered the domain Coop Commander today, maybe this will make me think more seriously about Coop Commander ^^ I will start coding the website when the game is released.


As some Arena Wars players have noticed the Arena Wars boards had a lot of troubles the last couple of month (lots of spam, hacks, etc.). I installed a fresh new shiny version of the boards and copied a spam-free-version (couple of months old) of the board over it. Updating to the newest sql, phpBB, etc. versions was a lot of work. Those open source guys just don't know how to make an easy installer. The most annoying part was php, which is incredible incompatible (versions 4 and 5). First the site worked, but the board didn't, then the board was updated and worked, but the site wasn't compatible to that again. After modifying a lot of php files finally I got it working, but php is no fun at all.

There are also new discussion boards for Rocket Commander and its Mods. Hopefully they will find some use since Microsoft isn't planing to implement any boards on its german Coding4Fun site, where Rocket Commander will be hosted.


Polynapping: What happend? Well, it went ok for 2-3 weeks and I overslept only a few times, but never more than 2-3 hours per day and max. 1-2 times per week. Well it happens, especially if you stay awake for too long. That can really mess up your polynapping sleeping schedule. Then last week I crashed after a party and slept for nearly 8 hours. Must have something to do with the huge amount of alcohol I drunk (again: not good for polynapping) ^^

Then I went for a biphasic sleeping pattern (2*1.5-3 hours of sleep per day) for a couple of days and that didn't work out. I slept monophasic (thats normal 7-8 hours of sleep) for few days and then decided this wednesday I had to go back to polyphasic sleep. More time, more fun and hell, I know what to expect now.


Next week will be very hard for me because of the CeBIT fair (exDream will be there on several booths, I will post some info about that next week). Sleeping somewhere else isn't an easy thing for me, I still have some troubles getting to sleep as it is. That is also the main reason polynapping over a long period of time wasn't succesful for most testers. It is hard to get to sleep every 4 hours. Not only physically, but especially socially.

The last nap I took (only 20 minutes) was incredible refreshing, maybe I sometimes sleep to long (30-40 minutes since I don't know if I fall asleep right away or stay awake for 10-15 more minutes). Steve Pavlina posts here that 20 Minutes worked best for him too and he also gives a lot of tips and information about polynapping. He even was interviewed by the NY Times. I guess he is currently the most famous polynapper.

I nearly forgot to mention that Frederic Schneider wrote a nice article about me on GamePorts (in german). It is about Rocket Commander and my current project Coop Commander. Check it out here: http://www.gameports.net/cms/Kommentare-zu_Der-Erfolg-eines-Deutschen_966.html

Coop Commander: The new ion cannon effect.


ArenaWars.net Boards back up again.


German article about me on GamePorts.net:
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog are own personal opinions and do not represent the companies view.
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