Spacescape for OSX, OGE gui and 2011 Games

Let’s hit the “games I played in 2011” first – btw I’m stealing this idea from nathan @ I think every game developer should be required to do a post on games they played once a year! Brilliant.

Natural Selection 2 –

This has been my go-to game of late because it just keeps getting better and better with each new Beta release! If you haven’t heard of this game, it is a remake of the original which pits alien forces against marines in a FPS  & Strategy Game mash-up.  Each team has a commander who plays the game from a top down perspective and deals with building, upgrading and collecting resources for the team.  The commander on the marine side is also charged with directing, healing and keeping bullets available for his teammates.  Each side accumulates resources through the game by building structures on resource nodes throughout the map.  Resources can be spent on upgrades, or in the aliens case, for evolving into more sinister life forms.
The only minor downside of this game is that it isn’t OSX compatible yet so a bunch of my friends can’t play it because they drink the Koolaid!

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim –

This is obvious no? Great graphics, huge expanse with variable gameplay, and I would  be playing this a lot more if I weren’t playing natural selection all the time.  I really like how this game looks and the openness of the gameplay, my only gripe is that every dungeon seems to be the same type of experience: kill bad guys, kill boss, come out alive.

Left 4 Dead 2 –

I started playing this with friends at work and had a blast!  I did enjoy mindlessly killing zombies while drinking a beer after a day of twisting my brain this way and that.  Great way to unwind and I keep it in my back pocket in case I don’t feel like playing TF2.

Minecraft –

There are only two games that my wife and I both get and this is one of them.  The creativity in this is addictive and it is the only game I have like this.  I want to make a game as creative as this one some day – and I mean one that allows players to create and really use their imagination.  Love. It.

Portal 2 –

Played this in single mode and then co-op mode and enjoyed every minute.  I simply couldn’t stop playing it and it was so refreshing to have an action game with humor in it.  I think Valve has the corner on the market in pulling together all the gameplay details and story line together, plus I just love puzzle games.  Co-op mode was icing on the cake and I wish there were more longer campaigns.

Civilization V –

Bought this on sale and the graphics look great, but I don’t have enough time to play it.  My wife loves Civilization but her computer can’t run this version as well, so she is sticking with IV for now.  The gameplay changes don’t bother me, and I actually kind of like them.

Team Fortress 2  –

Always a classic.  I play this mostly to unwind in a gore-free environment.  Going free-to-play was a good move for Valve – I bet most of their players purchased the game a decade ago anyways.
Honorable mentions…

Lord of the Rings Online

This was the only MMO that I tried and I did enjoy it but you really have to spend a lot of time to do stuff in these types of games.  The graphics are decent for an MMO and there is certainly a big community, especially after they went free-to-play, but when the Star Wars MMO came out, a lot of people went on hiatus to try that.  Most of my guild friends did.  I quit playing in 2011 and will probably not return until I have significantly more free time.

Tiny Wings

My favorite casual game.  Simple, carefree and fun.

Sam & Max

I play through these with my wife on the TV sometimes when we’re bored, the internet is down and the like.  These are really fun little games and are fun to play with another person sitting beside you.

Sonic 2 for iOS

A classic from when I was a kid and played it on a Sega hand held.  I cheat now to get to the higher levels that I couldn’t get to when I was younger.

Counter-Strike: Source

I only downloaded this game and played it to see what was going on with the most popular online shooter game.  More of the same.  Graphics refresh was nice and I like the new maps, but I never really got into the original and stopped playing this one after a little while too.


These games are like references for me and full of ideas I want to have at hand in space games that I make.  The story lines are teerrrrrriiibbbllleee and the voice acting is equally bad, but the space graphics are pretty amazing.  Eve Online also has some great space graphics, but I couldn’t stand the gameplay and the MMO aspect was not enough to get me to pay a monthly subscription fee.
So that’s it for the games I played – I may have played other games, but those are the ones I remember.

OGE GUI Experiments

In the world of game development I’ve been doing more work with GUI’s in OGE. I added a console and a simple menu system to explore the ins and outs of the MyGUI library.  I suspect it is causing some framerate issues, but I haven’t been able to track those down yet.  I’ll probably post a video of the GUI additions later.  I’ve also spent time trying to better implement input and physics for moving.  In fact most of the GUI system I have created so far has been to allow me to tweak input parameters to get it to feel right.  It still doesn’t.

Spacescape on OSX

I actually managed to get a version of Spacescape to compile on OSX and run, but it has some major issues with masks and the whole build process was hell.  Since I’ve been doing a lot of XCode programming with work projects I think I’m going to dispense with the QT framework and trying making a native Cocoa Spacescape app for OSX and a native Win app for Windows – sorry Linux!
I have learned, through opensourcing the code for Spacescape and trying the donation thing, that besides it being a nice little feather in your hat, the only thing you get out of open sourcing and giving away a small project like Spacescape is a bunch of thank yous and a ton of support requests.  I intend to do a full write up with my thoughts on the whole business, but in short, I’m ready to attempt a different model.  I think the next iteration of Spacescape will be closed source and I’ll use a pay-what-you want model with some minimum to cover fees, support and future development.

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4 comments to “Spacescape for OSX, OGE gui and 2011 Games”
  1. @Tristam QTCreator is pretty slick! I do like it on Mac and Windows, but I was using a custom component called a property list and also had the whole CMake thing working so you could build it on any OS (almost), but CMake didn’t build an app project for XCode and having to download QT and install/configure just seemed like too much hassle. I’m hoping that native UI deving will give me more insight on the strengths and weaknesses of both approaches.

  2. Hi Alex,

    Have you tried using QMake? (Generating Xcode project is easy as qmake -spec macx-xcode) Admittedly the syntax takes some googling, but I found it to be a much better approach. I also use the property grid with it and it works fine (just add “include(qtpropertybrowser-2.5_1/src/qtpropertybrowser.pri)” w/o quotes to the .pro)


  3. Hi Alex,

    Spacescape is brilliant! Just got it running on Linux.

    You mentioned some build and masking issues. This is what I did to get past those:

    For building did the trick.

    And masks always hiding all (almost) stars was because of the SpacescapeLayerPoints.cpp line 177. Quick fixing it to “unsigned int numPoints = mNumPoints;” did the trick. And the same for billboards.

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