Galcon Games
Phil Hassey - game dev blog
Phil Hassey as Rambo
".. I've been there,
I know what it's like,
and I'll do it again if I have to."

Archive for December, 2008

Setting up my Mac (part 2)

Friday, December 19th, 2008

(Okay, I’m going to syndicate this to the python planets, because well .. it seems general enough of interest that maybe other python folks might be interested.  However, if this sort of stuff is unwanted, please tell me and I’ll reign in my planet posts to being on-topic.)

Anti-Virus

So, I think I’m going to go with eset nod32 anti-virus.  From my research there are about a dozen pretty good anti-virus solutions.  I had tried this one out about half a year ago, and I found that it didn’t drain system resources.  My main objective with anti-virus is to have *something* and have it stay out of my way.  This one has one several awards in the past few years, so I guess it must be decent.

Folder Sync

I mentioned in my last post that I really wanted to be able to sync my photos, music, and documents between several machines.  I would use subversion, except somehow it just doesn’t seem like “the right tool” for the task of managing 1000s of photos and mp3s.

What I did find is the Unison File Synchronizer, which appears to do exactly what I want.  If we have a photo gallery and we add pictures to it, those pictures will get automagically synced to a central server and then automagically synced back to other machines.  It wouldn’t be a useful solution for source control, but it looks like a nice solution for managing a photo / music / document collection.

I’ve only given it the five minute inspection, so I can’t say for sure if it will work yet.  Stay tuned for a later report on it.  (If anyone has used it and has tips they want to give me, I’d love ‘em!)

Python on Mac

Most people suggested MacPorts.  I guess I’ll give that a whirl sometime.  I think I need to update Classic Galcon at some point anyways.  (Okay, I did mention something about python.  I failed at being 100% off-topic.)

Virtual Machines

I haven’t resolved all the issues yet.  Right now I’m a bit vague on how many Windows XP licenses I’m using.  I’ve got Bootcamp, VMWare, and Parallels all with XP Pro .. Does that count as 3 licenses?  Or one?  Hmmn.  I suppose I should figure that out.  I was able to get Parallels to work with Ubuntu by disabling shared folders, disabling the sync time feature, and enabling the adaptive hypervisor. (As per some post on the Parallels forums.)  Hopefully though, they can fix the bug that causes it to hang with those features on.

Life In General

I’m looking forward to the Christmas break :)  A lot of things have been going on between my two businesses and life-in-general.  So a couple days off will do me well.  I must admit, the diversion of messing with this laptop has been pretty fun.  I was able to power up the gimp the other day and color in our Christmas card.  Merry Christmas to ya:

OS/X and virtualization

Saturday, December 13th, 2008

Hey .. so I got myself a MacBook Pro.  Here’s why:

- I found that at pycon, having linux on my laptop just didn’t work so hot.  Just too many driver issues to really make it be great for day to day use.

- I really would like to be able to do all my dev from one machine.  With a Mac “supposedly” I can work in Windows, Linux, and OS/X from the same machine.  Then, gee, I wouldn’t have to have my house cluttered up with so many computers.

I got the machine a few days ago.  Since then I’ve been playing around with my different options for realizing the “one machine” vision.  Here are some of my experiences so far:

Parallels Desktop

- I was able to install XP Pro easily.  Had a minor mouse related glitch when running Microsoft Office Live Meeting and sharing my desktop.  Tried playing Vampyre Story (a new adventure game by Bill Tiller!), this didn’t work.  Game crashed during the startup of the game.  So I guess the DirectX promises are a bit shallow.

- I was able to install Ubuntu 8.10 and 8.04.  However, in 8.10, the shared disk was useless.  In 8.04, the VM hangs after a while for no particular reason.  Most of these issues seem to be well covered in the Parallels forums.  So it seems that Parallels is useless for Linux stuff .. at least for Ubuntu, which is the distro I want to switch to for dev, since it’s most likely to be used by a Linux gamer.

- I tried interacting with their support and found that they appear to be using babblefish to translate my questions to their foreign staff who then type in an incoherent answer which is then translated back to English.  Somehow it didn’t seem worth the bother.

- If they fixed the Linux VM hang issue, it would be an excellent solution for all my VM needs.  

Crossover Games

- I tried to run Vampyre Story.  It didn’t even get through the installer before locking up and anytime I put a disk into the computer it tried to interact (weird default setting, I was able to switch that off).

- Not really useful to me.  I suppose it could be good if your game of choice is supported.

VMWare Fusion

- I was able to install XP Pro easily.  It auto-installed its Tools.  Sound seemed to work better in this than in Parallels.  Vampyre Story failed exactly the same way as in Parallels.  I suspect they have some common code for doing the DX9 emulation.  Too bad it doesn’t work for my game of choice.  Hopefully the 3D is good enough for my game dev, which isn’t so bleeding edge.

- I was able to install Ubuntu 8.04 on it.  The handing of Fullscreen vs. Windowed mode isn’t nearly as smooth as in Parallels.  One real drawback is that if I have both Windows and Linux in Fullscreen mode, Fusion attempts to put them both on the same “Space”, so I can really only have one in Fullscreen mode at a time.  That is non-awesome.

- If it weren’t for the Fullscreen issues, this was looking like an excellent solution.  I guess I’ll have to wait and see if Parallels or VMWare fixes issues quicker.  It does seem that VMWare has a better commitment to Linux support, which is hopeful.

Boot Camp

- OS/X comes with “Boot Camp” which allows for Dual booting of your machine into OS/X or Windows.  It works great if you don’t mess up.  It took me three tries to get Windows XP Pro installed properly.  (HInt: read the Apple troubleshooting guide BEFORE you try to run Boot Camp, not afterwards.)

- I was able to play Vampyre Story with no problem.  The game looks great!

- I haven’t tested much else, but since it’s just booting into Windows, I’m guessing it will work fine.  When running Vampyre Story the fan is on most of the time.  I guess all those pretty graphics really tax something or other.

Misc Thoughts

Both Parallels and Fusion support shared disk, which I’m hoping works.  It won’t be until I really dive into some dev that I’ll be able to comment on that.  Nice stuff, anyways.  

I do hope this all works out, as I really want to trim down the amount of machinery I have in my office.  I think my favorite experience so far was getting Parallels doing fullscreen for both Linux and Windows.  With OS/X Spaces, I was able to switch between OS/X, Windows, and Linux with the press of a key. 

Battleplan

I’m basically taking off a few weeks from game dev to mess around with this machine.  Some of the things coming up are:

- Figuring out how to deal with python under OS/X.  If anyone cares to give me tips in advance, I’d sure appreciate it.  I’m aware there are at LEAST 3 major ways of doing this.  1. Use the included python 2. Use the python from python.org 3. Use darwin 4. Use macports .. Or something like that.  I’m not sure which will be best for my situation.

- Trying out the iPhoto, iMusic, Garageband, and iMovie software.  Linux has always lacked on the “use to use junk” front .. and Windows isn’t much any better.  So hopefully these tools will be nice.

- Figuring out a decent backup scenario.  I’m aware of timemachine, which I’m sure is great .. But I’m interested in having shared folders across several machines .. and doing backup to a 3rd machine.  We’ll see what I can come up with for that.  I’m quite comfortable with rsync, so I wouldn’t be surprised if that comes up.  Any suggestions would also be appreciated here.

Ducks-n-Macs-n-Dares

Friday, December 5th, 2008

Well, I spent the last week putting ducks in rows. Mostly dealing with the business end of Galcon stuff. It has been a pretty long week, but I can’t complain since having lots of people interested in my games is always a good thing!

On more dev-side note, I purchased a previous-gen MacBook Pro yesterday. I hope it arrives soon. I’m getting this because I would really like to consolidate my development onto a single machine. Using Parallels desktop, I’m really hoping to be able to do my Linux, Mac, and Windows dev all from the comfort of that one laptop. I’m starting a new game project this coming week, so I’ll give it a real try for a month and see how it goes. If it doesn’t work out as well as I hope, well, at least I’ve got a new laptop :)

On a “if you are a game dev you better show up” note, Ludum Dare #13 is this weekend. You get 48 hours to make a great game! I’m quite looking forward to this one :)

Cheers!
-Phil


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