Max Did It
Coding
,Sat
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Resolve Dependencies With Ivy

In my last post, I wrote about how you can use Apache Ivy to automatically store your compiled components and libraries in a local repository. Now, why should you even do that? What's the point?

The point is, that now you can use Ivy to

  • automatically copy the libraries you need into your project's folder structure,
  • always retrieve the latest version of a library,
  • download libraries from remote repositories, provided you have access and
  • get dependencies that aren't even in any of your repositories.
Ivy: Work, Work

"Work, Work". Apache Ivy can take a bunch of manual tasks off your hands. © 2012 Max Knoblich

This is how I use Ivy to make working with libraries easier:
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Coding
,Thu
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Committing Artifacts with Ivy

In my last post, I talked about the build automatisation tool Apache Ant. Ant originated as a tool for Java developers and has been succeeded by Maven, which provides many nice features like dependency management.

Imagine you wouldn't have to download and copy any libraries into your project path and configure the classpath every time you start a new project or a new version of a library comes out. What if you had a tool that did that automatically for you? Maven does that, and more.

The Trouble With Flash And Maven

I guess for a Java developer there is currently no good reason to use Ant instead of Maven, but if you work with Actionscript or Flex, things are a little more complicated. Right now, FlexMojos is the only current plugin for Maven that allows you to compile SWF or SWC files.

Now, when FlexMojos happens to do what you want it to do, it's great! It's convenient and you can set up projects with unit tests and code coverage very quickly. However, if FlexMojos doesn't do what you expect it to, and that still happens quite often, you will have a very hard time figuring out what the problem is and how to fix it.

Because of this, I decided to keep using Ant to build my Actionscript projects for the moment. However, you can use Maven's automatic dependency management feature in Ant build scripts as well.

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Coding
,Tue
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How To Tidy Up Your Ant build.xml Files

Before I worked at Bigpoint, I built and published my Flash projects the naive way: Just press the right Button in the IDE, and then copy the result from the respective folder. As I learned there, using build scripts like Ant has many advantages over that method though. You can automatize many tasks like

  • deleting unnecessary files from previous builds,
  • copying assets to the target folder or
  • automatically providing libraries your project depends on.

What Annoyed Me About Ant So Far

Now, what bothered me a little bit about the way I used Ant was:

  • When I started a new project that I wanted to build with Ant, one of the first steps for me was: Open another, already working build.xml and copy all the stuff that already works and that I need. Which can be annoying and also means that you will have a lot of duplicate XML markup across a lot of different files.

  • Also, I have made the experience that build.xml files in bigger, complex projects using many different features can become very convoluted and confusing. Once your Ant build script spreads over several screens it can easily give you headaches.

What If I Told You...
Well, I dug a little through Ant's documentation (RTFM). What if I told you that you can make your project specific build.xml only a couple of lines long?
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Game Design
,Mon
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John Cleese On Creativity

This is a very interesting talk by Monty Python's John Cleese on the topic of creativity, which I found in this post on drawn.ca a while ago. Now, John Cleese has been working in the entertainment business for about 50 years, so I'd say he knows a little more about creativity than you do, pal, because he invented it.

Okay, not really, but he still has a lot of interesting things to say about it, many of which at least I found very enlightening. Some of you will already know the video, because I have shared it a while ago on my private facebook page, but I wanted to post it on my blog as well.

John Cleese in A Fish Called Wanda

John Cleese in 1988's A Fish Called Wanda. © 1988 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Don't worry, he is giving the lecture fully clothed. Find it embedded after the break:

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Graphics
,Fri
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How I Designed My Logo

Since one of the first things I created for Max Did It was it's logo, I would like to talk a little about the iterations and considerations it went through before arriving at the current version.

Max Did It Logo Evolution

Maybe you have also spent what felt like hours in front of this message: "Please Enter a Name for your Character/City/Pokémon". Sometimes, one of the most challenging parts in a game is to find something that represents you or your character properly, especially if you will spend a considerable amount of time with it.

Finding a logo that is supposed to represent yourself in real life is a lot like that. Only harder. This is how I went about designing my logo.

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Announcements
,Thu
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Welcome To Max Did It

Well, there we go! This is the first official post on Max Did It! The major features of the page are done, the design is final and everything should be good to go! I'm sure a couple of minor issues will pop up as soon as people actually start to visit the site, but I will tend to them as we go along.

Welcome To Max Did It

On this blog, I want to:

  • present the games and projects I am developing,
  • keep record of the things I've learned and the problems I've encountered on the way there and
  • generally keep you updated on what I'm currently up to professionally.

Where Will You Find Max Did It

I have tried to put a couple of features into this blog to make it more convenient for you to follow me:

  • Make sure to like the Max Did It Facebook page. All the posts on this blog will be linked there.
  • I also have a Google+ Page, add it to your circles, if you like.
  • Follow me on Twitter, I will link blog posts there as well, and maybe tweet more day-to-day stuff there? Still have to figure that out.
  • Subscribe to the general Max Did It RSS feed, or choose one of the category specific ones in the menu on the right hand side bar.

Furthermore,

The page itself is available under www.max-did-it.com (which I consider the main address), www.max-did-it.de or www.maxdid.it, in case you want to bookmark it.

I'd be super happy for anybody who follows me, and gives me feedback in the comments or via mail.

That should be it for the introduction. Now, to boldly go where, at least I, have never gone before...

 

Announcements
,Wed
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To Any Early Arrivers

Hi, welcome to Max Did It, my first venture into independent game development.

Please be aware that especially this blog, and to some degree all the Max Did It sites on Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter and DeviantArt are still work in progress, not finished and do not represent the final appearence. :-)

The official launch of this website and all accompanying social profiles is still in the future, and until then, there will be a lot of nonsensical test posts, building site noise and dust. ;-)

Still, if you want to be there while I build this site, feel free to stick around.