All posts by David Saltares

New domain and hosting

It’s been over 5 years since I registered siondream.com. At that time, I also signed up for a shared hosting plan with Hostgator. Unfortunately, I’m no longer 16 years old, so the domain felt a bit dated. A change was long overdue, but I can be real lazy during the weekend. Finally I got around to do a proper migration of both domain name and hosting.

Welcome to saltares.com!

Here’s a brief of my experience with Hostgator and the migration process.

Hostgator-VPS-Webhosting

Hostgator wasn’t actually that bad. It had excellent client support and my plan offered “unlimited” disk space and monthly data transfer at a fair price. However, at the end of the day, both were limited by the number of people you shared your instance with. In all honestly, the uptime could have been better as it wasn’t rare for me to get notifications about the blog being unreachable.

The worst part about Hostgator were the access limitations. I couldn’t just run whatever software I wanted on the server. Whilst it supported PHP, I believe Java or Python weren’t among the list. I simply didn’t have the permissions to install anything.

digitalocean

A few friends have Digital Ocean droplets and are very happy with the service, so I went for it and got my Ubuntu SSD machine. I took advantage of the GitHub student pack, which offers a $100 voucher, meaning I don’t have to pay at all for the first 20 months.

Yes, you have to set absolutely everything up yourself, including a web server, PHP, MySQL, etc. Conveniently, Digital Ocean’s website has a myriad of tutorials with detailed steps on how to do all of this. Great way to polish up my rusty Linux skills.

namecheap

After digging around for a bit, I registered saltares.com with Namecheap. Despite being put off by the name, a lot of people recommended it and now I can see why. The DNS setup propagated extremely quickly and there is no fuss. Additionally, it’s really easy to find a discount code, so I got the domain during a year for £6, not bad.

All of this should have been seamless for everyone, so please contact me if something is not working quite well. Requests to siondream.com now point to my droplet, so the old domain points to the same thing as saltares.com.

Libgdx Cookbook samples updated

libgdx cross platform development cookbook

It’s been a few months since Libgdx Cross-platform Game Development Cookbook came out. Quite a few things have happened since then in the Libgdx world, libraries are updated and some things break over time.

As promised, we have updated our samples repository to use the latest versions of Libgdx (1.5.5), Ashley (1.4.0), gdx-ai (1.5.0) and RoboVM (1.0.0) among others. Luckily enough, only a few changes were necessary to make everything work again.

I’m very pleased to see that, 5 months after the book came out, it’s still as relevant as it was on launch day. Moreover, people seem to like it!

This cookbook is certainly a great resource for learning and improving your libgdx skills and in my opinion it is the best book on libgdx at the moment […]

Ashley 1.4.0 released

ashley-small

A new version of Ashley, your favourite component based entity framework is out. The 1.4.0 version comes with a bunch of bug fixes that, hopefully, will iron out some of the rough edges in Ashley.

  • API deprecation: finallt removed the Family.getFor() methods. In order to retrieve a family, you can do Family.all().one().exclude().get().
  • API change: makes family Builder package protected.
  • Bug fix: EntityOperation and ComponentOperation are now properly reset when put back into their pools. This doesn’t affect the API at all and it’s an implementation detail fix.
  • Bug fix: fixes PooledEngine always returning new components.
  • Bug fix: fixes GWT build.
  • Bug fix: avoids removing a PooledEntity twice.

To use it, change your dependency to com.badlogicgames.gdx:ashley:1.4.0. The new nightly dependency is com.badlogicgames.gdx:ashley:1.4.1-SNAPSHOT.

As usual, all unit tests are passing and the wiki is up to date. Please keep up the good work sending more pull requests and reporting bugs.

2D Game Art for Programmers copyright infringement

2d game art for programmers

This story really upset me, but let’s start from the beginning for context’s sake.

I’ve been following Chris Hildenbrand’s blog 2D Game Art for Programmers since the very beginning because it’s absolutely amazing. He gives hope to talentless and desperate programmers like me, so we can go and make games that won’t make people want to pull their eyes out. Just a few intelligently placed shapes, some smart shading and you’ve got decent art. Moreover, everything is done with Inkscape, which is free and open source.

Splendid!

2D Game Art for Programmers has enabled me to produce art for Math Maze and Evolution among other stuff. Hey, they look pretty okay to me, don’t they? Thanks for that, Chris.

math maze phone

Chris’ tutorials are well thought out and beautifully crafted. They must take bloody hours to put together! In order to justify such an enormous time investment, Chris has a few premium assets and guides for which you have to pay a small amount of money. One example are his Block Buddies.

BlockBuddies_sticker_update

Now for the outrageous part.

Last weekend Chris contacted me about Viope, an e-learning company. They had shamelessly created a 129€ (£92/$137) tutorial directly from his free assets. I’m not talking about them using Chris’ tutorials to learn and then make a paid course of their own, which would have been legitimate. This is a 1:1 copy of the original work. Additionally, they copied other tutorials and published them as free samples of the course.

Chris gives more details on his website.

Hilariously, Viope made a promotional video which includes the character I made for Evolution. They are mad if they can attract customers with my art. Ridiculous.

Evolution - Caveman

Understandably, this affects Chris’ motivation to produce more awesome work for free. He was in the middle of publishing a series of articles on how to design art for a whole game from scratch. He cannot get enough kudos for that.

It’s enraging to see how easy it is for an company of doubious morale to take possession of something it’s not theirs and re-publish it for profit. Fortunately, Chris is talking to his lawyer and Viope seem to have taken the course down for the time being.

Hope it gets fixed soon mate.

Libgdx at the LJC: slides and video

full_88286

Yesterday, I had the pleasure to deliver a talk about Libgdx at the London Java Community Meetup. To my surprise, there was a pretty decent turnout. The audience was lovely, seemed engaged and asked quite a few questions. No awkward silence at the end…

Woohoo!

Thanks a lot to everyone who attended, and to the organisers who made it possible. We must catch up next time at the pub afterwards!

If you’re in the London area, you should definitely join the Meetup group and attend some of the talks. The atmosphere is friendly and there’s at least one every week, the next ones are on Ceylon and design patterns.

Here’s the video and the slides: