Dev Diary

Oct 11, 2015 at 10:22 PM
So, this time last year, I was opening batch files and having a root around. The last time I coded was 24 years previous when I did an A-Level in Computer Science. Can't even remember the language! Previous to that It had been BASIC on the Commodore 64! :)

I need something to display game-specific controls (non-mame) on a second monitor for an arcade cab and short of creating a graphic for each and every game, there was no software out there.

Tinkered around with Headkaze's CPWizard and found out that by changing a single text file in that app you could display game controls for other emulators. So - just some code to change a text-file, right!? How hard can that be?

So a year later, I've gone from notepad + batch to Visual Studio and And I'm still coding the bugger!

It's a real Frankenstein - half of it runs in batch (the backend db functionality) the other half in .net.

I thought I'd start keeping a dev log in case anyone else is wanting to get into coding. Admittedly - there's been a gap of a year. Advice to date:
  • Don't bother with btach/bash/ahk etc. Go straight for c#/ or other equivalents (C++ etc)
  • Get yourself a good IDE - I really like Visual Studio Express for staring out - it's free - you can keep backups of your code = changesets (again for free) and it also is quite advanced - you can do full db functionality etc in it.
  • Use Stack Overflow. Lots...
Oct 11, 2015 at 10:30 PM
Edited Oct 11, 2015 at 10:54 PM
Increadibly frustrating day!

Aim of the weekend - to get ready for release (been trying for 8 weeks!). Onto testing on a non-dev pc. Dev'd on Windows 8. Tried on Windows 7 laptop. Ran fine, but the old laptop junked up, so did a factory reset + regretting ever since. Ridiculous crap with MS Update - contantly brweaking and needing fixing - taking hours. Also, the app is nolonger working - the .net component taking up to 3 minutes to load. Ridiculous.

Also, biggest crisis so far - did regex search and replace on "As .*" with "". Forgot to choose selection rather than document. Devasted my code! ("Dim foobar As Integer" and "Using Hammer As a Nutcracker") Took 2 hours to go through 5000 lines - line by line carefully changing. Also discovered Visual Studio doesn't make a local backup.

Lesson 1: Be really careful with search and replace__

Lesson 2: Check In your Code regularly - don't leave it 2 weeks like I did! :(

After all day on it - the Windows Update problems on Windows 7 continue too. :(

Bad day. And back to work tomorrow.
Oct 13, 2015 at 12:18 AM
Happier day!

So after 73 years of updating the fresh Windows 7 factory reset - finally gets there on my laptop - CPWB now up and running on non dev machine.

V happy - majority of features have come together - including being able to have localised settings for CPWizard despite shared CPWizard installation (by hiding the setting file from dropbox sync) and also have moved the Marquee XML into the database folder - this means amrquee layouts are shared between master and slave too.

Still thinking about how to solve the problem of accessing a Large asset collection (i.e. all the extended artworks + standards - snap, title, video) - see there's an app where window can see ftp share as a drive letter - maybe could use that - meaning could do edits out of lan on laptop whilst also seeing the assets used for marquees etc...

few speed glitches - for some reason form closing seems delayed/sticky on dev + test machine - can't remember it being so before -- getting into optimisation realms...
Oct 21, 2015 at 10:32 PM
So, finally got another release out. Had a few people struggle with the initial setup process - a mixture of people not following the instruction carefully, alongside my probably not making it the clearest. Also had some dump errors then not follow through on suggestions leaving me puzzled as towards whether it was the code or something else...

Few kind fellas over at GameEx tested the setup process for me and eventually good news that works on Windows 7 and also Windows 10. So that's 7,8 + 10 verified.

At some point, I'm going to try it all on my rig and home network. It's been a year in the making - time to pick up where I left off with my rig...
Jan 10 at 11:29 PM
How time flies.. nearly 2 years later and I'm just nearing what I feel is a reasonably respectable release! Well into .net now, can knock together anything I need to, but I wouldn't say my code is eloquent!