I spent this past weekend in Limerick attending SkyCon 2009, which was a really fun and diverse conference, organized by the University of Limerick Computer Society (Skynet). Besides having great topics such as Demoscene, Swarm Robots, Open Source, and WiMax, Randall Munroe from xkcd(!!!) was the keynote speaker.
Randall gave a hilarious talk about some adventures he has had working at NASA, what it’s like to draw comics for a living, and a very serious problem facing Ireland and other countries today (shown at left). He brought along some cartoons for us and we all laughed a lot. Then he answered questions about velociraptors (of course), his career plans and whether or not he is the only American with a sense of humour. Sadly, I forgot to ask the question I really wanted to know, which was whether he had any trepidation about coming to a conference organized by a group called Skynet.
Randall was also incredibly nice and stuck around to sign autographs, draw cartoons, chat and eat this perfect cake that Skynet baked him. After the x-cake-cd, we all headed to Kilmurry Lodge for a lovely dinner and table quiz. I noticed on Twitter that Evert is offering a prize for the best answers, and he links to the table quiz questions, which were awesome. E-mail him with your answers to win a wifi router.
My talk at the conference unfortunately did not involve cake or comics. Instead, I talked about how (and why) to build video games from scratch, and walked through writing some basic XNA code. Right before I went to bed the night before the conference, I decided that my demos needed a certain something. I ran an XNA lab at LIT the previous day, and I was reusing demos, but I thought there might be some audience overlap. So I stayed up a bit longer and put together VelociAptor – a very simple XNA application that demonstrates simple sprite animation in a most terrifying way. I know you can’t wait to get the code, so I’ll go through it tomorrow and clean it up a bit and post it here as a .zip file.
Someone had asked me about 3D tutorials & examples, and I promised I’d post more information on that. First of all, one starter kit I recommend is the Spacewar starter kit, one of the most basic ones, because it has two modes to its game – 2D and 3D. So you can take a look at both versions and see the differences in the code. This link is the direct link to all the starter kits, utilities, samples and tutorials from creators .xna.com (the main hub for developers learning XNA) on everything 3D related. Take a look and let me know if you have any further questions.
My slides: http://www.slideshare.net/martharotter/creating-video-games-from-scratch-sky-con
VelociAptor XNA code: Coming Soon!