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While I haven’t been posting as often as I had been earlier this year I have been hard at work on several projects, with several ending up being dead ends for one reason or another (mostly very low return on investment for the amount of time needed to accomplish them). jcBENCH2 will be released in the next week for Windows 8 and immediately following that I am pleased to announce three interconnected projects that will be taking me through the end of the year – ModeXngine, jcPIMP and Mystic Chronicles.

Mystic Chronicles


Mystic Chronicles

For those that have been following my blog back to 2004, I originally coined Mystic Chronicles that summer and as seen in my original Source Forge project of the Infinity Project I had made it fairly far – definitely farther than I had gotten in the years leading up to that point. The big goal back then for Mystic Chronicles was to provide a semi-online experience, if you were online with your friends playing single player you could join in the same universe akin to Interplay’s Starfleet Command Metaverse concept going back to 2000-2001. The revival of Mystic Chronicles will be my first Windows 8 game and the first powered by the ModeXngine (more details below). The game puts you in charge of a colony with the goal of the game to conquer the other 3 AI players also attempting to rule the galaxy. The game is turn based and has you as the player balancing technological advancements, defensive and offensive strategies.

The longer goal is to turn it into a cross platform HTML5 MVC4 and Windows Phone 8 game supported by ads and offering a premium version with additional features.

Below is an early alpha screenshot of the progress thus far:


I would provide a release date, but taking one from id software, it’ll be released when it’s done.

ModeXngine



Going back to April of this year I debuted the jcGE in my Windows Phone 7/8 game, Cylon Wars. This engine provided a 2D experience with collision detection, animated sprites and trigger based sound effects. While capable, it was definitely not what I wanted in a long term engine that I could readily use on other platforms. Building on the knowledge gained I am pleased to announce, ModeXngine that will initially support both Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 with an HTML5 component to follow. One of the big elements will be the modularized components all communicating through a “kernel”. Since writing my first game back in 1995, I’ve wanted a framework that could grow with my skills and the technology that surrounds me – I think the time for investment into creating such a framework is now. For those curious, it will coded in C# exclusively. As noted above, this engine will debut with the Windows 8 release of Mystic Chronicles.

jcPIMP


Going back to May, I had soft-launched the jcPICP and started diving down the WCF <-> Java path to promote a truly platform independent platform, however that approach led to quite a few hurdles, namely IRIX’s Java implementation being so old that native soap support wasn’t there. In addition I have begun to switch some of my approaches to WebAPI over WCF in many scenarios where it makes sense. In a messaging environment I feel it does especially since virtually every platform has an HTTP Library no matter the language. That being said, I am renaming the project to jcPIMP, which stands for Jarred Capellman’s Platform Independent Messaging Platform. The main processing server will be an ASP.Net WebAPI 4.5 service with a SQL Server 2012 backend (using Entity Framework 6) with the client being written a cross-platform manner using C++. A recent side project to be discussed later reminded me of the simplicity of C++ and how much I missed using it on a semi-frequent basis.

ModeXngine’s core will be utilizing the message handling components of jcPIMP for both internal and later multiplayer components.

A big question one might ask themselves is, “Why build yet another messaging protocol/platform when there are so many other great solutions out there like RabbitMQ, MSMQ etc?” The main reason – to learn. I am firm believer in that in order to truly understand something you have to create it yourself, learn to overcome the mistakes others have and prevail.

My current plan is to release jcPIMP around Mystic Chronciles to put it in the hands of other developers.