New Programs Added to Labs Page!

20 10 2010

Today, I uploaded some of my old programs to the Labs page:

A Bejeweled clone game, and a Mastermind clone game.

A screenshot of Jewels, the Bejeweled clone.

GFX Bejeweled Screenshot

A screenshot of GFX Mastermind game.

GFX Mastermind Screenshot

And my old “HIT” program, intuitively called Kinnectica MP3 Player, it’s basically a compact MP3 player that you can dock to your desktop and save some valuable screen space while you’re listening to your favorite tunes.

A screenshot of Kinnectica 2 MP3 Player

Kinnectica 2 MP3 Player Screenshot

I’m so excited to bring my old work back to life, and I hope you’ll like this new batch of programs from GFX Studios. They’re all freeware of course 😛

Cheers.





GFX Solitaire 0.5 Released!

19 10 2010

So, after the long exhausting rewrite, I released GFX Solitaire on the web today! And here’s a screenshot of this beauty:

A Screenshot of GFX Solitaire

GFX Solitaire Screenshot

You can download it from the dedicated GFX Solitaire web page on this blog.

The core changes are not visible to the user. The only visible changes are some UI tweaks, and enhanced handling of mouse events. And I’ve included the usual surprise at the end of the game, so you can enjoy your victory 😉

I hope you like it, and please remember to provide your feedback on this game. You can find my contact information in the About page.

Enjoy the new game, I know I did! 😛





Guess What’s Coming Back!

5 10 2010
Microsoft Flight Title Screenshot

Welcome back! Microsoft Flight.

At Gamescom 2010 last August, Microsoft announced the revival of the Flight Simulator series with a new product called “Microsoft Flight”!

This comes as wonderful surprise following the sad news of the ACES studio closure last January. Apparently Microsoft decided to bring the series back. But this time, it will be developed by Microsoft’s own Game Studios.

Here’s an excerpt from the official press announcement:

… Microsoft also announced the development of “Microsoft Flight,” a new entry inspired by the best-selling “Microsoft Flight Simulator” franchise. Published by Microsoft Game Studios …

“Today, we’re bringing powerful, inventive gaming experiences to the Windows-based PC,” said Phil Spencer, corporate vice president of Microsoft Game Studios. “Over the years, our PC heritage captured the hearts and minds of millions of players. Reinventing these iconic franchises with social, shared experiences at their core marks the beginning of our return to PC gaming in bold new ways.”

Twenty-eight years after the debut of “Microsoft Flight Simulator 1.0,” Microsoft Game Studios also announced the internal development of “Microsoft Flight,” a new Windows exclusive. “Microsoft Flight” will bring a new perspective to the long-standing genre, welcoming everyone, including long-time fans, to experience the magic of flight.

No details are announced at this moment, as Microsoft seems to be starting a long-running marketing campaign for the new game. And will uncover details as time passes, but I’m guessing that it’s going to be a long-time before they start announcing features and specifics about them. The only official info available is the official website. There’s a couple of teaser videos and a FAQ page that doesn’t actually reveal much!

Anyway, here are my thoughts about the new product:

I am worried about 2 facts: The removal of the word “Simulator” from the title, and the “new perspective” issue in the press announcement. Most fans are worried that this product will bring an end to the simulation factor that we loved in the previous products (FS9 and FSX). I am sure MS will not do this, because the simulation is a core feature that they cannot abandon, especially after the long running development time spent on older products.

At the start of the development cycle of “Microsoft Flight” MS already has the code for a highly detailed flight simulation engine (flight model), and an accurate scenery database that covers the whole world, and most of its airports. In addition to many 3rd party addons and a HUGE fan base. So, my guess is that MS will only concentrate on the following features while leaving the simulation part intact:

– A revamped graphics engine, supporting all major rendering technologies. Which will probably result in a loss of backward compatibility.

– A more versatile Missions engine, with an integrated mission editor.

– Multiplayer enhancements.

– Some sort of an arcade mode, which actively reduces realism factors and makes the game much easier for beginners (i.e. H.A.W.X.).

Anyway, no matter how things go, I am so excited about this announcement, and can’t wait to get a hands-on experience!





GFX Solitaire Unleashed!

13 10 2009

Finally, it’s ready to go! My first game ever, the first fully working version of GFX Solitaire is now ready for a test drive.

The game has its own homepage now at this address: https://gfxonline.wordpress.com/gfx-solitaire/

Comments, questions, notes, and discussions are more than welcome. You can find my contact information in the “About” page. Please try the game and tell me what you think of it. Your feedback is important to me.

This game is my first step into game programming. And I am very excited to share it with you. I hope you like it. 🙂





GFX Solitaire Coming Soon…

8 09 2009

Finally, I’ve reached the last development stage of my first game ever, the GFX Solitaire! Not an original name but who cares anyway.. It IS a fully working clone of the famous Solitaire game (a.k.a Solitaire Klondike).

I’m using the all-so-useful Microsoft XNA Game Studio platform, which serves basically as an interface between VS.NET and the CLR. However, the game programming concepts of XNA and DirectX are basically the same.

The combination of XNA and VS.NET is very useful to beginners like me. As VS.NET provides a “managed” code environment and all the advantages of C#, while XNA provides the skeleton base needed for any kind of game, 3D or 2D, plus a comprehensive set of programming and math tools..

Putting all the technical details aside, I’m very excited to bring out this game to life, not only because it’s my first game ever, but because it gave me a solid understanding of the basic principles of game programming, which is a huge achievement considering the lack of any game programming courses in the region.

Comments or questions about this game are most welcome, and I’m more than ready to share code snippets, algorithms, and more technical details on demand.

The game should be ready and kicking in less than a week (if nothing goes wrong), so check back soon for updates. In the meantime feast your eyes on this delicious screenshot:

A screenshot of GFX-Solitaire

A screenshot of GFX-Solitaire





An Update, Of Sorts!

30 08 2009

I have uploaded a new Facebook album called “Syrian Sights and Landscapes”. It’s a selection of some pictures taken in various locations around Syria. These pictures represent the “brighter” side of my photography essays.

I’ve spent some great times discovering the country, and exploring new sites and locations. I was literally blown away with the beauty of nature, and the richness of Syrian lands.

I was using a Sony DSC-P32, far from professional, but still it took a lot of great pictures. And all the pictures given there were edited using Google Picasa‘s “I’m feeling lucky” all-in-one photo treatment which is great for lazy people like me, and provides astonishing results.

A taste of the album:

A view from the road to "Slenfeh".

A view from the road to “Slenfeh”.





A Sad Day: ACES Closed, FS Abandoned!

24 01 2009

Today, Microsoft officially announced the closure of ACES Studios, the development studio behind the successful Flight Simulator franchise.

MS had to make this move following the announcement of a 5000 staff cuts. A 1400 cuts to be done immediately. ACES took the largest hit, when about 100 of its staff lost their jobs in the blink of an eye, which led to a closure of the whole studio and its development projects, which include the next version of Flight Simulator, and Train Simulator 2.

It’s a sad news for me, and for those who lost -or will lose- their jobs as a result of this decision. I was heavily affected by this news, because the Flight Simulator series forms the base of my gaming hobby.

I’ve been playing this game since the Flight Simulator 5.0 version on the Windows 95. The latest version is the tenth in the series’ history, following the success of a simulation program which started 25 years ago, on the Commodore 64!

Flight Simulator is the longest running franchise in the history of Microsoft. It’s even older than Windows! And, it’s also the most successful Flight Simulator ever created.

Flight Simulator is more than just a game for me. It actually helped me enjoy my dream of flying an airplane, and it also opened a window of opportunity for me to join a worldwide community of FS fans. It also was the main reason behind every single upgrade I did for my PC.

My sympathies to the crew at ACES, and to every other employee who lost their jobs due to the ongoing worldwide financial crisis.

And as the future of FS is put on hold until further notice, I have to thank each and every member of ACES for creating such a wonderful product, and for helping stretch my wings and reach for the skies. Thank you all.

The 1st Version of MS Flight Simulator

The 1st Version of MS Flight Simulator