ReMIX Australia and The Creators Club

Following the Blogs for the last few days it turns out that the Sydney event is now Sold out, for those going to the Melbourne event you had better get in quick.

What is ReMIX,

REMIX08 is your opportunity to experience all that is new in Silverlight 2, Expression 2, Internet Explorer 8, Windows Live and a host of other great web technologies coming fast and furious from Microsoft. You will also see how local Australian innovators are creating the next generation of engaging websites and unprecedented user experiences for the web.

On another note I will be there… So if you are going alone drop over the the Experts area where you can meet the local experts and learn from their experiences and ask them questions.

While you are there say hello to me as I have several Creators Club Memberships to give away as well as a couple of Zunes to show off the features of XNA 3.0 CTP.

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Cross Post from www.virtualrealm.com.au

XNA 3.0 First Community Applications for the Zune

The community has been busy, well a couple of the die hard’s have.

Nick Gravelyn has released a version of his Alien Aggressors game for the Zune, this download also includes the source code for you to browse. Included in the code are examples of changing the display from portrait to Landscape, as well as using different font sizes for Windows and Zune.

Jsedlak (Krisc) has released a version of his Thrust Framework that can be used on the Zune. He has also produced a Copy of Galactic Wars that will run on the Zune (Includes Source Code).

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Cross Post from www.virtualrealm.com.au

XNA 3.0 CTP has Been Released

Ok I know I am a little bit behind, or in front depends on how you look at it, but Microsoft and the XNA Guys have released the First CTP of XNA 3.0.

The three main features included in this CTP. The first gives us the ability to develop our applications using the Visual Studio 2008 System, which includes all of the different SKU’s. Note that when you do install it it will run side by side with the Visual Studio 2005 system and your current XNA 2.0 systems, there is no need to uninstall.

The Second feature allows us to use the new Sound Effect Class, this new Audio System allows us to just drop our media straight into the content project and it will compile in just like the textures and models… no more need to use the Xact Systems. But for those who would like to use the advanced features of the Xact system you are still able to use that for you audio systems in your XNA Applications.

The last main feature allows us to develop and publish games or applications to the Microsoft Zune Devices.

One thing to note though is that if you do decide to give the CTP a go remember that the CTP does not have the ability to publish you games or applications to the Xbox 360. At the moment the CTP only has the ability to push to the Zune Device.

Remember if you do find a bug or want to suggest a feature please post you request on the Microsoft Connect Site. And if you have any general questions on how to do something using the XNA System (Including the CTP) you can always drop over to the Creators Site.

Here is a quick list of this you should know about the CTP, taken from the XNA Team Blog.

There’s three other important things we want you to know before you dig in:

  • Either Visual Studio 2008 Standard Edition and higher (C# language support must be installed), or Visual C# 2008 Express Edition are required to install and run the XNA Game Studio 3.0 CTP.  Visual Studio 2005 SKU’s are not supported with XNA Game Studio 3.0 and beyond.  However, you do not need to uninstall Visual Studio 2005 or XNA Game Studio 2.0, as those products will work side-by-side with Visual Studio 2008 and XNA Game Studio 3.0 CTP.
  • This current CTP does not enable Xbox 360 game development.  Only Windows and Zune are supported in this CTP.  If you want to build and deploy games for the Xbox 360, you must continue using XNA Game Studio 2.0 for now.
  • This CTP doesn’t work in 64 bit yet.  We plan to support it before RTM.

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Cross Post from www.virtualrealm.com.au

Xbox Gamer Tag Widget for Community Server 2008

Over the last few days I have ben testing the Community Server 2008 system, to do this I have made a copy of my production site and started to simulate what I currently have in the new framework.

One of the things that I have always used on my site is a small section of code to display my Xbox Gamer Tag on my Blog. But in the past I have had to either hack the theme and insert the code or use the News section to add it.

But with the release of Community Server 2008 the CS Guys have added Widgets to the system. So today I have sat down and done some coding. In the end I now have a customisable Widget that I can add to my Blog that will display my Gamer Tag. The good thing is that with they way that I have coded it I now have the choice to make this Widget available to all of the blogger’s or future blogger’s on my site for them to also use if they wish, without the need to recode the themes. It also means that if a use wants to use one of the pre designed themes and not show the card they can.

At the moment I do not want to release the code as I am planning on putting some more Widgets into the library, but if enough people Ask I will release it.

Also I am still undecided wether to continue with the Community Server System or have a look at Graffiti CMS… Still thinking, but if I do go to Graffiti CMS remember that all of the current content and links can be carried over.

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Cross Post from www.virtualrealm.com.au

How to use Exchange 2007 Powershell Scripts in a normal Console

I have been using Powershell for a while now, and now I am doing a lot more Exchange 2007 work. What I now wanted to do was work out a way that I could use the normal Powershell Console and run my Exchange 2007 Scripts. Another bonus of doing this would also allow me to use my Powershell IDE of choice “Sapiens’ PrimalScript“.

What I have found out is that the PrimalScript System uses the default Powershell console and Profile to configure it’s IDE for Development, Intellisense and Debugging. So to get it to work with Exchange 2007 Scripts I needed to find a way.

The solution was actually quite easy to complete, all that need to be done was add one line to my Powershell Profile.

The first thing that you must do is make sure that the Exchange 2007 Management Tools are installed and configured on your desktop.

Start by editing your Profile run the following command.

notepad $profile

The above command will open the Profile for the current user in Notepad for editing, if you do not have a profile yet you will need to create the following directory and then run the above command again.

Profile Directory : \My Documents\WindowsPowerShell\

When that is done add the following lines to the Profile

# Add the Microsoft Exchange 2007 Administration cmdlets to Powershell
Add-PSSnapin -name Microsoft.Exchange.Management.PowerShell.Admin

and save the Profile. Now if you restart your Powershell Console you will be able to call the Exchange 2007 Management cmdlets from the default Console.

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Cross Post from www.virtualrealm.com.au

Planing to Upgrade to Community Server 2008

Over the past few years I have played around with many different blogging engines and Community Sites, but in the end I always seem to end up turning back to Community Server. So for the last 3 years I have been running different versions of Community Server, and with the release of the latest version I thought it was time to go through the upgrade process once again.

To make sure that the process works over the weekend I spent a great deal of time dragging my current production site down to my home development server. In the end I did get it running but found out that it is not as easy as people say to get a dev site going.

One of the main things that I did need to do was change the main community server configuration configuration file so that it would accept the new domain. By default the community server system removes the www from the beginning of the URL for the site during it’s URL rewriting process. When I configured my production site I set the system to require the www. Now that I am running the development site under a different prefix I needed to change the system to ignore the prefix and just continue. If you are interested you can find out about this setting in the first section of the communityserver.config file.

The next thing I needed to do was add another site and set of site mappings to the database to allow the new domain.

For the records here I am using the Community Server 2008 SDK and a sample database.

The first step I needed to do was add a new site to the Database, the sites are stored in the dbo.CS_Sites table. and the following step is to add a site mapping that will link the two sites together (The Site Mappings are stored in dbo.cs_SiteMappings). To do this you need to execute the following query.

exec dbo.cs_System_AddNewUrl @ExistingUrl = ‘<CurrentURL>’, @NewUrl = ‘<AdditionalURL>’

For this example I used the following query.

exec dbo.cs_System_AddNewUrl @ExistingUrl = ‘localhost/cs’, @NewUrl = ‘dev.localhost/cs’

The above query will add a new URL to the current community and link the site in the mappings table to the new URL. Completing the above statements you will now be able to use the same database or backup of the database from either of the URLs, this allows for some proper testing before the upgrade.

The last problem that I can across was one of my own making, when releasing the new versions the Community Server guys are not able to cater for all of the customizations that people can do for their sites. What I found is that one of my custom changes did not work to well when moved to a new site. So as I will also need to change to custom changes in the end I backed them all out and reverted back to the default themes that ship with Community Server.

With all off the hard work done I now have a full development copy of my site running and ready to upgrade.


Cross Post from www.virtualrealm.com.au

A-Star Path finding Example in C#

Here is a good example of an A-Star implementation in C#, the author has used a Windows Forms application, but I a sure one of us could convert it to XNA.

“In this article, I will show you some steps required when implementing the A-Star Pathfinding algorithm. I will say a couple things about it here, but I think you will get the idea from the screenshot. This algorithm allows you to find the shortest path from one point to another, navigating along walls and barriers. This algorithm is how you can have a monster walk through obstacles to your character, the hero.”

Here is a Link to the Article.

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Cross Post from www.virtualrealm.com.au