Ogre Game Labs: A Proposal

(This is intended for one person, really, but I thought I’d put it on here so you all could see a new project I’m wanting to work on and maybe express some interest.)

Myself and several other members have a particular interest in designing games, and enough new online tools have emerged recently that I want to pursue the thought of an extension of the OGREs. The Ogre Game Labs would be something a little different from a traditional chapter, as membership in it would be as temporary or permanent as the OGRE choosed, though they would need to first be OGREs to make use of the Game Labs.

The Ogre Game Labs has a few immediate goals and a few stretch goals. Immediate goals are:

  1. Provide a resource for game designers to get support in the designing of their game, through (mostly online) playtesting, consulting with other game designers, working with people that have experience in online game designing tools such as Vassal (www.vassalengine.org), Roll20 (www.roll20.net), and Magic Workstation (www.magicworkstation.com).
  2. Provide a way for gamers to get involved at the ground level of new games and designers/design teams. They can find a game concept that’s of particular interest and volunteer to playtest games, or find a group with a similar schedule. One resource will be that all OGREs will be able to set their availability by day of the week, and this will be public. By joining the Game Labs you opt-in to being contacted by designers who are available when you are.
  3. Answer some basic questions on copyright law as it pertains to card, board, and video games. Not legal advice but links to useful resources on how you are protected (and not protected) as a game designer.

Some stretch goals are:

  1. Provide connections to artists, graphic designers, distribution chains, game stores that would do further playtests. Make it a real one-stop place for a game designer no matter how far along the project is to completion.
  2. X-TREME STRETCH GOAL: I’ve toyed with the idea of designing a modular game engine in HTML5. We may be able to turn some games into something that the public can play, and if there’s enough selection of quality games, turn it into a monthly membership service.

I’m fairly flexible on the overall structure of the Game Labs, and I think people would take on some self-granted titles. Jesse Schell’s excellent “The Book of Lenses: The Art of Game Design” is very adamant about this fact: To become a game designer, all you have to do is say you are one. The games will come later, but it’s important to take on the role first. So there are some positions that anyone would be able to take (with no limit), and some permanent positions.

Director – Likely myself in the dual role of webmaster, responsible for the overall direction of the Game Labs. Catches all the requests that slip between the cracks (and assigns new positions if enough slip through the same crack).
Head of Development – The member with the most experience in gaming and rule systems, available as a last-level resource to ask questions of all sorts on game design. A sort of “Resident OG” position equivalent to a chapter’s Senior DM.
Project Coordinator – Provides designers with new subforums and blogs for their project, and passes on other technical requests to the webmaster. Also responsible for answering questions on the new designer process.
Chapter Liaison – One member from each OGRE chapter that want to use the Game Labs should have a Liaison that matches people up with projects, and helps raise awareness of the Labs as a tool open to all members.
Design Head, (game) – Self-granted position once a game is far enough along that the designer needs to start recruiting for playtesting. Multiple people can be heads of the same project if it’s a team, and team accounts can be made to speak as one voice. One person can be Design Head of multiple games.
Designer – Position granted on entry to the Game Labs. I considered making “Playtester” another option on entry but if you playtest, you are helping design, so you’re a designer first.

That’s just a list I came up with while writing this so I’m sure some things aren’t covered but it should give an idea of the structure and day-to-day operation. Chapter Liaisons, the Project Coordinator, the Head of Development and Director would make up a Board of Directors that would vote on issues every so often (Not sure how often, and it seems silly to decide on a timeframe before the project goes live.) I’m open to suggestions on term lengths and the like, but also bear in mind this is going to be almost exclusively online, so voting will be forum-based before a deadline (and likely count as an abstention if not submitted).

I can have a forum up at ogregamelabs.com within the week you all decide you want to go ahead with it. I’m excited to push this idea forward and maybe even make the OGREs known as a think tank for up-and-coming designers. I’m available for questions via email at daniel.tharp@gmail.com.

How to install Windows XP SP3 on Mac OSX Mountain Lion and get drivers, too. [updated 3/2/16]

This has been far and away my most-read article ever. Thanks for reading! If this saved you a couple bucks of your time, consider donating via Paypal or via Bitcoin to 16FCWbn1wSpgn3a5mcjXRAYGYRQ5MW3qv5.

I considered various triple and quad boot options for my new (to me) MacBook Pro, but eventually decided on a simple dual-boot, OSX Lion and Windows XP.  If you’re reading this via a Google search, you likely ran into some problems too.  If you have been trying to do this without involving Boot Camp at all, bear in mind that even with all the drivers technically working you’re not going to be able to do things like use the multi-touch trackpad, use the function keys on the keyboard, etc.  Don’t worry though, this is an end-to-end guide on what to do to get XP running on a machine running Lion, complete with download links.

5/2/2012 Edit: From the comments I can pretty safely say this doesn’t work on  2011 Macbook Pros. Sorry, it’s likely due to them using new hardware not accounted for in the Leopard driver pack. If you can find a way to make it work, please leave a comment.

9/7/2012 Edit: It sounds like this works for Mountain Lion as well, as it should. This should work for all OSX releases for the foreseeable future, but will likely not work on newer hardware. We’re using hardware profiles from Leopard, and many chips and cards used since simply didn’t exist then.

3/2/2016 Edit: Hoo boy, this thing still gets traffic. Since Windows XP is no longer supported, and is a positive magnet for malware now, I really don’t recommend you do this anymore. Only if the XP installation is not going to access the Internet. However, the links to the driver packs and such aren’t going anywhere. This probably won’t work on anything newer than 2010 gear.

Things you will need:

  • Bootable Windows XP disc.  I’m using a TechNet XP SP3 disc, but any full, non-OEM option should work.
  • Access to Disk Utility from something other than your active partition.  This can be via your Mac Install Disc, Install USB drive, etc.  I had a Lion USB drive.
  • Boot Camp 2.1, i.e. the version that shipped on Leopard retail discs.  Use Leopard install disc 1 or download it here.

Quick Guide:

  1. Use Disk Utility from your bootable media, partition off however much space you want to use and make sure the format is set to “MS-DOS (FAT)”  (which is actually FAT32)
  2. Install Windows  on your new partition.  You can choose to re-format your partition as NTFS if you want, which is more efficient than FAT32 but only allows read access to the Windows partition from OSX, where FAT32 is read/write.
  3. Download the Leopard version of Boot Camp here. (same link as above)
  4. Run setup.exe, don’t bother trying to drill-down into the Drivers folders manually.  The setup catches it all.
  5. Reboot; if you have sound, you’re finished!  If you don’t have sound,  go to Device Manager, expand System Devices, disable “Microsoft UAA Bus for High Definition Audio”, then uninstall it.  Verify Realtek High Definition Audio is also gone from Sound, video and game controllers (disable and uninstall if it is still there).
  6. DO NOT REBOOT, run WDM_R268.exe provided in the driver 7z file or here.
  7. Done, reboot to finish audio driver install.

Step-by-step Guide:

  1. Boot to your OSX bootable media by inserting the disc (or plugging in the flash drive) and holding down the Option/Alt key once you hear the startup chime.
  2. From the Install Menu, choose Disk Utility and hit continue.
  3. Click on your hard drive, usually the top-most item in the list of devices, and in the main pane hit the Partition button.
  4. On a default Lion install, it takes up the entire hard drive.  Provided you aren’t using all of it, select the partition and click the + button beneath it to create a new partition.  Name it what you want, set the size in GBs that you want to give to your Windows installation (I set mine to 120 out of 500, so I have room for XP-friendly games.).  In the details on the right side of the main pane, change the format of your new Windows partition from Mac OS Extended (Journaled) to MS-DOS (FAT).  This is actually FAT32, not standard FAT with it’s 4GB file limits and whatnot.  FAT32 has a downside here in that it makes 32KB clusters, which can be wasteful at large sizes (partitions above 32GB).  The advantage to formatting as FAT32 and not NTFS (which is possible later on) is what you’ll have read AND write access to your Windows files when booted into OS X.  NTFS is read-only to OS X.
  5. When everything looks correct, hit Apply and wait for your partitions to be modified.  If you get an error at this point, select the Mac partition (not the hard drive itself), select First Aid (losing your changes to the partition table, unfortunately), then hit Repair Disk.  If you still have errors, repeat this step but choose Repair Disk Permissions.
  6. Once your partition is set, put your Windows XP disc in the Mac and reboot, again holding down the Option/Alt key to choose your boot device.  You should see the typical Windows XP setup process begin.  After a few minutes of loading, you should be able to begin the installation.  Hit Enter to begin the installation and F8 if you agree to the license terms.  At this point, you should see your Windows partition, two [Unknown] partitions and possibly some unallocated space.  Make sure you install to your newly created partition.  You’ll be given the option to format to NTFS.  Again, NTFS only allows Read-Only access to your files from OS X, but is more efficient space-wise than FAT32, which you can read and write from in OS X.  Make your decision according to your needs and proceed with the installation.
  7. If you’re used to installing Windows XP on computers, bear in mind this is not an unattended installation; every time the machine reboots you’ll need to be there to hold down Option/Alt and tell it to boot to your Windows partition (NOT the disc, which would start the setup process over again). So hold your computer’s hand through the installation process.
  8. When setup finishes, you now technically have a working dual-boot setup.  But there are a lot of missing drivers and a lot of things you won’t be able to do.  The big one would be your lack of network drivers, which means no way to get online to get your other drivers.  So now grab Boot Camp 2.1, with it’s sweet cache of Windows XP drivers, here.  You will need 7zipto unpack it.  The files in that archive are copied directly from my Leopard Install Disc and 7z’ed with Ultra compression.  Be patient.Again, download the driver pack for getting XP working on Lion here. Get 7zip here if you don’t have it.
  9. Once you have the driver pack downloaded and unpacked to your XP installation, run setup.exe to begin the Boot Camp installation process.  It will ask to install the Apple Software Updater first, which I went ahead and did because iTunes is going to install it anyway.  Watch as the Boot Camp installer finds and installs all the drivers for you.  Once it’s done, it will ask to reboot.  Don’t forget to hold down Option/Alt to get back in when it does.
  10. When XP comes back up, you may find that your video looks like it didn’t install.  On nVidia systems, Go to Start -> Control Panel and double-click nVidia Control Panel.  It should immediately ask to adjust your resolution.  While you’re in here you can make any changes to the color, etc. that you need.
  11. Test if you have sound by clicking the speaker icon in the system tray on the bottom right, dragging the volume slider all the way to the top and releasing.  You should hear a tone.  If you do, go to Start -> Control Panel -> System -> Hardware -> Device Manager.  If there are no exclamation points, red Xs or anything of the sort then you’re done, enjoy your XP-on-Lion goodness.
  12. If you do not have sound, Boot Camp has probably installed a Realtek audio driver that is incompatible with Service Pack 3 of Windows XP.  Go to Start -> Control Panel -> System -> Hardware -> Device Manager.  Expand System Devices by clicking the + next to it, find “Microsoft UAA Bus for High Definition Audio” in the list of entries, right-click it (on a Mac laptop, you can now right click by placing two fingers on the trackpad and clicking the mouse button over what you want to right-click on) and click Disable.  It will ask to confirm you want to disable it, click Yes.  Right-click it again, and click Uninstall.  Hit yes to confirm uninstallation.
  13. In the big driver download there is a file in the root called WDM_R268.exe.  If you didn’t download the pack (because you already had Leopard Discs, for example), download just the audio driver here.  Run that exe and it will install working audio drivers.  You should hear the “fwop” of a Windows message in the system tray on installation saying a reboot is needed to complete installation. At this point, everything should be working on your system.
  14. You’re done, Boot Camp now sits in the system tray as a gray diamond.  You can use it to determine which OS gets run by default.  If you see a boot selection prompt when you’re booting to Windows, having you choose between Windows XP and “Unknown boot on drive C” or something to that effect, go to Start->Control Panel->System->Advanced->Settings under Startup and Recovery.  Make sure Microsoft Windows XP is your default Operating System in the dropdown list, and uncheck the box immediately below it that says “Time to display list of operating systems”.  I leave the second box checked in case I do want to boot to Safe Mode after a loss of power.

Hopefully that’s all it takes to get you up and going, please comment if this helped you out, or if this doesn’t work for you (likely if you have a 2011-2012 machine).

9/7/2012 Edit: Commenter Mark writes: “I can confirm that I have boot camp installed with Windows XP and Mountain Lion. Everything is running smoothly on my late 2009 24″ iMac. The only problem I experienced was with windows update installing an incompatible nVidia driver which prevented my wired ethernet from working. Rolling back to the previous driver cured this and hiding the offending updated driver from windows update should prevent future issues.”

Daniel Tharp

Read My Lips, No New Fart Apps

I took the plunge, bit the bullet, followed the crowd and clichéd all the clichés. I bought a Mac, specifically a MacBook Pro from Late 2008. I’ve already pre-emptively deleted a paragraph that sounded like gushing because I’m honestly very impressed with OS X, moreso than I expected to be.

Anyway, the reason I’m writing this post is that I bought this thing to write iOS apps on, and I’ll be sharing my experience learning, debugging, testing and (probably) swearing with all of you. I hope it is informative to some of you, because I’m coming from a background in function-oriented PHP. It has done everything I needed it to do, and while OO programming is definitely cleaner, more secure code, I have seen little appeal in such a mental overhaul of my approach. So I approach this with no small amount of trepidation, the tutorials I’ve read so far haven’t really clicked with me yet, and I still feel out of my depth. I have one app I’m going to be working on right away, the series of posts will be mostly unfiltered, I will be learning, breaking things, and fixing things from post to post, so you get a feel of what I’m going through; my reasoning for this is that I know I’m not the only one making this transition from function-oriented PHP to Objective-C and Xcode.

The first post will be up before Friday, dealing mostly with Xcode and my understanding of things going in. I’m also revealing my studio name (obviously an important step in being an iPhone millionaire, much like how “writers” will have a grand story in their head, but when you ask “oh, how far along is the book?” they respond with, “Well, I haven’t actually written anything yet, but that part’s easy.” For the record, I don’t care. My studio name is awesome and you’ll just have to deal with my hypocrisy.