Archive for September, 2008

Framework 1.09 Super Strict Release

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

Hi everyone, OK so I’ve just released a SuperStrict compatible version of my awesome BlitzMax Game Framework on my forum due to popular demand. You can find it here in the Framework Downloads forum if you are a registered customer:

You can find out more details about my framework and download a demo in this thread.

There are loads of changes in this release but I don’t have time to list them all right now, so here are the main ones:

– It’s now SuperStrict compatible!
– TButton now supports a TImageFont or TBitmapFont caption! Very useful for localising button captions instead of having to generate graphics for each one.
– TSprite and TParticle enhancements.
– TKeyRepeat and TMouseRepeat added and TListBox uses them.
– TImageBank, TSoundBank and TGameText now use TMap instead of TList for speed.
– Lots of tweaks and some bugs fixes to CommonTypes.
– Slow motion/speed up ability added to TFixedRateLogic.
– TBitmapFont data files now no longer need to be edited before use.
– Few CommonCode tweaks and new functions.
– Moved examples from AOTMG into a special Examples folder.
– Updated BasicSetup.bmx to use AOTMG graphics so that it can be compiled straight away.
– Bug fix in AOTMG TPlayer.Die().
– Possible Fix to “No Sound on Mac” issue.
– Mac Shared Data path fix.


btw, my new game is due out in November and will be using this framework, so keep an eye out for it. It will hopefully be another top 10 hit.

I got my 2nd Dan Black Belt in Aikido

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

On Sat 20th Sept 2008 I successfully graded for my 2nd Dan Black Belt in Aikido.

Several members of Bridport Aikido Club, including myself, travelled up to Oldham (near Manchester) on Friday. The journey is 255 miles but it took us 8 hours due to bad traffic. We then did two and a half hours of training with Sensei Kolesnikov, the 6th dan principal of the school. Then the others went for an Indian meal but I didn’t want to do that because I wanted my guts to be in good form for the grading the day after. So I had spaghetti al pomodoro and some mineral water at an Italian restaurant with my good friend Georg who was going for his 1st dan on Saturday – he flew over from Austria specially to do his grading.

I had a relaxing bath and went over the moves in my head and visualised a positive outcome to each section of the grading and saw Sensei Kolesnikov saying “Jake Birkett – 2nd Dan” at the end of the grading. I find this sort of thing is good for building confidence and banishing negative self-defeating thoughts. Lots of sports-people do it.

I had a good night’s sleep in a cheap hotel in Manchester, ate some museli and toast and had a cup of Clipper organic decaff tea that Georg had bought. Then we got the bus to the dojo.

It was a long day which started with a one and half hour training session in the morning followed by a light lunch of fruit and nuts. Then I had to kneel down in the baking sun for 4 hours (the dojo has big windows) whilst other people graded. Then I did my grading which included 32 mind and body ki tests, about 50 different attacks/defences, knife defences, sword defences, sword and jo (spear) katas, and continuous attack by 5 black belts at once. The grading went very well; I didn’t make any mistakes (that I know of ;-))

Then the results were announced and I took part in a two hour high grade course. Finally (after a bit of Sat Nav generated chaos) we finally arrived at the social meal in a Chinese Buffet restaurant in Manchester whereupon I ate like a horse. This was followed by a poor night’s sleep on the floor at a friend’s flat in Manchester (I let my students have the comfy beds), another three hour high grade course on Sunday, and then a six hour drive home.

It was quite tiring, and my legs ached from all the kneeling, but it feels very good to have passed. I’ve been training for 2nd dan for 6 years for since my 1st black belt which took 5 years to obtain – so that’s 11 years in total. I don’t have to do any more gradings now because 3rd dan and higher are awarded as honorary ranks depending on how long you’ve trained for and what you do for the organisation.

Here’s a good pic of me defending from a knife stab to the throat:

Knife To Throat

I fixed the funny characters (Â) in my posts

Friday, September 12th, 2008

Earlier today I noticed that lots of my old posts had funny characters in them. Basically characters like apostrophe, ellipsis, quotation marks and also double spaces were screwed up. They all had a  at the start and then some other funny characters (except for the double spaces).

I found out that this was due to WordPress changing it’s default DB_CHARSET to UTF-8 from some older latin default. I upgraded WordPress several months ago from an old version (2.2 or something) to 2.6. This meant that some characters typed under the old default did not display correctly under the new standard.

After some Googling I found out in more detail what the problem and found lots of “hacky” or long-winded solutions that I was not happy with. Then I found a WordPress plugin called: “UTF-8 Database Converter”. This sounded like it would do the trick but it was not tested on a version of WordPress as modern as mine. So anyway I backed up my database and tried it, but it screwed things up. Some posts were truncated after a few words and also my images disappeared. So I restored the database and then “manually” edited every page and comment by looking for  and assessing what needed to be altered. Needless to say, this was a pain, but it’s done now! I’m also relieved to know that the database backup and restore actually works because I’ve never tested it before! 🙂