first contact with .NET

Sat 27 August 2011 in Programming. Tags: Programming, Videogames, Razer Hydra, Gamescom. By mrwonko.

I've just been to the Gamescom. I don't have anything terribly interesting to tell about that, besides that I lost my key, but that's not really interesting either.

One of the things I did there was trying the Razer Hydra in the Portal 2 map we all know from the videos. I was able to get the hang of it pretty quickly so my first impression was good. Maybe I should've done some more extensive testing, but the more interesting part was a conversation with someone from Sixense, the people behind the hardware.

I already knew they're working on DirectInput support, i.e. emulating an ordinary gamepad, but now I got an estimate: This winter. So a couple of days ago I thought to myself: Gee, I can do that faster, can't I?

Through some googling I found PPJoy, a virtual joystick emulator. After trying to send data to one of its virtual joysticks without success for some time I eventually found a working sample. Which means I'll be able to get PPJoy up and running. That's one part out of three.

The second part is getting Input from the Hydra. Sixense has a free SDK, available from Steam, which is pretty straight-forward. It doesn't compile out of the box with MSVC 10 due to the lack of calling convention definitions but that's easily fixed. The more serious problem is that I in fact don't yet have a Hydra. I'm waiting for a version without Portal 2, which is to be released "soon" for 100€. So I depend on others to test my code. But so far everything seems to work, the SDK works as expected (mostly). That's part two of three done.

The last part is creating an application that combines PPJoy and the Sixense SDK and allows the user to configure it easily. Ordinary Windows windows come to mind. So the time had come to make use of the "Visual" part of Microsoft Visual Studio for the first time: Creating windows with a visual editor using the .NET Framework.

It's surprisingly easy though I did have to learn about Microsoft's superset of C++, which introduces garbage collection and new pointer types for these reference counted objects. Still I'm making good progress and most of the problems that pop up every now and then are easily fixed. I might actually get this done this weekend.

Link to my thread in the Sixense forums

So long,



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