Friday, 28 August 2020

Adventure Games In C# – the next step

If you’ve read my book or followed my course on adventure game programming in C#, you will already know how to create a map of linked rooms which the player can wander around in order to take or drop treasures. You will be able to communicate with the game using simple English language commands such as “Take the sword” or “Put the coin into the box”. 

But what happens if there are several swords in the current location? In that case, when the player enters: “Take the sword” you want to game to reply:

“So you mean the gold sword, the silver sword or the Elvish sword?”

And when there are multiple coins boxes here, the player should be able to enter:

“Put the small silver coin into the big carved wooden box.”

In order to do that, we need adjectives – “big, small, gold, silver, carved, wooden” and so on. To implement that I’ve begun to extend the code that was supplied with my book. My aim is to create a reusable game framework of ready-to-run classes that you will be able to use to program your own games. This code is in its very early stages at the moment. The main new feature is the addition of adjectives to the parser. I have not yet defined properties to match those adjectives for the treasures. That is, while you can say “take wooden box”, the game doesn’t yet check if the box you want to take really is wooden. I’ll add that in a future update.

The game framework is called The Bitwise Interactive Fiction Framework (BIFF) for C#. I’ll also shortly be releasing a version of BIFF for Java. To keep up to date with developments and download the source code for BIFF (and for my any of my books and YouTube tutorials), just sign up to our mailing list on:

Saturday, 8 August 2020

Camtasia 2020 Broken Backward Compatibility

In my recent review of the screencasting suite, Camtasia 2020, I said that “The latest release of Camtasia is less focussed on adding big new features than making the existing features easier to use”. Since writing that review I’ve become aware of one feature that makes Camtasia harder to use – well, for long-time Camtasia users at any rate. Because the new release no longer supports old Camtasia file formats. That means that if you made some recordings a few years ago and you want to load and edit them with Camtasia 2020, in all probability you won’t be able to do so.

Put simply, Camtasia 2020 no longer supports older Camtasia project files (with the extension .camproj) nor screen recording files (ending .camrec). I Googled for help on this and the only solution I found (in the Techsmith forums) was to use Camtasia 2019 to convert .camproj files and then load those into Camtasia 2020. But even if you do that, the individual clips (.camrec files) are invalid so in effect the conversion fails. I contacted Techsmith to see if the company had a solution to this problem. This is what the Camtasia project manager replied:

“You are correct that both camproj (projects) and camrec (recording) formats were retired in 2020. We replaced both formats many years ago (I believe TREC was introduced sometime in 2014 in version 8 of Camtasia) to introduce cross-platform project and recording support between Windows and Mac. You are also correct that the solution for opening camproj files is to open them in 2019 and then convert them to the tscproj format. Unfortunately, there was no easy or fast method of handling this for camrec to TREC format. We investigated to see if this would be worth the investment, but only a very small percentage of imports (something like 0.05%) were camrec format.

“Probably the easiest workflow for getting these older videos into 2020 will be to install Camtasia 2019, which will install the camrec shell extension. With this, you can right-click on camrec files in the Windows File Explorer and extract the video as an AVI. You can then bring this video into Camtasia 2020 (note that this will not include any cursor data though; if you need the cursor, you will have to produce the video from Camtasia instead).”