Archive for March, 2010|Monthly archive page

Learn BlackBerry Games Development!!!

So, my new book — written with co-author Andrew Davison — is done and ready to go!

Have a look at the book’s website to get an idea of what you’ll see:

  • Chapter 1. Gaming on BlackBerry!
  • Chapter 2. BlackBerry Application Basics
    Why are there two types of BlackBerry Java applications? What are all those crazy files the compiler generated? And – most importantly – how do I get an application complied and running on my BlackBerry smartphone? Chapter 2 will answer all of these questions, plus help you set up a professional build with Ant.
  • Chapter 3. Game Graphics and Events with MIDP and RIM Classes
    Using the classic Maze game as an example, you’ll see exactly how the two types of BlackBerry Java applications differ. You get an in-depth look at how the lifecycle, events, and graphics work in both cases so you’ll be ready to develop whichever kind is best suited to your game’s needs.
  • Chapter 4. Adding a Professional Look and Feel
    Gorgeous graphics are critical for the game experience. To get your game’s visual theme pixel-perfect on every model, BlackBerry gives you the tools, and Chapter 4 explains how to use them.
  • Chapter 5. Security and Selling Your Game
    As much as you love games for their own sake, at the end of the day it’s nice to get paid. In Chapter 5 you’ll see how to sell your game on BlackBerry App World (or on your own site) – plus how to apply the cryptography APIs to implement licensing and Digital Rights Management.
  • Chapter 6. Swingin’ Light Saber
    With action, music, sound-effects, colliding game sprites, and even touch-screen input, Andrew shows you how to put it all together and develop a real game. Plus BlackBerry’s accelerometer lets you wield your saber like a true RIM-i Knight!
  • Chapter 7. Play a Live Opponent with SMS
    That classic, tiny packet of data sent by the Short Message Service is still a favorite with users and operators alike. And it’s all you need to play a trans-atlantic game of Checkers with a friend – chosen from your BlackBerry contact list!
  • Chapter 8. Using Scalable Vector Graphics
    2-D graphics are easy to master and allow you to create surprisingly impressive effects. Check out Chapter 8’s spinning spaceship video and learn the tricks to create it.
  • Chapter 9. Creating Role-Playing Games on the Internet
    Since Internet everywhere is BlackBerry’s strong point, it was practically born for Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs)! Chapter 9 uses Twitter to create a virtual asteroid belt that you can explore and find real people in their own virtual ships.
  • Chapter 10. Remotely Drive a (toy) Sports Car
    What’s more fun than driving a remote controlled car? Driving one from your BlackBerry! Andrew illustrates Bluetooth programming in style.
  • Chapter 11. Fox and Hounds
    Here’s something your stationary game console can’t do: a real live game of hot pursuit – based on GPS!
  • Chapter 12. Introducing 3D with JSR 239
    Have a look at what the latest-and-greatest version 5 BlackBerry smartphones can do! Andrew explains 3-D graphics with OpenGL.

Also note: I have some “outtakes” — sample games and code that didn’t quite make it to the book but are nonetheless kind of interesting.  I’ll be posting them here over the next few months.

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A basic QTestLib and qExec example (for engineers with experience in Q.A., not Qt!)

When doing a software QA project, you have to be ready to set up and design tests in a variety of different programming (and scripting) languages — to best integrate the automated tests with the rest of the project.  I’ve worked in C/C++, but I’m far from being an expert on the subject. So I can end up wasting time on points that would be extremely simple for an engineer who works in C or C++ every day. And since I wasted my time on this, I’m posting my notes so that you won’t have to do the same.

I recently added some tests to the automated build of a C++ project that uses Qt, which has a built-in unit testing framework: QTestLib. QTestLib seems reasonably well-designed in terms of features. There were just a couple of points I felt were missing from the tutorial, so I’m posting a few remarks for the sake of Q.A. engineers who need to dive straight into the Qt unit test framework. (Apologies in advance to C/C++ developers who will undoubtedly find these points laughably trivial…)

I’m assuming here that you’ve already done at least the first chapter of the tutorial.  If not, go do it now — it’s very short.

Done? OK, let’s get started. My #1 problem with the tutorial is that it explains how to create a stand-alone application that runs a single QTest class, but doesn’t explain how to create an application that will use QExec to run a series of QTest test suites. Like so many things in software engineering, it’s very simple (once you know the trick).  And today I’m going to tell you the trick! Continue reading