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  • PGD News Round-up for Sept/Oct/Nov 2011

    Hello everyone and thank you for your patience!

    Yes, I am finally back with another News Round-up for the last three months. Hold on to your seats, because although I have been away, the community has still been very busy. There is going to be a lot of information packing into a smaller than usual chunk in this one so be sure to bookmark it for later reading. Think of this latest News Round-up like a PGD PowerBar.

    PP4S Project

    The Pascal Programming for Schools project has made great strides over this last year alone. It is also getting wider recondition from educators and professionals in the school systems in the UK as the way to teach students the basics of computer science and inspires them to move forward with new techniques and technologies.

    James Dent, ICT Curriculum Adviser, Hertfordshire LA says:
    "Your site is great. It builds up talented young people's understanding of Computing and Pascal capability, understanding and skills in quite a simple way through use of various examples. It's very good for students that want to develop their computing talents independently. Pascal does seem to be preferred by quite a lot of schools nationally at the moment."

    Martin Post, Headmaster of Watford Grammar School for Boys:
    "These students are fantastically talented, but best of all they are helping to nurture the talent in others."
    Even the students offer their opinions too..
    "The first time I tried C++ it scared the hell out of me, but after a year with Pascal I can confidently use both." - Chistopher Winward (UK high school student)
    "Before last year I could kind of program but it was in a swirl of misunderstandings. There wasn’t really any structure to it - but after learning Pascal it solidified things." - Max Foster (UK high school student)
    With the rise in popularity of the Pascal language in schools in England these days, we could see the start of a resurgence of Pascal and Object Pascal programmers in Europe paving the way for increased interest in the years to come. We can only hope.

    Read more about the PP4S project at www.pp4s.co.uk and help spread the word!

    Asphyre Sphinx 2

    A new version of the Asphyre framework has been released; Asphyre Sphinx 2 offers iOS support for such devices as iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Other new features include multiple monitor support in full-screen mode, shader effects and customizable spacing between letter pairs for pixel-perfect font rendering among many others.

    There is now a Wiki with helpful information and an online copy of the documentation that you can see at asphyre.afterwarp.net. You can also help contribute to it and increase the amount of accurate technical information about the longest running library framework for Object Pascal.

    Future development of Asphyre Sphinx 2 is planned, with more added features to follow. You can follow and be a part of this exciting development on the Afterwarp forums at www.afterwarp.net.

    Check out the new Asphyre Sphinx 2 at www.afterwarp.net.

    The original version of Asphyre Sphinx is offered as with other legacy products of Afterwarp Development.

    Commercial Games Released

    Amazing has been the amount of commercial games that have been released in the past couple of months all made with Pascal. A good few of them on the iOS platform. I am happy to see that Pascal remains prominent now and will continue to be so in the future on many of the popular platforms we use today. The Drawn series has really taken off and is putting Pascal programmers to work as it continues to be quite successful with each new game.

    Commercial games released in the last 3 or so months:

    All 3 Titles in the Drawn series (in order from left to right)

    Elysion Game Framework

    Johannes Stein (aka Stoney of Freeze Development) has released a 1.0a version of his Elysion game library framework for all to use. There is a whole ton of features and functionality he's updated in this release. There is a wiki available on github here to get you started and details on per-requesits for use of the game framework.

    Read the full list of changes and download his latest in the PGD forum thread here. You can also check out other cool projects from the Freeze Development house that use the Elysion game framework at www.freeze-dev.com.

    New Oxygene

    The new Oxygene 5.0.31 has been released late November and with it came the very exciting new product Oxygene for Java. This new version of the Oxygene compiler allows for not only simple Java-based programming, but also opens the doors for Object Pascal developers to create apps for the Android mobile device platform.

    There will remain a .NET version of the Oxygene compilers as the collaboration product with Embarcadero that is now called simply Prism XE2. So if managed or interpreted code is your thing then Oxygene is the compiler set for you.

    Single Platform Oxygene for Java will cost you approx. $399 USD. Both Oxygene for .NET(Prism) & Java would be $599 USD.

    You can read more about Oxygene at www.remobjects.com.

    Jim McKeeth's demo of Android development with Oxygene for Java

    Jim McKeeth demonstration of Wearable Android development w/ Oxygene for Java

    JMonkey Demo

    The JMonkey 3D physics engine was shown to me by Jim McKeeth during one of our talks about our recent podcast. There is an impressive video he has done of a demo that was written with Oxygene for Java using JMonkey. You can check it out at www.remobjects.com. If you signed-up for the Cooper beta he was going to send you a copy of the source for all those that contacted him. For those that are still interested, I'm sure he would be equally willing to send you a copy.

    Video of Jim McKeeth's JMonkey Game Engine Demo w/ Oxygene for Java

    TKinect Version 2

    Did you get all excited when you first read about how you could use your Kinect with your computer for games development? Well get excited again, because there is a second version of the API and Object Pascal headers that will help you do just that.

    Unfortunately the API released by Microsoft is only for Windows, but you can still do all the amazing things that you can think of using it. One group of developers is actually using the Kinect to record enemy character animations for their game in development.

    You can read more about it here on his blog.

    Developers using Kinect to generate animation for a FPS


    Sergio Flores (known as Relfos in the PGD forums) has been working away on the release of his own game engine made from the existing LEAF2 game engine that was used to make Sushi Quest and a few other games. It has proven it's self on the iTunes App Store that it can be used to make games for the iPhone and iPad. It is also able to make games on the Mac and Linux machines and on your local Windows platforms as well. Android and Flash platform support is planned and in development.

    For a full listing of all the available features of the first beta release have a read on the new home page at www.pascalgameengine.com.


    Jeremy Darling is no longer the only one who has written a Lua wrapper in Pascal. Simon J Stuart has also been working tirelessly on his own called Lua4Delphi. For all those who don't know, Lua is a scripting language and engine that you can embed into your own programs using hooks in your own code to allow run-time based execution of scripts on the fly.

    I won't get into the usefulness of scripting engines in your games, but you can check out Lua4Delphi at www.simonjstuart.com and read about it yourself.

    Older Video demonstration of Lua4Delphi in action


    Well it seems that your Pascal flavor of Allegro is about to turn 5, version 5 to be exact. When finished, it will include OpenGL support and be both Delphi and Free Pascal capable. Mobile device support is also being considered.

    Until then, Guillermo Mart??nez (aka ?ëu?±o) has released version 4.4.3 of the Allegro.pas wrappers in September that fixed a few bugs.

    Read the latest and get Allegro.pas yourself at allegro-pas.sourceforge.net.

    Be sure to also check out the support wiki at allegro-pas.sourceforge.net for document updates.

    Podcast with Jason

    In case you missed it, yes I did do a podcast with Jim McKeeth this last September as his guest. It was a great little podcast where I got an opportunity to speak a little bit about PGD and the community as a whole. There is tons of great community information packed into it, however as any true believer in Object Pascal as a game programming language will tell you, it only scratches the surface of what is out there.

    You can find the podcast here on the Delphi.org website or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.

    There is discussion of a second podcast with myself and a few others as a round-table format. You can express an interest in that in this thread here.

    2nd PGD Challenge

    In a couple of weeks there will be a new PGD Challenge for all of those itching to get back into coding for another mini competition. Again, no prizes, just the fun and glory of making a small entry to help support your fellow Pascal programmers in showing what cool games can be made in a short time-frame. A new challenge theme will be picked and announced upon the start of the competition as per usual.

    Read about the results of the 1st PGD Challenge found here.

    Issue 4

    Pascal Gamer Magazine has not had a single issue in just over a year. I, Jason McMillen hope to fix that by gathering articles for a forth issue over the next month or so. Anyone interested please contact me at contact@pascalgamer.com or PM me here. You can read more about what kinds of contributions you can make here in this thread in the PGD forums.

    Also don't forget that Pascal Gamer Magazine is now on iPad! You can check it out in the iTunes App Store here.

    Community Recap for Sept, Oct Nov

    Stoney of Freeze Development has also been publishing some great Free Pascal Tutorials on his blog. Language specific stuff and other configuration settings tips for Lazarus as well. Check them out at www.freeze-dev.com. Be sure to click on << Older Entries to see them all!

    Sascha Willems has still been working on his epic game development project, Projekt W. This time he has redone the UI, once again to display more of the important information and increase usability for the player. Phase 2 is finally nearing a beta, which we may see sometime in 2012. Check out Sascha's progress report for November here on Projekt W: Phase 2 at www.saschawillems.de.

    Sascha Willem's Projekt W Progress Video (10 Nov 2011)

    Lots of people have been working away to add support for Android in their libraries and creating demos of how to get started on the Android platform as a whole. Although the capability has been there for a bit, the community is finally now starting to embrace the Android platform with the latest versions of Free Pascal and the brand new Oxygene for Java compiler.

    Android topics on PGD forums:

    Benjamin Rosseaux's FoembJump for Android shown at game competition

    Screenshots from FoembJump (left) & BeRoXM (right)

    Well that's it for now. As if you needed any more at this point. Did I miss something? Talk about it here, open oppertunity! Sorry again for the long wait, I'll try not to keep you all waiting so long for news posts. Come back soon and keep an eye on us as we have some exciting things still to be seen as this year comes close to an end. Happy coding!

    - Jason McMillen, aka WILL
    Pascal Game Development
    Co-Founder / Community Website Manager
    Comments 4 Comments
    1. Sascha Willems's Avatar
      Sascha Willems -
      Once again a great round-up that shows how active the pascal game developer scene is these days!

      I'm also following the blogs of two very interesting pascal (Delphi) developped games, so maybe you could include news on those two games in your next round-ups :

      Tower22 - http://tower22.blogspot.com/
      A survival-horror game in progress, with Rick being a real pro when it comes to cutting-edge graphics technologies. This ony looks very promising and I've been following it for long time and also help out when Rick has questions concerning newton, though I sadly don't have time to get involved personally in these other than lending a helping hand on the physics. The screenshots always look fantastic and he shares a lot of his knowledge concerning renderning-techniques and also has some good artists on his hands.

      Far Colony - http://farcolony.blogspot.com/
      A complex space-exploration game. It's in development for quite a long time now, but with it's complexity it's no wonder. If you're into 4X strategy / space exploration games, this looks extremly interesting. He's doing posting on a pretty regular base, and for a one-man-project this looks pretty sleek.
    1. WILL's Avatar
      WILL -
      Thanks Sascha.

      Wow, Tower 22 has really stepped up it's graphics on their game. Looks even better than I remembered it. Far Colony is long running project that I was always quite interested in as a 4X fan. I'm still hoping for a demo to try soon.
    1. Ñuño Martínez's Avatar
      Ñuño Martínez -
      ¬°Mira, mam?°! ¬°Mi proyecto sale en las noticias!

      Thanks for the summary.

      At the Club Delphi we have discussed a lot about how to share our interest on Pascal and Delphi. It would be great if we had a project similar than PP4S. Unfortunately most teachers (here in Spain) still using old Turbo Pascal, and actually they don't know how use all its power...
    1. WILL's Avatar
      WILL -
      You should contact Norman Morrison Nuno! He's very approachable and just as passionate about Pascal as we are here. PP4S is a project for not only UK teachers, but ALL teachers who want to teach Pascal. Notice that none of the code there is copyright?

      I think that there should be some kind of forum or something that teachers can talk and discuss teaching plans and the like using Pascal. What tools to use and what is availible as teaching aids (ie. SDL and other frameworks and projects) to show students and get them going on the road to learning CS.

      So if they don't know about Free Pascal, and I can't see how in this day and age --the have no excuse-- as it's the defacto standard that is not a commercial product.