David Bolton

David Bolton was a game developer and a past game designer at MicroProse. He now works as an independent developer creating mobile and desktop applications and writes on programming for About.com and News.dice.com

XNA is Dead; Long Live MonoGame

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Back in January, Microsoft announced it was going to phase out XNA, the development framework that powered Xbox development. It also said it was no longer evolving the DirectX API, which has been the main technology for Windows games for the last 17 years. The announcement about DirectX was quickly retracted and a followup email indicated that DirectX development would continue and be better integrated into Visual Studio. But the way that communication was handled brought concern from developers about… continue…

A Free C++ Compiler for Android, But…

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Intel has just launched a C++ compiler for Android that compiles C++ source code and generates Android compatible bytecode. It isn’t the first C++ compiler to do it: The c4droid C++ compiler and IDE is available in Google Play for a few dollars, and the Android Developer Tools (ATD) plugin for the Eclipse IDE includes support for compiling code written in C or C++. It is, however, the only Intel C++ development tool that’s completely free for developers. Intel’s C++… continue…

Two Ways to Improve Online Privacy

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Following the continuing Snowden revelations, it’s fair to say that large swathes of online correspondences may be captured and processed by scanning software. If the communications that are captured are encrypted, then they’re stored and kept until they can be decrypted and read. To increase privacy, we want to make the decryption process as difficult as possible. Strengthening Encryption In theory, anything encrypted with a large number of bits (256, 512, etc.) should be impossible to decrypt without an immense… continue…

Run an Oil Field With This Documentary Game

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The oil industry has never been without its critics. Celebrities speaking out against it include the likes of Neil Young and Daryl Hannah, who have singled out Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada, because of the oil sands extraction going on there. The effort there has been described by Prime Minister Stephen Harper as the world’s largest energy project. Now there’s a Web documentary game coming in November: Fort McMoney by David Dufresne, is all about Fort McMurray. Dufresne is known… continue…

A Walk Through the Java Ecosystem

Posted In Java, Working in Tech
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To a new developer, the world of Java can be a very confusing place. While Java itself is a relatively straightforward programming language to learn, there are a number of associated technologies that you really should know. In this article I’ll look at the most important ones. First is Eclipse. Possibly the most successful open source IDE ever, Eclipse is a highly useful development tool that integrates with the Java Compiler to highlight compilation errors in the background. Yes you… continue…

Coding Challenge: Prove Your Factorial Fluency

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This is the first coding challenge in a regular series and runs through October. We’re looking for you to write a computer program in C#, C++ or Java to solve a programming problem. If you win, you get not only bragging rights, but a genuine Dice T-Shirt, too (!). To enter, you must submit just source code, not executable binaries. That way if there’s a problem with your code, we may be able to fix it and of course by… continue…

Backend as a Service is Burgeoning

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Anyone doubting the viability of Backend as a Service (BaaS) only needs to look at Facebook’s acquisition of Parse.com this year and the growth of BaaS over the past eight years. Facebook’s acquisition of Parse.com, for example, allows the social media giant to provide their own backend services for games and applications. Close integration of Parse with the Facebook platform should lead to reduced server latency and greater responsiveness. Parse.com has been described as both BaaS and XaaS (Everything as a Service).… continue…

Why I Stopped Playing Candy Crush Saga

Posted In Living in Tech
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Ramin Shokrizade’s article in GamaSutra on the top F2P monetization tricks was the reason I quit King’s Candy Crush Saga in July after playing it nearly every day since January. I’d got up to about level 133, not even half way through the 300+ levels the game offers, but had struggled a lot on some of the ones I’d recently hit. I’m not quite the target demographic (80 percent of Candy Crush Saga players are women) but I’ve always enjoyed… continue…

New Vulnerabilities in Older SIM Cards

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It’s just over 22 years since the first SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) cards appeared and now they’re everywhere in cell phones and other mobile devices. They’re mandatory in GSM devices. And now it’s been revealed that some older SIM cards have a serious vulnerability that could affect 500 to 750 million cell phones out of the estimated 6 billion in use worldwide. Or maybe more, since satellite phones also use SIM cards. The vulnerability was discovered by German security expert… continue…

Why You Should Learn to Use LINQ

Posted In C++/C#, Working in Tech
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One of the biggest steps forward for C# came in C# 3.0/.NET 3.5 when Microsoft introduced Language Integrated Query (LINQ). The easiest way I’ve come up with to explain LINQ is that it’s almost an exact analog to SQL queries on a table in relational databases. If you use C# you should really learn LINQ. A table in a relational database is just like a spreadsheet, where every row has exactly the same columns in it. Let’s look at what… continue…