The Cycon Online Game (COG) Engine

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     Project Update - Happy Holidays! Only one week left until the New Year's 1.0 release of the Cog Engine! In celebration, 3 more sketches have been added to the online version of the Cycon Odyssey.
     Project Update - Minor update to the Cycon Odyssey - the first hand-drawn room graphic sketch has been added to the Online version of the game. There's still 13 room graphics left to be created, plus item and obstruction graphics, before the game will be visually complete. Once all of the graphics have been finished, and the 1.0 release is out the door, development will begin on the 100% GUI version of the game.
     Project Update - The Player Manual for the Cog Engine Project has been updated for the 1.0 release. The only thing remaining to be completed is the Developer's Manual, which is still on track for a New Years' release. If anyone has any problems, bugs, or recommendations for changes before this release, I would be most interested to hear them. Please feel free to email me at .
Best of Linux Award      Project Update - The Cog Engine has received DaveCentral 's Best of Linux award! Ok, so technically the award was given back in July, but was only discovered recently, during an unrelated web search. It's amazing how much activity goes on across the web, and the kinds of things you find when just start wandering around.

     I've begun documentation work for the project. The game playing guide will be finished first, followed by the development guide. I'm hoping to get the 1.0 release out the door by the year's end, which I believe is an reasonable timeframe.

     Project Update - All but the last 20 room graphics are now available on the online version of the Cycon Odyssey. A new room has been added as well and it is now easier to reach the underground tunnels. I may be able to create mock-ups of a few more of the remaining rooms, but at some point I will need to begin drawing, which will obviously take a great deal of time. I will likely begin the documentation phase of the project at that time, after releasing an updated version of the Cog Engine and the Cycon Odyssey. More news to come.
     Project Update - A half-dozen new pictures have been added to the online version of the Cycon Odyssey, and a few bugfixes have been made to the game as well. I will be travelling to New Zealand next week, and expect to come back with hundreds of new pictures, many of which will be added to the game. Hopefully I'll be able to use my time in the air to work out some sketches of the unique/unnatural areas too.

     In order to save users some installation frustration, I've been working on two new features for the project. The first is a CGI script that will export data from the Cog Development Application format to the Online Cog Engine format. This will eliminate the need for users to install Jython. The second is a binary compilation of the Python interpreter, which will remove the need for users (particularly Windows users) to install the Python software themselves. If I can get a binary release together, then I can probably also work out an installation program, which will hopefully give the 1.0 release a "professional" look. More information to come as development continues.

     Project Update - The Cog Development Application v0.90 has been released! Now with Windows support!

     This new release includes many new changes and improvements, most notably support for all major versions of Microsoft Windows. The only requirement is that the user download and install Python from Other notable features include completely re-designed widgets, which change dynamically with available window space, a debug mode, and dialog boxes for all user messages.

     Project Update - The Cog Engine v0.95 has been released!

     This latest version of The Cog Engine incorporates a modification necessary to work with the 0.90 release of the Development Application, as well as a number of bugfixes. The 0.90 release of the Development Application will include Microsoft Windows support, as well as a few other nice features. A screenshot of the new version running under Windows has been posted to the screenshots section. This release should be available within the next few days.

     A new version of The Cycon Odyssey has been released as well. This new version includes all of the current graphics, and represents a fully playable (though not fully polished) game. Feedback is welcomed and encouraged.

     Project Update - The Cycon Odyssey has been updated again; there are now 90 out of 132 Room graphics online. I've nearly reached the point where I can't come up with a picture that is at least close to the game location, so pretty soon I'm going to start working on sketches of the areas for which I will never find a suitable picture (some of the special areas in the game).
     Project Update - 18 New Room graphics have been added to the "High Bandwidth" version of The Cycon Odyssey, available under the "Online Games" link above. There are now 53 out of 132 Room graphics online, so nearly half of the game's room graphics are finished! When the Eastern half of the Island is finished, I'll release another Cycon Odyssey package on sourceforge.
     Project Update - The Cog Development Application has been successfully ported to Windows! The original release of the Cog Development Application was coded with Gnome libraries as a requirement, but they are not currently available under Windows. I spent a good deal of Saturday rewriting all of the code that used Gnome support, until I could finally drop the requirement. This morning I tested the new code on a Windows 98 machine, and it worked successfully! (As a side benefit to all of this, the program will use less memory, since it will not have the overhead of the extra libraries) I have a very minor bug to work out in another area of the program, but once that has been taken care of, version 0.90 will be released. There is however a potential license issue with releasing one of the libraries required by Windows, but I hope to have that worked out with the author very soon.

     Also of note, I've added 22 new graphic images to The Cycon Odyssey, again under the High Bandwidth section of the Online Games only. Sometime in the next few weeks I'll be working on Documenting all of the project's software, with the 1.0 release to follow shortly.

     We're well on our way to 1.0!

     Project Update - The first Beta release of The Cycon Odyssey (version 0.92) has been released! The Cycon Odyssey is the original game that spawned the creation of the COG Engine, and the COG Engine Project. The game is still lacking most of its graphics, but can finally be considered a complete game - after over a decade in the making! I will likely be making a few adjustments here and there, for the sake of playability and bugfixes, so feel free to email me with your comments and suggestions. You can find the data and image files on the downloads page, or you can access the game in the High Bandwidth category of the Online Games section of the website (the low bandwidth version will be along once I have a chance to get more of the graphics in place). In the meantime, give the game a shot, let me know what you think, and have fun!
     Project Update - The first half of the Cycon Odyssey has been added to the High Bandwidth section of the online games, in celebration of my brother Michael's birthday! The under construction sign has been moved much deeper into the game, and although graphics are absent from many of the rooms, the game is quite playable. Much thanks to Michael for playtesting! The rest of the game, and the new graphics will hopefully be along shortly.
     Project Update - I'm back from vacation now and work is once again progressing on the project. There haven't been any significant changes or bugfixes as a result of working on my game, which is a good sign and shows that we're on our way towards stability.
     Project Update - I will be on vacation for the next week or so, so development should wind down a bit. I will still be checking email whenever possible, but may not have time to respond. See you in two weeks!
     Project Update - The Cog Development Application v0.82 has been released!

     I had the opportunity this weekend to spend a lot of time with the Cog Development Application - polishing up, adding features, and of course, fixing bugs both large and small. This new release includes twice as many changes/improvements as the last release. Lately I've been spending less time having to fix up code and more time getting actual work done with the application, which is surely a good sign! Please keep those bug reports coming in, and now's the time to hit me with feature requests - before I begin the documentation process (which will also mark a feature freeze).

     Project Update - The Cog Development Application v0.81 has been released! I've been busy fixing bugs the past two days, and have already reached the point where a new release is in order. The GUI has had a few tweaks, and a few critical and non-critical bugs have been corrected. A small fix was made to the CogEngine, but it doesn't warrant a new release, so I'm holding off for now.

     I'm hoping to have time this weekend to continue to work on my game, and to continue the process of debugging.

     Project Update - The Cog Development Application v0.80 has been released! After many months of development, the Inital Public Release has been  made this afternoon. I have been working really hard to get as many bugs as possible fixed, but more are bound to turn up during the next phase of the project - the completion of The Cycon Odyssey.

     As I work on finally finishing my own game, I will be debugging the application at the same time. After my game is finished, I will start writing up documentation on the completed software. When the documentation is complete version 1.0 will be released!

     In the mean time, please feel free to download the CogDevApp, play around with the software, and submit as many bug reports/patches as you can. Thanks go out to everyone for their support.

     Project Update - The CogEngine v0.91 has been released! All Microsoft Internet Explorer related bugs have been addressed and fixed. The Java-based CogEngine should not need to undergo any further development before the 1.0 release, so version 0.91 may be considered Release Candidate One (RC1).

     Work on the CogDevApp progresses, and the Event Builder is 95% complete now. After this work is complete, I expect to be making an initial release. I am currently working on getting the SourceForge CVS repository in order, so that anyone who wants to take a look at what's been done so far may do so. After the initial release I plan to go back and make many usuability updates to the various individual editors. The next step will be completing my game, writing out complete documentation, and finally, the 1.0 release! After more than a decade working on this game, and more than three years working on this software, it will be a great joy to finally release a completed package.

     Project Update - The GTK+ CogDevApp has reached full functionality! The text-based event editor is now completed, which means that although far from complete and with at least a month before its release, the program can now at least be used to create a complete game, and to modify all parts of an existing game. This single program is now over 5,000 lines of Python/GTK code as of this moment, and another 2,000-4,000 are expected to be added before release.

     As one of the primary goals of this project is to make game creation as simplified as possible, all current work is focused on the "Event Builder" module - which allows events to be scripted out by selection from options on dynamically generated widgets. For instance, when you need to refer to a specific room or object for an action to involve, you select "Room" or "Item" from on dropdown menu, and instantly drop-down scrolling box next to it has a list of all of the Rooms (or Items) currently stored in memory. Instead of having to understand how to decipher an EBNF grammar, users can point-and-click their games into existance!

     Also, with the recent announcement of Pippy, as well as recent advancements with PocketLinux, I have become conviced that the Cog Engine could be ported to both systems. The Java Applet based Cog Engine already features support for text-only mode (essentially, the graphic window and compass and other boxes are all toggled off, and only the "command line" and "output window" is displayed), and I believe that the upcoming port to PyGTK and Jython will permit a portable base of utilities. I personally don't own a Palmtop organizer, but I can use the PalmOS Emulator to test the code, and am considering purchasing an iPaq later this summer. In theory, a game could be played in full-graphics mode on your PC, and then you could copy your exact savegame over to your organiser, and pick up right where you left off, thise time interacting in text-only mode. With text import/export functions for the CogDevApp (the event editor already has this) made available, you could even keep working on your game while on the move!

     Coding has gone very smooth lately, though due to the complexity of my current area of focus, progress is slow. I am hoping to get the current sources checked into our sourceforge CVS server, but I will not consider this a priority unless someone specifically asks me to do it. I would otherwise prefer to spend my time finishing up the coding. Things are getting very exciting as the 1.0 release slowly begins to peak up over the horizon.

     Project Update - Happy Valentine's Day everyone! As a special gift, screenshots of the new GTK+ CogDevApp are now available on the screenshots page (link above).
     Project Update - The COG Engine now runs under Internet Explorer! Various adjustments had to be made to the Java Classes in order for them to function correctly with jython, and as a result, IE is now supported!

     There is a small problem with a ghost window appearing on the left side of the interface, but this will be worked out in time, and the second Beta will be released.

     Project Update - The COG Engine Project is blazing ahead once again. After taking a hiatus to finish college and settle into "the real world" I once again am finding myself devoting hours and hours into the project. First things first, the previous version of the Cog Development Application (the program used to aid the creation of game modules) has been completely replaced with a new program. This decision was reached after the Java 1.1 definition was found to be lacking support for many necessary features for a decent GUI application. In past months I have been doing all of my programming under Python instead of Java and simly adore the language. After learning how to use the Glade GUI development program for GTK+ widgets, I have decided to use Python/GTK+ for the Cog Developement Application.

     In order to convert the data files from Java to Python and back again (necessary since the COG Engine remains written in Java) Jython (a full implementation of Python for the JVM) is being employed. The programs which convert the data are now complete, as is much of the CogDevApp. In fact, the only remaining new code to implement is the Event Editor, before the first release will take place. Jython has the added feature that it can be compiled into a java .class file, and then ran without the Jython interpreter itself. It is further hoped that the GCJ project, a binary compiler for Java code, may be used to compile the conversion scripts directly into executable files. The Python/GTK+ code will also hopefully be fully compiled for both Linux and Win32 before the final 1.0 release is made.

     The next step in the development process is for myself to finish the CogDevApp, and then use it to finish my own game, the Cycon Odyssey. Finishing my own game will be part of the debugging processes for the application, and will indicate any features which will have to be implemented before the 1.0 release. Finally, documentation must be written on both the use of the Engine and the use of the Development Application. Once the documentation is complete, binaries will be compiled, packaged, and released for both Linux and Windows.

     As progress continues, I will keep this page updated. Stay tuned.

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