September 15th, 2007, 00:35 Posted By: wraggster
News/release from Roger Levy:
Requirements for installer: A Windows PC with ~20 megs HDD free. Run the exe and tell it to unzip to the desktop.
Heres the full details about this release that was posted a few days ago:
What's Happening: The Botched GC Forth Beta
To get this post moving along, I think it will help to write it in a question-and-answer format.
1.) Where is GC Forth?
It's definitely on an SD Card. Due to a recent computer crash and failed attempt at system recovery, the source code may or may not be backed up properly on my external hard drive. But I have a working image that I could download onto the PC.
2.) Why haven't I released it by now?
For all intents and purposes the Forth compiler is finished; as are the rudimentary interfaces to graphics, sound, and input. But there is a lot more to access and frankly I've become more than tired of writing drivers; I'm sick of it. There are too many devices and not enough programmers. The former is the more significant problem because the 2nd can be alleviated.
Furthermore, a lot of the underlying code was unplanned and written impatiently. Its finished state was vague; I had no clear idea of what I was creating and I thought, at the time, that that was a good thing.
I also thought that I could pioneer a lot of technology but I've realized that the reason I've been having such a hard time and constantly having to rethink driver interfaces is not because I keep changing my mind but because I have been eschewing real-world up-to-date experience with other software, and I have been having the wrong attitude towards software development, confusing it for art-making. (Art-making being something that can be supported by software but low-level programming being a terrible medium for art.) And although I may be bright, I may not be the most logical thinker. I have been building blindly and running into traps that I set for myself.
It has not helped my goal that I basically stopped using my creativity to put anything artistic together - no games, no music, no stories, no drawings - thereby removing any chance of me knowing why or what for I was developing this software. This had been going on for a long time. To put it simply, I was running on fumes, and I ran out of steam. More at the bottom paragraph.
In other words, the Beta of GC Forth hasn't been released because it is not fit to be called a Beta of any program.
3.) Is GC Forth vaporware?
Yes, and no.
At this time I have no more plans to release GC Forth as a commercial program.
This doesn't mean that I've given up on creating the best game development software. In that sense, GC Forth, among the other experimental Forth-based systems I've developed, will live on as inspiration to motivate my next tool. Which I am hard at work in planning. More on that at the bottom.
I should and do realize that I am damaging my young reputation by declaring my own program vaporware. But I think that I am showing that I am developing as a serious software architect as well as the artist that I want to be. And at least I have the courage to admit that my idea may not have been so great.
4.) Do I think it will do anyone good to release GC Forth as it is?
Well, it can certainly be released - but I doubt it will go farther than being a mere curiosity in its semi-unfinished state. It can definitely be used to create amusing little games. But advanced things are very difficult with the low number of high-level functions.
There are many good reasons to cancel GC Forth as a commercial endeavor. The new version of Action Replay blocks out SDLOAD as a mass-market platform. And, while interesting and wacky, using a keyboard and mouse on a Gamecube is expensive, cumbersome with the many adapters required, and not as smooth as a standard computer because of the limitations of the joystick ports. Also, it is not possible to burn your own Gamecube discs - so would you give or sell your games to?
Finally, and perhaps the most interesting, blocks - the simplest way to access disk. Virtual memory, when done the proper way with blocks, is a fantastic way to optimize any application. But I did not realize at the time that I was busy working with GC Forth that blocks are not much good if you don't have an idea of what you need to be doing with them; for instance it is not against the rules to write words for accessing a section of disk as if it were an array of cells; or to use blocks as the underpinning for a FAT16-compatible filesystem. All of these things COULD have worked - but again everything goes back to the problem of not having any applications. (Even flat blocks could simplify an applications by another order of magnitude - but only if the disk is structured out from the start!)
It remains to be seen whether or not GC Forth should be resumed in the future.
5.) Last paragraph: So what am I doing now?
I have begun a new project. It is a multi-faceted project. It is a slow, but progressive project. A large part of it is an exciting process of rediscovering my creative mind. It's like a muscle; I've got to exercise it to get it to where it needs to be. As I mentioned in a previous post, I am playing around with different platforms. At the same time as I am learning about them, I am also evaluating them, and making notes. (List of programs and platforms: Game Maker, Flash, NES, GraphicsGale, FL Studio 5, Reason, Audacity)
My primary interest is in exercising my imagination, my ability to come up with new ideas, initiate projects with a goal in mind, and see them to completion. And to tell stories, and to make points. As an artist I've let a preoccupation with programming, and an obsession with doing something pioneering, rob me of valuable time that I could be spending working on things intended for other people. Which would provide the essential experience needed to create a tool of my own.
The second part is plans for a game-making program. It will run on established computer platforms and it will be based on this singular idea; simplified, straightforward game creation for creative individuals.
I am selecting the best features from already-made software, piecing them together in the best way possible, and throwing in a healthy helping of original ideas to fill in the gaps and fix what doesn't work in my view. This is the right way to develop software. You've got to build on what others have done but you've also got to have a fresh mind - you shouldn't just keep adding crap and never evaluating ideas.
As for GC Forth, since I am very interested in documentation, I want to put together some kind of documentation that not only has the info, but looks good and is actually interesting to read. I have been thinking about doing it in software form but I'm not sure. If I release GC Forth, I'd probably get lots of questions and I think that would help guide me, so for that reason I'll be uploading the GC Forth image as soon as I feel comfortable that it doesn't have any live wires sticking out and that it doesn't have any confusing remnants from the past still lying around. I WILL GET AROUND TO THIS SOON I PROMISE!
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