Godot and C#


In my previous post, I wrote about my hobby project with Godot.

Limitations of GDScript

But I personally feel that, Godot script, namely GDScript, is not my favourite. Though GDScript is good enough to do anything, it is not what I like. Firstly, it is Python-like language. In my opinion, using indentation as scope is annoying, because I cannot auto-indent using Emacs. Due to my first programming language is C, and heavy use on JavaScript, braces (curly brackets {}) are easier to read.

Besides that, GDScript doesn’t have array operations similar to JavaScript, such as forEach. C# has List class with ForEach method. There are similar methods like map and reduce using LINQ.

Moreover, C# supports lambda expression. This is which GDScript cannot support. Even Python cannot do multiple lines lambda expression.

Comparing C# and GDScript, C# may be slower for development, but learning C# will be more useful than GDScript, as C# is a general purpose programming language. And C# has richer syntax.

Another reason I choose C# over GDScript is the testing. As a web developer, TDD (test-driven development) is a useful approach to make the product more stable. Development in GDScript doesn’t allow me to test my functions by writing test cases. If I choose C#, I can install Machine.Specifications (or MSpec) and Fluent Assertions through NuGet, then write the tests.

In fact, Godot supports native script using GDNative. This allows you to develop your module using C or C++ language. I like C and C++, but they are less efficient comparing to the modern programming languages. They are inefficient for development, as there is no garbage collection. Smart pointer is not garbage collection. However, C++ is acknowledged as best language for game development, according to Google Search.

Setup Godot Mono in Arch Linux

This section is Arch Linux specific.

Firstly, read this, and install godot-mono-bin. Secondly, install MonoDevelop and msbuild (msbuild-16-bin).

Once using Godot Mono to create a project, a solution file (.sln) and a project file (.csproj) will be created. These files are compatible with MonoDevelop. If you cannot open, probably you are using wrong version of msbuild.

To setup .NET Core in MonoDevelop, go to Edit > Preferences > Projects > SDK Locations > .NET Core, edit the location of the dotnet CLI as /opt/dotnet/dotnet, it will detect the SDK and runtime automatically.

Note: /usr/bin/dotnet cannot work, because it is a script.

Then, you can build your C# module using either MonoDevelop or Godot (Mono support). One great thing is, we can use both C# and GDScript together in the same project.

About NuGet

Unluckily, not every package manager acts like npm (Node) or bundle (Ruby). To install packages through NuGet, best approach is to use MonoDevelop.

Best web application framework I like


So far, in my opinion, Ruby on Rails is the best web application framework that I have used. Compared to others, it is very complete (by installing extra gems) and mature, provides everything that I need.

Version manager

There are two version managers: rvm and rbenv. I prefer rvm. It allows to work on different projects with different Ruby versions. Node has similar manager, nvm. Python has similar feature, but acts differently, using venv or virtualenv. In Python, we need to install the specific version, and create the environment by specifying our Python version. Contrarily, rvm or nvm will download and build the corresponding version.

Lambda expression

Ruby supports lambda or anonymous function, which can also be seen in JavaScript, as callback function. Newer languages such as C# and C++11 also support the syntax. The syntax is so useful when handling array. Python can support lambda expression, but it cannot support multiple lines like JavaScript.

REPL

Ruby on Rails has also very powerful REPL. With rails console, you can access the models easily, and manage the database through models.

Node can do similar, but it requires to write the script to setup the context. Meaning, we need to write the script so that REPL can access the controllers and models.

Debugging

Debugging in Rails can be done like client side JavaScript debug keyword, which require byebug gem. By using pry-byebug, we can debug the script line by line easily.

Migrations

Migrations and ORM in Rails simplify the development, as we need not to take care how the database should be structured, but focus on the models design, especially relationships like one-to-one, one-to-many, and many-to-many.

Migrations is commonly used in various web application frameworks, including .NET, Django, Laravel, etc. Node can implement migrations using sequelize and sequelize-cli.

Pagination

Kaminari gem allows to access the ActiveRecord with pagination related methods.

Serializer

By using ActiveModel::Serializers, we can make our JSON output more consistent.

Mailer

Mailer, which act exactly like Controller. And greatly, we can write preview page for the emails, in HTML or text.

CSRF protection

For the security, we can do protect_from_frogery to protect from CSRF.

BDD/TDD

Since we always need to test our code, BDD or TDD makes our development more stable and interesting.

By using rspec and factory_bot gems, we can do our testing easier, including mocking data and stub the methods.

Time travelling

Related to BDD, by using ActiveSupport::Time, we can test our code by specifying the date. Need not to use a date parameter through out all the function calls.

Job

We can do background job by using ActiveJob and also SideKiq.

Cache (SQL)

By default, the ActiveRecord (model) querying will use cache, example.

Drawback

Though Ruby on Rails is powerful, there is one limitation. There is no official support on Windows, which we cannot find the binary installation of the latest version of Ruby and Rails for Windows.

The only workaround for Windows installation is using WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux). And this feature only available on Windows 10 and Windows Server 2019.

Meaning in older version Windows, probably needs to use virtualization like Docker or Vagrant. (I never tried before.)

Advantages

I prefer Ruby on Rails over Node, because Node has too many modules doing similar jobs, for example crypto-js and node-crypto-js. Too many options cause me to use extra effort to find out which one is better.

I prefer Ruby over Python, because of the lambda expression.

In my opinion, the advantage of Ruby on Rails is because of Ruby language itself.

To print the output, we can do puts something, instead of console.log(something) (JavaScript). Parentheses are optional to call the function, similar to Perl.

We can pass the hash to the function without braces, such as foobar(a: 1, b: 2). But in JavaScript, we need to do foobar({ a: 1, b: 2 }); in PHP, foobar(['a' => 1, 'b' => 2]); in Python foobar({'a': 1, 'b': 2}).

When developing using Ruby on Rails, we can apply Twelve-Factor and Design Patterns. We focus on code readability (using RuboCop), refactoring, and testing.

You can find a curated list of useful gems as well.

LightDM background image


Recently my old laptop, due to some unknown configuration, it shows a background image in the LightDM login. It is annoying, and it is user specific. Meaning, if I choose another user, the background image will be changed to black background.

Searched for the solution on Internet, most of links are about gsettings, or edit the image in /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf. But none of the related to my issue.

Finally, I found the solution. The problem is not LightDM itself, but related to AccountsService.

To solve the issue, edit the /var/lib/AccountsService/users/[username], there is a line

[org.freedesktop.DisplayManager.AccountsService]
BackgroundFile='/path/to/custom/image.jpg'

That’s the culprit. Remove or comment out the BackgroundFile, then the problem solved.

Patch Wine and supports both 64-bit and 32-bit


We can build Wine that supports both 64-bit and 32-bit.

The below shows the example that involves patch of a specific Wine version. Sometimes official or latest Wine just doesn’t work. And the patches can be found in the bug report attachment.

Download a patch from Wine bug report, and download the source code. Extract the source

tar xJf wine-4.2.tar.xz
patch -u -p1 < ../swshader_ivb.patch

To build Wine that can work on both 64-bit and 32-bit, we can follow this.

The following is the script to build wine.

#!/bin/bash

srcdir="$(pwd)"
mkdir build-64 build-32

cd "$srcdir/build-64"
../configure --prefix=$HOME/mywines/wine-4.2-sw-blend \
  --libdir=$HOME/mywines/wine-4.2-sw-blend/lib \
  --enable-win64 --with-x
make -j4
cd "$srcdir/build-32"
PKG_CONFIG_PATH=/usr/lib32/pkgconfig ../configure \
  --prefix=$HOME/mywines/wine-4.2-sw-blend \
  --libdir=$HOME/mywines/wine-4.2-sw-blend/lib32 \
  --with-wine64=$HOME/mywines/wines/wine-4.2/build-64 \
  --with-x
make -j4

cd "$srcdir/build-64"
make install
cd "$srcdir/build-32"
make install

Now, you can use the this Wine to run specific game.

A Wine wrapper script can be found here

NVIDIA with Nouveau and Wine


I updated my old laptop HP Pavilion dv3 (2238tx) recently, which was bought in year 2010, installed with Arch Linux.

Because of Linux kernel version, the NVIDIA driver is not officially supported by Arch Linux (detail).

There are two options to resolve this: install (i) Nouveau or (ii) NVIDIA driver from AUR. The former is open source, the latter is closed source from NVIDIA official site. Furthermore, using the latter theoretically allows the usage of CUDA, which is important if I am using it to do some neural networks training.

Now, since this old laptop, 说好不好,说坏不坏, I tried to install games. Unluckily, the Windows 7 (it is dual boot) is 32-bit, which I don’t plan to re-install new version of Windows with 64-bit. So, I am trying to figure out Linux Wine whether it can work or not.

Firstly, I tried PlayOnLinux to install 64-bit Wine. But I found that 64-bit Wine in PlayOnLinux can run only 64-bit programs. Then after some study, I found that Arch Linux official Wine package supports both 64-bit and 32-bit.

So, I wrote a Bash script to do something like PlayOnLinux which can be found here, so that I can isolate the WINEPREFIX for different programs, and allows to use different versions of compiled Wine.

After some trial and errors, I make an almost 9 years old laptop to run a 64-bit game released in 2018, though the performance is not very good.

The followings are the setup/configuration:

  • Nvidia G98M (GeForce G 105M)
  • Nouveau and related packages like “mesa”
  • Wine 4.13
  • VirtualGL (Not sure whether it is required)
  • Winetricks and installed “d3dx9” (Not sure whether this is required)

Godot and hobby project


Game engine

Previously I found a game engine LOVE (Lua language). Then I planned to learn about it. But then I read about Godot, which uses GDScript with similar syntax like Python. So, I choose Godot over LOVE because I have better experience in Python.

I planned to work on edutainment project since long time ago. Since I have extra time recently, so I invested little time on my hobby project. Using Godot, I revived my old project.

Godot provides a fantastic IDE. It allows to edit the UI, adjust any UI components easily. It provides almost everything I wanted: scene graph, everything is node, audio, video, texture, input, etc. The below is the screencasting of the auto play (with manual input) of the Tetris game.

(The new project is not open source.)

 

I am outdated

I like to play games (I believe everyone likes to play games). But most modern games are beyond my capability. There are several reasons:

  1. I am primarily using Linux.
  2. Not enough time to play game.
  3. I don’t have gaming computer.
  4. Though I like play story focused games like JRPG, I don’t like to invest time to collect items, level-up, etc, so I get used to use cheat engine (that’s why I created [memory editor](https://github.com/allencch/med)).
  5. Mobile games are mostly money-draining AND time-draining.

Because of the above reasons, I feel that it would be better for me to create my own game that fits my taste. Gaming of the 私, by the 私, for the 私.

The games that I love most are Dai Koukai Jidai 2 (大航海时代2) and Taikou Risshiden 5 (太阁立志传5). The reasons I love these two games:

  1. Not resource hungry like modern 3D games.
  2. Good story with the realistic history and background.
  3. Combination of JRPG, simulation (business), sandbox.
  4. Player can choose a protagonist from several characters. Each has its own story line, and they are in the same world.
  5. Realistic game play. E.g., earn interest from bank (Koukai2), monthly meeting and send gift to make friends (Taikou5), etc

I can’t find any other game that can fulfil the above conditions.

 

Vivo Y17 and Wunderlist


Recently changed to new phone Vivo Y17. Installed all the apps needed. Then I discovered an issue with Wunderlist.

Wunderlist widget keep showing “loading”, and I cannot change the list to be viewed.

The reminder doesn’t show notification in time.

Then I tried to migrate Wunderlist to Microsoft To-Do, and it has same issue as well.

Searching the solution and I finally get this page.

To summarise the solution, go to Settings > Permission Management > Autostart, then enable Wunderlist or Microsoft To-Do.