Guild Wars 2

on Tuesday, 27 March 2007
ArenaNet has announced the upcoming Guild Wars: Eye of the North, Guild War's first expansion (note: not standalone). Information regarding Guild Wars 2 were also announced. Exclusive interviews:

Much more details can be found in the PC Gamer May Issue #161, which has an exclusive article on the upcoming plans for Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2. A summary and lively discussion can be found here.

I'd rather not summarise all that I've read (I haven't got my hands on the magazine yet though) but I'm both excited and sad at the same time. Excited because the new promises ArenaNet is making all sound wonderful. Sad that I'm unable to transfer stuff over. But at least they're designing a feature in the upcoming GW: Eye of the North (GWEN! GW players would know the significance of that ;) will make sure that veterans get recognised for the time they spent in Guild Wars. I hope they get more details out soon. I'm dying to know more!


on Monday, 19 March 2007
Seeing that I'm kinda taking a break from Guild Wars, I actually started playing other games. Why did I break from Guild Wars? No Internet access for over a week. Why? Because lightning fried my modem, my router, and the network card socket on my motherboard... poor oh wallet of mine.

Anyway, about the only good thing about that is that I actually started playing other games :p Aside from continuing the campaign in Dragonshard that I started over a year ago and abandoned, and doing a little practicing on DotA, I actually registered for and tried out Audition.

My sister was pretty addicted to it so I got curious. Boy was it addictive. It's a dancing MMORPG where you compete with others in sort of dancing stage. How you dance is basically by hitting the direction keys in the sequence shown on the screen and being able to finish on the correct beat. So it's a game where finger-eye coordination is extremely important. After playing it for several hours (!), my fingers were pretty tired. Apparently, it's not as boring as I thought as I watched my sister play. Not a whole lot of play styles and content, but still pretty addictive. The forum for it is here.

Aside from not having much content, keyboard longevity is affected, not to mention finger-aches. The number of songs available isn't really that large. I keep hearing the same songs over and over on random mode. The patching software sucks. Each patch averages around 30-40 MBs! And they expect you to download all available patches in one go. Something fails while you downloading the last one of the set? Too bad, you have to start all over.

The game is being distributed and maintained by AsiaSoft. They utilize a sort passport system that gives you a master account for all AsiaSoft games (you still need to create individual game accounts). That's another of my peeves with it. Just to create my Audition account, I've suddenly increased the things I need to remember by 4 - the password to the passport account, an authentication PIN number to that account, a password to a playing account for AsiaSoft games, and a password for my Audition account... Crazy. It's worse than my banking accounts.

From Eclipse to Netbeans... and back

on Sunday, 18 March 2007
After a bit more use of Netbeans...
  • There doesn't seem to be any window that shows all errors and warnings currently in the project. Which means any problems introduced from refactorings won't show up until I actually manually build the project.
  • Maybe I'm just blind but the wizard for creating a new interface doesn't seem to allow me to specify a parent interface to extend from...
  • Configuration for the autoformatting of code is very, very, limited. Taking my current company's code style, Netbeans is unable to produce a format that conforms to it.
  • There doesn't seem to be any "quick fix" option for unrecognised classes that allows me to jump to the create class wizard with a simple shortcut.
  • Trivial, but I can't collapse the empty packages in the hierarchy view. It's just a little unfamiliar I suppose, given that I'm used to the more space-conserving collapsible package tree in Eclipse.

On the other hand, I did like several of the managers provided in Netbeans, particularly the Template Manager. Very useful and flexible. But on the whole, I think Netbeans is not for me, as it does not have features that I've come to expect when I'm working on something. I'll think wait for the much touted Netbeans 6 before trying out Netbeans again.

From Eclipse to Netbeans

on Tuesday, 13 March 2007
I've been using Eclipse as my IDE of choice ever since I switch over from Netbeans version 3. But after attending the Sun Tech Days 2007 Kuala Lumpur, I can see that the latest release version, Netbeans 5.5, has been tremendously improved. I daresay that I think it's coming on par with the capabilities of Eclipse, even if you take MyEclipse into consideration. I'm actually giving Netbeans 5.5 a go with my current development work and first impressions are both good and bad. I'm not really attempting a critical and in-depth comparison of both IDEs (since I just started on using Netbeans) but just presenting how Netbeans impressed on me when compared to my experience on Eclipse.

I'll start with the negative impressions:
  • Personalization and syntax coloring is something I'm particular about. Netbeans has very few customisation options and syntax coloring is very limited. But the good thing over Eclipse is that you can save the colour scheme as a profile, so that's a small plus.
  • There's no easy way to change look-and-feel; have to much command line parameters. Although projects like this makes things much better.
  • Seeing what compile errors I have is a pain in Netbeans. Code errors don't show up in the project or file hierarchy trees. I can only see errors in the current file I'm looking at and if I rebuild the project. Eclipse shows errors in the project tree and traces it from the offending file all the way to the root project container.
  • "Find Usages" is very limited compared to the similar search references function in Eclipse. It also forces me to still have to click on "Next" before the search actually takes place. Why can't it search by default?
  • There's no shortcut to jumping quickly to methods in a class. You have to either use the standard find text or use the navigator window. No biggie, but one gets used to being able to jump directly to a method from anywhere else in a class.
  • I don't like the fact code errors don't show up immediately. Maybe it only checks for errors while you've slowed down your typing for better performance but it does mean I have to move my cursor back. The slight pause before the error appears is sometimes disruptive.
  • I find the configuration options window baffling. Is it really necessary to separate basic and advanced? The basic version is much easier to use and navigate, but mostly useless. The options that really help with personalisation and customisation are all in the advanced. Can't better forms and dialogs be designed for the so-called advanced options?
And then the positive impressions:
  • Speed. I just can't help but notice that Netbeans works much faster than Eclipse. It even exits much faster. This is a huge plus.
  • I found the wide array of tools that comes with the basic installation very impressive. The additional packs are even better - the web designer, the mobility pack, the Java EE designers, the profiler... very nice.
  • Built-in mapping for Eclipse shortcuts. Which really helps transition from Eclipse to Netbeans, although I'm using my own slightly-tweaked Eclipse keymap.

Biased? Yea, looks like it, since I'm way more familiar with Eclipse than Netbeans. But looking at the features list of Netbeans 6, it looks like those are just the polish Netbeans needs to make it much more persuasive for me.

EDIT: 15/3/07 Fixed the subversion issue on Netbeans.