Thursday, 11 October 2012

Freedom-Engine Round-Up

I can't believe it's been a whole month since we launched Freedom-Engine at IDF 2012 and I've only now been able to clear my plate of the back-log of everything I brought back with me and ideas we had on the plane out there and back again.

We had plenty of things to do in anticipation of the Freedom-Engine Beta launch and in doing so we neglected to post updates to what was happening on the AGK side.  Fortunately this has now been addressed and we are now at Beta 2 of the AGK V108 which introduces over 180 new commands and we're looking at adding a few more before we release the update officially.

Blogs Blogs Everywhere

I will also be blogging almost daily on the Freedom-Engine blog tab but will also include any relevant AGK news in there as the technologies are so intertwined it would not make sense to do otherwise. I currently have a few logistical issues to deal with about where I should be posting my feeds. I now have this blog, the Freedom-Engine forum and the FE blog tab, the AGK forum, new newsletter articles and my own twitter feed.  We also have Facebook and Linked-In feeds which thanks to TweetDeck automates that with my twitter posts. I will probably be looking for a one-size-fits-all system so I can post something once and have it propagate across all my social end points. Phew!

My plate is not too hectic at the moment with only one side project (built using AGK/Freedom-Engine) and the usual drill of answering mail and replying to posts. This means I have a huge chunk of time to do nothing but solidify AGK and Freedom-Engine in three main areas; browser stability, command set completion and platform deployment.

Freedom-Engine Priorities

We're getting good on the browser stability with compiler time slicing to help the slower Firefox JS virtual machine and engine optimisation to hog less resources by default. Deployment is being handled by other team members who are doing a grand job and the first of the platforms over and above HTML5 should be live any day now. The command set completion lands squarely on my shoulders and is the largest of the tasks ahead of me.

The present Freedom-Engine was fleshed out with V107 functionality, with only partial V108 commands integrated which means there is a way to go before we can say we are 100% V108.  The good news is that when we reach that stage, it will become fully compatible with the AGK product and allow the same project code to work on both solutions.

At some point, to show the technology is essentially identical, we will be renaming AGK to something like Freedom-Engine Desktop (or similar) and slowly bring the AGK forum over to the new site.  We feel this is important as the perception is that there are two products, when in fact they are two sides of the same coin.

Ground-Walker or Cloud-Dweller

Some developers will always want to code on the desktop and store their files locally, and other developers see the benefits of moving entirely to the cloud and making their home there. As a team we believe this shift to cloud based solutions has only just begun and in a few short years you will find so many benefits to working on the cloud that developing on a local device will seem extremely restrictive.

In order to stay relevant (and to edge our bets), we are offering solutions for both approaches and by keeping the language, technology and ethos the same, the transition from one to the other will be smooth and natural.

For a current peek at what we have added to Freedom-Engine in the last few months, check out the V108 beta page for more details:

Voodoo Fun

I don't know where it came from but I had the urge to seek out and play an old computer game I used to play back on the VIC-20 called Voodoo Castle. At the time I remember getting really far but never finishing the game. Well I started playing at 11PM last night and was overjoyed to have completed the game by 1AM (admittedly cheating twice to google for clues). Whilst playing, it occurred that I also remembered a better game called The Count. This one was really tough as I recall, and I have promised myself the game as a treat for finishing some more commands next week.  Happy days!

Next Things On Lee's List

I am off to Scotland at the weekend to collect a consignment of tomes from my good friend Alistair Stewart and maybe to try my balance on a SegWay. If I can get a photo, I may post it here next time. I start my 'side project' on the following Monday which will test AGK V108 to it's core, and specifically the new video commands we've added recently. 

As part of and in addition to this work, I will be completing the command set in Freedom-Engine with an emphasis on the 3D commands. I know it's not everyone's cup of tea, and some would argue 3D in the native browser has yet to take hold but it's such an exciting technology that generates such innovation, I am eager to see what AGK and Freedom-Engine users can do with it.  There are other key command sets such as our file system (which will use the limited HTML5 LocalStorage system) and AGK Ultrabook Sensors which I can access from the Win32 side of the platform, and hopefully I can bring the features up in parallel until I have a complete V108 feature set for both AGK and Freedom-Engine users.

In the meantime I will tweet, blog, post and reply where I can, and hopefully keep you as informed as possible on what I and my team are getting up to between the weekends. Be safe and happy coding!

Lee Bamber
The Game Creators

P.S. These blogs remind me of a time I used to write a developer log many moons ago. The trick I failed to learn was to make sure you code more than you blog ;)


  1. NNNOOOOO!!! Fear rises quickly inside me when you suggest in-the-cloud programming will become normal! I detest anything that requires a constant internet connection, and strongly dislike anything that requires even an activation connection.

    Companies these days just don't seem to get it: not everyone has a fast, always-on internet connection!

    Also, I would seriously question your reasoning behind renaming AGK. People already know it as AGK and there's nothing wrong with that name. I don't like the name Freedom Engine; how do you even pronounce FE? With DBPro, you'd say dee-bee-pro, and with AGK you'd say ay-gee-kay. FE just doesn't flow well.

    Bad, bad idea...

  2. No need to fear, we will always have an offline solution for the very reasons you state. Umbrellas are not going out of fashion because Ice Cream is selling so well. There will always be sunny days and there will always be rain ;) For Freedom-Engine, internally we abbreviate it to simply 'free-dom' which rolls off the tongue nicely.