I ran a second instance of Visual Studio 2005 to debug a problem. Normally I close the default window that comes up in the source code pane. However this time I took a quick peek at it. There was a free download called the Game Creators Dark SDK. Apparently it was to assist you in writing games quickly. That sounded good to me.
So I forwarded the link to my second work computer. It is the one that is not mission critical. First I downloaded and installed Visual Studio 2008 Express Edition. It is free from Microsoft. Then I also downloaded and installed MSDN 2008 Express as well. Finally I downloaded the Dark SDK. However when I ran the installer, it complained that I did not have DirectX installed. Luckily it prompted me to start a download of the latest Microsoft DirectX SDK.
The DirectX installer had a couple errors. They said that the XAudio2 version that came with it had expired. I was directed to get an upgraded version. It was a little hard to figure out this was holding up the installation. The error dialog came in under the main install screen. I just figured something was wrong because it was taking so long. Then I thought I was ready for the Dark SDK. However I still needed to run Visual C++ at least one time to allow it to do some setup.
I created a test Windows application. It was a little disturbing because the Express Edition only comes with limited support for Windows programming. There were not frameworks such as MFC that come with the Professional versions I am used to. The generated code actually had a WinMain there. The prime objective was met. I finally got the Dark SDK installed. I ran the demo browser. The screen shots for the demos look exciting.
The only problem I have now is finding time to dig into this SDK. I am also trying to bone up on computer security to get another gig here at work. Next month I start a Java programming class at the local community college. I thought maybe I could play with this SDK during my vacation. However the missus had put the kibosh on that idea. Oh well.
A Little Bit of Crypto - I have been trying to figure out to "collision resistant" some of these standard hash functions are. It is a tough concept to get my head around. I figure...