TweetFollow Us on Twitter

BZFlag

Volume Number: 20 (2004)
Issue Number: 06
Column Tag: Programming

BZFlag

by Dave Mark

A SourceForge Open Source Project

Lots to talk about this month. There's a new version of Xcode up on the net, I got an excellent new toy I'll touch on briefly, and for the main event, we're going to download and build an open source Mac OS X program called BZFlag.

The Latest Version of Xcode

There's a new version of Xcode on the Apple Developer Connection web site. Definitely worth the download. Make your way over to:

http://connect.apple.com

Login, then click on the Download Software link. Figure 1 shows the section of the page dedicated to the new version of Xcode, version 1.2.

If you are working off of an unadulterated Panther install, chances are good that you won't have an easy time using Safari to download the pieces that make up the new Xcode installer. Fortunately, there's a nifty piece of freeware that will make your job much easier.

MisFox is from a German programmer named Alexander Clauss and allows you to edit all the file mappings and protocol helpers used by Mac OS X. In our case, we want to set the FTP helper app to whatever FTP client you happen to be dating at the moment. Here's the URL for MisFox:

http://www.claussnet.de/misfox/misfox.html


Figure 1. The Xcode download listing in Safari.

When I wrote this, version 1.2.1 was the most recent release. Figure 2 shows the main MisFox window. Note that there are 3 tabs to choose from: Default Applications, File Mappings, and Protocol Helpers. I used the Default Applications tab to set my default FTP application to Interarchy.


Figure 2. The MisFox Default Applications pane.

If you go back to Figure 1, you'll see a Download button to the right of the Xcode Tools 1.2 CD. Once you use MisFox to set your default FTP client, Safari will hand the list of files behind that Download button to your client for easy downloading.

Xcode 1.2 consists of 21 segments. Download them, and if they are not automatically reassembled, just double-click on one of them. The disk image will be mounted and you can run the installer. Obviously, make sure you backup your hard drive before you do the install, just in case something goes horribly, horribly wrong.

When you first launch the new Xcode, you'll have a chance to go through the release notes to see what's new with the new version. If you miss your chance, go to the Help menu and select Show Release Notes. Lots of good info here. Still some issues to address, but lots of fixes, making this release of Xcode more stable overall.

An Awesome New Keyboard

In the March 29th issue of TidBits, Adam Engst wrote a glowing review of the Tactile Pro keyboard from Matias. Here's a picture of the keyboard:

http://halfkeyboard.com/tactilepro/ viewer/tp_mainpic.html

Here's Adam's eloquent review:

http://db.tidbits.com/getbits.acgi?tbart=07607

I live on my PowerBook. Have a 17" Apple Studio Display. But have never found a keyboard I was really happy with. Until now. As you'll find when you read Adam's review, the designers made some excellent decisions when it came to laying out the keyboard. But to me, the most important aspect of this keyboard is its incredible responsiveness. The keys on my PowerBook keyboard are mushy. Perhaps a better way of saying this is, I can't feel the micro-switches underneath the keys when I press them. The keys on the Tactile Pro keyboard, however, clack when I press them, the reassuring clack of a micro-switch being depressed. The throw of each key is deeper, meaning that I have to press each key down further as I type. This might seem like a bad thing, but it is not. I can tell when I've pressed a key and the Tactile Pro keyboard is much more forgiving that any other keyboard I've tried. The result is much faster typing speeds with much higher accuracy.

If you've ever typed on the old Apple Extended Keyboard (think back to the days of the original Macintosh II), you'll have a sense of the Tactile Pro. They used the same mechanical keyswitches, and the result is brilliant. You can buy it online at http://tactilepro.com, $99.95.

Mac OS in an Open Source World

A long, long time ago, back before Cocoa and the second coming of Steven P. Jobs, the Mac was pretty much an island. You were either a Mac person or you were not. When it came to Mac sample code, there were some wonderful communities set up, but they were always either Apple-driven, or catered for the most part to Mac people. If you found some cool Unix/X windows code, chances are pretty good that any sample projects were set up for Windows or Unix-based environments, Mac folk need not apply.

Now that Mac OS X has passed through the steep portion of its adoption curve, there is much more of an acceptance of the Mac among the open source crowd. A perfect example of this can be seen at the big dog of development web sites, http://sourceforge.net.

Now, you might think that your favorite web site has lots of sample code and a big community of users, but no. This is big. SourceForge has more than 800,000 registered users (and that number does not include the hundreds of thousands of developers who just like to poke around) and more than 80,000 hosted projects. Those are crazy huge numbers.

In the olden days, there might have been a few scattered Mac projects, but they would have been few and far between. Navigate over to http://sourceforge.net and click on the software map button, just below the banner ad towards the top of the window. Here's the URL that will get you there directly:

https://sourceforge.net/softwaremap/ trove_list.php

This is a useful page if you are looking for a project and know the topic. But you can also browse by other categories, including OS. Click on the Operating System link. Again, here's the direct link:

https://sourceforge.net/ softwaremap/trove_list.php?form_cat=199

Figure 3 shows the OS categories, along with the number of projects in each category. More than three thousand Mac OS projects. This is cool!


Figure 3. The list of SourceForge projects, listed by OS.

If you click on Mac OS, and then on Mac OS X, you'll find 2,290 Mac OS X projects, 1,526 of which are Cocoa projects. That is a pretty rich vein of interesting material to explore. And, who knows, you might find a project that interests you so much that you'll dig in and get involved with the development process. SourceForge (and Open Source, in general) is cool that way.

It is worth noting that there are many projects that support the Mac or will just plain run on the Mac that are not necessarily in the MacOS category. For example, there are several thousand Mac-savvy projects in the OS Independent and POSIX categories.

Read through the rest of this column, then start digging around, see what you can find.

Building BZFlag

Each month, SourceForge nominates a Project of the Month. This past April, the project of the month was a cool tank-based shooter game named BZFlag. Here's a link to the SourceForge BZFlag page:

https://sourceforge.net/potm/potm-2004-04.php

Cool! Pictures of Tim Riker, David Trowbridge, and Sean Morrison, BZFlag's key developers. The page contains a lot of interesting info, including an interview with the principals. This is pretty typical of a "potm" (project of the month) page. The potm URLs are well constructed, so you replace the 2004-04 with a 2004-03 to get to the March project of the month:

https://sourceforge.net/potm/potm-2004-03.php

The potm page is more of a marketing page. On it, you'll find a link to the SourceForge BZFlag Project page:

https://sourceforge.net/projects/bzflag

This is the actual SourceForge home for BZFlag, where you'll go to download the various sources and binaries for the different platforms BZFlag supports. These pages are very well organized. Figure 4 shows the listing of recent BZFlag file releases. The link at the bottom of the figure takes you to a page with a much more exhaustive listing.


Figure 4. The list of recent BZFlag file releases on the project page.

If all we were interested in was the app itself, we could download the binary for our platform. Now BZFlag is a lot of fun to play, but there's something gratifying about successfully building an app on your own machine, especially an app as complex as this one.

Click on the bzflag source link towards the bottom of the list. Be sure to click on the one with the most recent date. As you can see, I'll be working with the one labeled April 25, 2004.

This link will take you to a page listing various source releases, including the one you selected. Source code is archived in a number of different ways, depending on the OS. In general, you do not want to download a .zip file. This will likely be a build intended for a Windows machine. The permissions will not be setup for Mac OS X, and there will also likely be carriage return/line feed confusion as well. For Mac OS X, look for a tar.bz2 or a tar.gz archive.

Click on the link labeled:

bzflag-1.10.5.20040426.tar.bz2

This will take you to a download page. Select your nearest location and click the link to start the download. StuffIt Expander will expand the archive just fine.

In the Finder, open the newly expanded directory. In my case, it was called bzflag-1.10.5.20040426. Now open the subdirectory src/platform/MacOSX. As the name implies, these are the build files for Mac OS X.

When the Xcode project window appears, click on the targets popup menu (it's in the upper-left corner) and select BZFlag (Figure 5).


Figure 5. The BZFlag targets popup from the BZFlag project window.

Now select Build and Run from the Build menu. This is gonna take a while, so this might be a good time to alphabetize those Zamfir pan flute CDs you've been collecting.

When you start the build, if nothing appears to be happening, it may be that you have the split closed in your build window. If your build window is not divided into two distinct panes, click on the dot on the bottom edge of the window and drag it up, towards the middle of the window (Figure 6). The build is driven by a set of Makefiles (Unix build scripts) and the script steps are shown in the bottom pane, while Xcode's compile messages will be shown in the top pane.


Figure 6. Be sure you split your build window by dragging the dot from the bottom of the window towards the middle.

If you get an error message during the build process, try changing the target to BZAdmin, doing a Build of that target, then selecting BZFlag as a target and doing a Build and Run again. Worst case, do a Build of the Everything target, then select BZFlag and do a Run. You need to run the BZFlag target to run the game.

Have fun playing BZFlag. It will take over the entire screen and put up a simple menu. Navigate the menu with the arrow keys and the return key. Escape takes you back up a level. Your choices are Join Game, Options, Help, and Quit. Review the help and options if you like, then select Join Game. This will take you to a new menu screen. Select Find Server, scroll through the list of servers to find a game you like, select the game, then select Connect.

That's it. You're in the game. And there is always a game going. It is amazing how big this game has gotten. When you are done playing, hit escape, then arrow down to Quit.

Doing a Unix Build

Not every Mac OS X project will ship with an Xcode project. That's OK, though. As long as the developers included the appropriate make files, we can use those to do our build. So if you had some trouble with your Xcode build or if you just want to give the Unix build process a try, here's the process.

Use the cd command to navigate into the top level of the BZFlag folder you downloaded. For example, I unstuffed my archive onto my desktop. From my home directory, I did:

cd Desktop

and then I did:

cd bzflag-1.10.5.20040426

I then did:

./autogen.sh 

The leading "./" tells the Unix shell to execute the shell script contained in the file autogen.sh found in the current directory, that is, in the directory bzflag-1.10.5.20040426.

The script hangs a bit, then spits out this message:

BZFlag sources are now prepared. To build here, run:
 ./configure
 make

And that's exactly what you want to do next. First, type:

./configure 

This will create a bunch of Makefiles and do a few other things. When it is done, type this command:

make

Got a dual processor G5? If so, do a:

make -j2 

This tells make to split the task into two concurrent jobs. Gets the job done in half the time!

This will take a while. You'll be compiling a fairly large batch of code, so sit back and dream about Gilligan's Island. Who would you be? Hmmm...

By the way, in case you were wondering, gcc is the C compiler, and g++ is the GNU C++ compiler.

The build should take about 10 minutes (obviously, depends on your processor). To run the binary, be sure you are still in that top directory and type the command:


src/bzflag/bzflag 

If you get an error message, do an ls and verify that there is a directory named src in the current directory. If not, you may have changed directories

Till Next Month...

Hopefully, between the Xcode method and the Terminal method, you've gotten BZFlag to run. Here are a couple of BZFlag related sites that can help you with your gameplay:

http://www.dervishdukot.org/home/bzflag/bzflag.html

http://bzflag.org/wiki

Also, if you are IRC-savvy, you can make your way over to #bzflag on irc.freenode.net with any questions or comments.

Your homework assignment is to search through some of the other Open Source projects on SourceForge.net listed in the Mac OS X area, find one you like, and get it to build.

A huge shout out to Sean "brlcad" Morrison for his most excellent help in getting BZFlag to build.

Oh, and be sure to head over to http://www.spiderworks.com and sign up for the email list. See you next month...


Dave Mark is a long-time Mac developer and author and has written a number of books on Macintosh development. Dave has been writing for MacTech since its birth! Be sure to check out Dave's latest and greatest at http://www.spiderworks.com.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

GarageSale 6.9.2 - Create outstanding eB...
GarageSale is a slick, full-featured client application for the eBay online auction system. Create and manage your auctions with ease. With GarageSale, you can create, edit, track, and manage... Read more
calibre 2.17 - Complete e-library manage...
Calibre is a complete e-book library manager. Organize your collection, convert your books to multiple formats, and sync with all of your devices. Let Calibre be your multi-tasking digital librarian... Read more
OmniGraffle Pro 6.1.2 - Create diagrams,...
OmniGraffle Pro helps you draw beautiful diagrams, family trees, flow charts, org charts, layouts, and (mathematically speaking) any other directed or non-directed graphs. We've had people use... Read more
OmniGraffle 6.1.2 - Create diagrams, flo...
OmniGraffle helps you draw beautiful diagrams, family trees, flow charts, org charts, layouts, and (mathematically speaking) any other directed or non-directed graphs. We've had people use Graffle to... Read more
RoboForm 2.0.2 - Password manager; syncs...
RoboForm is a password manager that offers one-click login, mobile syncing, easy form filling, and reliable security. Password Manager. RoboForm remembers your passwords so you don't have to! Just... Read more
Apple MainStage 3.1 - Live performance t...
Love the sound you got on your recording? MainStage 3 makes it easy to bring all the same instruments and effects to the stage. Everything from the Sound Library and Smart Controls you're familiar... Read more
Freeway Pro 7.0.2 - Drag-and-drop Web de...
Freeway Pro lets you build websites with speed and precision... without writing a line of code! With its user-oriented drag-and-drop interface, Freeway Pro helps you piece together the website of... Read more
A Better Finder Rename 9.44 - File, phot...
A Better Finder Rename is the most complete renaming solution available on the market today. That's why, since 1996, tens of thousands of hobbyists, professionals and businesses depend on A Better... Read more
Stacks 2.6.9 - New way to create pages i...
Stacks is a new way to create pages in RapidWeaver. It's a plugin designed to combine drag-and-drop simplicity with the power of fluid layout. Features: Fluid Layout: Stacks lets you build pages... Read more
Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Ea...
Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth is a new science-fiction-themed entry into the award-winning Civilization series. Set in the future, global events have destabilized the world leading to a... Read more

Mediocre, the Team Behind Smash Hit, is...
Mediocre, the Team Behind Smash Hit, is Teasing Their Latest Unnamed Project Posted by Jessica Fisher on January 26th, 2015 [ permalink ] | Read more »
Heroes of Gaia Review
Heroes of Gaia Review By Campbell Bird on January 26th, 2015 Our Rating: :: TIMERS OF MIGHT AND MAGICUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad This free-to-play rpg looks a lot like Heroes of Might and Magic, but it’s poor... | Read more »
Choice Provisions is Set to Launch Destr...
Choice Provisions is Set to Launch Destructamundo on iOS This Month Posted by Tre Lawrence on January 23rd, 2015 [ permalink ] Choice Provisions – home stable to | Read more »
King of Thieves – An Interview With Zept...
Ahead of the release of ZeptoLab’s King of Thieves, we were able to ask ZeptoLab’s co-founder, Semyon Voinov, a few questions about the inspiration behind the game and what that means for the Cut the Rope franchise. | Read more »
Handle Review
Handle Review By Jennifer Allen on January 23rd, 2015 Our Rating: :: SPEEDY ORGANIZINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Handle is a very convenient way of juggling your emails, To Do list, and Calendar all through one... | Read more »
The New Disney Inquizitive App Offers a...
The New Disney Inquizitive App Offers a Place for Fans to Take Disney Quizzes Posted by Tre Lawrence on January 23rd, 2015 [ permalink ] | Read more »
Hands-On With Cut the Rope Developer Zep...
Marking quite a departure from ZeptoLab’s past successes, namely the Cut The Rope series, King of Thieves is shaping up to be quite promising. Due for release in February, we were lucky enough to have some time with a preview build to see exactly... | Read more »
Fast Fishing Review
Fast Fishing Review By Jennifer Allen on January 23rd, 2015 Our Rating: :: LIVES UP TO ITS NAMEUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Fishing is far from relaxing in Fast Fishing, but it is fun.   | Read more »
Head Back to Dark World of Arnashia in B...
Head Back to Dark World of Arnashia in Blood Brothers 2 Posted by Jessica Fisher on January 23rd, 2015 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Saved Review
Saved Review By Jennifer Allen on January 23rd, 2015 Our Rating: :: SIMPLE BUDGETINGiPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad Saved is a convenient and speedy way of adding expenses and keeping track of your... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Stir Kinetic Desk M1 Standing Or Sitting Desk...
The age of the standing desk is upon us, and according to medical research, it’s arriving none too soon. The World Health Organization (WHO), reports that 60 to 85 percent of people worldwide lead... Read more
Bosch Opens North American eBike Conversion H...
Following its entry into the U.S. eBike market in early 2014, Bosch has established a new headquarters office for Bosch eBike Systems (http://www.bosch-ebike.us) in Southern California, expanding the... Read more
13-inch 2.4GHz Retina MacBook Pro (Apple refu...
The Apple Store has previous-generation Apple Certified Refurbished 13″ 2.4GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pros available for $999. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free: - 13″ 2.4GHz/... Read more
13-inch 2.6GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for...
Adorama has the 13″ 2.6GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $1189.99, $110 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and Adorama charges NY & NJ sales tax only. Read more
College Student Deals are back, additional $5...
Take an additional $50 off all MacBooks and iMacs at Best Buy Online with their College Students Deals Savings, valid through April 11, 2015. Anyone with a valid .EDU email address can take advantage... Read more
iPhone 6 and 6 Plus GIve Apple Half Of US Mob...
Chicago-based Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, LLC (CIRP) have released analysis of the results of its research on mobile phone manufacturers for the calendar quarter that ended December 31,... Read more
Save $100 on MacBook Airs with 256GB of stora...
B&H Photo has 256GB MacBook Airs on sale for $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 11″ 1.4GHz/256GB MacBook Air: $999 $100 off MSRP - 13″ 1.4GHz/256GB MacBook... Read more
21-inch 2.7GHz iMac on sale for $1179, save $...
B&H Photo has the 21″ 2.7GHz iMac on sale for $1179 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $120 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model from any... Read more
iPhone Usage Rates by State Correlate With Ed...
Chitika Insights notes that despite iPhones being the largest source of smartphone Internet traffic in North America, their latest study finds a relatively high degree of variation of iPhone usage... Read more
ProGearX Extendable Pole “Pov/Selfie Stick” M...
There’s something inescapably narcissistic about the concept of selfies as they’ve developed as a smartphone-driven social (particularly social media) phenomenon that rubs me the wrong way. However,... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Acura/Subaru Service Technicians - A...
Apple Automotive is one of the fastest growing dealer…and it shows. Consider making the switch to the Apple Automotive Group today! At Apple Automotive , Read more
Business Development Manager - *Apple* Pay...
**Job Summary** Apple Pay is seeking an experienced business development manager to support the identification, recruitment, negotiation and ongoing management of Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC)- Retail S...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Retail Sales...
**Job Summary** As an Apple Solutions Consultant (ASC) you are the link between our customers and our products. Your role is to drive the Apple business in a retail Read more
*Apple* Lead Operator, GSOC - Apple (United...
**Job Summary** Apple is seeking an exceptional, customer service oriented and experienced persons to fulfill the role of Apple Lead Operator (ALO) as part of the Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.