The Great Underground Adventure

So I’ve been working on building my first game as a way to test everything out now that is up and running. I wanted to create something like all the adventure games I played growing up. My game is called “The Great Underground Adventure” and is a Zork-esque story which takes place underneath an abandoned white house. The similarities end there though as my story features a talking cat in need of some help. You must journey to the world below in order to gather ingredients that will lift the curse that has been cast on the poor feline.

I’m a developer, not an artist, but I needed artwork for the game. I decided to go with photos thinking that it would be easier than drawing all the locations myself. I hunted around, snapped some photos, and have begun placing the photos in scenes and connecting the locations together. Choosing this path for the artwork has unforeseen concequences.

Where original artwork could have allowed for simplification of each scene, I now have hundreds and hundreds of photos in order to allow the player to navigate each location in a way that makes sense. The house I took photos of had five upstairs rooms; My plot only called for two, but a player would expect to be able to navigate through all displayed doorways, so I made sure each room was available and began expanding the story to fit the locations. There also accidental things in each photo. Sorry you can’t pick up the bucket that just happened to be in the foreground when the photo was taken. I’ve also had to re-shoot every location in the game as each time no matter how many photos I took I would miss a few images that would be needed to stitch the scenes together.

On one hand, I think the photos look amazing. On the other hand this is way more complicated than original artwork would be. I hope to finish “The Great Underground Adventure” by the end of July so I can show it off to everyone, but first I gotta go take some more pictures…

Timeout can't be negative wsdl error in Coldfusion

I got an error in Coldfusion today that I had never seen before:

timeout can't be negative

The error occurred when making a call to a webservice. The webservice call was working fine yesterday. I did some Googling but didn’t have much luck in determining why this was happening suddenly.

I traced back over the previous day trying to figure out what I had changed. There was a query that kept timing out, so I had experimented with changing the query timeout setting under the advanced datasource options in cfadmin. Its the only timeout setting I knew of, so I changed it back to its default value of 0. Suddenly my webservice call worked again!

I tried to repeat the error by setting the config back to how it was. But was unable to get the call to fail again.

PointClickPress 6 alpha and closed beta

On June 1st I released the alpha 6 build of PointClickPress and at the same time setup a closed beta for the free PCP website. I want to get a few people hacking on the site before I open it up to everyone. If you’re interested in building your own point-and-click browser games shoot me an email: dan at

Copying the text of an Office Communicator Note

Recently I wanted to copy some text from a co-worker’s Office Communicator note, but OC doesn’t allow cut and paste directly from the contact list.

I found a work around however:
If your Office Communicator is integrated with Outlook you are able to copy the contact’s note text from the contact list when it is displayed in Outlook.