Chris Gomez

Development topics for the indie programmer

Forza 5 crashes on specific track every time, broken since launch.

The following is an email I sent to a support email and also posted on the Forza Motorsport forums.  I needed to post it here because the folks at @XboxSupport have been the only ones to be truly responsive to my issues.  However, I can not keep describing the whole issue 140 characters at a time since each new day I encounter a new person who needs me to start over with them.
I keep the whole twitter thread link saved here:
Anyone reading this for the first time, please review that thread and the youtube video I discuss.  I have also extensively explained the issues in the linked forum posts.
What is very clear is that every time I install the game, the install appears to not completely work and at least one track will never load for me (no matter the game type, car, or user profile).  That track (so far it has been one per download but it doesn’t have to be.  Other Forza Motorsport forum users report problems with more than one) will crash forever, on any race type, mode, or user profile until i delete and redownload the game.
The problem is I can not get a clean download where I can prove every track works.  Each time, it may be a different track that is corrupt.  I still think it is possible for more than one to be corrupt.
So far no one appears to be able to help me.  I have had this problem since launch, although it took awhile to figure it out, and since Dec 8th I have been keeping meticulous notes about it.
We are almost at a month since launch and it is getting really annoying when you think about the hard earned money you've spent on a console and a game and the vendor of that game will either censor or refuse to respond to your pleas to help them troubleshoot the game.
They have the money already so perhaps that explains that...

Philly.NET Code Camp 2013.2 - SignalR

Thanks to everyone who attended my talk about using SignalR “in the real world.”  Besides being an introduction to SignalR for everyone who’s curious about this technology, we talked about some more advanced scenarios I have experience with, including using the IHubContext interface to broadcast from outside a SignalR Hub and the exciting “cross platform” scenario that is enabled by the several SignalR clients out there.

I wanted to start getting all the code we looked at up on github.  I will continue to update this post until all the samples we saw are ready for you to try. – This is the repository holding the chat web app and windows store app.  They should work together.

I did develop these projects in Visual Studio 2013, which has built in Git support and it is a lot easier to clone the projects directly from GitHub and begin working.  If you have a need for Visual Studio 2012 support, please let me know.

Up next, I need to get the StockTicker sample (modifying an existing service) up and finally the “game board” sample where you could move game tokens around a sample grid.

Coming soon are my tutorial writeups for those who didn’t make the code camp talk!

SignalR 2.0 brings us closer to OWIN

So I got tripped up at Central Penn.NET’s Code Camp with SignalR 2.0.  I realized there are a lot of blog posts that need to happen to explain some of the changes.

One of the great things about NuGet and the building of a .NET ecosystem around NuGet packages is that installing components you want to make your application go has never been easier.  It’s never been easier to stay up to date.  It’s never been easier to adopt new versions.

But there is such a thing as breaking changes…

In my talk yesterday about using SignalR in the real world, I got tripped up when doing the Stock Ticker that updates as stock prices change.  I know now that a breaking change in SignalR 2.0 obsoleted the common MVC era extension method for setup that many modules use.

In SignalR, you would go into your Application_Start method in Global.asax and add:


Many components add an extension method to allow you to add routes with simple syntax, but it becomes custom syntax.  That does violate the spirit of OWIN a bit, and I think the SignalR team is definitely very supportive of OWIN.

So when you create an MVC project and use SignalR 2.0, you now following the OWIN standard and create a Startup class that has any startup logic you need.  In this case, it’s mapping our hubs:

This also means we say goodbye to the Microsoft.AspNet.SignalR.Owin NuGet package since this implementation doesn’t need the setup being provided by that package anymore.  More info on that in the SignalR faq.

So for now, here is a link to download the completed Stock Ticker sample.  I’m going to investigate now whether a different version of SignalR is automagically downloaded to you when you create your first SignalR Hub class via tooling or whether you go with NuGet.

I know that you can install specific versions of packages using NuGet, but I think most people don’t do this when they hit File > New Project.  It might be something I do from now on in presentations just to make sure something hasn’t changed, even in the last few days!

StockTicker Sample Download

Hands On with SignalR - Philly.NET

Thanks to everyone who came to see Nick Berardi and I introduce SignalR development to you.

A reminder that the link to the materials for tonight are here: Hands-On Materials

I have placed the "extended" Word document in the zip, but left the project in it's original state.  

How many people would like to see the architecture fleshed out?  I mentioned in the talk that I held off separating the StockTicker and the HubContext because I thought it would detract from learning about SignalR, but I firmly believe you can keep your current systems decoupled as long as they have a way to subscribe or notify others of pertinent changes.  I might work on that just to have a solid reference for how you use this technology in the real business world.  Too many people start thinking SignalR couples too tightly to your logic, but it doesn't have to be this way!

OWIN–What? Where? Why? – Philly.NET

“15 Minutes of Fame” nights at user groups are fun.  It’s challenging to provide value to your fellow developers in 15 minutes.  Thanks to everyone who saw my little piece of a series of great talks.

Lately, I’ve been working with SignalR and WebAPI, but self-hosted in my own application (not deployed to IIS).  The application is a thick client that other clients communicate with using standard web protocols (thanks to the self-hosting!).  This makes it awfully easy to deploy your app and NOT have to worry about whether your customers’ firewalls will allow the traffic or if they set up your server correctly.  The client IS the server!

What’s OWIN good for?  In short, you can use it to make your application portable between servers (at this time, this is likely saying “portable between IIS and self-hosted in your own app”). 

You can also use it to only take the frameworks or pipelines you want.  If you are using ASP.NET Web API, do you REALLY need the whole IIS pipeline and ASP.NET page cycle?  You might not.  Do you hate that to get simple membership you have to take all of System.Web?  As more frameworks and middleware support the OWIN specification, you’ll pick just what you want.  As Scott Hanselman would say: “The Lego pieces are the right size.”

Resources for you to learn more about OWIN:

This is still in prerelease, but you can learn a lot about the idea of separating frameworks from hosts and servers so that your applications are more portable and flexible.  Why be limited to IIS or even Windows for that matter?

The Katana Project - OWIN for ASP.NET – Video

An Overview of Project Katana – An overview of the need for OWIN and walks you through some simple examples.

How I am using OWIN – Damian Hickey shows you how his web applications are testable because OWIN eliminated the dependency on a network/http stack just to test.

OWIN, Katana, and getting started – Another short explanation, with some great visuals.  Also a simple getting started sample.

The Realtime Web – Central Penn .NET User Group

Thanks to everyone who attended my presentation on the Realtime, Stateful, Programmable Web.  In it, I discussed technologies like SignalR, OWIN, and Javascript Engines.  They enable you to create applications that have server push technologies to enable real time like scenarios, self-hosted applications that act as mini web-servers, and embedding a JavaScript engine to provide a real programming API for your users.

We talked about a lot of things in this session, so a link dump seemed in order to many of the resources you’ll want to visit:

SignalR Samples

Tutorial - Getting Started with SignalR – The chat application

Tutorial - Server broadcast with SignalR – The stock ticker sample


The Web Is Ready For Games: ASP.NET Edition

Part 1 – Introduction

I have longed for the web to be ready for high performance games, including multiplayer games.  I believe we are at the point where the technologies you need to build high performance, real time games are here.  The exciting thing is we have a lot of choices now.

I believe we can use Microsoft tools and technologies to deliver the games I am speaking of.  I am going to show you how ASP.NET and many of its pieces such as SignalR can be a foundation, but what will be more exciting is when we explore the options afforded us by OWIN and scaling technologies like the Windows Azure Service Bus.

Getting started is going to involve learning how to develop with ASP.NET SignalR.  You  may be hearing a lot about SignalR lately.  It certainly can be labeled the new hotness.  People are excited about the prospect of real-time applications on the web and breaking the stateless request/response paradigm.

How is that even possible, you may ask?  Well, the fact of the matter is there is no magic going on here… no cheating… it’s still the web.  It’s just that some very clever techniques developed over the years, plus newer features like WebSockets are coming together to enable this.


Music and Sound Assets for your Games

Every so often I go looking for some old tweet where I list these places to go find inexpensive or free music and sounds you can use in your projects.  So, to avoid losing them yet again, here they are: – Lots of sounds here.  Maybe you want a cheap/free sound effect.  Give it a look. – Royalty free music. – Lots of royalty free music here.  Most/all seem to be 99 cents. – One of the earliest sites I remember.  It’s beginning to look aged compared to the polished stuff coming out now, but if you find the music you want, who cares?

SingleCoil Studios – Offering royalty free audio that ranged from a few dollars to about $20.  They use soundcloud to let you listen.  There are some great tracks here.

Lucky Lion Studios – Offering royalty free music.  Most (or all?) appeared to be $5.

McFarland BEATS by Matthew McFarland – Royalty free music with what I believe looked like a generous license for use or remix.  Looked free to me, but check the licensing yourself.

Visionary Sound – Letting the site speak for itself: “A collection of  99 Foley sound effects, including paper pages, books, liquids, clothing, keyboards and more.”

Something different – This is a listening/streaming site. Polished looking site that incorporates social media throughout.  It was delightful to see user comments pop up during play.  I’ll have to explore this more.  There is a developer API, so I wonder if you might stream from it during gameplay.  Not recommending that… there is some exploring to do.

Philly.Net Code Camp 2013.1

Thanks to everyone who attended “The Real-Time Web with ASP.NET, SignalR, and JavaScript”.  I‘m happy to promote the idea of a stateful, realtime, and programmable web.

The Code and Slides are available for download.



The Code demonstrates ASP.NET SignalR on a client and server.  The Client uses ASP.NET MVC 4 but it’s primary purpose is to serve client code, not use MVC-ness.  The Server is a console app that embeds a Javascript engine (Noesis Javascript) and creates and hosts the SignalR Hub.

This code download DOES include the AntiXSS library because I didn’t fear the user input to the chat console in the presentation and you should always fear user input!

My next move is to get this on GitHub and continue to expand it into a better and more useful demonstration of SignalR and the new realtime web.

See this post for a brain dump of material I used to put this together, including links to the various JavaScript engines, the single page application layout I used, various HTML5 Canvas engines.\\