http://asawicki.info/ Programming, graphics, games, media, C++, Windows, Internet and more...
Entries for tag "web", ordered from most recent. Entry count: 71.
reg__ @ Delicious
I've decided to start using Delicious - a social bookmarking website. I collect and browse many interesting links every day. Until now I've been keeping my bookmarks in a text file that I share here: Links - gamedev.txt. But if bookmarks are about the Internet, why not keep them online too? Delicious looks like a very nice service for that purpose. I only have to switch from organizing my links in hierarchical categories to tagging. Unfortunately I can't find any fully-featured desktop application for Windows to manage Delicious bookmarks, just like I use Thunderbird for e-mail, RSSOwl for RSS and TweetDeck for Twitter. I've already started entering some of the interesting links I've recently found so here is my account:
NEW: I still learn how to make good use of tags, but I've already entered most of my bookmarks from different places into Delicious. So I think it's also the time to drop my Links page. It no longer appears in the menu at the top, while I placed all my "social" website links there. For the list of my favourite blogs I regularly visit, see my following tag.
New Font Style
Just as a reminder: I manage quite long and frequently updated list of links to websites related to game programming and graphics programming, especially blogs of professionals in these fields. If you share my interests, I strongly recommend regular visiting them, because there (as well as on Twitter, however strange it may sound) you can find most recent, interesting, important and professional information.
Visiting various websites and reading what people say is good for many reasons. For example, I've just changed the style of my website, inspired by the font used on Blobs in Games page. How do you like this new looks?
NEW: Thanks for comments. I went back to the old font.
A Reminder About My Links
For those who don't know yet, on my website there is more than my blog, photos and screenshots gallery and portfolio. I also maintain quite long list of links to other people's blogs, especially programmers dealing with game programming and graphics programming. So if you are interested in this subject, I encourage you to take a look. I try to keep it up to date by removing not working or inactive sites while adding new ones I find interesting. I also have my parsonal links collection called Links - gamedev.txt which I update sometiemes by addign URL-s to interesting articles and websites related to gamedev.
It may sound funny by I currently find blogs and Twitter as my most valuable source of interesting news and links. With careful choice of places you visit and people you follow it has much bigger "Signal/Noise Ratio" than any Internet forum :)
Few Words about Interactive Fiction
My today Google-Wikipedia "research" was about interactive fiction. I've only heard about MUD-s before. MUD (Multi-User Dungeon) is a text-based, multiplayer game genre that precede current MMORPG games. Interactive fiction are also text-based games where player reads descriptions of things (like "You are in ... now. You can see ... here.") and types console commands (like "go west"), but they are single-player and more story-oriented rather than being about the mechanics of combat and magic.
The history of interactive fiction is older than me, as it started in 70's long before personal computers era. There have been some commercial games of this genre released in the past. Today interactive fiction is still alive thanks to the Internet community. (BTW: I didn't know before that the famous metasyntactic variable "xyzzy" originates from math, where it helps to remember the way of calculating cross product of 3D vectors :)
From more technical perspective, all sources I've read agree that it makes no sense to start coding a new platform for interactive fiction, as there already are some great ones out there. For example, there is this Z-machine standard (see The Z-Machine Standards Document) that is still in use despite being very old and has interpreter implementations for numerous platforms. One could think that it's kind of a description language like XML, but it's actually a virtual machine with opcodes etc.
It's also worth seeing some of the tools interactive fiction creators use. I've read a bit about Inform 7 - a free, multiplatform IDE with its own language to develop IF games (and also debugging functionality). Rules of this system remind me of Prolog at first glance. There is much built-in mechanics already available, like visiting rooms or taking items. But at the same time it's very flexible, so e.g. there is an extension available coded in this language that introduces metric units. The syntax of this language is totally weird as it looks like... English language. Just see manuals. Programming here is like writing a book (much like the Shakespeare Programming Language, but this one is not esoteric). Sample code: "The Gazebo is a room. The wood-slatted crate is in the Gazebo. The crate is a container.". Parsing player commands is also very sophisticated to resemble using natural language. Everything here is like reading or writing a novel - even compiler errors :)
I've always dreamed about writing a platform for text-based games that would be so general, flexible, powerful and would model the world so comprehensively. Now as it turned out that systems like this already exist and evolve for decades, there is not much to do here for a programmer like me. Especially as I don't feel like writing a novel, even interactive one. But anyway it's nice to know what interactive fiction is.
About Graphics in Modern Games
There are always some "trendy" styles that differentiate professional creations from amateur ones. CollegeHumor made a parody of professional-looking trailer for fictional movie Minesweeper [en] and LIMO cabaret did the same with movie Leszek Balcerowicz - Nieznana historia [pl].
What about games? Today people I'm following on Tweeter posted interesting links about graphics in modern games. First, this comic says much. Dark, brown and gray colors are common in today's games, especially in some genres like action games (opposite to colourful fantasy RPG and arcade games, like Trine). Here is also a funny picture. Second, Kayamon posted on his blog quite serious note about how render target size can be reduced by using only two channels to describe pixel colors. His experiment gave quite good results with screenshots from Gears of War :)
My Theory of Communication
Today is the Blog Day. I'm not going to link the blogday.org website or apply their advices about recommending other blogs, but instead I want to present my little theory explaining what's the place of blogging and tweeting among other forms of communication.
I think that communication and knowledge sharing can be seen as a spectrum, where each form has its place between two extremes - first is writing/reading a book and the second is a casual real-life chat. I hope this diagram explains everything:
So if you only like to read books and you disregard communication via the Internet and casual chatting or the opposite - you are used to only write and read short messages to your friends and you never read books or write long letters - then think for a while whether your way of communication is really better than others or maybe your beliefs make you losing some of the opporunities from this full spectrum that you may enjoy...
About the Guy Who Made Love
Today I want to talk a bit about what's the dream of almost every passionate game developer. It seems very hard or almost impossible to achieve, but younger amateurs still hope that they will manage to do it someday. Of course I'm talking about making a 3D MMO game.
As it turned out for me today (thanks for the link KriS!), it actually IS possible. I'm talking about the game called Love written entirely by one person - Eskil Steenberg. He have coded all the software from modeling tools through network protocol and renderer until game mechanics. To see it working I recommend watching these videos. The game is powered by his engine called Quel Solaar, which is actually available for download.
I must admit I haven't been impressed so much for a long time. I suppose the amount of time and passion that had to be put into this code is enormous. Graphical style and gameplay, as well as the user interface of his tools are very unusual and surprising. And all of this is made by one guy...
I recommend watching his lecture from this year's Assembly party titled Developing the technology behind "Love". You can see many technical details and if you don't want to watch the entire one hour video, at least watch the beginning (where he talks about his "smarter way of doing things") and the ending (where he expresses his thoughts about the value of good tools).
BTW it's also nice to watch new videos from GC 2009 of the CryEngine 3. "What you see is what you play" and instant asset update (including textures) - that's how good game editor should look like :)
Beautiful Wallpapers on Flickr
Yesterday I've found Flickr profile of Reciprocity - Alan Jaras - a research scientist and microscopist playing with photography of caustics and other light effects. Of course it's all the matter of taste, but for me his photos are really amazing. They look so abstract and so natural at the same time. Just look at the galleries Taming Light, Bending Light and Twisting Light. I think it wouldn't be easy to procedurally generate such images. Also check out his Favourites for more unusual images.