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I just checked whether the star system I named for a kickstarter board game ever got in, and yes it did! Continue Reading »

So, I finished the 3d tech-demo nicknamed “Brandmateriel” nearly a year ago now, but for various reasons (mostly work related) neglected to post it. A screencast of the demo is shown below.

Red aircraft flying over landscape with huts and firing indiscriminately before escaping up into a star-field.

Screencapture of my tech-demo. Yay! (CC: BY-NC-SA-2.5-SE)

As always with these tech projects you learn a lot, and as is often the case you land somewhere with enough new ideas that you would rather start over than take it forward. All in all though I’m very happy with it: the controls are smooth, I like the looks and the particle effects, and from a technical perspective I really like how the shadow turned out in the end (‘cos in my primitive renderer that was a major head-ache!). The stuff I would improve are mostly to do with the lighting model. My model is too general for what I use it for, and I could possibly save a few million trigonometric calculations per second if I used that. The demo runs smoothly in up to 800×600 (actually, resolution isn’t much of an issue in this kind of renderer: it is mostly limited by polygon count, but I’ve limited the screencast to the lowest resolution to conserve bandwidth), but if I were to add more (and more complex) models in order to make an actual game out of it, I expect that this would be an issue before long.

To try the demo four yourself, it’s easiest to go to clone the repository. Since Gitorious is closing down (though it’s staying up as a museum of sorts) I’ve migrated it to GitLab. If I decide to work on it, I will probably do it there, or maybe I’ll move development to GitHub. Whichever way, since I consider the project finished enough both of these repositories should be equally up to date for the foreseeable future.

https://gitorious.org/brandmateriel/

https://gitlab.com/brandmateriel/

For more on my inspiration for this endeavour (and for a really inspiringh and awesome talk about the technical challenges of early realtime 3d and how it was overcome), see this great Classic Game Post-Mortem from GDC 2011 by none other than Elite’s and Zarch’s own David Braben!

As you may know, I love audio plays as a storytelling format. I have the good fortune of being acquainted with the magnificent Dirk Maggs, who is a real champion of audio plays, and has produced more than you can shake a stick at. Some high-lights include the tertiary through quintessential phases of Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, adaptations of Adams’ Dirk Gently books, several DC superhero stories, a very entertaining UK version of the events in the film Independence Day (appropriate, since ID is a remake of War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells, a story of great importance to audio play-history), and a an adaptation of Stephen Baxter‘s touching story of a mission to Mars; Voyage.

Last year, Maggs cooperated with Neil Gaiman to bring Gaiman’s Neverwhere to BBC Radio 4. Neverwhere actually started at the BBC, as mini-series on television, but in my opinion (and despite good performances by among others Peter Capaldi in the TV-version) the radioplay is much, much better. Apparently the collaboration was a success, and this year the two teamed up with Gaiman’s co-author Terry Pratchett, to work on a radio adaptation of their joint work Good Omens (which, by the way, I have a signed Swedish edition of!). All right, we’re getting there… To commemorate this, artist and cartoonist Ray Frisen drew a portrait of the production team as cartoon characters, which I thought prompted the need for a comic about the production. Two months (?) later I got around to making it. Hope you like it!

Dirk Maggs in Work Gently

A comic about the production of Gaiman’s and Pratchett’s Good Omens for BBC Radio 4. Characters based on designs by Ray Frisen.

42³

A 42-cube, which reads 42 from three directions, a project I have wanted to realise for fifteen years, but until recently I thought it was impossible. Then I realised that given appropriate rotations combined with an appropriate font, it could be done.

This quick mockup was made using NumPy, SciPy and Mayavi. Ultimately, I would like to have it in physical form, but there remains some tweaking for that to be feasible.

Rotating 42 cube.

Rotating 42-cube.

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Så oskyldigt

Another political song, once again — surprise, surprise! — directed mainly against the People’s Party in Sweden (surprise, surprise! ^^ /skymandr). The leader of this party is currently in charge of educating our kids, and he hardly had time to put on his minister hat after the recent election before he started his campaign to make primary school education more similar to what it was when his ideology was really in vogue — the 19th century.

The melody is perhaps not as well known as the one in the previous songs. It is “Balladen om dagen efter” by Bengt Sändh, which I cannot find on YouTube, but there are CDs with this melody (I have one), so it is available.

Unlike the other songs, however, this is written together with S. I wrote one verse, and challenged him to write the next, and so on.
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Scientists in virtually every field are repeatedly inundated by popular science. Continue Reading »

Lately I’ve been preoccupied with typography, which lead me back to cartography. I’ve been meaning to make touched up versions of the maps I made of Anarres and Urras last year, and so I started looking for tutorials for Inkscape and/or Gimp and came across the brilliant Cartographers’ Guild. More specifically, I came across a very nice tutorial (updated version here) by Rob Antoishen. The result, after an afternoon’s work, was this:

Anarres, azimuthal equidistant projection of both hemispheres; digitally remastered.

Another rendition of Anarres. Continents are lined up at the equator, but unfortunately I used an old version as template, so the Northern parts don’t line up. Too late to do anything about that, though. Not too fond of it, too be frank.
(License: CC:By-NC-ND, with caveats as stated below.)

For several reasons, some of which are mentioned below, I’m not very fond of it, and therefore I’m putting a CC:By-NC-ND license on it: feel free to share it (mentioning me and Ursula K. Le Guin as the originators), but please don’t base any derivative works on this version of the map: use the versions from my previous post for that!

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