Updated keyboard diagrams project 

I’ve updated my Video Game Keyboard Diagrams project over the last few weeks. Here are the most recent items from the change log:

  • 2018/05/29: Renamed the project from “Video Game Hotkey Maps” back to “Video Game Keyboard Diagrams”.
  • 2018/05/29: Updated the printing tips with new info on problems and workarounds.
  • 2018/05/25: Tweaks to style sheets and meta tags in order to (somewhat) better support mobile browsers.
  • 2018/05/25: Fixed a bug that was causing some browsers to not be able to switch between the HTML and SVG versions of the diagrams.
  • 2018/05/25: Old URLs are now being properly converted to the new URL syntax.
  • 2018/05/23: Added bindings for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Fortnite, Overwatch, Far Cry 5 and Everspace. I’ve only played the last one, but hopefully people will appreciate the others.
  • 2018/05/18: Made changes to the accordion menu in the front page. Made changes to the alphabetical list (now renamed to “master list”).
  • 2018/05/14: Added a button to the bottom of each chart to quickly switch between SVG and HTML rendering.
  • 2018/05/14: Added bindings for Battletech and Stellar Tactics.
  • 2018/05/14: Fixed a bug preventing charts from being loaded if the gam, sty, lay and svg parameters were missing from the URL.

Goals heading into the future include creating PDF versions of the diagrams, and possibly starting a github repository for the project.

In other news, I re-enabled comments on this blog.


Updating Datsville 

I’ve spent the last few months updating Datsville in various ways.

  • I have reverted the town layout back to how it was at around revision 501, including putting the corn fields and airport back in their original locations, and removing the surrounding hills.
  • I have reorganized and cleaned up a lot of the POV-Ray scripts, which should now be a lot easier to use now.
  • I helped translate Tore Eriksson’s LDBoxer program into Python, and optimized it slightly.
  • Lastly, I made the sidewalks narrower, and expanded the space devoted to the town’s houses and other buildings.

Right now I am working on porting Datsville RPG from RPG Maker VX Ace to RPG Maker MV. I have already updated many of the project’s graphics. Now I just need to implement the LeTBS combat plugins and get them working properly. Below are some screenshots. There are still several graphical bugs in the LeTBS plugin, as can be seen in the image on the right. Hopefully they will get addressed at some point so that I can continue working on this.

Datsville RPG screenshotDatsville RPG screenshotDatsville RPG screenshot


Graphical projection construction 

I created four new illustrations showing how several forms of graphical projection are produced. You can view them all here. I started out by modeling them in POV-Ray. The next step was to export the important coordinates to a text file using a modified version of “screen.inc”. I then imported these coordinates into GeoGebra, and connected them all using line segments to produce the final images. I discuss this process here.


Microsoft Azure and colony ship panoramic render 

I decided to open an Microsoft Azure account, and use the $200 in free points for new members to render a better version of my colony ship panoramic scene [edit: click here for an external view]. I was still unable to add atmospheric media and radiosity inside the station habitat. They simply take too long to render, even with dual 8-core CPUs and 32GiB of RAM. If I could afford several virtual machines linked together to form a render farm, maybe it would be feasible to enable them. But that would cost a lot more than the points I have available, I think.

[edit]

Google Cloud has a similar offer for new customers, but limit you to a single CPU with 4 cores and 8 threads until you “upgrade” your subscription. So I did not find it very useful.


Color space plots 

With lots of help from Christoph Lipka at the POV-Ray newsgroup, I created four more images for Wikipedia having to do with color spaces. They show the sRGB color gamut projected within the bounds of the CIELAB and CIELUV color spaces. Both the rectangular and cylindrical models are depicted. You can see all the renders, as well as some animations, on my Wikimedia Commons page.


Keyboard Hotkey Maps 

Over the past several weeks I have been overhauling my Video Game Hotkey Maps tool. I made several changes to the underlying database structure, as well as to the styles and error detection. I also went ahead and created new PHP scripts that generate SVG versions of the maps. This makes it possible to upload maps to MediaWiki wikis, which is a major goal I set out to accomplish when I first created the PHP edition of the tool. I had created a MediaWiki template to accomplish the same thing, but the SVG images are a lot more convenient. I hope a lot of people get good use out of these scripts.


Media queries, CloudFlare and Pannellum 

I’ve completed my optimizations for mobile browsers for the time being. I implemented CSS media queries to hide parts of the page when viewed on small screens, and narrowed the page a bit further to make the text more legible. My image galleries were also not wrapping properly on small screens, so I replaced the tables with uniformly sized DIV elements that float to the left. There are still a few pages that need to be reworked, such as my keyboard chart page, but mostly I am satisfied with how things turned out.

One task that required a lot of time and work was moving all my gallery images from PhotoBucket to my web host (and some to Flickr). PhotoBucket is simply a bad experience on mobile devices. In landscape mode the pages are filled with 75% advertisements, with only a tiny rectangle left for my image at the top. So, I copied, reorganized and renamed all my images to my web host, and updated all the URLs pointing to them. I also set up enabled CloudFlare on my account to act as a speed boost in case my images take too long to download.

Next, I switched to a different script for displaying my 360° panoramic renders. Previously, I was using PanoSalado, a Flash based viewer that does not work on all mobile browsers, and switched to Pannellum, a WebGL based viewer that should work on more browsers heading into the future. It performs a lot better and is easier to configure to boot. I am real happy with how this turned out, and am able to show off my Carriage House virtual tour once again using the new script. Note that the scene has hotspots that will take you to different rooms.

Lastly, I re-rendered some of my Lego model images using nicer POV-Ray settings. I performed several trials, and the radiosity settings in particular made the rendering a lengthy process. Here are some examples:

ldv_nice_high_tech_lab_new_10ldv_nice_yellow_castle_old_10

I still want to re-render my orthographic “heads” scene, as well as the panoramic Carriage House tour (the images are a bit washed out looking) in the future.


Brigl model viewer, mobile browsers 

I finally was able to implement an online viewer for my LDraw models. It is an open source JavaScript app called Brigl, and can be seen in action on this page.

I’ve also begun taking steps toward making this site work better on mobile devices. You may notice that the sidebar on the far left of this page disappears when you make the browser window really small. This should happen automatically on mobile devices.

I am still resolving issues with font sizes being too small to be legible, however. Hopefully I will learn what is causing this in the next few days.


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