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.
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:
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.
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.
I updated two of my Homeworld Remastered mods to make them compatible with HWRM’s 2.0 patch.
The first mod should work properly in multiplayer now, and the maps in the second mod that are not multiplayer safe are marked as such now.
Lastly, my Video Game Keyboard Control Charts now allow you to switch visual styles without reloading the main HTML form.
I created a fork of Joseph Hewitt’s GearHead version 1.100. It features mainly graphical updates, as well as some additional terrain object types. Joseph has decided not to merge these changes into the main trunk in favor of a more comic book-like style, so I am unlikely to work on this any further.
In other news, I fixed my GeoGebra applets so they work again in browsers that no longer support Java, such as Google Chrome. View them here.
I’ve put a lot of work lately in my Colony Ship POV-Ray model. The latest version can be viewed at DeviantArt, here.
I’ve also updated several of my illustrations for Wikipedia. The switch from POV-Ray version 3.6 to version 3.7 required changes to how pigments are defined among other things.
Lastly, I updated ToEE d20 Inspector to fix some bugs related to how skill points are calculated and distributed. They should no longer be wildly inaccurate. You can find the program listed here.
I wrote a new tutorial for the LDraw wiki describing how to make stereoscopic views of LDraw models. You can find it here:
I also rendered a few of my own stereoscopic images. You can find some of them in my Flickr album.
These images can be viewed using cheap stereoscopes such as this one.
I pre-ordered a copy of Homeworld Remastered Collection on Steam. When it is released in two days I will see about converting my maps and map functions to work with the new game at the very least. If I am enjoying myself, I may update my Homeworld Classic Enhanced and other mods as well. I’m a bit disappointed with GearBox that they didn’t retain more of HW1’s features, such as fuel burn, replays and physics/geometry-based targeting. I was disappointed when HW2 was released, and it looks like I will be again. At least the game didn’t cost much.
I noticed this week that some links to tutorials I had written a long time ago had gone dead, either because the websites they were hosted at went down, or because the websites they were hosted at transitioned to a new content management system or wiki. I fixed these links where I could, and re-wrote them and incorporated them into my website where I couldn’t. See my POV-Ray, Lego, GearHead and Geometry pages.
Today I also started working on a new panoramic scene for GearHead (now abandoned by its creator, judging by the game’s website) based on my previous Spinner Colony scene. Since I bought a new computer I am able to render them much faster in POV-Ray.
Here’s a sneak peek:
Here are my latest two renders. I tried to render at a higher quality level, including atmospheric media and a nice area light, but it was simply taking too long. The source code can be found on my GearHead page.
(Click for larger views.)