Moving materials off-site

I have spent the last few weeks moving most of my geometry activities from this site to the online collection at the GeoGebra website. I plan to do the same for my LDraw models, either at Brickshelf, MOCpages or Rebrickable. I’ve also written a new tutorial for the POV-Ray wiki, and created a new solar system scene for the POV-Ray Object Collection and Wikipedia.


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

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_10
ldv_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.



Restoring old links to tutorials, working on my spinner scene

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:

[update]

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.

 photo gh_scene_spinner_interior_22_zpsz7ux45lq.png photo gh_scene_spinner_cutaway_20_zpsjfw5duxe.png

(Click for larger views.)


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