So long, but not Good Bye

Posted on February 8, 2010 by Tony Fendall.
Categories: Blogging.

I started this blog over two and a half years ago and I have enjoyed my time having this an my home on the web.  However, over time this blog has deviated from what I want my online image to be and the time has come for me to move on.

You can keep up with what I am up to over at my new blog HERE.

This blog has a lot of valuable content, and it will continue to be online for many years to come.  However, I will not write any posts here again.

Accurately Simulating Car Movement in Flex

Posted on December 30, 2009 by Tony Fendall.
Categories: Adobe, Flex.

When I find time (which is increasingly less often), I always like to set myself technical challenges to solve.  I enjoy the challenge of it, and every so often I actually produce something which someone else could find useful.

Car Movement In the last couple of days I have been trying to accurately simulate the movement of car (two steering wheels, and two fixed wheels).  This is more complicated than it first appears because, when the car is turning, it is actually rotating around a point which is outside itself.  The diagram to the right should help to show what I mean.

Getting this form of motion to work properly involves some complicated co-ordinate geometry to make points rotate around other points across multiple frames of reference.  It took me a while, but I finally managed to get it working today.  You can check out the result below :)

CLICK HERE TO VIEW SOURCE

I am Joining the Mobile Web

Posted on October 23, 2009 by Tony Fendall.
Categories: Blogging, Technology.

Mobile Safari Today I followed the cue of the rest of the web and installed a new theme on my blog for mobile devices.  If you are viewing this post on an iPhone, iPod or Android touch mobile device, then you probably already knew that.  If not, check it out some time and let me know what you think :)

People close to me know how often I complain about websites which install mobile versions.  “I paid $500 so I could have a device capable of viewing your regular website just fine. Why do you force me to use this broken, useless imitation of a website?”

Lifehacker.com is a classic example of a site which installed a mobile theme because it was trendy but which is also broken and unusable.  All links in the original post are removed from the mobile version (wtf?) and images are gone too.  To top it off they have a “view classic Lifehacker” link at the top but this takes you to the home page, not the post you were viewing.  Clicking on the post from the home page then takes you back to the mobile version >.<  I still go there on my iPhone from time to time, but a piece of me dies every time :(

You’ll be happy to know that my mobile version does not have any of these issues (if you find issues, please let me know).  I am using a very well made Wordpress plugin called WPtouch which does a great job of handling the mobile version of things without effecting my primary theme.  The best part is, if you don’t like the mobile version, you can simply turn it off (with the switch at the bottom) and you wont have to see it again :)

NASA Loves New Zealand

Posted on October 6, 2009 by Tony Fendall.
Categories: Life, Technology.

Did you know that NASA loves New Zealand? I didn’t either until my keen software developer eye noticed some recurring background features in their images of the International Space Station.

Internaltional Space Station International Space Station

Yep, that’s right. In both the above images that little patch of green in background is New Zealand.  You’d have to say that the odds of the same country showing up twice in IIS images is fairly unlikely. Having the same part of that country appear, with the IIS in the same orientation is just amazing! :)

I realize I’m digging pretty deep here, but this is as close as New Zealand is ever going to get to being part of the space program…

Flash Games in Flex Part 2 – World Builder

Posted on September 21, 2009 by Tony Fendall.
Categories: AIR, Adobe, Flex, Gaming.

Since my last post I have continued working on little ‘cat herding’ game as a way of learning about how a simple 2D game engine works.  It quickly became apparent to me however that I was going to need a tool to help me define levels for the game as manually typing out the level definition (several large int arrays) was becoming very tedious.

A ‘World Builder’ application is quite a different puzzle to building a game, because the world builder not only needs to be able to render the level to the screen, but it also needs to be able to update the level in a fast and elegant way.  These constraints are directly contradictory when you are trying to decide on the data structure to represent your world, and it took me several different attempts to get it right.  What I eventually settled on can be seen above, and you can download the source here.  Read on for an explanation of how it works.

Note: All of the tile assets used in this demo (and my previous one) have been borrowed from the application RPG Maker XP. It’s an awesome piece of software!

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Let’s Go Walk About- Flash Games in Flex

Posted on September 18, 2009 by Tony Fendall.
Categories: AIR, Adobe, Flex, Gaming.

 

 

Recently at work I haven’t been doing much actual Flex development.  Instead I have been spending my time working on a data mining/business intelligence system which is an intricate combination of some complex SQL, Ruby scripts and some software called Pentaho.  Long story short I was starting to miss the feeling of getting my hands dirty in Flex code, so a few days I go I started messing around with building my own rudimentary game engine from the group up.

Above you can see what I have built so far in about 3 hours total coding time spread over the last four days.  The age old adage “never re-invent the wheel, unless you want to learn something” has proven true here once again also.  There is quite a lot of trickery to get even this small number of objects to draw themselves onto the screen in a fast, efficient way.

I’ll probably release the source code pretty soon. It’s still a bit in a state of flux so I’m not ready to let other people read it just yet :)

If I continue to have a bit of free time up my sleeve in the next few weeks I hope to port this project to AIR and have a go at trying to construct the map and characters from a definition in a text file.  At present the layout is defined in a 2D int array, so the conversion will hopefully be fairly simple.  If that works out then I’ll probably try and remember some of the AI techniques I learnt back in university… Should be fun :)

Would you like to see what online communication will look like in 2010?

Posted on June 2, 2009 by Tony Fendall.
Categories: AIR, Adobe, Technology, Web 2.0.

E-mail, instant messaging, wikis and blogs. All of them are about to be revolutionized by Google Wave.

I am amazed.  I cannot wait to start collaborating across the web using wave.  Being a web citizen is about to get much better!

Who will be the first to write an Adobe Air API for wave? :)

Extreme Sheep Herding

Posted on March 29, 2009 by Tony Fendall.
Categories: Humor, Technology.

Check out this cool video from the BaaStuds!

Happy St Patricks Day

Posted on March 18, 2009 by Tony Fendall.
Categories: Life.

Happy St Patricks Day everyone, or Happy Maewyn Day if you’re a purist :)

Happy St Patricks Day

I hope everyone had a great day. St Patricks day is one of those days that has universal appeal with everyone, regardless of whether they are Irish or not. Kinda like Christmas :)

The Lost Art of the Haiku

Posted on March 14, 2009 by Tony Fendall.
Categories: Humor, Life.

Chroma_Haiku I’ve always loved haikus.  That’s why I was so stoked when I came across this collection of gems. The world would be a better place if we responded to questions with haikus all the time :) (more…)