Candace and Joel’s Country Wedd’in is of course primarily an actual wedding, but then there’s the game.

The “32-bit-wedding” is a computer game that has been sent as an invitation for the wedding of Joel and Candace (who have asked me not to disclose their last names). It has been quite exciting working on this project for a number of reasons, like the fact that it was all manageable with a free software toolset, that the scale and requirements of the project made it just the kind of challenge I felt I could wrangle next and, last but not least, working with the couple (well, Candace was the mastermind behind it all, but Joel is the game’s star) has been really fun and gave the whole production a personal note, and a character-centered structure. So, without further ado:

The game is comprised of three cartoon sequences and two levels, one of which is side-scrolling and one fully three-dimensional, where Joel is sent by his spouse on a quest to find their engagement ring. It has been designed to be pretty straightforward, in order to not aggravate non-players, and also comes with an option to play itself. It runs on the blender 2.49b game engine (2.5 was a bit too young for production purposes when the project began), and all of its assets have been created with free software: namely inkscape, the gimp and makehuman.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments No Comments »

Presenting the creation of the internet god‘s concept artwork.

In this post I will cover the creation process of the artwork of the website, on the technical and design side of which I have been working on the last few months.

The internetisgod is a pretty complex website we set up using drupal, created to accommodate the development a community-written book, to be published when “critical mass” has been reached. The starting point for this pursuit is a 9-chapter essay written by Frank Den, on how the internet in our age covers the same human needs that religion once did. Anyone may create a chapter and invite others to contribute in its writing, and a voting as well as a user points system ensure that both popularity and involvement with the project can be taken into account when chapters are picked. A separate, idea rating system exists to give the community the ability to steer the general direction of the project.

Composite image from full osa, edge and wireframe renders

I think I first came across the concept of Indra’s net on the preface of a Greek translation of Samuel Delaney’s Empire Star. It is a metaphor developed by the Mahayana Buddhist school in the 3rd century and later by the Chinese Huayan school between the 6th and 8th century, and it goes like this:

Far away in the heavenly abode of the great god Indra, there is a wonderful net which has been hung by some cunning artificer in such a manner that it stretches out indefinitely in all directions. In accordance with the extravagant tastes of deities, the artificer has hung a single glittering jewel at the net’s every node, and since the net itself is infinite in dimension, the jewels are infinite in number. There hang the jewels, glittering like stars of the first magnitude, a wonderful sight to behold. If we now arbitrarily select one of these jewels for inspection and look closely at it, we will discover that in its polished surface there are reflected all the other jewels in the net, infinite in number. Not only that, but each of the jewels reflected in this one jewel is also reflecting all the other jewels, so that the process of reflection is infinite.

The Avatamsaka sutra
Francis H. Cook: Hua-Yen Buddhism: The jewel net of Indra, 1977

So, it might have been the importance of reflections on our symbol that led me down this medium, as there’s probably no better way to get those calculated for you :), or maybe I just got psyched by the Yo Frankie! demo showcasing blender‘s abilities (albeit in the completely different field of real time 3d), but I was sure I wanted to take this on with blender from pretty early on in the project.

What follows is a quick and not too technical overview of how the net was made.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments 7 Comments »

Neverball isn’t a new game, but has for a long time been one of the cutest open source games one could possibly have on a desktop computer.

Well, on Feb 2 2009 version 1.5.0 came out, bringing the game’s development out of a long hiatus. The new version sports a huge list of changes, which bring the game to a whole new level of “polished” production-wise.

Medium Set: Level 8

For those that don’t really know what I’m talking about, Neverball is a 3d platform game, where you roll a ball to collect coins by tilting the platforms it’s on. Along with it comes a mini golf game based on the same engine, called Neverputt. Its attractive and simple design and simple object physics make it a game everyone, regardless of age, operating system or processing power can enjoy (well, almost). In some way you’re lucky, since it’s probably good timing to be checking it out for the first time.  :)

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments 1 Comment »

The Qwerty Admin Panel Theme is a plugin for WordPress 2.7 (tested up to 2.8) that styles the admin panel and login screen for all users, allowing you to configure groups of colors through an options page, and css through a stylesheet. Also, it allows you to swap the wordpress logos with your own logo images, makes your favicon appear in the admin pages and allows you to hide certain parts of the admin interface to end users.

Your logo can appear on the login screen

It can be useful in helping to maintain your design, color schemes and branding on multi-author blogs and sites with user-contributed content, adding a nice touch to sites developed for clients, or simply personalizing your blog’s administration, look and feel.
Read the rest of this entry »

Comments 395 Comments »

How to build a media library

media library hierarchy diagramThis is the fourth article of the series. In the previous ones we ‘ve covered how information is stored in digital audio files, as well as what tagging software can do to manipulate that information.

In this chapter we will examine the decisions involved in making a media library, such as what file and folder structure to use, how the information contained in tags will be formatted and which tags will have to be complete to consider files ready for the library.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments 4 Comments »

Things taggers do

In the previous article of the series we discussed the structure and limitations of digital music formats, and the media they’re usually stored in.

In this part we will look at the basic capabilities of tagging software such as group tagging, internet database lookup and file/folder stucture manipulation, and 10 things to watch for when choosing a tagger. This should establish a good guideline for choosing the tagger that works for you, as well as give you a clear idea on how to use any tagger efficiently.
Read the rest of this entry »

Comments No Comments »

A brief overview of where and how things are stored

In the previous article in this series we have explored why having a digital music library with a consistent structure could be something you like. In this one we examine some technical aspects of storing digital music, namely a few of the file formats it can be stored in, how meta-information is stored and some basics on text encodings and file systems.

This should be able to help you decide which formats and options are best suited for you, as well as avoid a few common pitfalls when deciding on your tagger’s configuration. Read the rest of this entry »

Comments 3 Comments »

Why: An introduction to the benefits of organizing your digital music into a media library

Maintaining a library of hand-sorted categories (such as “Alternative” or “Jazz”) may be applicable to a small, 20GB collection (of 300 albums or so), but when things go up in volume (as in a 200GB hard-disk-ful of music) you just realize that browsing your music through the folder structure, let alone categorizing by hand, would just be too time consuming and inefficient. After all, you’re probably using a computer to browse through your music and those devices are made to help out with such things :).

Quod Libet Screenshot

This is the first of a series of articles on building a music library that is suitable for browsing through various library-capable audio players (Such as Winamp, Quod Libet, Rhythmbox, iTunes and a lot more) and consistent, thus capable of having its stucture manipulated with scripts. In this introductory part we cover some of the reasons to want a music library and the work involved. Read the rest of this entry »

Comments 5 Comments »

Of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? (2007)

I am passing through a brief infatuation period with the 2007 album of Of MontrealHissing Fauna, are you the Destroyer?“, which (well, personally) I find to be one of the year’s most interesting releases.

The album was released in January 23, 2007, written, performed, and recorded by Kevin Barnes, with assistance from friends and family: James Huggins, Heather McIntosh and Nina Twin and Alabee Blonde (Barnes’ wife and daughter respectively). It could be generally considered indie-pop or indie-rock, with a lot of psychedelic influences, which kinda make sense if you listen to Of Montreal’s previous work.
Read the rest of this entry »

Comments No Comments »

On Tuesday, June 5, I will be performing live in cafe Dionysos, in Lixouri, Kefalonia.

My brand new poster!

It’s been about 4 or 5 years I haven’t done that, and I’m quite looking forward to it. It’ll probably be just me with a classical and a borrowed 12-string guitar (being thus fully prepared for the case someone will like to jam in at some point). The show should start at 11:00.

This is the poster I made for the occasion

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments 2 Comments »