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Profiled in Computer Arts Projects

Last month’s issue of Computer Arts Projects (#144) included a full page feature about Particles, an Android app I wrote based on an early Alchemy experiment, as part of a piece on “inspirational projects”. I’m really happy with the job they did describing the development process and origin of the app. The imagery used was also stunning. Give it a skim if you’re close to a news stand, it’s a fantastic issue.

I was also featured in a more personal Q&A piece asking industry people “what do you with there was an app for?”.

Particles article



New again.

It felt like the perfect time to refresh the blog and chronicle a new direction my work/play has taken. Over the past few months, I’ve been in the process of expanding my skill set to include the newer development platforms including iOS, Android, HTML5, and Windows Phone. Much like the current technology climate, my bag-of-tools is undergoing the largest retooling in years, and that experience has been extremely enjoyable, particularly when playing with the new HTML5 API’s. Javascript is about to undergo its third renaissance and will finally fill the gapping holes in browsers that Flash has diligently filled for the last decade.

Of course that’s not to say the death of Flash is imminent. Far from it. The latest additions to the Player are very exciting, particularly hardware 3D access which will reinforce Flash’s dominance in browser based gaming. Also given how much faster and nimble Adobe is than the W3C and browser vendors at rolling out technology, Flash will patch future browser holes and likely shape the next HTML standard.

These are exciting times to be an interactive developer. Our industry is being reshaped before our eyes and the advancements are coming rapidly. I expect to participate fully with experiments and projects that explore the new landscape. Here are some personal projects I’ve worked on in the last few months.

jsTerm – JS Telnet terminal emulation done using Canvas2d and WebSockets (node.js on the server side).

BitmapData.js – JS implementation of the AS3 BitmapData class done using Canvas2d.

Particles – Java and C++ interactive 3D particle emitter for Android done using Android NDK.

Javascript demo competitions

I’ll admit to being one of those people that, until recently, considered Javascript to be substandard and barely a “real” programming language. My opinion began to shift with the rapid advancement of JS engines like V8 and introduction of powerful HTML5 API’s like Canvas and WebGL. I find myself playing more and more in JS and utilizing my Java/AS knowledge to build experiments. Recently, there has been quite a bit of buzz surrounding Javascript size competitions like JS1k and 10K Apart. JS1k alone has hundreds of quality entries. Of course the cynical Flash developer in me wants play down the excitement of these competitions. After all, very similar results have been produced in even stricter Flash contests for years (look at what @piXelero did in just 140 characters). But we’re talking about frickin Javascript here, and the new plugin-less API’s really are something to get excited about, so count me in.

JS1k only allows one entry, so I had to omit earlier attempts. The first was a Roguelike game that I couldn’t compress enough (best result was 1.35k). The second attempt was a 3D Lorenz attractor which evolved into my actual submission, a 3D twisty Sierpinski Gasket. I used several hacks to fit the entry under 1k, but most of the compression was done in Google’s Closure Compiler.

Update: I’ve implemented the gasket in WebGL as an experiment. The result is amazing, with a cloud of over 1 million points (10 iterations) and a much better FPS.

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