A couple weeks ago I started writing a game and i-can-management is the directory I made for the project so that’ll be the codename for now. I’m going to write these updates to journal the process of making this game. As I’m going through this process alone, you’ll see all aspects of the game development process as I go through them. That means some weeks may be art heavy, while others game rules, or maybe engine refactoring. I also want to give a glance how I’m feeling about the project and rules I make for myself.
Speaking of rules, those are going to be a central theme on how I actually keep this project moving forward.
- Optimize only when necessary. This seems obvious, but folks define necessary differently. 60 frames per second with 750×750 tiles on the screen is my current benchmark for whether I need to optimize. I’ll be adding numbers for load times and other aspects once they grow beyond a size that feels comfortable.
- Abstractions are expensive, use them sparingly.This is something I learned from a Jonathan Blow talk I mention in my previous post. Abstractions can increase or remove flexibility. On one hand reusing components may allow more rapid iteration. On the other hand it may take considerable effort to make systems communicate that weren’t designed to pass messages.I’m making it clear in each effort whether I’m in exploration mode so I work mostly with just 1 function, or if I’m in architect mode where I’m trying to make the next feature a little easier to implement. This may mean 1000 line functions and lots of global like use for a while until I understand how the data will be used. Or it may mean abstracting a concept like the camera to a struct because the data is always used together.
- Try the easier to implement answer before trying the better answer.I have two goals with this. First, it means I get to start trying stuff faster so I know if I want to pursue it or if I’m kinda off on the idea. Maybe this first implementation will show some other subsystem needs features first so I decide to delay the more correct answer. So in short quicker to test and expose unexpected requirements.The other goal is to explore building games in a more holistic way. Knowing a quick and dirty way to implement something may help when trying to get an idea thrown together really quick. Then knowing how to evolve that code into a better long term solution means next games or ideas that cross pollinate are faster to compose because the underlying concepts are better known.
The last couple weeks have been an exploration of OpenGL via glium the library I’m using to access OpenGL from Rust as well as abstract away the window creation. I’d only ever ran the example before this dive into building a game. From what I remember of doing this in C++ the abstraction it provides for the window creation and interaction, using the glutin library is pretty great. I was able to create a window of whatever size, hook up keyboard and mouse events, and render to the screen pretty fast after going through the tutorial in the glium book.
This brings me to one of the first frustrating points in this project. So many things are focused on 3d these days that finding resources for 2d rendering is harder. If you find them, they are for old versions of OpenGL or use libraries to handle much of the tile rendering. I was hoping to find an article like “I built a 2d tile engine that is pretty fast and these are the techniques I used!” but no such luck. OpenGL guides go immediately into 3d space after getting past basic polygons. But it just means I get to explore more which is probably a good thing.
I already had a deterministic map generator built to use as the source of the tiles on the screen. So, I copy and pasted some of the matrices from the glium book and then tweak the numbers I was using for my tiles until they show up on the screen and looked ok. From here I was pretty stoked. I mean if I have 25×40 tiles on the screen what more could someone ask for. I didn’t know how to make the triangle strips work well for the tiles to be drawn all at once, so I drew each tile to the screen separately, calculating everything on every frame.
I started to add numbers here and there to see how to adjust the camera in different directions. I didn’t understand the math I was working with yet so I was mostly treating it like a black box and I would add or multiply numbers and recompile to see if it did anything. I quickly realized I needed it to be more dynamic so I added detection for the mouse scrolling. Since I’m on my macbook most of the time I’m doing development I can scroll vertically as well as horizontally, making a natural panning feeling.
I noticed that my rendering had a few quirks, and I didn’t understand any of the math that was being used, so I went seeking more sources of information on how these transforms work. At first I was directed to the OpenGL transformations page which set me on the right path, including a primer on the linear algebra I needed. Unfortunately, it quickly turned toward 3d graphics and I didn’t quite understand how to apply it to my use case. In looking for more resources I found Solarium Programmers’ OpenGL 101 page which took some more time with orthographic projects, what I wanted for my 2d game.
Over a few sessions I rewrote all the math to use a coordinate system I understood. This was greatly satisfying, but if I hadn’t started with ignoring the math, I wouldn’t have had a testbed to see if I actually understood the math. A good lesson to remember, if you can ignore a detail for a bit and keep going, prioritize getting something working, then transforming it into something you understand more thoroughly.
I have more I learned in the last week, but this post is getting quite long. I hope to write a post this week about changing from drawing individual tiles to using a single triangle strip for the whole map.
In the coming week my goal is to have mouse clicks interacting with the map working. This involves figuring out what tile the mouse has clicked which I’ve learned isn’t trivial. In parallel I’ll be developing the first set of tiles using Pyxel Edit and hopefully integrating them into the game. Then my map will become richer than just some flat colored tiles.
Here is a screenshot of the game so far for posterity’s sake. It is showing 750×750 tiles with deterministic weighted distribution between grass, water, and dirt::
In the last week, we landed 68 PRs in the Servo organization’s repositories.Planning and Status
Our overall roadmap is available online and now includes the initial Q3 plans. From now on, we plan to include the quarterly plan with a high-level breakdown in the roadmap page.
This week’s status updates are here.
Special thanks to canaltinova for their work on implementing the matrix transition algorithms for CSS3 transform animation. This allows (both 2D and 3D) rotate(), perspective() and matrix() functions to be interpolated, as well as interpolations between arbitrary transformations, though the last bit is yet to be implemented. In the process of implementation, we had to deal with many spec bugs, as well as implementation bugs in other browsers, which complicated things immensely – it’s very hard to tell if your code has a mistake or if the spec itself is wrong in complicated algorithms like these. Great work, canaltinova!Notable Additions
- glennw added support for scrollbars
- canaltinova implemented the matrix decomposition/interpolation algorithm
- nox landed a rustup to the 9/14 rustc nightly
- ejpbruel added a websocket server for use in the remote debugging protocol
- creativcoder implemented the postMessage() API for ServiceWorkers
- ConnorGBrewster made Servo recycle session entries when reloading
- mrobinson added support for transforming rounded rectangles
- glennw improved webrender startup times by making shaders compile lazily
- canaltinova fixed a bug where we don’t normalize the axis of rotate() CSS transforms
- peterjoel added the DOMMatrix and DOMMatrixReadOnly interfaces
- Ms2ger corrected an unsound optimization in event dispatch
- tizianasellitto made DOMTokenList iterable
- aneeshusa excised SubpageId from the codebase, using PipelineId instead
- gilbertw1 made the HTTP authentication cache use origins intead of full URLs
- jmr0 fixed the event suppression logic for pages that have navigated
- zakorgy updated some WebBluetooth APIs to match new specification changes
Interested in helping build a web browser? Take a look at our curated list of issues that are good for new contributors!Screenshot
Some screencasts of matrix interpolation at work:
This one shows all the basic transformations together (running a tweaked version of this page. The 3d rotate, perspective, and matrix transformation were enabled by the recent change.
Servo’s new scrollbars!
Mozilla will patch zero-day Firefox bug to fiddle man-in-the-middle diddle
Mozilla will patch a flaw in its Firefox browser that could allow well-resourced attackers to launch man-in-the-middle impersonation attacks that also affects the Tor anonymity network. The flaw was first noticed by researchers describing the attacks ...
Busy week without much things done for bugs. W3C is heading to Lisbon for the TPAC, so tune of the week: Amalia Rodrigues. I'll be there in spirit.Webcompat Life
Progress this week:326 open issues ---------------------- needsinfo 12 needsdiagnosis 106 needscontact 8 contactready 28 sitewait 158 ----------------------
You are welcome to participate
- 21 lines for the new devtools debugger
- A lot of administrative tasks this last week: Job interviews for the Web Compatibility Engineer position, Meeting with a Yahoo! Japan about Yahoo! homepage Web Compatibility issue, account transition for work and catching up with internal video announcements. It doesn't feel productive but they are necessary and sometimes very useful.
(a selection of some of the bugs worked on this week).
- yet another appearance: none implemented in Blink. This time for meter.
- Document how to write tests on webcompat.com using test fixtures.
- ToWrite: Amazon prefetching resources with <object> for Firefox only.
Google and Mozilla Block Access to 'The Pirate Bay'; TPB is Run by FBI to Catch ... - University Herald
Google and Mozilla Block Access to 'The Pirate Bay'; TPB is Run by FBI to Catch ...
PC Mag reported that Google and Mozilla are denying users from access to "The Pirate Bay" download pages. When downloading an actual torrent, users are met with warning messages. For Chrome, "The site ahead contains harmful programs" and Firefox ...
en meer »Google Nieuws
The TFSA is a savings account for Canadians that was introduced in 2009.
As a quick check I wanted to see how much or little my TFSA had changed against what it should be. That meant a double check of how much room I had in the TFSA each year. So this is a quick cacluation the theoretical case: that you are able to invest the maximum amount each year, at the beginning of the year and get 5% return (after fees) on that.Year Maximum Total invested Compounded 2009$5,000.00$5,000.00$5,250.00 2010$5,000.00$10,000.00$10,762.50 2011$5,000.00$15,000.00$16,550.63 2012$5,000.00$20,000.00$22,628.16 2013$5,500.00$25,500.00$29,534.56 2014$5,500.00$31,000.00$36,786.29 2015$10,000.00$41,000.00$49,125.61 2016$5,500.00$46,500.00$57,356.89
Which always raises the question for me of what is a reasonable rate to calculate at these days. It always used to be 10%, but that's very hard to get these days. Since 2006 the annualized return on the S&P 500 is 5.158% for example. Perhaps 5% represents too conversative a number.
I don’t understand. CyanogenMod 13 introduced new Weather widget and lock screen support. Great! Unfortunately, the widget requires specific providers for weather services and CM does not provide any in the default installation. There exists Weather Underground provider, which works, but only other provider I found (Yahoo! Weather provider) does not work with my CM without Google Play!.
I would a way prefer OpenWeatherMap provider, but although CyanogenMod has the GitHub repository for one , but no APK anywhere (and certainly not one for F-Droid). Fortunately, I have found a blogpost which describes how simple it is build the APK from the given code. Unfortunately, author did not provide APK on his site. I am not sure, whether there is not some hook, but here is mine.
Back in February 2016, I started my journey as a professional game developer. I joined Sparkypants to work on the backend for Dropzone. This was about 7 months ago at time of writing. I didn’t enter the game development world in the standard ways. I wasn’t at one of the various schools with game dev programs, I didn’t intern at a studio, I haven’t spent much of my personal development time building my own indie games. I had on the other hand, spent years building backend services, writing dev tools, competing in AI competitions, and building a slew of half finished open source projects. In short, I was not a game developer when I started.
My stark contrast in background works to my advantage in many parts of my job. Most of our engineers haven’t worked on backend services and haven’t needed to scale that sort of infrastructure. My lead and friend Johannes has been instrumental in many of my successes so far in the company. He has background in backend development as well as game development and has often been a translator and guide to me as I learn what being a game developer means.
At first, I assumed my contrast would work itself out naturally and I’d just become a game developer by osmosis. If I am surrounded by folks doing this and I’m actively developing a game, I will become a game developer. But that presupposes success, which was only coming to me in limited amounts. The other conclusion would be leaving game development because I wasn’t compatible with it, something I’m unwilling to accept at this time.
I shared my concerns around not fitting the culture at Sparkypants with Johannes, as well as some productivity worries. I’ve learned over the years that if I’m feeling problems like this, my boss may be as well. Johannes with his typical wonderful encouraging personality reminded me that there are large aspects of my personality that fit in with the culture, just maybe my development style and conflict resolution needed work and recommended this talk by Jonathan Blow to show me the mental model that is closer to how many of the other developers operate, among some other advice.
That talk by Jonathan Blow spends a fair amount of its time on the topic of optimization. Whether it is using data oriented techniques to make data series processing faster or drawing in a specific way to make the graphics card use less memory or any number of topics, optimization comes up in nearly every game development talk or article at some point. His point though was that we often spend too much time optimizing the wrong things. If you’ve been in computer science for a bit you’ve inevitably heard at least a fragment of the following quote from Donald Knuth, if not you’re in for a treat, this is a good one:
Programmers waste enormous amounts of time thinking about, or worrying about, the speed of noncritical parts of their programs, and these attempts at efficiency actually have a strong negative impact when debugging and maintenance are considered. We should forget about small efficiencies, say about 97% of the time: premature optimization is the root of all evil. Yet we should not pass up our opportunities in that critical 3%.
The bolded text is the part most folks quote, implying the rest. I had heard this, quoted it, and used it as justification for doing or not doing things many times in the past. But, I’d also forgotten it, I’d apply it when it was convenient for me, but not generally to my software development. Blow starts with the more traditional overthinking algorithms and code in general that most bring up when they speak on premature optimization. Then he followed on with the idea that selecting data structures is a form of optimization. That follow on was a segue to point out that any time you are thinking about a problem, you should keep in mind if it is the most important or urgent problems for you to think about.
The end of the day, your job as a game developer is not to optimize for speed or correctness, but to optimize for fun. This means trying a lot of ideas and throwing many of them out. If you spent a lot of time optimizing for a million users of a feature and only some folks in the company use it before you decide to remove it, you’ve wasted a lot of effort. Maybe not completely, since you’ve probably learned during the process, but that effort could have been put into other features or parts of the system that may actually need attention. This shift in thinking has me letting go of details in more cases, spend less time on projects and focusing on “functional” over “correct and scalable.”
The next day after watching that talk and discussing with Johannes, I attended RustConf and saw a series of amazing talks on Rust and programming in general. Of particular note for changing my mental model was Julia Evan’s closing keynote about learning systems programming with Rust. There were so many things that struck me during that talk, but I’ll just focus on the couple that were most relevant.
First and foremost was the humility in the talk. Julia’s self described experience level was “intermediate developer” while having about as many years of experience as I have and I considered myself a more “senior developer.” At many points over the last couple years I’ve wrestled with this, considering myself senior then seeing evidence that I’m not. As more confident person, it is an easy trap for me to fall into. I’m in my first year as a game developer, regardless of other experience I’m a junior game developer at best.
Starting to internalize this humility has resulted in fighting my coworkers less when they bring up topics that I think I have enough knowledge to weigh in on. The more experienced folks at work have decades of building games behind them. I’m not saying my input to these discussions is worthless, I still have a lot to contribute, but I’ve been able to check my ego at the door more easily and collaborate through topics instead of being contrary.
The humility in the talk makes another major concept from it, life long learning, take on a new light. I’ve always been striving for more knowledge in the computer science space, so life long learning isn’t new to me, but like the optimization discussion above there is more nuance to be discovered. Having humility when trying to learn makes the experience so much richer for all parties. Teachers being humble will not over explain a topic and recognize that their way is not the only way. Learners being humble will be more receptive to ideas that don’t fit their current mental model and seek more information about them.
This post has become quite long, so I’ll try to wrap things up and use further blog posts to explore these ideas with more concrete examples. Writing this has been a mechanism for me to understand some of this change in myself as well as help others who may end up in similar shoes.
If this blog post were a tweet, I think it’d be summarized into “Pay attention to the important things, check your ego at the door, and keep learning.” which I’m sure would get me some retweets and stars or hearts or whatever. And if someone else said it, I’d go “of course, yeah folks mess this up all the time!” But, there is so much more nuance in those ideas. I now realize I’m just a very junior game developer with some other sometimes relevant experience, I’ve so much to learn from my peers and am extremely excited to do so.
If you have additional resources that you’d think I or others who read this would find valuable, please comment below or send me at tweet.
Mozilla dicht ernstig Firefox-lek op 20 september
Mozilla zal aanstaande dinsdag 20 september met een beveiligingsupdate komen voor een ernstige kwetsbaarheid waardoor een aanvaller gebruikers die extensies hebben geïnstalleerd met malware kan infecteren. Het beveiligingslek werd gisteren al in ...
en meer »
Common (excluding Website bugs)-specific: (36)
- Fixed: 603933 – outlook 2007 invitation reply wrong sender
- Fixed: 1009894 – Update internal timezone database from version 2014b to version 2015a
- Fixed: 1070491 – Today pane/sidebar: Month and year always “Jan 5555″ on startup
- Fixed: 1070881 – Running xpcshell tests failing because Lightning directory missing from dist/bin/extensions/
- Fixed: 1083374 – Calendar xpcshell and mozmill tests failing after OS X signing changes
- Fixed: 1095119 – Remove Promise.defer usage
- Fixed: 1101175 – Accepting inviations doesn’t work as expected (403 forbidden)
- Fixed: 1110881 – Google login popup gives no context
- Fixed: 1116227 – String shims are defined incorrectly
- Fixed: 1116305 – Lightning 3.3.2 still speaks only English in TB 31.3.
- Fixed: 1116882 – calRecurrenceRule tries to set a non-numeric BYMONTHDAY rule
- Fixed: 1117339 – Thunderbird 24 doesn’t support using Promise as a constructor
- Fixed: 1117340 – Task lists don’t work for calendar entries without a calendar
- Fixed: 1117341 – Outdated client message shown when using obsolete token
- Fixed: 1117540 – useDefault not correctly set if there are no default alarms
- Fixed: 1117541 – Fix and run xpcshell tests for the provider
- Fixed: 1120163 – Warning: Property contained reference to invalid variable
- Fixed: 1120258 – Saving an item in the event dialog fails with MODIFICATION_FAILED if the item has been modified elsewhere
- Fixed: 1120669 – Details button in imipBar is not always reset
- Fixed: 1121156 – Converting to event broken for locales without an alphabet
- Fixed: 1121373 – “Other month” day label in month view have a different color
- Fixed: 1121415 – Replace timezones.sqlite with a non-binary format
- Fixed: 1123088 – Label for calendar alarm preview button should be “play”
- Fixed: 1123207 – Sea Monkey Calendar has disappeared
- Fixed: 1124152 – Move shims from gdataUtils to shim/ subdirectory
- Fixed: 1124154 – Wait for parsing to complete before completing synchronization
- Fixed: 1124640 – Excessive drop-downs and other widths in Lightning’s options – Calendar pane tabs
- Fixed: 1126338 – Cannot create Google event with addItem() with attendees and no organizer
- Fixed: 1127247 – Typo in timezone JSON property
- Fixed: 1128105 – Meeting Accept/Decline buttons not appearing on incoming meeting invitations
- Fixed: 1128258 – Error in attendee invitation dialog
- Fixed: 1128293 – TEST-UNEXPECTED-FAIL | xpcshell-icaljs.ini:calendar/test/unit/test_alarmservice.js | test_addItems – [test_addItems : 12] false == true
- Fixed: 1129094 – [Error: ics-service doesn’t recognize own tzid: floating] [TypeError: aComponent is null] in calTimezoneService.js
- Fixed: 1129857 – Update timezones to 2015a
- Fixed: 1130841 – Fix the TodayLabel color for systemcolors
- Fixed: 1130902 – Notifications are not sent when modifying events
Sunbird will no longer be actively developed by the Calendar team.