Smile Simulator

Smile SimulatorSmile Simulator is a game that is partly a metaphor and partly a whimsical challenge with awkward controls. The game's proof-of-concept was implemented as part of a Capstone Project while participating in the Immersion Program at GLITCH. It was made with Unity during a development cycle that somewhat resembles a 24-hour Game Jam. The game-player's avatar tries to appear happy but obviously suffers internally.

Commodore 64 books in Minneapolis

Commodore 64 books in MinneapolisIf you are interested in Commodore 64 or Commodore 128 literature and live near Minneapolis, the Hennepin County Library has several of these books and magazines available. A complete list can be found below.

Lou Sander's Gold Mine

Lou Sander's Gold MineThere used to be a periodical column in the 80's called Gold Mine that contained tips and cheats for Commodore 64 computer games. The column appeared in Commodore Magazine and later continued in RUN magazine. A compilation of this sort of gold makes up the bulk of the book titled Lou Sander's Gold Mine: Game Tips for Commodore Users by Louis Sander. This book is available from the Hennepin County Library in Minneapolis where you can also find some of those original magazines.

Unity Game Development Blueprints

Unity Game Development BlueprintsIt has been a while since my previous book Giveaway, such that I figured it is again time to organize another one. Last month an interesting book was published titled Unity Game Development Blueprints, written by John P. Doran, who is an experienced game designer, instructor and an established book author on game development (involving UDK and now Unity). In today’s post I share some thoughts on this new Unity book that Packt Publishing sent my way, and I’ll discuss how you could win a free e-copy of the book for yourself!

Unity Editor Tool to Convert Line Endings

Unity Editor Menu to Convert Line EndingsIt sometimes happens that you run into "inconsistent line ending" warnings when using the Unity Editor. For example, this can happen when importing 3rd-party code from a package in the Unity Asset Store, when working on a project using both Windows and Mac machines, or when using multiple text editors or IDEs to write scripts (such as Microsoft Visual Studio and Unity MonoDevelop). The current post provides a C# script that implements menu-item tools in the Unity Editor to help fix these sorts of issues by applying your preferred end-of-line style consistently to all scripts, shaders and similar text files in the project.

Getting Started with Unity

Getting Started with UnityJust a few weeks ago, the book titled Getting Started with Unity was published, which is written by Dr. Patrick Felicia from Ireland at the Waterford Institute of Technology. I recently set aside some time to read through the book in more detail and organized a Giveaway of the book with Packt Publishing.

In this post I discuss my impressions of the book, which are overall pretty good. I shall first start with the proverbial “bad news” (a minor gripe), followed by the “good news” that far outweighs the rest. Finally, I provide the details of the giveaway. Hurry and you could be one of the lucky readers to win a free e-copy of the book!

Ogmo Editor Hotkeys and Shortcuts

OGMO Editor HotkeysThe Ogmo Editor, developed by Matt Thorson, is an open-source program that can be used as a generic level-editor when designing 2D games. The level data can be saved in various XML formats that can subsequently be processed by code in a game engine. While experimenting with the application, initially it was not obvious to me how one is supposed to move the Camera box in the level editor, and a web search didn’t find much documentation. So, I looked at the code (ah, the wonder of open-source software) and found the solution: the user must hold down the C-key while clicking in the main editing window (well, I would never have guessed that). Now I have a list of the hotkeys/keyboard-shortcuts that may be useful to others also, which can be found below.

Constellation Boundaries for Sky in Google Earth

Google Sky with IAU Constellation BoundariesIn the year 1930 the International Astronomical Union (IAU) formalized the way that the night sky can be divided into various regions by defining boundaries for 88 constellations, which form a patchwork of neighboring areas covering the entire sky. To view the constellation regions while exploring stars and galaxies through Sky in Google Earth, download the KML file (below) and open it with Google Earth. The constellation names are then listed under Places where one can also find convenient links to information on the web about each constellation, such as to Wikipedia, pronunciation audio by Sky & Telescope, downloadable PDF constellation maps, and to Ian Ridpath’s Star Tales.

SETI@home NTPCkr Candidates for Sky in Google Earth

Google Sky with SETI@home NTPCkr CandidatesEvery once in a while the SETI@home team updates their list of top candidates for persistent extraterrestrial signals. I thought it might be nice to show these candidates over the Sky in Google Earth (you know, the view where you explore stars and galaxies in outer space), similar to the way I previously illustrated the candidate pixels in an online Google Sky map (see this earlier blog post for the history). As a result, the visualizations of NTPCkr candidates can now also be downloaded as plug-ins for Sky in Google Earth – refer to the list of links at the end of this post. Once downloaded, open the KML file with Google Earth and double-click on any of the candidates listed under “Temporary Places”

Friday the 13th – Again?

Probabilities of daysDid you know that “Friday the 13th” occurs very frequently? In fact, it is the most common combination of the day-of-the-week and day-of-the-month on our modern-day Gregorian calendar! However, one can say the same for any one of 28 combinations that are equally “most” likely to occur, such as “Sunday the 1st”, “Monday the 2nd”, “Tuesday the 3rd”, “Wednesday the 4th”, and so on. It turns out that all of these common 28 combinations occur in the same month that we find a “Friday the 13th”.

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