Sunday, August 14, 2011

Script Tweaks and the Return of Falling Blocks

Last week was awesome. Lots of cool stuff got done with web apps, Blender development, and a touch of Java. Let's get right to it, shall we?

Game PD: JSON and Updating the Updater
A couple of unused columns got dropped out of Game PD's database. This required a little bit of SQL and a couple of small changes to the updater script. Brand new decorators now do some argument checking against data class methods. It was great. Decorators are a fun Python feature to revisit. There's a handy tutorial that helped me relearn the weird bits.  This exercise also turns out to be a nice way to practice writing secure code.

On the web app side of things, Game PD's front end completed the switch from a table to div layout. The data feed stopped passing PHP arrays and started passing in JSON data. This will send the old game table template into retirement. Furthermore, it mostly dialed back PHP's role to that of a data provider. The layout still needs work but it's nothing that can't be resolved with some CSS tweaks.

Blender Addons: Ani-Mangler and Materials
Ani-mangler got a small update. It now offers a convenient way to name shape keys as they're made. You now can generate shape keys auto-named “subtle” for small deformations or “violent” if you decide to really crank the settings on it.

In other Blender news, API options for messing with materials caught my attention. The devs made it easy to climb the learning curve but I'm not ready to put out anything yet.  Hopefully, there will be more on that next week.

Java: Falling Blocks Comes to Github
Falling Blocks is a Tetris clone I wrote some years ago as support material for a professor's game programming class. It was the third of three games that showed how easy it can be to develop games in Java. Aside from sound issues, it still runs pretty well. It's now available to you via my Github account. It's a proud part of my history and I hope you like it.

It was a busy and productive week but there is still much to do on all fronts. As always, I'll keep you readers posted on new developments.

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