SpindleyQ's blog

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The Internet Archive DOSBox File Browser

So, you're messing around at the Internet Archive, and suddenly you find you've made a sweet Jetpack level, or an excellent Klik & Play game. You're super proud! You want to save it for posterity, or share it with the world!

But, you can't. It's saved _somehow_ on your hard drive so that you can keep messing with it when you visit the page again, but you don't have any way of accessing it!

UNTIL NOW.

Introducing the Internet Archive DOSBox File Browser!

Simply drag the following link up to your bookmarks bar: File Browser

Then, when using your favourite Internet Archive DOSBox-emulated program, click the "File Browser" bookmarklet to show a pop-up at the top of the page that allows you to easily traverse the DOS filesystem. Clicking on a file will cause your browser to bring up a download dialog to save it! (Right-click-and-save-as doesn't currently work.)

Possible future enhancements:

  • Upload files INTO the DOSBox filesystem
  • Inline text file / image / WAV viewer
  • Download entire directories as ZIP files
  • Let me know what else would be cool??

* Update: Now hosted on the Internet Archive itself!

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Some things

Sup gang! Just thought I should post about a couple of things.

FIRSTWISE: I did an interview about this wonderful community! Perhaps you would like to read it?

SECONDWAYS: I have done away with the star rating system for games. I hope most of you don't think it's a big deal. I really only ever meant it to be used as a sorting mechanism, back for the Pirate Kart II, rather than having it be a way of giving feedback in and of itself. If you like a game, or have some criticism to offer, you should leave a comment! Communication with your peers in a supportive community is waaaaay better than watching anonymous numbers going up and down; let's do more of the first thing, and less of the second. High fives? HIGH FIVES.

THIRDWHISTLE: Soooo how are things going for you guys? Anything about the site / community that's bugging you? Any way in which things might be cooler? Just kind of want to check in.

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MarMOTS Vision #4 Achieved!

OH HELL YES

Lots of good stuff in this latest update! Try it out!

  1. Project support! This is an important step to keeping all of the drawings for a particular game together.
  2. ANSI animation editing! You can now create a second type of drawing, called a "sprite", which is a small animation. It's still a bit rough, but it's already buckets of fun.
  3. Smiley faces! Because they work with SyncTERM, and I'm long past caring whether this stuff works with clients that aren't SyncTERM.
  4. Some small usability improvements in the drawing selection lobby.
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Oh No, More MarMOTS!

Work continues!

When I last made a MarMOTS post, I was working on starting to make my scripting language do useful stuff. Well, it quickly became apparent that in order to make my scripting language do anything interesting, I had to have entities on the screen to refer to. So I've got project support working now, and am currently building an ANSI sprite animation editor! This is going to be the biggest and coolest addition to MarMOTS in almost two years. I'm hoping to get something out next week, but we'll see.

On the scripting front, I have written a simple VM for the scripts to run on, and verified that, yes, my scripts actually run and do what they're supposed to. One of the interesting features of my scripting language is that it is intended to be LIVE, all of the time. The idea is that you can edit a script that is in the middle of running and the program will actually continue to function correctly, incorporating your changes immediately. One way that I'm able to do this is by stealing the notion of failed calculations from an obscure language called Icon. (Actually, reading that now, I may want to steal more ideas from it :) Basically, if you're editing a script and have a logic bug or even a syntax error, no big deal -- it's just a failed calculation, it gets logged, and your program continues to run. No game-killing exceptions, ever. I believe that it's much better for a designer to be able to see a failure happen, and have as much information as possible about the actual problem as it occurs during play, than to be told "the computer can see this will never work! You aren't allowed to run this program."

I have ambitions.

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MarMOTS update

So now that Game Maker is $40 and Construct 2 will eventually be $65, I've found myself turning back to MarMOTS and wondering what it would take to get it into shape as a game-making tool.

My first focus has been getting my scripting language / editor into shape. I lump the two together because the scripting language, while textual, is never parsed from free text; instead, the user is edits the source tree directly using a friendly structured editor, with lots of autocomplete help, and in which it is literally impossible to forget a semicolon or a closing parenthesis. For power users, it should be as fast or faster to type in programs with this editor than with a text editor, and yet newbies will still be able to discover all of their options in a nicely readable self-describing English syntax.

So over the past couple of weeks I have torn apart my previous attempt at this language and rebuilt it. I've arrived at the point where I can type in any programs I like, and add features to the language without much effort. The UI is still pretty painful to use at this point, but that's mostly because I haven't focussed on improving the interaction at all besides making sure auto-complete is usable.

I was thinking I should maybe do like a screencast or something, but the scripts don't DO anything yet. I'm thinking that the next step will be to start integrating the scripting language with ANSI layouts that I draw in MarMOTS. I'm pretty excited to start hacking on that stuff! You should be too.

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KlikPunk v1.1

So, I've been noodling some more on KlikPunk in my off hours, and good news! It's time for another release!

(If you've previously installed KlikPunk v1.0, you'll need to uninstall it manually to proceed, sorry. Also, none of your stages will work with this version, because I switched from XML to JSON as the file format, and I'm not aware of anyone actually using this for anything. If anyone cares, I'll write a converter.)

This release has many usability improvements, such as:

  1. Panning!
  2. Comfortable scrolling and zooming speeds!
  3. A "zoom to 100%" button!
  4. The save icon is no longer anywhere near the "close this app without asking" button!
  5. Icons are a fixed height!
  6. You can tell where 0,0 is!
  7. Simple, extensible JSON as an output format!
  8. The source is on GitHub so you can fix my bugs for me!

Give it a try! Let me know what else I could do to make it more useful!

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Project updates

  1. MarMOTS! I've just pushed an update to the server that keeps the chat logs around after everyone leaves the room. In fact, now, for the first time, it even keeps the chat logs around even after I update the server. I missed those chatlogs, a lot. Probably next I'm going to make some tweaks to not have every drawing in memory all the time.
  2. Kliffy! This is the engine I built to build Richard and Larry Build A Time Machine, and I guess it has a webpage now and some source code released. Look, if you're interested!
  3. KlikPunk! Uhh no news on that front but I did discover that Gleed2D does like most of what I wanted to do, I think? It does have the annoying quality that it squishes graphics so that the size is a multiple of 256, which is just baffling really.

I've also been doing some non-gamey stuff (a Boxee app that launches games and has a not-entirely-stupid way of building the list, an experiment with Twilio's SMS-sending capabilities to bug me about stuff) but I guess I don't have as much to say about it as I thought?

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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH THE HATWORLD: WORLD OF HATS DESIGN DOCUMENT

If you delve back deep enough into the history of the site, before the Klik of the Month Klub was conceived of, before we were even sure what the fuck a glorious trainwreck was, you will discover the pre-announcement in 2007 of a game called "Hatworld: World of Hats". Hatworld: World of Hats was, sadly, never made; no code was ever written, no art assets ever drawn besides the animated gif, no design document ever created.

Well, wait. Actually, we did write a design document. Sort of.

You see, Six had intended the post as just a silly gag; he had no concrete ideas about what Hatworld: World of Hats would be, and no intention of actually making it, really. But I immediately fell in love with this mythical game, and I wanted desperately for it to exist so that I could play it. Every few months, I would post somewhere about it, just to remind everyone that I had not forgotten and that I expected Six to make the game one day. I even wrote a theme song.

Finally, in late 2009, I decided that I needed to get directly involved. Google Wave was out, and it seemed the perfect tool to do some hardcore collaboratin'. And so I convinced Six to flesh out his ideas with me for what Hatworld: World of Hats would be, and together, we would build it, and it would be glorious.

Well, we never built it, but it's glorious anyway. Please enjoy HATWORLD BRAINPOOPING WAVE: The Official Hatworld: World of Hats Design Document. Converted to a publicly-viewable Google Doc because who knows when they're going to shut Google Wave down.

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KlikPunk v1.0

klikpunk_ss.png

So, I've finally reached the point where my FlashPunk tinkering may be of interest/use to others!

KlikPunk is a tool for quickly composing "scenes" for games. You simply drag graphics from the bin at the left to the stage in the middle, arrange them as you please, and click the save icon to store a friendly XML file, ready for importing directly into your game.

To ease the process of creation, the bin full of graphics at the left-hand side of the screen is constantly updated with whatever you have dumped into the directory (and subdirectories) where the scene is to be saved. No irritating import step! Just save your graphics and use 'em.

If you're interested in using this, feel free to let me know what other features you might like to see. Custom properties I think are next on my list, so you could specify, eg, how things move, if they should collide, etc.

Controls:
Tab - show/hide overlays
PgUp / PgDn - move selected graphic forward / back
Arrow keys - nudge selected graphic 1 pixel
Scroll wheel - scroll sidebar bin / zoom in or out

It's an Adobe AIR app, so you may need to grab the AIR runtime to install and run it.

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Techno Kitten Colossal Cave Adventure (Epilepsy Warning)

Have you ever really seen a rainbow?
Have you ever really touched the blue, blue sky?

A hack of the Gargoyle interpreter to add a "Techno Kitten" mode. I've bundled up just the Frotz interpreter alongside the Z-machine port of Colossal Cave Adventure.

You should just be able to drop libgarglk.dll and technokitten.mp3 in with any of Gargoyle's interpreter binaries, and add "technokitten 1" to garglk.ini, to enable Techno Kitten Text Adventure mode with basically any piece of interactive fiction.

I decided to upload it now because I'm going to be without high speed internet for a while. Have a fun Klik of the Month and a merry Klikmas if I don't see you then!

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