Wednesday, July 27, 2005


I remember back when you could see all the major fonts from Arial to Helvetica in one pulldown menu on a 800x600 pixel screen. Those were the days. (of simplicity and easy font choosing)

Monday, July 18, 2005

Electric Sheep - Best. Screensaver. EVER.

It's all your fault, Linden.
That's my story, and I'm sticking to it...

I was just about getting around to actually making some more art recently, playing around in Photoshop like I did in days of old. And then Linden posted this link here.
So I started googleing fractals again, with the end result of doing to my hard disks the very thing you feared - filling them with thousands and thousands of fractal renders. 8 )
Now, I have stumbled upon something truly astounding, whose time has finally come:

Best. Screensaver. EVER.

Screensavers nowadays are both totally unnecessary, and in a golden age of coolness. Modern display technology, for the most part, doesn't need screensavers - even the TVs starting a few years ago have built in display saver graphics (bouncing brand logos, etc).
However, they've evolved into a refined art form of animation and programming.

My previous favorites were the OS X screensavers Fracture and Fluid, which I actually use in combination on my Spiffy Super Upgraded Smurf Machine. I've sung their praises before.
But, I have to admit - for sheer coolness, they can't touch electricsheep. It combines (open source!) flam3 fractal animation with an online render farm approach, and add an interactive element, where you get to vote with the up or down arrow keys for the sheep you like. Those sheep go on to MUTATE and REPRODUCE. As in, the patterns change over time, and the more you vote for a particular "sheep" the longer it survives on the server to reproduce!! You can also cast a negative vote, if you think a pattern is less than attractive.

I'm way, way too tired to properly explain the extra uber cool phenonmenon that is electric sheep, so I'll just cop out and yet again link to them, they explain it so much better than me.

If you have a high speed connection and even a decent amount of power in your system, you MUST try this. It worked for me with no problem whatsoever with a Windows XP Home service pack 2 2.3Ghz Dell with 512 RAM, I have no idea about older systems, or anything with less RAM.

The only not-so-cool thing about the electric sheep screensaver is that the Mac OS X version was really buggy. Things that haven't happened to me in forever started up - Unexpectedly Quitting and reloading the Finder - In short, one unhappy Smurf. But it's open source, so if you have the talent, knowledge, and/or inclination, you could maybe do something about it! Yay, open source!

So I guess my two Dells (shut up, I got the newer one on ebay for 300$) can run electric sheep, and I get to not feel so bad about the Smurf not contributing to the sheep-rendering effort.

So.. well, if only I could stop staring at the frelling thing... I have, like stuff.. to do... Ooo, purty...

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Grim Fandango

"A Epic Tale of Crime and Corruption in the Land of the Dead."
What a good game.

I've always had a soft spot in my heart for these kind of adventure games. I played Myst again recently, and my boyfriend insisted that I try Grim Fandango and Obsidian.

Obsidian is ridiculously hard. I firmly believe that someone had to think in a certain way to solve all the puzzles, and its not quite the way that I think. I got a bunch of them, and most of them I could solve with just a hint to get me started. I think the biggest problem is that they set up a puzzle in such a way that you know its a puzzle or part of a puzzle, but you have no idea what to do to get started, or how it fits in the big picture, or what your name is. You really just know nothing for some of them. For the rest, you know exactly what to do, but the puzzles are very long and complex. Despite the toughness factor, its a very interesting story and fascinating puzzles.

Grim Fandango, on the other hand, is just the right level of hardness with an overabundance of fun. The game is put together with such attention to detail that I was blown away. (The credits have two pages of Quality Assurance Testers) Made in 1997, the graphics aren't something to ooh and ahh over, yet you can't shake a fist at them either. For the tools and computing power they had, they did a very good job. The land of the dead is just as pretty and strange and cool looking as you'd expect. The characters are awesome, and the voice acting, of which there is plenty, is great. The main character, Manny Calavera, always has a witty quip for everything, items, people, stuff you can activate, conversations. Everything has a sort of Mexican feel to it, from the voices to the storyline and the music. Speaking of music, the soundtrack is amazing too, I wish they sold a cd of it. Everything about this game is wonderful. 8 years later, and its still one of the best games I've ever played. Definitely the best adventure game.

I'm tempted to hunt down the team that worked on this and beg them to make another game. (You hear me?? If you still exist, make another game! You are amazing, and godlike in your game making skills!) For the rest of you, if you can track down a copy of this game, I highly recommend it.

Update: OMG, you can download the music. *le faint* Lucas Arts still has a good website up for this (Amazing, considering it's hard to get Maxis to admit that they ever made such a game as Sim Ant), and you can download 3 of the music tracks. *love* Lucas Arts will always have a little spot in my heart now, no matter what they do.

Friday, July 08, 2005


*grin* sorry, just had to share that.