Sunday, February 11, 2007


Hey folks. I've been down with the Flu, but I'm getting back in the saddle.

Saturday, a week ago, I stayed up late agonizing about a color module for Cixar Javascript. The new color module builds on the refinement of the Mootools color module and the Cixar Javascript type system. The new Color type provides accessors and mutators for HSL and RGB components and can parse hex strings in both modes. The color also tracks opacity. Under the hood, the Color instance is modal, converting its internal components array to arbitrary modes, radices, and cardinalities. For example, when you parse a six character RGB string, the color implicitly switches to base 256 with values in [0, 256) in RGB mode. When you set its lightness to .5, the color implicitly normalizes its components to HSL mode with values in [0, 1]. When you get the RGB string out, it actually doesn't do a conversion, but makes a copy of the color and converts that to RGB 256 mode so that you don't get floating point propagation error. The color modules is here. I still should port the "invert" function and find a way of consistently calculating "strobes" and "complements", but first I need to beat the definitions out of an art major (easy), but first I need to find a math major who knows some math (hard). All in all, this was a nice diversion, but I don't know whether I'll ever use it and I certainly stayed up too late working on it and fell ill.

I've continued my perusal of Javascript libraries. I started looking into uses for the new canvas tag that debuted in Safari and made its way into Opera and Firefox. Internet Explorer doesn't support the standard, but I found an open source library that Google has contributed to the community called excanvas that transparently causes canvas tags to mostly work in IE. The library performs some VML voodoo and provides an interface consistent with the canvas standard. The interface supports rotation, translation, and turtle drawing, but does not support gradients. I starting paring out pieces of the implementation into a matrix module for Cixar Javascript that provides a Matrix type with Google's matrix multiplication written elegantly and, alas, sub-optimally. Before I pare it out in favor of fast native loops, here's the pretty version:

return matrix.Matrix(
 each(range(value.getWidth()), function (x) {
  return each(range(other.getHeight()), function (y) {
   return sum(each(range(value.getWidth()), function (a) {
    return value[x][a] * otherValue[a][y];

Tale News

I'm redrawing the rider graphic for the sprite. This is the character sprite that will appear on maps, in battle mode, and close up in your inventory or equipment viewer. Additionally, the sprite will provide a small portrait for chats and status messages about your character. The portrait will have interchangeable faces to reflect your mood and also serves as an emoticon. Also, the primary goal in the redraw was to provide male and female variations of the character. So far, I've made the two figures, three arm positions each (outward, bent, and down for holding various armaments), three head shapes, several faces, many hair styles including "lemming", "block", and "dreads", and four kinds of ears. I've also outlined some clothes. Until the whole ensemble is ready, here are some samples for each of the facial expressions:

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