Thursday, December 27

My 'cave' during the last five years

Be warned, this is a sort of a geek story.

This is how my desktop looked like five years ago. I had an Athlon XP 1600+ plugged to a 15" CRT, plus a iron strong neck (if only LCDs had been affordable back then). After many upgrades, that big white box today serves to my father.


I spent the 2005-2006 course in Vienna as exchange student, living in a flat located in Obere Donaustraße. That year, my only companion on the desktop was the tiny 12" PowerBook.


Back in Spain, different flat. This is from the last summer, the very same day I got my iMac. I was importing all the data from the PowerBook via Firewire, with the PC of the first pic still on the bottom-right:


Today my working environment looks like this:

Note: I keep my laptop's AC adapter on the desktop because I usually take it with me everyday. After three years and countless charge cycles, the PowerBook's autonomy has decreased from the original 4 hours to a mere 2 hours. Maybe it's the time to buy a new 'akku'..

Tuesday, December 11

BugMeNot widget for Mac OS X

Almost two months after the idea, I'm proud to present my very first Dashboard widget! The BugMeNot widget:

Yes. I know.

There is a bookmarklet for Bugmenot. FireFox has a plugin. Right.

But! For those using Safari, I think this widget is a god-sent, and a better solution than the bookmarklet. From the micro-site:
This widget allows you find logins for webs that force you to register, using the Bugmenot.com database. Check the BugMeNot terms of use for more information about the service.

By default, it displays the URL of the top-most window of Safari, although you can also type in any URL on the search field. The copy buttons do what you’d expect them to do. However, to save you some clicks, every time you request a new account, the username is copied automatically to your clipboard.

If you try to search a URL without a top-level domain(.com, .net, etc.), the widget will automatically append “.com” to it.
What are you waiting for? Visit the BugMeNot widget site and download it!

Wednesday, November 21

WipEout for PSP - for free tomorrow at the PSN

If you got a PSP, and register a new PlayStation Network account between the 22nd November and 7 December, you get the original WipEout(PSX port) for free, thus saving 5 euro. In order to transfer the 90MB download to your PSP, you will need to download the Windows-only PSN Downloader available at the PSP European store.

A good move by Sony, despite leaving Mac and Linux users out, once again.



More details

Friday, November 16

SunAge teaser trailer

At last, the long-awaited teaser trailer for SunAge is online. Although it is short, it manages to show off the new features that make the game stand out from others RTS. You can watch the teaser in Flash, QuickTime, Windows Media or iPod formats clicking on the image:



The teaser has been my last contribution to SunAge, which is expected to hit european shelves at the end of November, and a bit later in USA. Production of the video took me four weekends, and although I got some headaches about technical issues, the biggest problem came from keeping everybody happy about the final cut: team members, the publisher, and me. As always, we had to reach a compromise which is what you can see on the released trailer.

I must also thank team member Angina P. for the awesome soundtrack she provided, and for being the easiest person involved to deal with ;)


Finally, I learned some things about video editing:

- Dual-core processors are a blessing.

- Adobe Premiere is good, but not enough to get all the work done. I had to stick to it, but I was jumping to other applications all the time to get some basic tasks performed, such as putting fade in/outs in audio tracks. The title editor in Premiere also lacks the ability to animate the text parameters, so if you want something as simple as an animated glowing title, you either work your ass off with tricks, or purchase one of the commercial plug-in packs, or get some composition done in After Effects.

- My external Lacie hard-drive USB is slow. Getting a firewire one in the mid-term.

Thursday, October 25

Japanese is on the rise

Picture taken at my local Fnac in Alicante:



Yes, it says 7th edition. And that bookshelf is facing the main corridor. Sehr interessant. Bwahahaha. (· ·)

Friday, October 12

Radiohead - In Rainbows

When Radiohead left the iTunes Music Store because they didn't like people purchasing individual songs, I thought that was a bad move on their side. I agree that most music should be listened to as whole, but sometimes you really only want a like track and don't care about the others. But that wasn't the whole story. Since Radiohead is one of the still few (big)artists that is not tied to an specific record label, they are now trying to skip the middle-man and reach the fans' pockets directly. Now that's interesting.
They recently made their new album "In Rainbows" available in exclusivity through their website, in a DRM-free MP3 format(only 160kpbs though). But the shocking thing is that they are asking customers to pay whatever they feel for the album. That's right. You can either pay 1 euro or 10, or even 50 cents. This way, the final customer says how much value is the music to him.

So I paid 1 pound and I am now listening to the album... so far it sounds more of the same, which is not that bad if you like Radiohead music : ) . After all, it's the kind of music that fits those moments before you go to bed at night.

I expect more artists to follow this trend in the future, but I still think iTMS is a good marketplace, and much easier to buy music from than the Radiohead site.

Sunday, September 30

Jam Sessions

I've been playing around with Jam Sessions for the Nintendo DS. I was firstly disappointed by its 'game' mode. Putting that aside, Jam Sessions is a truly amazing guitar simulator. Not only succeeds on (somehow)feeling like a guitar, but it also lets you apply FX such as reverb, chorus, tremolo, flanger and echo. Only two effects can be stacked simultaneously though.

However, the real power of this game/guitar simulator can only be exploited when plugged into a computer. As if it was a real guitar connected to an amp, Apple's GarageBand can transform the input waveform into more interesting sounds and rythms.

JamSessions + GarageBand + iMac

A week ago, with little previous knowledge of GarageBand and after 3-4 hours I was able to produce this low-quality piece:

W00t.mp3

Four tracks use the guitar-sim as input(e.g. the first thing you hear), then I added a drum-kit and bass rhythm from the app library. For the distortion thing in 40-50 I used an Audacity-edited sample of a distorted guitar chord.


The bottom line is, I had a lot of fun composing this, and I'd like to spend another afternoon with GarageBand and JamSessions soon.

Thursday, September 27

Improving video capture performance with Fraps

As some of you might already know, I'm in the process of making some videos of SunAge. I am using Fraps to do the video capture on a Bootcamp partition on my iMac. After some weeks capturing full-screen 1280x780 clips @30 FPS, performance started to degrade until a point where it couldn't handle video capture at all.

I spent quite some time figuring out the cause of this, and it turned out that HDD fragmentation was the cause. I had been installing/uninstalling a lot of things recently, and the several SVN repositories with thousands of files had caused a massive fragmentation on the FAT32 partition, thus severely degrading the HDD write throughput.

Finally, after a full defragmentation, Fraps works as a charm again and I can keep taking gameplay clips for the SunAge trailer ;)


PD: New blog theme! Moving away from the former dark tones to a cheerful 'sandy stone beach' color scheme.

Sunday, September 16

Games I look forward to

So many games, so little time! In no particular order:

  • Mass Effect (X360, don't have one though..)
  • The Legend of Zelda: The Phantom Hourglass (NDS)
  • Geometry Wars: Galaxies (NDS)
  • Team Fortress 2 (PC)
  • Half-Life 2: Episode Two (PC)
  • Enemy Territory: Quake Wars (PC/Mac)
  • Jam Sessions (NDS)

Monday, September 3

Upcoming events for Fall 2007

London Game Career Fair, 23-24 October - The perfect place for newcomers to apply for jobs in the industry. Entrance is free and you can start sending your resumes now to set up interviews in advance with the attending companies. I *might* go with a couple of friends... even if it's just to attend some sessions. I must get done with other things first, and I want to finish my degree too before I start looking for a fulltime job again.

Lyon Game Developers Conference, 3-4 December - The european version of the GDC, taking place in France for the first time. I'd love to attend –mainly for networking– but tickets are usually quite expensive, in the 300-500€ range. So not GDC for me yet.

First official DOID meeting, 29 September - The brand-new spanish game developers association will have its first official meet-up in Valencia later this month. I will be there : )

Art Futura 2007, 25-28 October - Once again the Festival of Digital Culture and Creativity will be held in Barcelona. I had the opportunity to visit the city last year and attended most sessions. It's a must if you live near or you have the resources to spend the weekend there.


Friday, August 24

The family grows + SunAge PR is tough

My second Mac is now complete with its RAM upgrade! I can finally get rid of the Windows box since the new iMac can run XP too! BTW, it's the early-2007 revision, not the aluminum one. The new Radeon HD 2600 in the alu sucks, and I found the old model to be heavily discounted at a local store... so I went for it, despite already being 'obsolete':

imac

The Radeon X1600 performs better than expected, and I'm now playing Far Cry (1), enjoying every bit of it. It's gonna take me ages to finish it though –highest difficulty level + lack of free time–.

Regarding SunAge, we are already at crunch time, aiming to deliver the first solid builds during mid-september. It's gonna be tough, because I also have the university exams soon.

Finally, I want to thank NoticiasJuegos for being the only spanish site that acknowledged my latest pseudo-PR e-mail about the new SunAge website. Someday, when I get to the top, I will reserve them a seat in my limousine for exclusive interviews :D

/falls off the bed

Update: Meristation did finally post about the new SunAge site!

Sunday, August 12

New SunAge website online!

Here it is. Finally, after nearly a month of work, the new site for SunAge is up. Follow the link to read all you have to know about our upcoming RTS ; )

Monday, July 30

CP07 - Finished

Esta ha sido mi segunda Campus, y la verdad es que he disfrutado como un enano. Estoy encantando de haberme reencontrado con muchos amigos, y haber hecho nuevos. Aun arrastro bastante cansancio, así a falta de un resumen en condiciones de la party, simplemente os dejo algunas fotos de los últimos dias:

Ager y Mars currándose el juego para el concurso de 72h

Necesito datos...

Abandonando el recinto

Yo y mis pelos de los últimos dias :-P

EX3 con muuuucha falta de sueño ;-)

Thursday, July 26

CP07 - Esto es un infierno!

A falta de menos de 20h para entregar el juego, nos encontramos ya en la recta final del desarrollo. Esta noche no dormiremos para poder terminar el juego a tiempo :P. Una muestra del "infienno":

CP07 - Menu principal

Antes de irme a sobar he "casi" acabado el menu principal:



Ale!

CP07 - Mas cositas..

Estamos ya a jueves ( 3:00 AM), y la entrega es el viernes a las 19:00. La verdad es que vamos muy justos de tiempo para que el juego sea todo lo que queremos, pero bueno...

Ya sé que que sólo con las imágenes que estamos poniendo es difícil imaginar el juego final, o cómo se juega. El último dia habrá más detalles, de momento queremos perder el menor tiempo posible con el blog para poder dedicarnos 100% al juego : )






¡Ale, mañana más!

Wednesday, July 25

CP07 - Los enemigos

Una mezla de dragón y gárgola..

La parte de programación está algo atrasada pero poco a poco va tomando forma la cosa..

CP07 - Primeros avances en el juego

Al final nos hemos animado a hacer algo para el concurso de programación rápida de juegos en la CP07. Hemos elegido las siguientes tres temáticas:

  • Persecución
  • One button
  • Terror
Y unas fotitos:


Mañana más..

Tuesday, July 24

Monday night pics

Some more pictures from the Campus Party 07, taken with my phone:

Monday, July 23

Sunday, July 22

Road to Campus Party 07

Tomorrow starts the Campus Party 2007 in Valencia, Spain. With more than 5,500 attendees and 6,5000 total visitors expected, is is considered one of the biggest LAN parties in the world.

I'm happy to say that I will be there, in the "developers" area. Expect some live-blogging as early as tomorrow morning!

I'm going to see if I can setup my N70 to blog/post pics on the road..

See you all there!

Sunday, July 8

One good thing about J2SE 6

I just installed the "J2SE 6.0 R1 Developer Preview" for OS X 10.4, because the Point2D.Float class now implements the Serializable interface. I know it's not such a big deal, since I could've coded an extended class.. but anyways, I love to have the latest dev tools, just in case.

Thing is, I'm currently coding a Java/Swing based tool for Kana DS , and I was trying to serialize a class hierarchy that contained an array of Point2D.Float. It seemed to me quite stupid that in J2SE 5.0, Point2D.Float lacked out-of-the-box serializability, whereas Point2D(for integers) didn't.

Here ends the rant of the day : )

Wednesday, July 4

Vuelta al trabajo

Ahora que he terminado exámenes, estoy colaborando de nuevo intensamente en SunAge. Además de ajustar la UI de los menús, estoy preparando una nueva página web para el juego, que espero le haga justicia. La página actual tiene sus años y la verdad es que no está para nada al nivel del juego...

Si todo va bien, espero poder anunciar la nueva web durante este mes ^^, y algo mas adelante, el primer trailer.

Tuesday, June 26

StarCraft musique!

This is awesome. Do you want to listen to the StarCraft, Diablo 1 and Diablo 2 soundtracks while surfing? Then try using this web-based player from Blizzard:





Click on the picture or in the following link to open the player: http://www.battle.net/window.shtml

I have my last two june exams this week, so expect some yummy updates next week! The topics? Kana DS and Sun Age ;-)

PD: This is my 150th post!

Tuesday, June 12

Safari 3 BETA: first impressions

As you may know already, a public "beta" of Safari 3.0 is available for both Windows and Mac OS X. I have installed in on my PowerBook G4, and so far I'm very impressed by the update. Take into account that it's still beta and your mileage may vary.. but I have noticed:


  • Improved responsivity. Loading and scrolling through Kotaku before was a pain in the ass. Much smoother now.
  • Improved compatibility. Now I can correctly navigate sites I couldn't before, including some from my college and the Campus Party one.
  • Rich Text Editor control!! Finally I can edit Blogger posts from Safari. Previously I had to fallback to FireFox or Camino.
On my Windows box, Safari crashes whenever a bookmark operation is involved. Despite this, it feels very solid and speedy, on par with FireFox or even slightly better.

Webmasters should be happy because now they can test their sites for Safari compatibility without owning a Mac.


Saturday, June 9

Hell Snails

Hell Snails is a little game developed mostly for fun, but also for the Tu Tambien Puedes game competition. It's been developed in spare time during the last 2-3 weeks by Ruben Penalva (code) and me(graphics). For the music we took this CC-licensed song from Soulprawn.


The game uses the Python/Pygame framework, available for Windows/Mac OS X/Linux. The gameplay is very simple, and we couldn't tweak it as much as we would've wanted because of the contest deadline. It also has some small bugs but it's quite playable nonetheless. Some sprites from the game:


Designed in Paper 1.0, then redesigned in FireWorks 8 and animated with the same program. We don't expect winning anything with this game, but it's been fun because this is the first time I participate in a game without touching a single line of code. I should focus exclusively on graphics from now on... ? No way ! :P

However, I think I will try to improve my artistic skills. It will prove useful when I become Hokage!.

Friday, June 1

Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan 2

Today arrived my copy of Osu Tatakae Ouendan 2!

Ordered from Play-Asia.com and received 13 days later. This 2nd part addresses many of the problems of the original DS title, plus it also has some new features and 19 new songs.

Some features I'd like to highlight are: the ability to *completely* skip the song's introduction, the possibility to store replays, the new cheer squad characters, and the ability to replay the last seconds of a game when you fail to beat a level. All of this summed up makes this the best "ouendan" up to date. Whereas some Ouendan fans(like me) disliked the americanized abomination that was Elite Beat Agents, here the J-Pop/rock is back.

Osu!


PD: If you own a Nintendo DS and you haven't played the original Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! then GO BUY IT NOW!

Friday, May 18

Fiesta del rabo: 10º aniversario Meristation




Sorry, post in Spanish!

Ayer estuve en Madrid, en la fiesta del 10º anversario de Meristation. Os comento un poco por encima lo que se coció por allí. Por cierto, las fotos y vídeos están tomadas con el móvil, así que no espereis mucho :P. Normalmente no me meto con nadie, pero bueno hoy voy a rajar un poquito, que me apetece. Además este es *mi* blog y me lo follo cuando quiero!

Lo primero es lo primero. Festival del humor por parte de Pep Sánchez:




Habia presencia de las tres grandes, Nintendo, Microsoft y Sony. Empecemos por la primera:
  • Tres stands de Wii con el juego de fútbol de SuperMario en dos de ellas y el WiiSports en la restante acaparaban las colas más largas. Los azafatos algo tocapelotas, pero bueno.

  • Nintendo regaló varias Wiis a "VIPs" y tambien (si no me equivoco) a los ganadores del concurso Wiidea. Ojito al tipo de la serie "Cuéntame", menudo guayón.. o.O! Tenia que haberle sacado alguna foto al notas.

  • Poco más por parte de ninty..
La zona Wii

Microsoft:
  • Tenian varias máquinas con la beta multijugador de Halo 3, conectadas a Internet. Empecé una partida pero lo dejé a los tres minutos, porque yo suelo jugar a los FPS con el eje Y invertido y no me apetecía ponerme a joder con la configuración de controles.

  • Había un setup de Forza Motorsport 2 a tres pantallas! La verdad es que era impresionante, aunque tardaron hora y pico en hacer funcionar las tres pantallas. En realidad el sistema funciona así: hay tres consolas conectadas a sus respectivas pantallas, todas con una copia del juego, y conectadas en red. Una vez configuradas las tres, las consolas izquierda y derecha se unen a una sesión en red creada por la central, lo que les permite ir actualizando la vista adecuada.. en realidad es algo parecido a una sesión con espectadores. Una idea muy interesante(para los ricos), y la verdad es que iba muy fino.

  • No habían más juegos para 360 en exposición, pero sí habia un servicio de camisetas exprés:


Por parte de Sony:
  • Stands de PS3 con los siguientes juegos: MotorStorm, Resistance, Formula-1, y Ninja Gaiden Sigma. Éste último era la "exclusiva", y la verdad es que pintaba fenomenal. Del resto nada que comentar.

  • Habian un par de azafatas con PSP's, no sé que juegos tenian.
Pese al título del post, la cantidad de mujeres que había era sobrecogedora para un evento de este tipo.. no sólo por las numerosas azafatas, sino por otras muchas que parecían estar ahí por iniciativa propia y sin cobrar XD. Vamos progresando..

Pude reconocer y hablar con gente de Enigma, que están trabajando ahora en el War Leaders. Tambien andaba por allí Gonzo Suárez, aunque no me pude acercar a la zona VIP y me quedé con las ganas de preguntarle sobre la situación actual de Arvirago. Me imagino que tambien habría gente de Pyro, Mercury y otras desarrolladoras, pero como no llevaban IDs ni me conozco las caras no pude hablar con nadie, cachis. Y bueno segun Pep Sanchez(ver video) en la fiesta estaban "todas las compañias"(de España? de Madrid?).

El señor de las criaturas..
..en un baño de wiimasas

Al final de la noche hubo un sorteo, y por desgracia no me tocó nada. Ni la PS3, ni la pantalla de 40" ni el viaje al Caribe. Tongooo.. tongoo..

Eso sí, a la salida nos repartieron unas bolsitas con más camisetas y merchandising vario. Cada bolsa tenia contenidos algo diferentes, y en mi caso fue una grata sorpresa fue encontrar un CD con la BSO de este juego:



Eso es todo. Seguro que me dejo cosas en el tintero, pero para eso están los comentarios :)