Feb 29 2012

New site and status update

Category: Lego,Mindstorms,Programs,RICcreator,Software,StepmaniaSpiller @ 20:28

The time has finally come where I ventured out in the myriad of paid hosting providers. Free hosting isn’t really worth it and WordPress.com doesn’t allow you to do anything (without paying buckets). WordPress.com is fine if you just want to have a blog, however as a CS student I want to mess with everything. So I tried a local hosting provider and we will see how this goes…

Status on RICcreator

I haven’t had the time to develop on this for quite some time but I can do some work on this regularly now. ¬†However I’m not going to do that. While far from perfect, RICcreator have matured and I do no longer feel the need to use nxtRICeditv2 anymore. I haven’t even started the program up in months as I’m using RICcreator for everything RIC related now.

As I’m not seeing people use it I will simply fix bugs and add features when I want the functionality. So while not dropped, development will be slow. I will still fix bugs if anyone reports them and I’m open for feature suggestions. I will do one more release which probably will be the last major update for a while.

While I want to move my focus to other things, RICcreator marks an important milestone for me: I am now creating software which I find useful enough to use in my everyday life. RICcreator is my first medium-sized application and I’m quite satisfied with the result.

What I have been doing the last few months

Superus

I was working on in a project group for a project for CS at university, however 4 out of 7 people in the group decided to drop out of CS. So the lone 3 remainders had to write 80 pages in 2 weeks, which worn me out a bit. Anyway, the project was about image editing and we wrote a couple C programs to do several functions. The code is made available at SourceForge as Superus.

It uses a command line interface and only accept PPM input/output so it might not be that useful for many, however it can read 16-bit PPM, edit it in 64-bit float and save it as 8/16-bit using dithering to ensure maximum quality. So it is possible to do certain things which simple isn’t currently possible in GIMP. (It should also be gamma-correct unless we screwed up on the conversions.)

I have written about half of the code, the parts which handle PPM input/output, image representation (how it is stored and worked with internally in the programs), scaling, brightness, blurring/sharpening and various filters. “nielssonnich” wrote the Command line interface and scripting code.

I might continue to do some experiments with this codebase, but it should be considered to be a one-shot project though. I might also write a post about one of the cases where I had to use Superus instead of GIMP to achieve the results I wanted.

BPM graphing

I wrote a small quick program to graph the BPM changes in a .sm chart for DDR rhythmic games which you can read more about here: BPM graphing [Thirdstyle]

I was in the process of porting it to PHP but I didn’t finish it. However I want to finish it soon as I have some bigger plans (see below) which I hopefully will start on in the summer vacation. It shouldn’t be more than 1-2 days work anyway…

What I’m doing now

I have started on a new project for CS with a new group and our goal is to create a spell checker which can correct grammatical errors in Danish. We have not yet decided whether we will try to parse sentences or try to make something like a neural network, but nevertheless this will be a challenging and interesting project.

Another thing I’m working on is a custom theme for this blog. Now that I’m not limited by WordPress.com I can write my own PHP code so I can achieve just want I want. I’m going to take my sweet time on this as it is low on my priority list.

LDraw viewer

At university we are taught C#, however the exercises are quite boring as we have to write some random code which does nothing more exciting than a “Hello, World!” program. So instead I will be working on a project I wanted to do for nearly a year now, a LDraw viewer. It should load a LDraw CAD model and display it on the screen using OpenGL for the graphics.

I’m obviously not trying to create something special here, as there are already several software out there which has similar functionality. This is purely a study project and in particular I want to get a good grip on OpenGL and 3D graphics. However since I also want to cooperate this into my education I will be writing it in C#, to get some proper experience in it. I haven’t written any code so far, but I will do so within a weeks time.

NXT RPG

You heard right, I haven’t forgotten about this project. It pains me that I have not completed the ‘level 2’ mode which contains the battles, so I want to do something about that. I might do a bit of work on it from time to time, but don’t expect sudden rapid development on it ; )

6wd Off-roader

I’m still not done with this project, however I’m almost finished now. Just missing a bit of reinforcing of the mechanics and improving my software and I will call it done, I want to move on after all.

What I will do in the future

DDR for keyboarders

One of the project ideas I have on my Projects plan page and I will attempt to start on it this summer. (This was why I did the BPM graphing thing.) I’m been playing Stepmania for 4-5 years now however I absolutely hate the engine. It is slow, buggy, old-fashioned and straightforward annoying. I want to try making an engine which is very different in a lot of points but which still keeps the good old game play.

This is a very ambitious project and I might not end up with anything useful. However I want to challenge myself even further and I want to tell the community that there are people out here that wants to move on from the old DDR arcade days.

This is definitely a large project and I have to make use of a lot of technologies and techniques I haven’t used on the PC before, only with NXT or PHP. OpenGL, threading, databases and perhaps even some driver interaction stuff.

Conclusion

There is really a lot of stuff I want to do and not really that much time. Can I pull all this off without going overdue? Probably not, but I will really want to try my hardest to arrange my time so I will complete everything. I tend to waste a lot of my time doing random stuff which is really a shame when there is so much I want to do.