Entries in the ‘Software Development’ Category:

Flash Game Monstrosi Stacks

I released a new Flash game, Monstrosi Stacks. It’s a take on the match-3 genre where you drag whole columns instead of swapping pieces. It features cute little monster-things I’m calling Monstrosi. There are some more games in the works that will feature the Monstrosi, so I hope to build them into something of a brand that will support secondary products.

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Graham Scan in Haskell

This article follows how I developed an implementation of the Graham scan algorithm in Haskell, missteps and all. I think it’s valuable to see the process that others use, especially in a “weird” language like Haskell. At times, it can seem like most of what you’ve learned about developing software doesn’t apply to Haskell, but I think that’s just because the language allows so much of the scaffolding to be cut away once the software is finished. Reading Haskell code written by the masters can feel like looking at the Sistine chapel and wondering where they got such long paint brushes. This will be a step-by-step implementation as I developed it. I’m still learning too, so don’t take this as an example of excellent Haskell style.

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Double Pendulum Simulation

I’ve been playing around with some of the new features in HTML5, particularly to see how the canvas stacks up to Flash. One of the things I wanted to test was javascript performance, so I ported this Flash toy I wrote a few years ago. It’s a physical simulation of a double pendulum system. It’s interactive, and it can export the line drawing it produces as a PNG.

How did canvas+JS do? The export was a lot easier: I had to write a PNG encoder in Actionscript for the original version! Pretty much everything else was harder. Canvas has features similar to Flash 5, and I missed modern Flash’s rich standard library. CSS layout is still somewhat inferior to Flex for GUI design, as the layout options are less flexible.

One of the appeals of canvas is mobile support, but I was disappointed by the performance on my Motorola Droid. Just clearing the background on a canvas larger than 500×200 took the frame rate to single digits, and I couldn’t find a reliable way to make the canvas fill the screen if other elements were present (I didn’t look too hard, since a canvas that large was unusable). The javascript performance was fine, it was just the drawing that caused problems. Let me know if you get better results on different hardware, I’d love to know that this can work better.

Overall, canvas shows promise, but I don’t think it’s ready to replace Flash for complex graphical applications.

Want to embed this on your own site? I’ve put an embeddable double pendulum simulation at Clockwork Magpie Studios.

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Windows vs. Unix File System Semantics – Conifer Systems

This is a great summary of the low-level API differences between Windows and Linux file systems.

Windows vs. Unix File System Semantics – Conifer Systems.

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Practical Haskell: scripting with types

Starting with a simple shell script, Don Stewart shows how Haskell can be readable, safe, and robust in this slide show.

Practical Haskell: scripting with types « Control.Monad.Writer.

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