Qilania is opened!

Qilania is now opened… Enjoy as much as we did making it real 😉

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AppleScript, mother tongue of Mac’rs

Before you were a Codewarrior addict, later Carbon libraries consumer, then Cocoa, then Obj-c, then iPhone developer, then what!

If you are a Mac user (not developer, being old or new to the business), AppleScript is your friend. In fact, any OSA-based language or “dialect” if I can call it so (such as appscript by Has or some handmade experiments by Phillip Aker). Apple Events. Application Intercommunication. Sounds like simple, but it’s the marmalade (not to talk about glue) of the daily workflow of hundreds of thousands of Mac users.

Come to mind other “experiments”, like “basic” (being Real or MS) or JavaScript for apps (such as Adobe’s apps or Air), but that is just System/App communication. It’s fine, but not in any way a checkpoint.

Although Qilania lives in a Ubuntu-driven server, many automation tasks are done in various “slave” machines, and many of them are driven by AppleScript, specially mirroring and db integration. For example, you can make tiny changes to a SWF file, and see them live in a few seconds. First, on the local server. Then, in the live server. And also changes are propagated to backup disks and so on. Magic under a double-click. Lots of technology involved: network connections, remote servers via ssh or sftp or scp, various desktop applications, etc. And one scripting language to rule them all: AppleScript.

I can ensure today, Sep 10th 2010, there is not programming language to acomplish most of these tasks we solve in a few seconds in Qilania, not in Mac nor in Win or *nix.

AppleScript, the marmalade and mother tongue of all Mac users.

Flash bitmap filters (ie: DisplacementMapFilter, perlinNoise) and CPU usage

I was looking for a way to animate water in qilania (our virtual world) and I found some quick code using the DisplacementMapFilter and perlinNoise, which seems very realistic for our traditional way to animate stuff (more like cartoons), but is a quick and acceptable hack which can actually fit with our design and will save some time to the illustrator in chief.

But seems that kind of scripted animation (should say more “effect” than animation) consumes so much CPU, specially in the SmartFox/OpenSpace environment which uses to be 30fps by default.

After some researching and looking for alternative methods, we decided the fractal noise was looking so nice after all, but we needed some way to save some CPU and RAM for the end user, specially looking towards old machines and architectures. And we found a way to decrease it. This is a very simple tip: decreasing the frame rate. We did it this way (follows pseudo-code):

this.addEventListener(Event.ENTER_FRAME, go);
var nvar:int = 0;
function go(evt:Event):void {
	nvar++;
	if(nvar%3==0){
		// perlinNoise stuff...
	}
}

This way we reduced the filter to 1/3 (that is 10fps for a 30fps project), which saves more than 50% of the CPU at execution time.

It’s still so much, but minimum enough and, after all, we don’t have water in all our maps!

Hope this simple idea can help someone in a future: the simple, the better 😉

OpenSpace 2.0b2

Recently released.

http://www.smartfoxserver.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=6734

I have the piece of gold in my inbox, but won’t take a look until it’s final or close to final, as we can’t use it in a production environment, specially when this environment is still in the middle of the development process.

This version contains lots of new features customers asked for in the past, such as centerViewOnCoords, getAllSkinsByName, getMyAvatarCurrentTile or setting some parameters at run time, such as animationTime at avatar creation time.

Hopefully the documentation and other details will be ready very soon and maybe we will be able to introduce some interesting hacks in the current version of Qilania.

Qilania in Facebook

For those interested, you can get here the latest news of Qilania from your Facebook account:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/qilania/285359340072

And you can also become a fan of Massina Sinsigins, the founder of Qilania, and follow her daily adventures in his ride to recruit people willing to save the world from the evil Lord Lord:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Massi/270774826308

Spanish groups this time, sorry. We’ll open the ones for english speakers as soon as we have the english version in the pipeline!