Back On The Chain Gang


I have been pretty unwell as you know. I accepted my lot. Most things in life you can do very little about. It’s shocking that so many things go as you might expect, or then again, maybe they go that way because you allow yourself to become accustomed to how things turn out, whether or not you wanted things that way.

So today, I got back to the office and coughed and spluttered my way through half a day of work. I had very little energy by the working day’s end and expected to get an early night.

I fired up Xcode anyhow and managed to get a fair bit done, of which I’m very pleased. I made progress in a number of areas.

First, I wrote a simple “Constrainer” class that given a point, limits it to a 3D block of variable size. Very simple really, but it stops my man from falling off the edge of the room or climbing above its given height.

You might be interested in where I got the dimensions from? Well they’re being read off an XML file and I’m now using the RapidXML library as recommended by Ricky. Wasn’t as difficult as I feared in the end.

I did have to write a simple File Loader class too, because openFrameworks doesn’t have any built-in file-loading abstraction and neither does RapidXML (it expects a character pointer)

And finally, I managed to get text printing isometrically, which made me very happy. I know this is no achievement for real programmers, but it was a nice, simple problem that nobody had a library for and I had to do it myself, so I was happy with that. Here’s some of the code:

Screen shot 2010-09-20 at 23.46.01.png

Really simple, just to get it working. I’ll turn this into an IsoTextPrinter class next, with the ability to isometrically print down the X axis (remember the Chimera axes, right?) and up the Z axis. the IsoTextPrinter class should also allow a bunch of state setting to allow text scaling, colour, alpha and rectangular background. Then of course, I want the text to behave like particles because it will be used in scores.

I’m looking forward to working out a rhythmic scoring system, but for now, I just wanted to print isometric text.

I’d like to leave you with one of my favourite songs of all time, from one of my favourite bands of all time.


I’m still very weak and have limited energy. I’ve slept most of the day and am still exhausted. Whilst many of the fly symptoms have subsided, I’m left with a chest infection and am pretty run down. I’ve been off work a week, but I’ve also been off pretty much everything else all week too, including reading, blackberry, TV, you name it. I’ve managed the odd tweet, but even using the iPad in bed has been knackering.

I was off sick from work during a week I should have been celebrating on two counts. I can’t share that with you, but if you know me from work, I can mention them in an IM.

I’m not going to be able to get on with Chimera for another week I don’t think, because as I get back to work, I suspect I’m going to be too exhausted in the evenings for at least a few days and I don’t want a further setback.

I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, thanks for your kind wishes and prayers. Back soon – insha’Allah – with lots of ideas.

Slow Recovery

Still pretty sick. Having to rest pretty much constantly. Have had flu and I’m praying I’m on the mend. Looking forward to resuming normal activities, like walking to the bus stop and going to work. I am more patient than I used to be, but it is not fun being so useless when I am used to being so busy.

Still Ill

Sorry folks, no progress this weekend. I was just about OK on Eid and have been quite sick again with diabetes since, last night especially so. Don’t go away, normal service will be resumed soon. I’m still fired up about Chimera and have lots of plans for when I feel better.



I’ve had a bit of a setback with the health and have been unable to work at either the office, or on Chimera. My ankles and feet have been problematic and my blood sugar has been wildly out of control. It’s also affected my state of mind and it’s a constant struggle to realise that my mental state is not correct, simply because of extreme physiological factors, like 1000% swings in blood sugar. I won’t allow this to get me down and will get back to it as soon as health permits.

Eid is on Friday, so I won’t do any work on it then and tomorrow I hope to be back at work at the office.

So expect some news on Saturday, when I shall tweet progress.

I want to focus on a number of things in turn:

  • Room data format in XML
  • Room data parsing and display
  • Block attributes
  • Room display (I’m going to have some room-on-room action)
  • A simple depth sort (in the old days, there were always glitches in doing this cheaply in iso, I plan on getting this right)
  • Collision detection
  • Navigation between rooms

I don’t want to see any further down the road than that.

Oh and if anyone can get me some graphics, that’d be appreciated. I need:

  • Chimera spaceman based on the original with walk cycle, rotate cycle, touch object in front of him cycle for 4 directions, die cycle
  • Geometric shapes based on a block graphic that’s 64×64 pixels, using RGBA8 (I might go to RGBA4 eventually, we’ll see)
  • Artifacts of value
  • Background walls

My visual references are the original Chimera, Alien 8, the film Moon and the TV series Space 1999.

If you can help, I’ll be grateful.

Oh and if anyone knows how I can get around that openFrameworks rendering using glOrtho, that’d be appreciated.