Monday, June 26, 2006

Belgium Government Requires Open Documents

Good news, everyone. The Belgium government has decided upon banning closed document formats from their office documents, starting in September 2008. Norway and The Netherlands can learn from this. Way to go, Belgium!

Source: Overheid bant Microsoft-documenten

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Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Goonies Remake

On a previous post I expressed my gratitude for a remake of the MSX game The Maze of Galious by Brain Games. In the end of the post I wished there was a remake of the popular MSX game The Goonies.

Now some wishes are granted, because Sunday I got an anonymous reply at my blog post, urging me to look at the Brain Games' Forums. There I found out that they started working on a remake of The Goonies about two weeks ago for the Retro Remakes, The Big 2006 Compo. Great, check it out!

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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Diploma Ceremony

The post is a little late, but since it would be inappropriate to leave it out:


Saturday, June 03, 2006

One Laptop Per Child

…My heart’s in Accra » It’s cute. It’s orange. It’s got bunny ears. Ethan Zuckerman has a great, in-depth look at the One Laptop Per Child program.


Friday, June 02, 2006

World maps and their topology

An idea that has been wandering around in my head for a long time is the creation of world maps living on top of an interesting 2-dimensional topological varieties. Most games have a world map that is a rectangle (topologically a disc), and there might be some world maps that carry our own earth's topology of a 2-sphere. These are rather boring varieties, and it would be interesting to allow for worlds with more exotic topologies: For instance the topology of a torus (the surface of a donut) or even of objects with a higher genus (the number of holes, so the torus has genus 1). The classical pacman game in which the top & bottom and left & right are identified is the torus.

One can triangulate such a variety in order to obtain a decomposition in tiles. Locally, on the player's screen that is, part of this world would then just look like a square as usual. But when walking/driving/flying around in one direction, you can end up at the same place (leaving the player puzzled ;) ). Part of the gameplay would then be understanding the world map and in particular its topology, allowing for more complicated mazes. It would be interesting to carry over some of the phenomena of topology to such a computer game (identifying, cutting), thereby surprising the user now and then.

One advantage of keeping a strict structure in the topology rather than inserting some portals here and there is the superior ability of NPC's to deal with it. Another advantage is the possibility to visualize the topological phenomena in a spectacular way (for example identifying two worlds with each other in a point and then smoothly stretching this identification to a bigger area).The concept could also be generalized to 3-dimensional varieties for 3-dimensional "shoot 'm ups" (like for instance Descent). For three dimensions the phenomena get even more exotic. Why always make the same game, if one can do spectacular things without much extra effort?

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