Thursday, November 16, 2006

FireBug for all other things

When working with RJS templates, it can be a pain, especially if you roll your own javascript in there. There's almost no way to debug it, so you have to be very very careful, or use your brain-the-compiler.

But aside from that, try out Firebug. It's a pretty need in-browser javascript debugger for Firefox.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Symbol conversation in MMORPGs

Blue Rabbit�s Climate Chaos - Adventure Games - GamersHood - Online Games Paradise

This was something that was shown to me by Alison. I just tried it out, just to see what was fun about it. Didn't play much, but I was struck by the fact that this game decided to employ pictograms instead of words for conversation.

Now, I don't know why Blue Rabbit employed this mode of conversation. Perhaps it's because the target audience is young children.

However! I think this would be key to building a more dynamic MMORPGs. I haven't played World of Warcraft, so I don't know if quests are static. But I remember in Everquest, the quests were the same, time after time. Oh sure, there might be grace periods where it wouldn't be there, but for the most part, the same person would have his daughter kidnapped time after time.

Instead of having static quests, I think it would be better to have dynamic quests. It gives a better sense of realism to the world that the gamer is playing in, if the NPCs(non player characters) had different needs at different times.

In the Sims, each NPC is an agent with goals and needs. And it basically interacts with its environment to fulfill those goals and needs as time progresses. But never do any of the characters ask another Sim to fulfill those needs for him. Sure, they have conversations with each other to fulfill the direct need for being social. But they never ask the messy roommate to clean up his mess. They always get irritated and clean it up themselves, or rely on the player to make someone else clean it up.

With a simplified vocabulary of pictogram language, an NPC would be able to express what he desires. And that would be up to the player in the quest to fulfill it. These goals, like in the Sims would change as the environment and needs change.

file_column is easy to use

HowToUseFileColumn in Ruby on Rails

File_column really is a cinch to use. But not without knowing that you needed:

add_column :entry, :image, :string

in the migration. And here I was reading through file_column code. Things are always clearer in hindsight. But it did teach me a few tricks here and there, about how to add dynamic methods to objects.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Annologger update: Commenting is available!

It's got no pictures of stars, but it's simple. Commenting is up for annologger!

Human verification CAPTCHAs will be done tomorrow, so that you don't get comment spam. In the meantime, get your friends, your readers, your fans, to comment, comment, comment away.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Annologger Update: By popular demand, Annolog Badges available

I'm happy to announce that you can now get annologger badges for your blog or website! What's a badge you say? It's basically a code snippet generated for you that you can cut and paste into any webpage, blog or otherwise. That way, you can floss your events on your blog now. :)

You can get your own annolog at Under the goodies section, you can create your own annolog badge.

It took longer than I had anticipated, due to not ever working with rjs templates before. I'll write a tutorial up later. On to comments for your annolog!

Wilhem has built Annologger, a tool that lets people worship your dentist appointments.

Late to the RESTful party

Apparently, I'm the last fool to really read about it. I only first heard about REST maybe 2 months ago by a long post by one of the rails guys.

Lately (as in the last 6 months), there's been a resurgence in figuring out the HTTP protocol. It's suppose to be RESTful. Mainly, the idea that network architecture are seen as a collection of resources identified uniquely by a URI. And that the whole network application is simply the user in a large state machine, where traversing the different resources equate to state transitions. This has implications of server and client design to be simpler.

Each HTTP request also has a method associated with it. The methods in HTTP most commonly used are GET and POST. In the early days of the web (ie when we were in college), I saw that forms submitted by GET or POST, and for a long time, I had no idea what the difference was. GET is intended to "read" but make no state changes in the server, and POST is intented to make state changes. So doing form submissions with GET is not only semantically wrong, but insecure, since it puts form contents in the url.

In addition to GET and POST, there are others, (I never knew). And the bunch of them map well to CRUD(Create, read, update, delete) operations. And using the native HTTP methods, you can take advantage of things already built into HTTP, like caching (for scalibility) without having to build it yourself.

Here's a simple intro , and I think one of the articles that spawned the discussion. This is the original disseration on RESTful architecture, if you want to read it.

Wilhem has built Annologger, a tool that lets people worship your dentist appointments.