My Lovely Games #1: Lovely Squares

August 5, 2009

FROM ANDREW’S LAPTOP–I’ve taken my first steps into learning lua, proper game programming, and the love2d game engine. Love2d is a lightweight game engine that allows you to create games in lua. I’ve decided to take on a project in which I create some sort of game/tech project every two weeks. The goal is not to make these games perfect or polished by any means, but to just get them created and published (which means they may be buggy). I decided to take this approach because it will allow me to get as much content out as possible without being a perfectionist.

The first game I made took me about two evenings. It’s called Lovely Squares. The object is to navigate your cursor (a blue box) to other blue boxes to score points. Hitting pink boxes will reset your score and your position. There were a couple things that I wish I could have got working (a growable box and increasing speed of the squares), but I wanted to get the game out as quick as possible before I had to pack things up to go to university.
Lovely Squares
Download the game here.

All you have to do to run it is unzip the file and run LovelySquares.exe


BumpTop and Real Desktop are a start, but a true 3D interface would be more than just a skin

April 13, 2009

FROM JASON’S 3DESKTOP — The word “beta” in my Gmail inbox made my eyebrows take a happy-go-lucky jump, but once installed I found the BumpTop beta was just a piece of elaborately done-up nagware.

The eyebrows came back down and settled in a scowl.

There is a Prime Directive for my computers: There shalt be no shareware. Everything must be freeware, open source, or purchased. No adware, trials, or postcardware. No promotions. No commercials.

I took perhaps three minutes to sate my curiosity about BumpTop, then scoured it from my PC.

I love the idea of a 3D desktop, a virtual space using a physics engine to toss around files, pile them up, to basically treat your computer like a living space. It would make your desktop as comfortable as your bedroom.

But the options right now are limited, and severely flawed.

BumpTop isn’t the only name in the game, though it was the one to get early branding for its product last year. Real Desktop is a robust competitor, offering a crippleware version that has its own issues though it’s stable and completely free.

Real Desktop’s light version (I refuse to spell it “lite”) is decent but extremely limited. It doesn’t mask out RocketDock like BumpTop does, which is a plus, but both suites have their problems: The camera angles can be quite awkward. Dragging into a folder can be quite a pain. Both are susceptible to the “Show Desktop” widget.

BumpTop’s a bit laggy, even through my NVIDIA 9800 GT. Real Desktop doesn’t let you place anything on the walls, and doesn’t come with any neat-o widgets like Bump does, which means you are effectively wasting at least a third of your desktop at any given time.

And both affect only your desktop — no other folders at all.

The ideal Explorer replacement would convert my entire hard drive into a virtual world straight out of Hackers, allowing me to navigate the entire file structure in a true space environment. Let’s be honest here — the conventional Explorer interface is 20 years old now, and hasn’t changed all that much since the ol’ DOSHELL days.

MicroSoft’s file manager is functional, but not fun, and it’s organized but not necessarily intuitive. It needs an update. I’m just waiting for the right program… or maybe the right OS… to be ushered in. Imagine what kind of functionality we could eke out of a multidimensional interface instead of a flat one.