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The Escapist

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  • How similar the Byzantine Empire was culturally, politcally, militarily, etc. to Ancient Rome?


    The Byzantine Empire claims to be the true successors of Ancient Rome if not WAS Ancient Rome still, or at least what's left of it, and the Empire's fall to the Ottoman Turks is considered the true moment when Ancient Rome officially died and its legacy spread to the ashes of history.

    Well, the Turks didn't think so.

    Ottoman Sultans after Mehmed II took the title Kayser-i Rum, Emperor of Rome, on their coronation. They claimed to be successors to the Roman empire, and actually had a compelling claim to that effect. Firstly, they were not the first dynasty to become Emperor through conquest. Secondly, they had blood ties to the previous ruling Byzantine dynasty and thirdly Mehmets claim to the title was endorsed by the ecumenical patriarch, the head of the Byzantine church. Actually, many important greek figures wound up endorsing the Ottoman claim on the logic that whoever holds Constantinople is the Emperor of Rome.

    So really, the exact point at which the Roman Empire ended is kind of arbitrary. You could easily trace the title of Ceasar all the way to Mehmed VI's removal from power, if you wanted.

    I dunno, I think the current Finnish government has a much better claim on being the heirs to Rome.

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    '); $jq('#spoiler_70eadf25305291df04acf57e117859f5').remove(); $jq(this).remove();">

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    Although I do think that the Turks had a decent claim. And now with Erdoğan restoring the Sultanate, perhaps they will be competing claimants.

  • Al Shabaab bans plastic bags

    Dirty Hipsters:


    Dirty Hipsters:
    Well now environmentalism is irrevocably tied directly to terrorism. Since we obviously can't give terrorists what they want it means we have to double down on polluting the world. More plastic bags! Double bag ALL your shit!! More coal burning plants. Tear down the wind farms and put up coal plants instead! We'll see how the jihadists deal with that.

    And the Nazis introduced animal welfare laws when they took over Germany. Guess those laws are ruined too.

    Eh, the Nazis had some good ideas. And they weren't brown.

    They weren't brown? Uhhhh, what? And don't you remember the Sturmabteilung?

  • Where all the Marvel games at?

    I want Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 3.

Voronoi tiling art PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mat   
Wednesday, 30 September 2009 20:23

These tessellations have all been generated by a very simple FreeBASIC program that I wrote.

I stumbled upon this algorithm while searching for a way to generate stochastic terrain heightmaps for a 3D strategy game, and realised that it could be made to produce pretty 2D pictures.

See: Voronoi diagram at Wikipedia.

The algorithm is as follows: start by placing a number of control points in random positions in the image, and assign each one a primary colour. Then for each pixel of the image, the colour of that pixel is set to the colour of its nearest control point, and the brightness of the pixel is set to the difference between the distance from the pixel to its nearest control point and the distance from the pixel to its next nearest control point.

Numerous variations on the algorithm exist: instead of using control points, other geometric objects can be used such as line segments or circles, which both result in curved edges. Also, instead of using Pythagoras to compute the distances, other methods can be used such as the Manhattan metric or the chessboard metric, and these result in more right angles.

It is possible to achieve a finer granularity in the spectrum of colours used, by mixing together two or more layers of tilings with various weights and numbers of control points.

Tiling Tiling Tiling
Tiling Tiling Tiling
Tiling Tiling Tiling

Last Updated on Thursday, 01 October 2009 20:12
Place features PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mat   
Saturday, 17 January 2009 02:42
Current features of Place:
  • Free software, professionally finished;
  • No restrictions on licensing of your game;
  • Most of the work done for you, just tell Place where you want to place your entities and how you want them to react;
  • Movable entities automatically negotiate obstacles using shortest-path algorithm;
  • A bare minimum of scripting experience required of game designers;
  • Advanced features available to those who want to dig deeper;
  • Helpful debugging system enables rapid testing and makes it easy to find mistakes;
  • Prototyping system to reduce the amount of tediously repetitive work involved in development;
  • Free, extensible toolkit: add new features if you wish;
  • Uses a well-established, popular general-purpose scripting language with vast amounts of documentation, so there's no need to learn some adolescent, obscure single-purpose language just for scripting games;
  • Runs on Windows, Linux, Mac and various other platforms;
  • Games get an extensive menu system for making and loading savegames and configuring all of their settings;
  • Use any graphics resolution you wish; player can choose their own and your graphics will be rescaled, preserving the aspect ratio if desired;
  • Entities can automatically scale down as they move further away to give the appearance of perspective;
  • Simple yet powerful conversation system;
  • Link subtitles with the voice audio files that go with them, if you want voice acting;
  • Multi-threaded caching system pre-loads resources before they are needed, for improved responsiveness;
  • Internationalization/localization: easily support translations of a game into foreign languages;
  • Support for cut-scenes, using either the pre-existing system of rooms and entities, or MPEG format videos;
  • Extensive tutorials to get you started.

Features planned for the future:

  • Auto-package games into a Windows .exe installer, .pkg file for Macs or .deb, .rpm or .tgz package for Linux;
  • WYSIWYG game creation and editing studio, integrated with the Gimp professional, open-source image manipulation suite and featuring a text editor for scripting with syntax highlighting, auto-completion and debugging facilities;
  • Parallax scrolling background scenes;
  • Ability to use 3D models for entities instead of flat sprites;
  • Simplify programming interface further still and extend to Java, Python, Lua and Ruby;
  • More speed improvements;
  • Native support for Nintendo's DS and Wii consoles and SymbianOS (for recent phones by Nokia and others).
Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 April 2009 20:50
About Place PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mat   
Saturday, 17 January 2009 02:38
Place is a collection of modules for the programming language Perl, intended to enable non-programmers to fairly easily develop 2D point-and-click adventure games that can run on Windows, Linux and Mac. It is free software, distributed under the GNU GPL license, but that does not mean that the games that use it need to be under that license also; games developed using Place may be released under any license that their author wishes, so long as Place itself remains under the GPL.
Last Updated on Sunday, 18 January 2009 01:07