It’s been ages since I blogged. Becoming a father and moving into a new place has had something to do with that, but mostly just laziness.

Anyway, I’ve worked on a view interesting projects since I last updated. Probably the most interesting was ‘Tokyo Fury’.

Tokyo Fury Live: V Energy Real World Event from Soap Creative on Vimeo.

There is a full write up on the soap labs page here

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Worlds biggest PacMan

Here’s a recent project I was involved in at Soap:

We created the for Microsoft to promote the new features of IE9, but it will work in any HTML5 capable browser.

You can create your own PacMan maze and add it to the ever growing map:

Worlds Biggest PacMan Home

It’s a completely non-flash solution using JavaScript / HTML5.

Worlds Biggest Pacman Play

I worked on the maze editor and the home page map. It was pretty fun, dusting off the old javascript knowledge after spending so much time in Flash land.

Worlds Biggest Pacman create

JS Frameworks used: MooTools, JQuery, Modernizr, YepNope, KeyLib.

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So it’s back. My old buddies at Poke are soon to start the racing for the next version of ‘the great internet balloon race’. I worked on the previous version and that was quite the mother-cluster so I guess the Pokers are working hard for launch on the 8th Nov.

Ahhh the comradery; forging on late into the nights / weekends. The ‘oh-shit’ moments, the last-minute hacks… The I’m-glad-it’s-you-and-not-me moments.

Good luck Pokers, I can’t wait to see it / play it (after a good night’s sleep of course).

If you haven’t got one, better go and get yourself a balloon:

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Well dezza is a work-blog again now I’m afraid. Here is a project that I have been wanting to talk about for some time. I completed it about this time last year at Poke. I have been waiting for it to go live which I was pleased to discover the other day.

Since registration is required to take a look at it, I have instead some screen capture. This is not quite the final version but enough to show how it works. The soundtrack is by my good friend Jay White.

MCFC Seat Selector from Derek McKenna on Vimeo.

Because we wanted the stadium to look like the actual real world layout, the first challenge was to obtain the seating layout information. Then we had to get it into a format that flash could use, i.e. xml and also ensure that it matched the ticketing data as provided by the 3rd-party ticket-vendor. It was an involved process, some of which I captured along the way:

1. Here is a Omnigraffle representation of the existing xml feed from the online ticket vendor. The seat locations are conformed to a left aligned grid which bears little resemblance to the real world layout.

Layout grid of exisiting ticket vendor xml data

2. After pestering the architects, we managed to get our hands on Autocad files of the stadium, which included fairly accurate seating layouts. We were lucky that the stadium was not very old, and such files actually existed. We didn’t have Autocad software, but were able to open the files with Illustrator. Plenty of time to make a cup of tea while these suckers were opening.

Screenshot of MCFC stadium opened in Illustrator

3. It was fairly easy to get rid of much of the unwanted information, by deleting unwanted layers. We still had no idea how we were going to make xml from this. We found out that the individual seats were not stored as individual objects with position & rotation, but as broken-apart line information. There was also a lot of junk information overlaid on the seats themselves. Although this could be removed manually for each seat, I wasn’t very excited by the prospect of cleaning more than 45 thousand seats.

MCFC stadium seating layout prior to cleaning

4. To clean up the seats, I wrote some routines in ExtendScript. ExtendScript is what Adobe call their scripting language for their CS suite. It’s essentially JavaScript which in this case I used on Illustrator. For the most part, learning it just involves finding out how objects are represented in the Illustrator DOM. After some trial and error I was able to drill down to the seat objects themselves, where simple tests on the length of the lines could identified outlines from the other unwanted data. I added a loop to iterate over all objects in the selection and hey presto, could delete the unwanted data for thousands of seats in one hit. Here is the same layout as above seats after running the script:

Stadium Seat layout after cleaning process

5. The next step I can’t speak much about, as it was done by a colleague Martin. I saved the cleaned seats as svg files, which he then analyzed with some Perl scripts. He determined the position and orientation of the seats is determined with fairly straightforward trigonometry and saved out each block as an xml file, which was loaded into Flash and the basis for positioning seat objects. Big thanks to Michael Baczynski for an article on object pooling which significantly improved the performance of adding and removing large numbers of seats. The last shot is of the entire stadium with all seats cleaned. The designers that worked on this project (Will Cookson, Vasco Alves) have added the pitch and surrounds to the finished piece.

MCFC Stadium diagram after cleaning finished

Finally a big thanks to the developers of the Lowra IOC framework which I used on this project.

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From where?

Like many others who have WordPress running on MediaTemple I got stung by the JohnnyA malware exploit.  Bastards! I had to take the blog down until I could fix it.

I have been busy behind the scenes applying the Nicky and Cookie’s lovely custom theme to a newer installation of WordPress. If there’s been a silver lining to all of this, it’s been that I’ve learned quite a lot about CSS and WordPress.

Where’s the content?

I’m in the process of cleaning and migrating the old data. So should be fully restored soon.

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The third stop over on the way back down under. Lovely Fiji – never too hot, never too cold. So long, and Vinaka for all the fish.

Fiji 2010 from Derek McKenna on Vimeo.

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Vegas baby yeah! Here we see the second of our stop overs. Unfortunately video cameras are not welcome on the gaming floors of most casinos, so most of this footage revolves around our hotel – the Luxor.

You are also spared the 3 hours of time-share presentation that we foolishly agreed to sit through in return for three cheap tickets to the Chris Angel ‘Believe’ show. Both were on a par entertainment-wise.

Las Vegas 2010 from Derek McKenna on Vimeo.

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The first of our holiday stop overs on the way back to Sydney: New York. What a great time we had and many thanks to our wonderful hosts, the Zoltys.

New York 2010 from Derek McKenna on Vimeo.

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And so we come to the final episode. There seems to not have been much recording going on in the last few weeks – I started getting quite lazy and leaving the camera behind.

The camper was great. We did about 7000 miles over 6 months and visited 8 countries. We sold it soon after getting back to the UK, for not a lot less than we bought it for.

So now it’s back to Sydney, via NY, Las Vegas and Fiji, and NZ. Yes we are having another holiday. I think it’s about time we got a rest after all that holidaying :)

We had a great time. Thanks for watching.

Motorhome holiday 2009/10 – Episode 17 from Derek McKenna on Vimeo.

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We are getting near the end now, this episode covers our trip after we left Sicily and made our way up the coast of mainland Italy. The Almafi area was especially stunning.

Motorhome holiday 2009/10 – Episode 16 from Derek McKenna on Vimeo.

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