what jelly dreams are made of

Hmm, I don’t write here much anymore. As is the case for lots of people, my blogging has suffered in favour of spewing random crap into Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere. I’m actually doing a lot more stuff via “social” sites in general, so I think a redesign of this site might be necessary soon to bring all that stuff into one place so I don’t look dormant to anyone that just follows here.

Anyway. Christmas and holidays have come and gone. I spent a good amount of time on the big idea that I mentioned last time, and got it close to finished, but then in performance tests found that that the naive old-school Ajax implementation I’d done wouldn’t scale much past 30 users. Thats unacceptable, so I started to read up WebSockets, Comet and other things to reduce network and processing on a web application. I settled on using Tatsumaki to implement a long-polling version, but that meant a rewrite of much of the server and the client. At this point I was well and truly on holiday and my brain had shut off, so I threw the project on the backburner.

This can be a dangerous thing for me, because I inevitably change my mind and do something else. I started watching Babylon 5, a show I’d somehow missed back in the day. Anyone that’s read for a while knows my long infatuation with space games, so of course I started looking around for something spacey to do or play. And last week, I found Pioneer.

Pioneer is a clone of Frontier, the sequel to Elite. I always much preferred it to Elite. I think it was mostly because of the scale - I could fly forever, land on planets, and just bum around in my spaceship. So I grabbed the code, built it and had a play. And I got sold on it quickly because its awesome, but has a giant stack of things that need work still. In the spirit of the new “just do it” style I’m trying to live up to, I decided first that I wanted to hack on it and then started playing and figuring out what I wanted to hack on. After a couple of hours play I found a heap of little bugs and tweaks that needed fixing, and because the main coder is an awesome guy, lots of my stuff has already been merged.

Not much else to write. This is mostly a “here’s what I’m up to” kind of post, so now you know. If you like space games do grab Pioneer (and pull my integration branch if you just want to see what I’m doing). Cheers :)