H.E.L.D. Alpha 2

A few years ago, a small german amateur game development group called Elitepigs started a remake of the classic C64 “HERO” game. This game was called “H.E.L.D.” (german translation of hero). Last time I contributed only the level editor while jrk coded the actual game. But unfortunately the game was never finished as the game’s sourcecode got lost, so the only remaining parts of the alpha version are a compiled binary and the graphic/sound assets.

To practice and improve my XNA skills I decided to remake the remake in XNA. With permission of the original creators, I started today with the intro video (Remember: When making a game, always start with the intro and the mainmenu!). Right now I have a rough version of the original intro video implemented as well as an extention to the XNA Content Pipeline in order to process the H.E.L.D. level files.

Intro Video:

Update

First Gameplay:

Second Update

Only few parts missing:

Die Verbotene Welt

Last weekend we had another sechsta sinn development meeting in Cologne. After I finished some LUA 4 serialization code (really ugly stuff… after the project is finished I will burn this particular code file) I played a short game against our AI player on Raphael’s really beautiful dust map and decided to make a panorama shot out of it. The result can be seen below:

(click for full blown version)

 

Palm Pre Follow up

With different blogs reporting that the European version of the new webOS (1.3.1) won’t be available until the end of November, I decided to just use the English Sprint webOS 1.2.1 version. Due to the detailed guides at WebOS Internals the update was very easy and done in a few minutes. Afterwards the whole world of custom WebOS patches and execellent homebrew applications through the fantastic Preware was available. I installed patches for landscape email, on-screen keyboard, and better notifications as well as the new music player, the homebrew Facebook client, and some free games. Together with the now working (probably due to fixes in WebOS 1.2.1) Exchange synchronization (yeah baby, two-way! :)) I’m very satisfied with the device. The battery only lasts a day with 3G, push-mail enabled, and moderate use but I think that is a problem that all current smartphones face. image

A bit disappointing is the number of available apps right now. While there are many qualitative applications the store right just cant compete with the iPhone and its two year head start.

Fortunately developing for the Palm is pretty easy (just HTML, CSS and JavaScript), so I started to develop my own “Fahrplan” application, which displays the available train connections from point A to point B on any given time. So far I have only a very simple interface but I’m making fast progress. Will let you know I it will be finished. 🙂

Apart from that there will be another sechsta sinn team meeting from Nov, 20 to Nov, 23 so stay tuned for updates from the game development front as well.

Update:

Someone already released an application called “Bahnfahren“.. works great and as I have little time, I will just use that.

Palm Pre

Last week I exchanged my old HTC Herald Windows Mobile device for a shiny, new Palm Pre. So far I really like the design and the usability of the OS and the hardware. Unfortunately, I have some strange calendar sync issues with appointments entered in the Pre not syncing back to my Exchange server. The Europe version of the Pre, however, is still running webOs 1.1.3 while the rest of the world is already using 1.2.1. Version 1.3.1 should be available worldwide in the next few days, so I will wait for that upgrade, see if it fixes some of my problems with this device and then I will deliver a full in depth review. Stay tuned.

HowTo: Export Excel Charts as PDF to include in LaTeX document

[Update]

I’ve written an updated post for Mac and Excel 2011 users.

[Update2]

From Leanne in the comments:

Some useful remark I found elsewhere: “You can put the graph as a separate document tab (opposed to inside a sheet)”. If you then follow the same steps i.e. save as PDF, then you don’t have to do the things with the margins.

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For the evaluation part of my thesis I had to include a lot of charts. The scientific approach proably would have been to use gnuplot, but my tool of choice for any kind of charts is Microsoft Excel 2007. However, I found no simple and easy way to directly include Excel charts into my LaTeX thesis document. After a lot of experimenting and looking at other people’s solutions I came up with the following:

1. Create chart in Excel as usual

Continue reading “HowTo: Export Excel Charts as PDF to include in LaTeX document”

Bachelor of Science

Yesterday I completed IMG_5688_editedthe last part of my computer science (bachelor) studies at the RWTH Aachen. After I handed in my thesis last wednesday I successfully defended it on September the 15th. While I still have to wait for the final report by my supervisor, in my mind I already have completed this part of my education. Below you will find the final thesis (english) and the slides (german).

BachelorThesis (PDF)

BachelorSlides (PDF)

HowTo: Use Spotify from Germany / Spotify in Deutschland

Spotify ist ein Musik-Streaming Service aehnlich der Napster Flatrate aber mit einem viel angenehmeren Interface (iTunes aehnlich) und einer besseren Auswahl. Leider befindet sich der Dienst momentan noch in der geschlossenen Beta Phase und aus Deutschland kommt man nur als Premium-User (9.99 Eur / Monat) in den (Musik-)Genuss. Mittels ein paar kleiner Tricks, laesst sich Spotify jedoch auch bereits aus Deutschland testen:

  1. Ueber einen UK-Webproxy, wie z.B. https://www.proxify.eu  [Siehe Update 2] auf https://www.spotify.com/en/get-started/ gehen
  2. Anmelden mit einer UK PLZ, beispielsweise CB4 3EH (Cambridge).
  3. Spotify herunterladen und installieren

Jetzt kann man Spotify bereits benutzen, jedoch erscheint nach ca. einer Woche die Warnung, die aktuelle Position wuerde nicht der angemeldeten entsprechen und man duerfe max. 14 Tage mit Spotify reisen. Um diese Meldung (und die unweigerlich folgende Sperrung) zu umgehen reicht es anscheinend, sich ~1x pro Woche ueber einen Proxy (eine Auswahl freier Proxies findet sich bei http://www.xroxy.com/proxy-country-GB.htm) mit Spotify zu verbinden. Spotify selber unterstuetzt von Haus aus Socks4/5 und HTTPS Proxies. In der Praxis haben von obenstehender Liste die HTTPS Proxies am beste und zuverlaessigsten funktioniert.

Viel Spass beim Musikhoeren!

PS: Auf Seiten wie z.B. http://sharemyplaylists.com/ nutzen viele User das – geniale – Spotify Feature zum Playlist freigeben und teilen ihre persoenliche Musikauswahl mit der Welt.

Update:

Es empfiehlt sich nicht die ganze Zeit einen UK Proxy zu benutzen, da man sonst Werbung im Programm hat (Banner und ab und zu einen Spot). Ist man hingegen die meiste Zeit mit deutscher IP Adresse unterwegs, faellt man anscheinend durch das Geotargeting (Ortsbezogene Werbung) und man ist komplett werbefrei.

Update 2:

Anscheinend funktionieren die freien WebProxies fuer die Anmeldung nicht mehr. Aber mit einem der Proxies von xroxy (Link siehe oben) sollte es noch klappen. Dazu einfach einen der UK Proxies von der Liste im Firefox eintragen oder FoxyProxy benutzen.

Update 3:

Obwohl uralt ist das hier immer noch einer der populaersten Posts. Soweit ich weiss, braucht man inzwischen aber eine explizite Einladung, oder?

 

Update 4:

Anleitung um Spotify auf dem Windows Phone 7 zu benutzen.