29 February 2008

Turn Based Strategy: 8 Kingdoms

Battle for Wesnoth is the Free TBS game, arguably the Free strategy game: the best known, the most played and probably the best looking. But beside it, there are other smaller, less known gems, like 8 Kingdoms, a game which got packaged for Fedora after the F8 release, so I believe it is not part of any spin or media release, but is only a yum install away...

Before the obligatory screenshot I feel I need to put a warning: the user interface sucks and the graphics are quite ugly, but I like its gameplay better than Wesnoth's and find it really addictive.

[8 kingdoms]

Surely, there are some other things I would like to see in such a game, like more depth, a single player campaign, a backstory and maybe some role playing elements and features which might come handy (like a movable camera angle, which one would expect from a 3D game). And less crashes.

But considering it started by some students as an university project and it has about a couple of active developers, it is really awesome. A must play. Maybe also a must contribute, too bad I know jack about 3D modeling.

28 February 2008

On a scale of evil from 6660 to 6666

I know the real "evil" number is 666, but the 666-th upload to the Open Clip Art Library was long ago, so the best I can do is to try a surrogate, a replacement something looking close to it. So I uploaded another milestone:


I am not sure what is "more evil", 6660 or 6666 or if they are evil enough to count, so I uploaded both the image number 6660 and image 6666 (both were imports from the old website), hope this make me sort of evil:

As Johnny Automatic noted on the mailing list, about February 2008: "this month has seen more submissions than any month since we began tracking them", we were up to something this month and still have one more day to go:

What's next? I still have a lot of files from the old site to dump into ccHost, so I will continue my share of increasing the monthly uploads for a while. And I'll continue to be evil (or at least try to).

22 February 2008

I <3 fedora

While I am not an Ambassador (and have no intention to become one) I got this idea from the Ambassadors Wall. One of the ways I see that wall is a big poster made from post-it notes (with various colors, shapes, orientation, written in different languages with different hand fonts) containing personal messages (they may be "real" - scanned, photographed or "fake" made with a graphic application, like mine).

[post-it <3 fedora]

As a natural continuation, it was logical for me to simplify it (and make it look even more childish) and reduce to the size used by our Promo Banners:
[post-it banner <3 fedora]

And if I am silly, why not go all the silliness way and do a custom t-shirt design (probably best suited for enthusiastic users)?
[t-shirt <3 fedora]

(everything has SVG sources available)

20 February 2008

Tons of clipart: openclipart.org daily snapshot

Open Clip Art LibraryQuite late, a couple of years late, the 0.18 release of the Open Clip Art Library got packaged for Fedora and is expected to hit a Rawhide near you (thanks lkundrak for that).

But that release is ancient, in the meantime we changed the site infrastructure (and lost the ability to do formal releases), gathered thousands of new images from hundreds of new users. What to do, lots of people want the images, we have them but no easy way to bulk download?

Open Clip Art LibraryI present you the daily SVG snapshot: a large tarball containing all the SVG and SVGZ files from our ccHost installation. Today's (the first) snapshot is 156 MB (tar.bz2, it extracts in about 600 MB) and contain over 8.000 images (all of them released as Public Domain).

As a downside, it does lack meaningful structure, the files are grouped in folders by authors, not by topics/keywords/tags and we don't have keywords metadata inside SVG, so searching is a daunting task. But this is the best I can do, provide at least the content.

Note that this does not replace the old 0.18 release, is complementary and contain mostly images submitted after that release (even if this is changing at a glacial speed as some of us re-upload by hand images from the old site to the new one).

Open Clip Art LibraryI forgot something? Yes, the link to the tarball, of course, the most important thing :D Go to the Open Clip Art Library downloads page and get daily_SVG_snapshot.tar.bz2 (no direct link from my blog as I'm not sure if it's a good idea do for a 156 MB download).

So use the clipart, enjoy it and maybe contribute back!

15 February 2008

More interoperability

My first reaction seeing the page in the screenshot below was to get scared. But I am unsure what the second reaction should be: to pity the fools from a certain FOSS project hurrying to give a lot of personal data to the beast in exchange to a small gift (which is "subject to availability" anyway) or to applaud them for emptying the beast's pockets?
In any case, I appreciate the irony of the gift being a bracelet.


14 February 2008

GIMP Polaroid effect

There are some things in life which go in cycles and such a cycle, a short one, is the cycle I started a couple of weeks ago with an Inkscape tutorial, continued with another and it ends now back on track with some GIMPing, after which I will take a break from tutorials. What I'll do next? Upload some old clipart on OCAL? Do some Fedora graphics? Something else? Nothing? We'll see.

[photo]A tutorial about creating a Polaroid effect from a digital photo is quite un-original, it involves basic operations like layer and canvas management, drop shadows, selection move and rotation, with distort filters being the most "advanced" part. So read it if it sound interesting.

Somewhere inside is buried a screencast, which, as all my screencasts, is rough: unedited and without a sound track (despite the number of requests I received for adding sound). Maybe I should reveal the real reason why I dont' add any sound: it is not about the video editors, you can install Cinelerra from kwizart (it is compatible with livna) and you can get over its interface (one of the the fugliest UI I ever say) or crashiness. I don't add voice because my spoken English is so bad that I can't put it on the web with a straight face and I don't add music because the music I like is powerful, strong, heavy and will distract the viewer from the video, which is the real point of interest. And of course, is not free (sute, I can get to classic music, which may solve both issues, but I am affraid it will make the screencasts "uncool").

[photo]Wow! I got really off-topic from the main point, the tutorial. Anyway, it has also a Romanian translation available. Now is the time for a break.

13 February 2008

The Fedora Xfce Spin

[xfce]I am an old GNOME user and I intend to stay this way, it would be very hard for another DE to lure me into using it full time (or even part time) but I always had an inclination to have a look at Xfce, having it installed on my system, even if I don't log in it for months, so after the release announcement of the new Fedora 8 Xfce spin I downloaded it for a quick look.

As expected, it has a tight selection of software to fit on one single live CD, but it is nice and snappy:


While downloading there very few peers available it was very fresh and the news didn't spread enough yet, so digging the announcement and continue seeding may help.

Fedora 9 Artwork: Round 2

After a first round when we gathered theme concepts, the second round, dedicated to further visual refinement has ended and it will be followed by a third, and last, round (with a current deadline for 28 February) where those proposals are expected to approach completion.

From an initial lot of 7 proposals we got to 2 still standing, so I present you (listed in chronological order):

Now is the time for you to voice your opinion about them, please do!

05 February 2008

Pac-Man baddies with Inkscape: clipart, tutorial, screencast and challenge

My not so secret Pac-Man project is finished, the clipart images are available on my collection as well as on openclipart.org, the tutorial is on the tutorials page, a screencast too, so now is the time to talk about them.

Ladies and gentelmen, here are some Pac-Man bad buys and bad girls:

[pacman baddies]

[fedora games]The idea started months ago, when I made a silly cartoon about Fedora Games and I quickly realized the potential: is easy and fun (at least I think so), anybody can create such graphics and a tutorial is obvious and quick enough to be covered also by a screencast.
It got stuck in my head for a long time, screaming to get out waiting for me to get in the right mood for that. And in the end I gave up.

I started by doing a screencast (as I said, is based on a concept I was already familiar with), sorry for the Flash abuse, it is made with Istanbul in Ogg Theora and I have the original, but until fedoratv gets usable, its temporary home will be on YouTube.

[pacman]Then I made in Inkscape the base shape, taking at each step screenshots for a future tutorial.

When done the next step was to create various derivatives, changing either the texture or the shape, there are many of them I like, for example the ninja-pirate duo (who would win in a fight?):

or the textured stripes and camouflage:

The original plan was to create 9 distinct images but the ideas came over and over so I jumped first at 16 and ended with 25 images (and still have a lot of ideas, but enough is enough).

Then I uploaded the images: both in a pacman gallery of my clipart collection and to the Open Clip Art Library (check the arcade tag).

After that, crop the screenshots, combine them, put together in a HTML, add some English text and the Pac-Man baddies Inkscape tutorial is made. Translate everything into Romanian language (yup, I write in English first), put everything online, including the screencast and I am almost done.

The last step is this: blog about them and throw a challenge: look at the gallery and find one baddie representing you. If you can't find one, read the tutorial and draw one yourself. Enjoy it. Show it to the entire world. Maybe upload it to the Open Clip Art Library.

And with that, enough for me with clipart for a while...