Saturday, June 28, 2008

Play Jangaron 0.52 Offline!

Jangaron does not need a server connection, as it is not (yet) a network multiplayer game. However, it has not been so easy to play Jangaron offline - until now!
At the request of Brian, I just uploaded a zip of the Jangaron 0.52 files (only 57 KB, without sound files), including a small patch to make it run without sound locally. Just unpack the archive to some folder, and open jangaron.html in your favorite browser.
The problem with sound is that Flash (which I use for sound only) refuses to load sounds from local file-URLs. The simplest way to make it work locally is to install a Web-server like Apache (don't be afraid, download the binary release and it's really simple!) and put all Jangaron 0.52 files and the Jangaron 0.52 sound files (3.5 MB in two subfolders) below Apache's htdocs folder. Then, start Apache and browse to http://localhost:8080/jangaron.html, and you can play Jangaron with sound, even when you are not connected to the Internet!
Please tell me if you succeeded to install Jangaron (with or without sound) or contact me if you need more detailed instructions.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

From a New Perspective

While some users prefer the first person view, even after adding look left/right/aback, you sometimes miss a bit of overview in the game.
Thus, I started working on a third-person perspective for Jangaron, where you can look over the lightcycle walls. To give you an early preview of how it may look like, I used Wink to produce a video of a game played with my workspace version. What you can see right at the beginning is the "camera" moving gently from the usual mid-horizon perspective to a bird's eye view above the player's lightcycle. I plan to provide keys for toggling between those two modes. As you can also see in the video, even in the third-person view, you can look in all four directions!
What do you think?

The technical challenge of this new perspective is that CSS border slants per se can only draw trapezoids where the projection of one of the parallel sides is completely contained within the other (leftmost figure). If the projection has at least a non-empty intersection, two slants (a "real" slant and a triangle) suffice (middle figure).
But what about arbitrary trapezoids? The solution is to cut the trapezoid in
a zigzag, resulting in serveral right angle triangles and one terminal slant (rightmost figure).
The worst case concerning the number of triangles is a very thin, 45 degree trapezoid. This is why I used another trick for the grid lines, which is to draw a white right angle triangle and a slightly smaller black one, so that only the white sloping line remains. I could not use that trick for the lightcycle walls, because they are drawn on top of the grid.
The question was if using this drawing technique degrades performance, but the answer seems to be "no". I use highly optimized code to update the DOM and to create the zigzag (just some linear equations; note that many coordinates can be reused!), so the overhead of projecting the wall etc. seems to outplay creating additional triangle/slant shapes. I hope to be done with the feature soon, so that you can check it out yourselves!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Jangaron Promo Video Mania

It is really astonishing for me what can happen in a community: After Jangaron 0.5 was done and I made it run on the Wii again, I posted a rather kidding remark to TRON.dll, who, as you might remember, had already put together that great video of Jangaron on the Wii. I said, jokingly, "why don't you also produce a video of the new version", and he even topped that and created a fully-fledged Jangaron promotion video with titles and everything, showing all game modes etc., uploaded it on YouTube and posted it in the Tron-Sector forum thread. And all this happened without me lifting a finger -- amazing! I have to apologize, TRON.dll, it is long overdue to report about your great Jangaron promo video here: Everybody watch and enjoy!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

A Tiny New Feature for Jangaron (0.52)

This one I stole from Armagetron: The outer rim walls of the game grid can now be set to be infinitely high. I like it better for its claustrophobic ambiance, so I made it the default. If you don't like it, uncheck Grid settings | infinitely high outer rim, and you're back to the way it looked before. On any problems running the updated full game or Jangaron mini, please clear your browser cache.