Aubreyfalconer.com - All http://aubreyfalconer.com/index en-us ATIServer 184 0 25 <![CDATA[Safarri's Vision - ]]> Safarri's vision is to utilize the power of the internet to revolutionize the way that people buy and sell.
 
Sound familiar? The base concept certainly is, but take a closer look:
Safarri goes the extra mile to bring you the best classifieds experience possible.
 
 
  1. Safarri is Easy, Elegant, and Completely Free:
    Safarri is designed for everyone - from professional sellers to beginner computer users. Safarri makes it so easy to buy and sell that you might even consider it a recreational activity!
  2. Safarri is All Purpose, Local, and Global:
    Safarri's advanced browsing interface (that searches by real distance - not just regions), makes it easy to find items near you - or rare items anywhere in the world. Being an all-purpose, global and local system allows Safarri to provide you with a friendly, familiar interface whenever you want to buy or sell anything, wherever you are.
  3. Safarri is Syndicated:
    When you search Safarri, Safarri searches thousands of other classifieds websites to find what you are looking for - and when you post something to Safarri, Safarri shares your listing with many other sites and search engines. Bottom line: Safarri gets you results.
  4. Safarri is Flexible:
    Safarri doesn't lock you in to it's own way of buying and selling things - Safarri does it's best to make your way more fun and effective. Safarri works great with local classifieds newspapers, generates custom "for sale" signs to facilitate local marketing, and helps you to effortlessly post your full Safarri ads - complete with 16 epic pictures - to sites like Craigslist for even more exposure.   
  5. Safarri is Powerful:
    From great looking listing pages that make your items stand out, to a full-featured control panel to keep track of all your ads, to cutting edge features like real time 3D Google Earth integration for finding things in a whole new way, Safarri has the tools you need to succeed. Safarri even allows you to easily start your own online storefront, featuring your items, with your domain name and branding - backed up by the full power of Safarri. If you are a realtor, run a physical store and are considering getting your inventory online, or just have a lot of stuff in your attic; a Safarri Store may be exactly what you need.
 
 
Sound like Safarri is for you?
Try posting something for sale!
 
Have a great idea that would make Safarri even more useful to you?
Please post it to this forum, or contact Safarri directly.
]]>
Fri, 09 May 2008 15:32:42 +0000
<![CDATA[Mars Explorer 2.22 Final - The Pinnacle of Mars Explorer]]>
Greetings everyone!
 
As Syn3h draws nearer to reality, I am fine tuning the last versions of Mars Explorer.
 
2.22 includes the most rock solid networking ever (which is far from perfect due to fundamental flaws in Unity which they have now acknowledged), many bugfixes and refinements, better buggy and hovercraft handling, an installer for the native windows app, and much more.
 
If you are experiencing any issues with the browser or dashboard versions of Mars Explorer, please try downloading a native Mac or Windows app. There are some known issues with Unity's webplayer that I am working with them on at the moment.
 
My next milestone will be the release of the Whirld 3 library - which will revolutionize world design. After that, a complete rewrite of the networking system is in order - which is a project of such magnitude that I want to ensure that we have Mars Explorer finely tuned in it's corrent state before embarking on this new venture.
 
Enjoy,
 
-Aubrey
 
 
 
 
]]>
Mon, 18 Jan 2010 08:27:44 +0000
<![CDATA[Syn3h B2 - Rendering upgrades, Whirld revamp]]>
Greetings everyone!
 
 
Please welcome the second of Syn3h's beta releases, available now after all-too-long of a delay.
 
 
This release focuses primarily on the Whirld and Rendering systems, though the rather massive changelog can speak for itself.
Please let me know if this version solves any inverted graphics/no picture/poor framerate issues you experienced in the previous beta.
 
Be sure to stop by Unity Island, which serves as a demo to show off new Whirld functionality - including the fact that it is now entirely contained in a single, binary, highly optimized, webplayer cachable .whirld file! Enjoy the new sea system, globally illuminated lightmaps, completley revamped rendering effects and fine tuned quality levels, STUNNING new vehicle and xorb materials, and much more.
 
 
Don't worry about the completley broken keybindings, lack of lava on the classic Martian worlds, rather dull looking seas at low quality levels, and other miscellaneous issues - they are on the top of my list.
 
 
For all you map designers, the Whirld toolkit will be available once Unity 3.2 is released (should be safe to hold your breath)...
 
 
-Aubrey
 
 
 
 
  • Massive strides forward in Whirld water system
  • Cache loading will now be a bit faster, as I have obliterated the need for a secondary buffer cache.
  • Cache dir on OSX should now be ~/Library/Application Support/Whirld Cache - you can delete the old ~/Documents/Library/Application Support/Whirld Cache folder used by B1
  • Nicer looking server list in lobby, with a bit of space between each server row
  • Buggy skidmarks now properly aligned to tires
  • Buggy autorighting is now a bit smarter, and should never skid the buggy sideways along the ground like it did before
  • Buggy's suspension system now never protrudes from the bottom of the buggy
  • Buggy wheels no longer penetrate walls to fall through the floor outside the wall, and it's rollover crashes look nicer
  • Buggy's shocks are now a bit more powerful for high speed offroading
  • Buggy's camera following distance has been moved back a bit
  • Malformed Whirld entries should no longer crash Syn3h
  • Xorbs now fit buggy properly
  • Fullscreen mode can now be controlled via a button at the very top of the Interface panel
  • Antialiasing now defaults to false, please try turning it off if you experience weird rendering glitches
  • LOD System now functional again
  • Rendering materialization sites from near distances shouldn't slow down low end systems as much (Thanks, Achilles!)
  • Global shader lod max and camera rendering path are now directly linked to Syn3h's quality level, which should result in much higher framerates on low end hardware with the quality set to a minimal level
  • Integrated Whirld Repository search field in the Server Creation interface of Syn3h now has focus by default
  • Xorbs now partially transparent at lowest quality levels, instead of fully opaque
  • Fine tuned quality levels, with the two lowest now being actually useful
  • Buggy skidmarks now shown only above Simple rendering level
  • Buggy wing warping now a bit smoother
  • Vastly more intelligent new seafloor texture algorithm which smoothly blends combination of all beach textures into the sea
  • New Unity Island with occlusion culling, baked lightmaps, and much more!
  • New Whirld skybox horizon fog baking system - it's brilliant
  • World sunlight shadow feathering normalized
  • Whirld library now includes many new helpers, such as the Whirld optimizer
  • The "Cancel" button while loading a world now properly terminates loading and returns Syn3h to the lobby
  • Whirld loader no longer confused by attempting to cache URLs  with a ? in the name
  • Hosting a world instantly after starting Syn3h with a large Whirld cache to parse no longer causes a crash
  • Fastest quality level now looks a bit nicer
  • Significant shadow quality enhancements at high rendering levels
  • More reliable network testing
  • Vehicle reflection cubemaps now dynamically generated for each world, resulting in much more convincing reflections
  • Realtime vehicle reflections at fantastic level!
  • Cameras bundled inside worlds are now summarily disposed off, instead of wreaking havoc on core game logic
  • New automatic Whirld alt offset if loaded with a legacy sea alt
  • Improved rendering effects, as well as their relation to game quality levels
  • Whirld loading percentages rounded
  • Default block world object no longer cast shadows, which means that there is no longer a weird realtime shadow edge line following you around
  • Sunlight beam effect now enabled on worlds with lens flares defined in the primary directional sun light
  • Fixed &quot; in ads
  • App Update detection enabled
  • To resolve interface ambiguities, game worlds are now described as "maps" in Syn3h's primary lobby interface
  • Buggy autorighting now slower to activate, but stronger once it gets going
  • Cache controls now available at bottom of world selection list as well as lobby settings pane
  • Beginning of webplayer caching...
  • Dynamic shadowcasting is now disabled for objects that aren't lightmapped, to prevent them from casting shadows in a strange looking circle around your camera
  • Nifty new JumpPoint system, and other smart objects, for the Whirld 4 release
  • Doppler effect temporarily disabled in preparation for audio system upgrade
  • Upgraded image effects, including edge blending that no longer needs to be manually enabled
  • Resolution dialog now shown by default for standalone builds
  • Wind for Unity Island!
  • Enabled static and dynamic batching for Whirld for significant rendering performance improvements
  • Whirld Water now automatically downgrades itself if a deferred rendering path isn't available
  • Floors, lights, etc reenabled for legacy block worlds
]]>
Fri, 04 Feb 2011 03:49:31 +0000
<![CDATA[Article: Enhancing HTTP sessions using iFrames and JS - Advanced techniques to propigate sessions across multiple domains and deactivate them automatically!]]> Introduction:

The site you are viewing is a member of the ATI Network. All ATI Network sites share a common authentication system - even though the network spans multiple domain names. Logging in on one network site automatically logs you in to all the others, and leaving all network sites automatically logs you out of the entire network. How is this done? Read on:

How Sessions Work:

Pretend like you are a webserver. Your entire life is spent serving pages to clients over the internet. All you know about a client is what it tells you when it asks for a page. When a client sends you a page request, it looks something like this:

GET /index HTTP/1.1
Host: theati.net
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; PPC Mac OS X Mach-O; en-US; rv:1.8.0.2) Gecko/20060308vFirefox/1.5.0.2
Accept: application/x-shockwave-flash,text/xml,application/xml,application/xhtml+xml,text/html;q=0.9,text/plain;q=0.8,image/png,*/*;q=0.5
Accept-Language: en-us,en;q=0.5
Accept-Encoding: gzip,deflate
Accept-Charset: ISO-8859-1,utf-8;q=0.7,*;q=0.7
Keep-Alive: 300
Connection: keep-alive

This is all you need to know to serve them a page. But how can you tell different clients apart? How can you tell a guest from a registered user?
Each user must be given a unique ID, and that id must be sent along with each page request. This will allow you (the server), to reference each user to the data you have stored for that user, and customize the page according to their needs.

There are three main ways to get clients to send an ID along with their request:

  1. The most obvious option is to embed their id (in the form of GET data) in every url they visit by rewriting "on page" links.
    There are at least three problems with this approach:

    1. The first is with search engines. When a search engine visits a page, and has an id assigned to it, and has all the links rewritten to contain that id, every url it stores in its index will contain that id.Every person coming from that search engine will automatically "inherit" the search engines session. Worse, the next time the search engine comes back and you assign it a new id, all your sites links will appear to have changed. The search engine may get frustrated and leave!
    2. Another problem is with users copying urls. When an authenticated user copies a url out of their address bar and emails it to their friend, posts it to a forum, etc, their session will be "stolen" by anyone who visits that url.
    3. The final problem comes with histories. If a user logs into their account at a library or other public computer, completes their business, logs out, and leaves the computer, their session is "stealable" by anyone! All the next user of the computer has to do is press "back" a couple times, and they are logged in as the previous user!
  2. An extension of the first technique, it is possible to use javascript to detect link clicks, rewrite the link hrefs to a hidden form's action tag, and submit the form along with the session id in a hidden field. While this does get around the url copying issue, it adds a requirement for javascript and most browsers display an incredibly annoying "are you sure you want to go back?" dialog for any pages containing postdata.
  3. The best way is to give the client a cookie with their id inside, and have them give it back with every subsequent page request.
    The benefits of cookies are significant over url-based session preservation:
    1. Search engines, which generally don't accept cookies, are never presented with "changing" urls!
    2. Since cookies are not stored in the url, they can not be accidentally copied!
    3. Since logging out involves deleting the cookie from the client's computer, sessions can not be "hijacked" from the browsers history or cache!

    Cookies are less than perfect, however. Some people do not accept cookies, or may have their computer's date so far off that the cookies are deleted instantly. They are also not multi-domain. Some browsers reject cookies from all domains other than the currently visited one because of privacy issues. There is a way to work around this! Keep reading to find out how...

    Note that cookies and urls can both be stolen using techniques such as xss or a packet sniffer, so don't just assume your data is safe!

In summary: for most applications, cookies are better for session preservation than url rewriting. The rest of this article discusses how to use cookies to their full potential!

Multi Domain Cookies:

Since most browsers won't accept cookies from offsite domains, and since the browser must have a cookie for a domain to be authenticated in that domain, and since we want users to be able to log in to multiple domains at once, we will need to use a tool called iFrames to load cookie setting pages from each domain in the network on each network page.

How does it work, you ask? Simple. For our example, we will be setting up a network with three domains.When someone logs into d1.com, every subsequent page will have the following html appended to it:

<iframe xsrc="http://d2.com/loadcookie?id={SessionId}" width="0" height="0" frameborder="0"></iframe>
<iframe xsrc="http://d3.com/loadcookie?id={SessionId}" width="0" height="0" frameborder="0"></iframe>

This instructs our client's browser to request a cookie setting page from every other domain in the network. When that page is requested, the server replies with the following:

HTTP/1.x 200 OK
Date: Sat, 22 Apr 2006 02:16:05 GMT
Host: dX.com
Cache-Control: no-store, no-cache, must-revalidate
Set-Cookie: id={SessionId}; path=/; domain=.dX.com
Content-Type: text/html

Note that there is no expiry date set for the session cookie. This instructs the browser to delete the cookie as soon as the user's "session" ends, which is when they quit the browser. Below we will use javascript to delete the cookie when they leave the site, but this is there for users that don't have javascript.

Once finished, the browser will have separate cookies stored for every site in the network. No matter which domain the client requests a page from next, they will still be logged in!

You may be wondering why we don't instruct the browser to cache the iframes, and save several http requests per page. The reason is that since the cookies store the user's id, caching the iframes would allow session hijacking by loading the iframes from the browser's cache.

Auto Logouts:

Many sites "deactivate" sessions after a specific amount of time. They assume that if your session has not requested any new pages within a couple of hours, you probably aren't still sitting at your computer.
While this is better than not deactivating them at all, it has several flaws:

  1. Just because your last page request was 10 seconds ago doesn't mean you are at your computer! People can log in to their accounts at public places, complete their business, and then leave the site. Even though they may think their data is safe, in reality the next person to visit the site within the next couple of hours is logged into their account!
  2. People often have certain pages open for several hours at a time intentionally; especially when they are writing content. Imagine the frustration of spending hours writing an article, pressing submit, and being greeted with a login page after your article (in postdata) is lost in thin air!

While these problems can be mitigated by making it very clear to users that they are not safe till they have pressed "Log Out" and writing a complicated postdata preservation system, there is a better way!

Using javascript, it is possible to automatically log users out. Below is the code that does the trick:

function doCookie() {
var now = new Date(); //Create a date object
now.setTime(now.getTime() + 3000); //Set the object's time to three seconds in the future
document.cookie = "sessionname=sessionid; expires=" + now + "; path=/; domain=.thisdomain.com"; //Update their session cookie!
}
setInterval("doCookie()",1000); //Run function every second

As you can see, all it does is run in an endless loop, every second setting the cookie to expire three seconds in advance. When a user requests a new page on the site, The cookie is carried to the new page, and they are logged in. When they leave the site, the loop stops, and their browser automatically deletes the cookie within three seconds.

If the user doesn't have javascript, you can display a "be sure to remember to logout" message using the <noscript> tag.

Bringing it together - Conclusion:

Combining the iframe technique with auto logouts is easy, and provides an awesome session managing system!
All you have to do is add the javascript doCookie() code to the page the iframes request. That way when the multidomain iframes are loaded, the infinite cookie setting loop is instantiated for every domain in the network.
Whatever domain in the network the user requests by clicking a link, they are sure to have the session cookie for it. And when you leave the network, all the cookies delete themselves automatically by timing out!

Although I did invent both techniques described in this article on my own, I am now beginning to see some instances of iframes used as described here. As far as I know however, this is the first ever documented usage of javascript to automatically deactivate session cookies! And its nearly certainly the first use of them together! If you know of someone else using the javascript system, please tell me. And if you write an article about it, credit would be appreciated! :-)

You should now have a thorough understanding of the basic concepts behind http sessions, and a couple tricks up your sleeve for making them even better!
I hope you find many creative uses for the techniques presented here, and take them to new levels! Please post any ideas you have for improving these techniques in the comments.

]]>
Fri, 01 Dec 2006 05:26:38 +0000
<![CDATA[Fundamentals of Flight - Exploring the elementals of aeronautics]]> Note: If you are on a syndicated site, » Enjoy full formatting on AubreyFalconer.com
 
 
 
Russian Kalinin K-7 (Visualization)
 
 
Flight: A triumph of engineering which permits the traversal of our world from a whole new dimension!
 
Flight can be divided into three basic groups:
  1. Gliding, in which kinetic energy is lost as distance is traveled.
  2. Floating, in which the aeronaut is carried about by currents of air.
  3. Powered Flight - in which thrust employed for vastly greater range and maneuverability.
Though Fish, Spiders, Snakes, Ants, and a Myriad of other creatures have employed flight for countless ages - we now understand the principles involved and can make use of them, even if we still aren't anywhere near matching the effiency of nature. Many of the same forces which keep airliners aloft are directly applicable to your paper airplanes - and you can learn about them in this article.
 
 
» »
» »
 
 
Lift:
 

 
As visualized in the Venturi Meter to the right, air flowing through a pipe has to increase it's speed when passing through a constriction - and when it's speed increases, it's pressure decreases. The effect that results in the water bubble shifting to the left side of the meter (where the air pressure is lower) is known as Bernouli's Principle, and it's key to understanding how airplanes stay in the sky.
 
When air flows across a shape known as an airfoil (such as the wing of an airplane), the air on the curved top side has to travel faster than the air on the relatively flat bottom side. Thus, the higher pressure on the bottom side exerts a lifting force on the airfoil.
 
When an airfoil slices into the air at an angle instead of directly inline with it's motion, it is said to have an "Angle of Attack" (AoA). The steeper this angle is, the more air has to travel over one side of the airfoil and less over the other side, which causes more lift (and drag).
Stall
Source: Wikipedia

The greater an airfoil's AoA, the less smoothly air flows over it. When an Airfoil's AoA is too high and it's speed is too low, laminar (smooth) flow of air over the wing is replaced by turbulence and the airfoil generates lots of drag and very little lift. This condition is known as a stall, and generally results in a loss of altitude as the plane falls and gathers speed to resume flight. On certain aircraft, it can result in a complete loss of control and a catastrophic crash! Some high performance fighter jets are designed for supermaneuverability (to be controllable during stalls), which allows them to perform amazing maneuvers such as Pugachev's Cobra.
 
Drag:
 
When a plane is flying slower than the speed of sound, subsonic aerodynamics describes the two primary forces that slow it down as Form Drag and Induced Drag. Form drag is caused by turbulence as air flows over the plane, and is minimized by long, tapering trailing edges on each shape of the hull to keep air flowing smoothly along it. Wherever air encounters an angle too sharp to flow smoothly over (just as in airfoil stalls described above), excessive turbulence and drag results. The faster an object is moving, the vastly greater it's induced drag is! Objects in free fall eventually reach an equilibrium between gravity speeding them up and drag slowing them down, and this is described as their terminal velocity.
 
Induced drag is related to the redirection of airflow to generate lift - and since planes have to redirect airflow most to stay aloft at low speeds, induced drag decreases as an airplane's speed increases. An aircraft's maximum efficiency is obtained at the speed where induced and form drag are equal. When an airplane is rotated on it's yaw axis so that it points to the side of it's direction of travel, it's form drag is increased and the condition is described as a side slip. Aircraft are equipped with tail rudders to counteract this problem and aid in various maneuvers.
 

Source: Wikipedia

Stability:
 
Dihedral angle describes the upward sweep of an aircraft's wings. When the wings of an airplane form a slight "V" shape when viewed along it's length, the lower wing generates extra lift when the aircraft begins to roll and automatically stabilizes it. If your paper airplane tends to dive left or right when flying, it definitely needs more dihedral!
 
Control surfaces such as ailerons, elevators, and rudders allow an aircraft to modify the shape (and therefore performance) of it's airfoils in flight to control it's attitude. You can add control surfaces to the trailing edges of the wings on your paper airplanes to stabilize their own flight: A curve to the left or right can be cured with an upward flap on the opposite wing, and nosedives or stalls can often be corrected by adjusting the "flaps" on both wings up or down.
 
Spin Stabilization is employed from frisbees to rockets for a simple stability solution - but where rapid rotations aren't an option, Fly by Wire systems feed sensor inputs into a computer to calculate the exact control deflections necessary to keep high performance aircraft (even RC ones!) in the sky.
 
 
Paper Airplanes:
 
Bonus Questions:
  • What is a "wind tunnel", and for what are they used?
  • How can an airplane pilot recover from a stall, or a helicopter pilot land when their engine dies?
  • What does the term "terminal velocity" refer to?
  • Why do "stealth" fighter jets look so angular? (Hint: this answer has very little to do with aerodynamics)
  • Why are helicopters so much slower than airplanes? (Hint: visualize the relative airspeed of each side of the main rotor as the helicopter soars through the sky)
]]>
Fri, 14 May 2010 06:06:10 +0000
<![CDATA[Whirld 4 - The open, extensible world system for Unity 3D]]> It's official:
 
You are now ready to begin creating the virtual worlds of your dreams.
Unity 3.2 and Whirld 4 make the perfect combination to design, prototype, and deploy custom worlds for Syn3h and other future Whirld enabled games.
 
Please let me know of any issues you experience, Whirld will be submitted to the Unity Asset Store once all the bugs are worked out.
I can't wait to see all the worlds created by Mars Explorer's community upgraded for Unity 3 and included in Syn3h!
 
 
Notes:
  1. Whirld 4 requires Unity 3.2 or higher. Please upgrade before importing Whirld
  2. If you have a project that already includes my previous Whirld 3 beta release, you need to delete EVERYTHING related to the previous beta before importing Whirld 4
  3. Due to Unity's licensing restrictions, Unity Pro is needed to produce the .Whirld bundles that can be streamed by Syn3h. I have included an easy to use system to move your Whirld onto a computer capable of bundling it, and am working on a more elegant and integrated solution for the future.
 
Links:
  • Unity3d.com
    Download the Unity Editor.

  • Whirld Framework
    (39 mb) Includes Whirld library, basic game manager, Buggy and Jet vehicles, and a sample world.
    This is the package you need to design, prototype, and release your worlds.

  • Whirld Library
    (4 mb) Desire only the library? Here you are.

  • Whirld Repository
    This is the database that Syn3h is connected to.
    If you build an awesome world, contact a repo admin for possible inclusion.
 
Introductory Tutorial:
 
]]>
Thu, 24 Feb 2011 08:37:26 +0000
<![CDATA[An argument for the existence of God, and authenticity of the Bible - Why I am a Christian]]> A concise explanation of why I believe that God exists - and further - why I believe that the Bible, collectively, is the express word of God revealed to humankind.
 
This argument is arranged into three base postulates - each building on the preceding, and complimented by a series of supporting points.
 
Please note that I do not currently have time to personally defend every single one of these points. Do your own research, the data is out there. If, upon examining the evidence, you reach a different conclusion than I have on a specific area mentioned in this argument - and you feel burdened to share this in the comments - please don't expect an exhaustive refutation from me. During the course of my life, I intend to develop this argument to a point where it will contain answers to all common refutations - but that will take some time.
 
All the best,
 
-Aubrey
 
 
 
 
 
1) The probability of the universe arriving at it's current state by natural processes is incredibly insignificant, and thus it is entirely rational to conclude that the universe had a supernatural origin:
  • Abiogenesis is woefully inadequate to explain how life could have arisen on Earth
  • Panspermia either involves the same problem of abiogenesis somewhere else in the universe, or directly invokes the supernatural
  • Evolution through natural selection suffers from an extreme dearth of transitional forms in the fossil record, and resorts to nothing more than fanciful stories when attempting to explain the incredible complexity and symbiotic relationships we find in nature.
  • If the universe has always existed, it should have experienced heat death long ago. If instead, the universe had a beginning - the supernatural is again invoked.

2) The Bible's narrations, interpreted literally, provide us with testable scientific predictions that it would have been impossible for the original authors to conceive of autonomously:
  • Geological evidence for a young earth and vast, catastrophic global flood
  • Paleontological evidence for a time in the past when the earth was radically different from what it is today - capable of supporting life forms that would be completely unviable in our modern climate
  • Biostratigraphical evidence of a geologic column produced by hydrologic sorting, ecological zonation, etc during the Noaic flood; in the form of numerous "anomalies" in the geologic column when interpreted from a uniformitarian standpoint

3) The Bible claims to be the word of God, and contains ample authentication mechanisms to verify this claim:
  • Prophecy: God exists outside of our spacetime continuum, and is perfectly aware of what the future holds for us. Because of this, the Bible includes a significant amount of prophecy - much of which has already come to pass with incredible accuracy.
    • (Isaiah 46:9-10 KJV) Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.
    • (Deuteronomy 18:20-22 KJV) But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.
  • Coherence: the Bible is comprised of 66 books penned by 40 separate authors over thousands of years - all of which agree with each other. Though many claim that there are conflicts within the Bible, I believe that all apparent conflicts are the result of deliberate  or unintentional misunderstandings of the ideas that the Biblical text conveys.
  • Faith: As I have just demonstrated, the Bible offers a much more substantial worldview foundation than abstract faith in an unsubstantiated myth. The Bible itself claims this - clarifying that belief in the God of the Bible does not necessitate an abandonment of science and logic, or intellectual dishonesty rooted in a supposed disparity between the observable universe and that which the Bible describes.
    • (John 14:11 KJV) Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake.
    • (Romans 1:20 KJV) For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.
]]>
Tue, 25 Aug 2009 17:42:37 +0000
<![CDATA[Mars Explorer 2.1 Preview - Conquer the Skies.]]> GTR's jet has been implemented, and you can take it for a spin!
Great job GTR, this is a beautiful model.
 
Note to everyone: yes, this is really exciting - but please don't submit dozens of comments that contain random characters or repetitive phrases :)
 
This jet's physics are coded to closely approximate an ultra-modern modern super high performance fighter. It features thrust vectoring, is supermaneuverable, and loves performing the Pugachev Cobra and Herbst maneuvers. In addition to being an awesome jet, it also includes a "hover" mode that is similar to piloting a helicopter - allowing you to land it on any rooftop, or cruise with ease and precision through even the most intricate of worlds.

In essence, the other vehicles don't stand a chance :)

I am working on several ideas for weapons systems capable of hitting a jet, and for slight tweaks to game mechanics that will allow the other vehicles to coexist with it.
This webplayer will be updated with new features as I create them.

In the mean time, have fun!
You can always disable jets in your server if you want to have a classical laser tag battle.
 
The jet is steered with the customary arrow or WASD keys - but there is a new "throttle" input axis for the throttle while in flight and the collective pitch while hovering. The new "throttle" input axis should automatically connect to the throttle on your joystick if you have one - but if not, you can also control the throttle using your Q and E keys. The Space key toggles between hovering and flying. Clarification: You are always at half throttle unless you press Q (zero throttle) or E (full throttle). Half throttle provides the precise amount of thrust necessary to suspend the jet in mid air.
 
To perform a turn in flight, simply roll left or right and the jet's onboard computers ;) will take care of the details. You can pull into turns for faster directional changes, but if you pull too hard you will stall the wings and they will stop producing lift.
 
All the best,
 
-Aubrey
 
 
 
 
 
Other minor goodies:
  • SmartCam now follows a bit more aggressively, to help it keep up with the jet
  • AeroCam renamed to HyperCam, as it can make you really dizzy in the jet :)
  • In order to allow them to keep up with the jet, lasers now inherit the speed of their firing vehicle. Yes, this does violate relativity - I should really call them something other than lasers :) Anyway, this will alter your optimum targeting strategies! Now, when you are driving alongside of someone and want to hit them, you don't need to lead them - as your lasers will move along with the two of you. This also makes it slightly more difficult to hit stationary targets while you are moving parallel to them. Either compensate for it, or move towards or away from whatever you are aiming at.
  • Positional resets no longer preserve vehicle rotation and speed, as there were issues with people getting totally lost and stuck :)
  • Fixed hypersound, at the expense of disabling audio doppler effect.
  • SMOOTH buggy wing deployment animations, based upon some reworked code.
 
 
]]>
Fri, 16 Oct 2009 23:34:46 +0000
<![CDATA[Buggy in Flight]]> Sun, 26 Oct 2008 04:54:41 +0000 <![CDATA[Back Online! - After a 24 hour disaster]]> Greetings everyone!
 
 
I am terribly sorry about the recent downtime, which had eliminated sites such as Safarri, PlexPedia and MarsXPLR from the internet for the past day and a half. Here's what happened:
 
 
1) A couple weeks ago, VPSLink (my previous webhost) notified me that an entity known as SpamCop had received complaints of unsolicited email originating from my server's IP address. They said that I would need to stop sending spam, or my server would be in jeopardy.
 
2) I replied, and let VPSLink know that none of my services deliver spam - and that the server in question sent emails only to welcome new users and notify them of received private messages. I also scanned the server for signs of an intrusion, and verified that the server was not acting as an open mail relay. All seemed well.
 
3) VPSLink was again contacted by SpamCop, and instantly disabled my server without warning me first.
 
4) I pointed the DNS of all effected sites to a status update page, to let users know what was happening.
 
5) I keep regular backups, but the prospect of loosing everything users have contributed to this server in the last two weeks since the latest backup was unacceptable. After 18 hours of negotiations, VpsLink temporarily reenabled my server to enable me to extract the data it contained. I chose to move this data to a micro instance on Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud, and after several more hours of work, everything was running great.
 
6) DNS records for all sites were pointed to the new EC2 Elastic IP. 
 
7) The new micro EC2 instance quickly crumbled under the load of everyone checking to see if their favorite sites were back online. I had planned to upgrade the micro instance to a standard instance if this happened, but when I attempted to do this - I discovered that Amazon doesn't support 64 bit standard instances and that I would have to reconfigure a new server from scratch (again). The micro instance performed incredibly poorly, often failing to utilize more than 3% of it's allotted cpu due to some kind of behind-the-scenes throttling that Amazon was imposing.
 
8) Less than impressed with Amazon's EC2 service for anything other unpredictably loaded applications, I chose Linode as ATIServer's home. I then transferred the latest data to a new Linode VPS, configured an Nginx - fastcgi PHP5 server stack, ran a couple tests, and pointed all the site's DNS records to Linode.
 
Everything now appears to be working great (even better than it had been performing on the higher specked and twice-as-expensive VPSLink server), no data has been lost, and Linode will provide us with tons of room to grow.
 
Please let me know if you notice anything broken or missing, I'll be sure to take care of it.
 
 
All the best,
 
-Aubrey
 
 
 
 
 
]]>
Thu, 02 Jun 2011 18:50:53 +0000
<![CDATA[Mars Explorer - Immersive In-Browser 3D Exploration Simulator]]>
Notice: Mars Explorer has a new (and improved) home!
Please head on over to MarsXPLR.com for the latest and greatest Mars Exporer site.
 
This page will not be updated, and is hosted only for archival purposes

 
 
 
 
 
Play Mars Explorer
 
 Click the above button to play Mars Explorer!

If this is your first time playing, you will be stepped through the easy and free process of installing the Unity browser plugin to make Mars Explorer work.
 
Controls: 
  • Drive with your Arrow (or WASD) keys
  • Fly by holding the Space key
  • Aim by holding the Alt (or Shift for sniping) keys - use Mouse to fire
  • Lock your brakes with the Command or Shift keys (it's nice to be stabile when firing)
  • In multiplayer mode, your objective is to tag whoever is the "quarry" (they have *stars* on their name tag) - But there is lots more to do than just that! Race your friends up the path on the volcano or around the racetrack, or play "king of the hill" on the top of the mountain just across the lava flow from the volcano!

 
This game is Family Friendly. Rated by TIGRS™
Introduction
Mars Explorer is a free in-browser 3D game developed by Aubrey which supports networked multiplayer "tag" in a highly unrealistic -  but totally fun - martian environment.
 
Players can ascend massive volcanoes, race around elevated plateaus, bob through lava flows, and perform aerobatic stunts using deployable wings while playing laser tag with each other!
 
Unlike most games, Mars Explorer doesn't have a complicated set of objectives, a pointless story line, powerups to collect, timers to annoy you, monsters out to get you, a slowly dwindling "life meter", or "locked" areas that you aren't important enough to access. Mars Explorer is like renting an ultra high performance laser wielding dune buggy - with wings, and taking it for a spin - on Mars - with all your friends.
 
Aubrey isn't particularly interested in computer games, and indeed created Mars Explorer far more for the sake of learning Unity 3D (the engine powering Mars Explorer) for future projects than because of a desire to develop a game, but now that it is functional, Aubrey hopes you enjoy it.
Download
Mars Explorer is available as a downloadable OS X Dashboard Widget!
 
Want to always have Mars Explorer right at your fingertips - even when you aren't online?
 
Tips & Tricks

Want to get up to speed fast and impress your friends?
The below tips - handed down from the creator of the game just for you, will facilitate your mastery of Mars Explorer in no time!

 
Networking: 
Cruising around on mars in single player mode is fun, but networking with your friends is infinitley more so! To go Multiplayer in Mars Explorer, enter your screen name in the "Internet Multiplayer box of the Mars Explorer launch screen. If there are any active multiplayer games you can then join them by pressing the "Join Game" button next to their IP address, but if not, you can host your own game by pressing the "Start New Game" button. Your friends will be able to join your game, and you can all play laser tag with each other!
 
Flight:
Holding the space bar while your vehicle is moving will deploy your super cool energy field based wings - enabling you to soar around the martian sky (or just adjust your orientation prior to a hard landing)! Watch your airspeed, because you stall around 9 MPH. "Flapping" your wings by cycling the up and down arrow keys around once per second will slowly accelerate your vehicle, allowing you to stay aloft indefinitley.
 
Marksmanship:
Hold the Alt or Shift keys - or press the "Laser Tag" camera button - to enter laser firing mode, and hold your mouse button to fire.
Want to fire your lasers as accuratley as possible? Try braking to a stop (Hold the Command or Shift keys), or deploying your wings and crusing as smoothly as possible to steady yourself.
 
Wallriding:
Holding the space bar while accelerating on the ground gives you tremendous groundforce - which aside from helping you "stick" to the ground over heavy bumps, can also enable you to drive up steep hills with ease. Drive diagonally up the hills - adjusting your "angle of ascent" to climb as rapidly as possible without stalling, and you will soon be at the top!
 
High Speed Driving:
Want to leave people in the dust? Stick to the ground! Seriously, those on the ground can accelerate far faster than those in the skies. Want to leave others on the ground in the dust? Drive backwards. It is far harder to steer (and deploy your wings when you get in trouble) and should only be attempted by experienced MarsRacers, but driving backwards will sometimes give you that extra boost of speed needed to escape a pursuer of ascend a difficult hill. Turning as little and as smoothly as posible can also help you achieve much higher speeds.
 
Dodging:
Someone coming up on you to ram you too fast for you to escape? Try firing your sniper laser (hold shift) into the ground underneath the front of your vehicle (at the very bottom of your screen). With practice, you can time your dodges to blast yourself into the air right over a pursuer as they race underneath you!
 
"Aubrey":
If you ever see anyone playing the game with the username "Aubrey", that would be me! (Everyone else named Aubrey shows up as Aubrey 2). I don't play too often - and I generally am on a high latency satellite internet connection which makes me appear a bit bouncy - but I love to hear your feedback and suggestions. So next time you leave someone named Aubrey in the dust on the racetrack or bounce them off the volcano trail with a well placed sniper shot, you can say with confidence that you beat the creator at his own game :-)
Credits
Mars Explorer was developed by Aubrey using the amazingly excellent & highly recommended Unity Game Development Tool.
 
Tons of development suggestions and tips for the game were provided by the amazingly helpful Unity community, and the "Mars Buggy" itself is based on a vehicle originally developed by Unity grandmaster "Yoggy".
 
Many thanks are due to the early enthusiasts like Matthew A, Ellen F, Natasha H, and Forest J - who helped nail down many bugs and set the direction of the game; and to my wonderful sister Kellie who performed the music for Mars Explorer on her mountain dulcimer.
Known Bugs
  • Several areas of the map allow the player to launch into space by exploiting loopholes in the physics engine. This is so fun to do that they have been left intact :-)
  • Using your brakes in mid air can sometimes result in unrealistically low gravity landings.
  • The network testing routing can occasionally time out before determining the information of exceptionally slow internet connections.
  • The flight model gets a bit strange during inverted flight. Disabling the "slideslip" code when the vehicle is in inverted flight should solve this.
  • All the minimap vehicle indicators are the same color. Some day I will find the time to color them individually...
  • There should really be several difficulty levels of robot. I will add this some time too.



Mars Explorer Scenes
]]>
Wed, 14 May 2008 20:44:33 +0000
<![CDATA[The Presidential Candidates Comparison Matrix! - An "executive summary" comparison of the various presidential candidates]]> Announcing the Ron Paul Matrix!

The purpose of "the matrix" is to build a comprehensive comparison of all the major presidential candidates, with the mission of equipping voters with the information they need to make their votes count.

Since a vote for any candidate but Ron Paul is a vote worse than wasted, Ron Paul is highlighted in - and is the subject of - the matrix, as the correct choice.

People who don't understand that Ron Paul has the correct stance on every issue, and who don't realise how incorrect the stances of many of the other candidates are, will be able to reevaluate their positions based on the "executive summary" information presented in the matrix, and hopefully come to the realization that they should vote for Ron Paul.

Want to help?

The matrix is just beginning, and we need people to critique and contribute content!

Please submit your ideas in the forum.

 

Welcome on board!

-Aubrey 

]]>
Sat, 29 Dec 2007 03:30:43 +0000
<![CDATA["Unofficial" Whirld 3 Preview - As promised!]]> For those of you interested in developing Mars Explorer worlds - or even your own complete Unity games - I have just finished a preview of Whirld 3 that you might want to check out:
 
 
 
 
The Whirld preview is distributed as a Unity Asset Package - which can be imported into a blank Unity project, or a project which already contains a previous version of the library (in which case each file will be updated as necessary if it has changed in the newer release).
 
 
This is NOT the official Whirld 3 release, and it is nowhere near complete. The final, official release will include much more - possibly even full integration with a Whirld bundling webservice depending on how my negotiations with Unity go. For now, worlds you create that incorporate this package will still need to be sent to me for bundling - but by following the best practices exemplified by the worlds included in this package, you can make my job much easier.
 
Here's a list of several of the features included in this package:
  • Complete physics for latest buggy and jet, and the ability to switch between them while exploring your worlds!
  • Dedicated "Controller" that provides quick access to all scenes defined in Unity's "Build Settings" window. Create your own scene, add it to the build settings, and you are ready to explore it!
  • Complete scenes included - with all source assets - for Foxholes, Levitashia, and Seb's Sky King!
  • Full source for the latest Whirld library in Mars Explorer 2.22. (No documentation yet, so it won't be too useful to anyone but perhaps Flynn :)
  • Dedicated Whirld "Resources", including the super cool new Sea object introduced in Mars Explorer 2. Check out the Foxholes world to learn how to use it in conjunction with terrain that is automatically textured with a seafloor on any submerged areas.
  • Sample world demonstrating the use of the new animation editor in Unity 2.6. Your worlds can now contain sliding doors, moving spaceships, and more!
 
Happy Coding,
 
-Aubrey
]]>
Sat, 13 Feb 2010 01:33:23 +0000
<![CDATA[Mars Explorer Mobile 1.4 - New logo, better physics, integrated iPod controller, and smarter camera following]]> Just submitted to Apple, should be approved and available before next week.

This release was primarily focused on interface refinements, vehicle physics, and bugfixes. 1.5 will bring Whirld to your iOS devices, so get your block worlds ready for a whole new level of relevancy and enjoyment :)

-Aubrey
 
Paramount: 
  • Incredibly cool new logo and orbit particle effects 
  • Unified blue color scheme throughout the game's interface 
  • Integrated iPod music system, allowing you to control and enjoy all the music on your device while cruising on Mars 
  • Comprehensive buggy handling improvements: 
    Brakes no longer autolevel in flight, but instead lock out accelerometer input to facilitate precision aiming
    Stall recovery has been greatly improved, allowing you to take off and recover from a variety of attitudes and speeds
    Low speed steering is significantly less sensitive, making controls a bit easier
    No longer automatically seeks horizon while in normal flight, instead responds precisely to your tilt controls
    Can now perform powered loops in flight, allowing you to glide forever without needing to land and build up speed! 
    Now handles better in lava, and can exit lava a bit easier 
 
Significant: 
  • Hovercraft now gracefully reflects off the terrain at any speed, instead of punching through it upon occasion 
  • Mars Explorer now incorporates a fully anonymized analytics system 
  • Glasses-Free GRilli3D library implemented, but not currently available due to licensing restrictions. I hope to have this incredibly cool technology available in the next release! 
  • Battery life improved by capping the framerate at 30 fps instead of 60fps, and optimizing the rendering loop 
  • After you launch Mars Explorer 15 times, it now provides you with a friendly reminder that you can submit a new review with each update 
  • Input is now tracked even when you are applying brakes - allowing finer maneuvering in the buggy and stationary attitude adjustments in the hovercraft. The hovercraft can now spin while you are stopped! 
  • Camera now detects when vehicle is stationary, and enters a new mode that keeps behind the vehicle and lets you see where it will be pointed when you release the brakes 
  • Camera also now detects when vehicle is flying, and follows directly behind vehicle instead of a bit above it to give you a better intuitive sense of where your craft is headed 
 
Noteworthy: 
  • Fixed occasional crash on mission restart 
  • Custom iPad loading screen 
  • No more dead zone in x tilt axis, which allows for much more natural flight 
  • Fine tuned low pass filter for accelerometer data, resulting in smoother controls 
  • Ride camera no longer clips inside of hovercraft 
  • Camera now orbits vehicle when settings screen is open, and tracks inertial swipe motion to determine spin rate - it looks really cool! 
  • Materialization clouds now look far more amazing 
  • Crosshair no longer shown in background of settings screen 
  • Updated introduction with note on how to set cam distance 
  • Optimized mesh compression for faster load times 
  • Skybox walls now properly compressed to save on VRAM 
  • "Restart Mission As {Vehicle}" button simplified to "Rerun Mission"
 
 
 
RC Mode
]]>
Tue, 21 Jun 2011 20:42:36 +0000
<![CDATA[News: Welcome to Mars Explorer's new home! - Now everyone can join the fun]]> Mars Explorer's home over at AubreyFalconer.com/view-238 has been moved to Mars.AubreyFalconer.com.

Not only is this far more fun and memorable, but it is also it's own entire PlexPedia group instead of just a single article in an existing group.

Now that Mars Explorer has it's own group, you can all start your own threads - and everything should stay far more organized.

Can't wait to hear from you all!

-Aubrey

 

P.S. I will be reposting some of the important announcements from the old site to here.

]]>
Fri, 04 Jul 2008 14:46:21 +0000
<![CDATA[PlexPedia "X" Theme - Smooth, polished, and incorporating everyone's favorite aurora starfield!]]> Now available for selection (from the Custom skin) in the "Look and Feel" section of your PlexPedia group's control panel:
 
"X" Theme - AubreyFalconer.com
 
 
This theme is super optimized, and should load just about instantly. It also includes a bunch of cutting edge CSS3 fun - such as rounded elements and browser calculated shadows.
 
I had so much fun designing it, that I even decided to set it as the default for my home page
 
Enjoy!
 
-Aubrey
]]>
Sun, 15 Mar 2009 00:13:50 +0000
<![CDATA[Media Kit - Logos, Screenshots, and more]]> Want to share Mars Explorer with your audience? Great! Here's the resources you need:
 
 
Screenshots:
 
 
]]>
Fri, 30 Apr 2010 23:02:13 +0000
<![CDATA[Minor PlexPedia Updates - Stickies, enhanced security, etc.]]>

Greetings everyone!

I just added a sticky system to PlexPedia, which will enable moderators to feature the finest content on this site for everyone to enjoy. I also added a new "removed" state for posts, which will make it easier to permanently bury blatant spam and other items that serve no purpose.

Notes:

  • Please don't "bam" things anymore - the sticky system should serve this purpose admirably without adding useless posts to the most important of topics.
  • Moderators - sticky only the very best content, and possibly rotate the stickies if you have a lot of content that should be featured. We should never need more than ten simultaneously stickied items, for example.
  • "Remove" only threads which are completely devoid of value. Most content should be switched to "Resolved" after it's useful life comes to an end.
  • Hearty thanks are due to Achilles - who inspired me to create an official sticky system by building his own automated state toggling machine, as well as reported several important security flaws.

I also just fixed some other PlexPedia oddities, such as the display of "About" pages for usernames with dashes, and several permission escalation attacks that enabled non-moderators to alter the state of threads.

I am currently in the process of consolidating my domain names, web servers, and file servers into several manageable accounts - ATIServer sites, and my personal email account may go down for an hour or two later today.

Great progress has been made on the next Mars Explorer for iPhone, and a release is imminent. I am striving for biweekly app releases for the mext month or two, one of which will enable Whirld support. So - get your block worlds ready and polished, they are about to take on a whole level of relevance!

In other news, the next release of Syn3h (which is still a couple weeks away) should be a fully viable Mars Explorer replacement with finalized keybindings, a perfected GUI, vastly simplified camera systems, and excellent reliability.

All the best,

-Aubrey

]]>
Thu, 12 May 2011 21:46:22 +0000
<![CDATA[Mars Explorer 1.9.76 Released! - Bug-free networking, here we come...]]> Greetings everyone;
 
My radio internet was installed several days ago, and it works great! Among other things, I can now actually play Mars Explorer... With the ability to battle-test networking issues now within my grasp, I have determined to bullet proof Mars Explorer's multiplayer system once and, hopefully, for all. This release is focused on networking reliability, with a couple other features thrown in for good measure.
 
Please let me know how it works for you!
 
-Aubrey
 
P.S. Only a webplayer is available, as I don't intend to leave this in beta stage for more than a couple days. Once we have it working great, it will go final.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Update: I just uploaded a new version (refresh to access it) which resolves some issues with ramosphere and tank CG conflicts, and incorporates an incredible idea I received from MacDane this morning: Zorb balls...
 
Update 2: 1.9.76 is now final!
 
  • Networking, internal game object references, tag logic, and vehicle orginization / instantiation code rewritten from the ground up. Should be vastly more reliable!
  • Tag has been taken to the next level with RamoSpheres! (I think they were Kruncher's idea, but whoever's idea they were certainly deserves credit for them)
  • Various GUI enhancements, including resizing several buttons for dashboard widget display size and reorganizing the buttons at the bottom of the server list screen
  • "Exit Game" button is now visible only in native applicatios
  • Server name shortened from 60 char max to 45
  • Lasers now last for 10 seconds instead of five - much more fun at slowest server laser speeds
  • Smart cam is now perfectly smooth - no more "jarring" while your vehicle sails over the top of a parabolic trajectory and the camera transitions from an up to a down lookahead mode
  • Lasers pack a bit more punch
  • Every laser you fire that hits a non-quarry when you aren't quarry decreases your score by one point. Take that, noobs!
  • New server setting for tank tread grip. At low grip levels, the increasingly large torque produced by each tread assembly's motor as your speed decreases while climbing super steep hills will rotate the track and "ratchet" you off the hill
  • Tank now has a simplified body to display at low rendering quality levels
  • Instead of rewriting the (single player) tutorial map to work with all the new (multi player) networking code, I just removed it. It will probable make a comeback when I get an opportunity.
  • Max 300 chars message length
]]>
Tue, 09 Jun 2009 02:14:24 +0000
<![CDATA[Mars Explorer 1.9.75 Final! - And ready to autoupdate...]]>
Greetings everyone;
 
In response to yesterday's list server termination, 1.9.75 is now being released. Once you have played around with it for a bit and can verify that there are no glaring bugs, I will point the 1.9 autoupdater to it - and everyone can come and join us in the latest and greatest version ever!
 
 
 
Here's the main changes I have implemented since 1.9.7:
  • Default master list server is now the one run by me, with the alternate list server being Unity's standard one
  • Adjustable buggy flight agility
  • Much more consistent buggy physics at different game rendering levels
  • Simplified buggy wheels rotated correctly - Roflcopter
  • Fixed unresponsive player networking detection
  • Sorry, but no more impersonating Aubrey :)
  • Slightly smoother buggy walldriving and skipping off terrain
  • Server setting defaults no longer "stick" from your last played game - Igizmo
  • Server settings text field has been moved to the bottom of it's panel, and now always shows the latest "serialized" settings for you to edit, copy, or paste into
  • Tank track rotation locking and overall tank autoleveling tuned for utility and realism. The tank can still drive straight to top of any hill - but it now takes a bit more skill and strategy to prevent yourself from being "ratcheted" off the steepest cliff faces
 
-Aubrey
 
 
P.S. Sorry it took so long to get this released. I have been trying to upload it for hours, but my internet is practically offline right now... In fact, as of the time of this writing, the native windows and dashboard builds are still in my upload que - so they probably won't be available for download right away.
 
]]>
Sat, 30 May 2009 06:36:18 +0000
<![CDATA[Ron Paul for President - a Vote Not Wasted - Are you going to waste your vote on evil?]]> ]]> Thu, 13 Nov 2008 06:58:27 +0000 <![CDATA[Organizational enhancements emphasize need for introductory videos - You could be famous!]]> Greetings everyone;
 
 
In the process of organizing MarsXPLR.com - you will notice the Future and Play pages soon disappearing and the FAQ becoming much more useful, with information on mapmaking and more - an exciting idea occurred to me!
 
  • Mars Explorer used to have a "tutorial" level built into the game - but I removed it because of technical reasons, and also because it was never very elegant to begin with.
  • We currently have a bunch of boring text I wrote to provide a basic introduction to the game plastered on the "Play" page, which I doubt that new players ever read.
  • In just about every game I join these days, there is a player or two typing things into the messaging console such as "How do I fly?", "What's the point?", and "Stop NQSing, you AnNoYing n00b!!".
 
I believe that the most fun and effective countermeasure to these issues would be a video introduction to Mars Explorer created by a member of the Martian community - and that member is YOU.
 
Produce the most awesome video you can, post it to YouTube, embed it in a reply to this article, and if I like it, your video will be featured for the thousands of new players that Mars Explorer receives every month.


Here's what I am looking for:
 
  • Fun:
    After watching your video, I should be thrilled to play Mars Explorer!
    Making the video as short as possible (1 or two minutes) will really help to keep your audience focused.

  • Graphical Excellence:
    You should capture all footage on high quality worlds, with high quality rendering settings. Share Mars Explorer's delicious graphics with your audience.

  • Action:
    Epic stunts! Intense dogfights! High speed fighter jet flybys! Make Mars Explorer look as exciting as it is. You don't need to focus on the action, just show a couple cut scenes to rivet your viewer's attention.

  • Tasteful Audio:
    Stick to nice, non jarring music - and unless you are a professional radio announcer, you might want to think twice about voiceovers :)

  • Educational quality:
    You should let new players know what to expect, how to fly, who to shoot at, and any other information you believe to be pertinent. If you really want to be fancy, you could even produce a "Space Cadet" version and "Tips from the Masters" version covering skills like gyride dogfights and how to take out jets with the buggy.
 
 
There's no deadlines, and I wouldn't mind featuring quite a few different videos. I might even create a page on MarsXPLR that links to all the best submissions.
 
Have fun!
 
-Aubrey
]]>
Fri, 30 Apr 2010 02:52:20 +0000
<![CDATA[We Be Brothers - A rally call for a return to pure Christianity]]> The song that's playing is Come Thou Fount of every blessing. Many of you will recognize it as the "Mars Explorer theme song"! The recording was produced impromptu a couple weeks ago while several of my friends and I were playing music together. (Please forgive the audio quality - our recording equipment was nothing more an iPhone sitting in the middle of the room)
 
 
 
 
 
 
Following is what currently exists of a song that I am writing to the same tune:
 
We Be Brothers
 
I like to think of it as a rally call for those who are separating themselves from modern, "corporate", bureaucratic, denominational Christianity - and are striving to return to the pure doctrine of the new testament Church. I woke up one morning singing the first verse to myself, and have been gradually adding to it as new verses occur to me.
 
 
 
Sons of Jesus ~ We be brothers,
Daughters  ~ ye are sisters too
Cease your squabbles, love each other, just as Jesus Christ loved you
 
Let us gather now together,
Each among us priests of God
Living stones of Jesus' temple ~ purchased with His holy blood
 
 
Some hath psalms, some revelations
Each gift given from above
Let us edify each other - Sharpening iron, forging love

Let us gather now together,
Each as equals to the Lord
As the temples of His Spirit ~ guided by His holy Word
 
 
Boldness in the day of judgement,
Following a higher law
Marching onward ~ for His kingdom ~ We shall be known by our love
 
As we gather In your name Lord,
Just as countless have before
Teach us, lead us ~ guide and feed us ~ as in sacred times of yore
]]>
Fri, 30 Jan 2009 19:25:31 +0000
<![CDATA[Whirld 5 - Introducing the Path System]]> Greetings everyone!
 
I'm going to take a break from Syn3h development for a week or two to get some other projects back up to speed, but the work I have been doing on Whirld 5 has been too exciting to keep to myself. Please note that Whirld 5, as was it's predecessor, is beta quality software - there is still much I have planned which isn't yet implemented - there is no documentation - and certain components are still a bit rough around the edges. If you can't figure out how everything works, don't worry - future versions will include complete documentation to guide you along.
 
-Aubrey
 
 
 
Download Link:

Complete: Whirld 5 Unity Package (8 MB)
 

Upgrade Instructions:

Whirld 5 has been completely reorganized (to the point that it is now nearing organizational perfection). The safest upgrade path from Whirld 4 is:
  1. Quit Unity if it is running
  2. Backup all your work
  3. Duplicate your Unity project folder using Finder or the Windows Explorer
  4. Open the duplicate project, and delete the "Whirld" and "WhirldFramework" folders within it
  5. Start Unity, open the new duplicated project, and import the Whirld 5 package.
  6. If you have made any customizations to the Whirld Framework, (custom camera logic, the ability to fire projectiles, a custom lobby, etc) you can now copy the sections of code you have customized from your old project to your new one.
If all goes well, you will have a perfectly organized Whirld 5 enabled Unity project when you are done. If something goes wrong, delete the project you created in step 3 and try again.
Note: you shouldn't need to do all this for future Whirld upgrades. It's just that I have tweaked so much, I am sure that everyone with customized frameworks will want to gain the new functionality.
 
 
What's New:
  • FRAMEWORK: Game controller panel now snaps elegantly to the left and right edges of the screen. Also solves the jittering problem on small viewports
  • FRAMEWORK: Now totally modularized - allowing you to load the framework into any scene as the game is playing. This now happens automatically, allowing you to playtest a scene as you are working on it by clicking the "Play" button in Unity. That's right - there is now no need to switch to the controller scene first every time you want to test your world. Cool idea, Eric!
  • New "Whirld" Unity editor menu, which contains organized links to everything the library has to offer
  • New "Whirld Manager" editor window, which provides instant access to everything Whirld has to offer. The "_Whirld" controller's inspector panel now consists of nothing but a link to the editor window
  • New "Whirld Resource" tool to enable prefab locking on noneditable items such as the Base (Canceled: Currently impossible due to Unity bugs, Unity is working on fixing them)
  • Much nicer Jump Point interface, with a wider range of input values - Gub
  • Custom floor shader to eliminate z fighting with terrain
  • Floor and sea now autoset their altitude as terrain is raised and lowered in edit mode
  • Realtime sea and floor updates in edit mode. They now follow you around!
  • Enlarged sea and floor to prevent visible horizon line when fog is light
  • Vehicles no longer collide with sea when it is disabled - Gub
  • Many operations in Whirld now tie into Unity's undo system, eliminating headaches and smoothing your workflow
  • Tons of other minor tweaks and bugfixes
  • And last - but certainly not least - the beginning of the Path System!

Whirld's new path system will make it effortless to create trails, rivers, roads, walls, racetracks, and more inside the Unity editor.
There are several existing Unity plugins to create roads and rivers, but nothing like this. What makes Whirld's Path system so awesome, you ask?
  • Path implements the Catmull-Rom spline algorithm, which means that created paths will smoothly intersect all defined control points. You have COMPLETE control over the position of each path section, and the radius of each curve
  • Each control point is an independent GameObject in Unity. This means that you can use tons of shortcuts like selecting and dragging multiple control points at once, dragging a point along the terrain surface by holding the Shift and Ctrl keys, or copying and pasting groups of nodes between paths
  • Building paths is effortless! Click one button to toggle path creation mode, and then each right click you make in the scene will create a new node for the active path
  • Edit non destructively, in real time! Path ties into Unity's editor update loop, watching for your changes and then instantly regenerating itself up to ten times per second. You can add or remove nodes, adjust widths, fine tune automatic banking parameters, and much more - and watch as your changes are instantly reflected in the path you are adjusting. The path library can even be called from a running game...
  • Path can create closed and open splines with equal ease, and even toggle between them with a single checkbox. In open splines, the first and last nodes serve as control points - and the gizmo icons and colors vividly illustrate this
  • Path can generate highly customizable static path meshes, or it can be used to carve and paint paths into existing terrain objects or serve as a guide for racetrack boundaries.
  • Here's a couple development screenshots: Path Tests
 
The current path library includes quite a bit of functionality, but far more is planned. Here's some items on my Whirld to-do list:
  • Update Water system with more impressive, more customizable simple water
  • Create a centralized Whirld UV system to enable world space object texturing
  • Create a centralized decal system to enable atlased textures wrapped over world geometry
  • Other "smart" objects: portals, race rally points, bot/turret/npc system etc
  • Upgrade LOD system to use a single Update call for all objects.
  • Include color correction customization data for each world - Achilles
  • Realtime mesh subdivision - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catmull%E2%80%93Clark_subdivision_surface - http://rosettacode.org/wiki/Catmull%E2%80%93Clark_subdivision_surface
  • Runtime path LOD system - just like the terrain engine, but for splines...
  • Ability to stretch arbitrary meshes along paths, with any defined offsets. Fences, bridges, telephone poles, and so much more!
  • Custom heights and X axis offsets for each path "row". This will allow the creation of walls, crowned roadways, marble chutes, etc etc
  • Finish path terrain integration, to enable full terrain painting and path carving
  • Fine tune path export options - possible ability to generate paths after world load instead of packaging path meshes into Whirld bundles?
  • Add linear path uv mapping to facilitate striped roadways and the like
  • Experiment with optimizing intensive operations (such as terrain path carving) for parallel processing on multicore hardware
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Fri, 01 Apr 2011 16:33:49 +0000
<![CDATA[Mars Explorer 1.99 Alpha Preview - Introducing the Whirld project]]> Update: You can now design your own (primitive) worlds in Unity, and play them in Mars Explorer!
 
 
 
Development of 2.0 is well underway, and I wanted to share some of the fun!
 
I am refactoring every bit of Mars Explorer for optimum performance and minimum filesize, and have already reduced the size of the web player from over 13 MB to under 3 MB. It now loads FAST!
 
I am also working hard on the most important feature of all - streamed worlds. In fact, I am organizing the new world system as a Unity community project - more information about which can be found at the Unify Community Wiki.
 
 
But on to the fun.. Here's a working model of my latest world loader in action:
 
Large partions of Mars Explorer's internal code have been rewritten - and there are bugs everywhere, so please don't even bother to report them. In fact, multiplayer currently isn't even implemented properly - but I should have it fully functional again in a couple more days.
 
This version has no built in worlds, but instead downloads BZW worlds off the internet and generates them inside Mars Explorer for you to play in. It doesn't yet support many advanced features of the BZW format - so not all BZFlag maps will work properly in the current Mars Explorer - but worlds comprised mainly of boxes work great, and I am working on adding more advanced functionality. If you really want to be a geek you can create or procure your own BZW worlds and try loading them in Mars Explorer, but there are a couple preset worlds to test as well.
 
Once I have BZW worlds working great, the next phase of the Whirld project is to define a custom Unity map format with support for terrain objects, prefab linking, advanced meshes, hierarchical animation, etc. There is still much, much more to be done for 2.0 - in fact, I have hardly even begun - but it is already incredibly exciting!
 
 
All the best,
 
-Aubrey
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Wed, 05 Aug 2009 04:52:23 +0000