Summer in Stockholm, and my last week of vacation

July 27, 2013

I guess most of you have noticed, considering you’re on this page now, that I’ve updated the looks on the website. I did a silent release, didn’t make that much noise about it (until now).

So what has changed, well the new site isn’t as microsoft-metro:ish anymore, which I consider a good thing. Metromaze, my last theme, was at first only an experiment where I tried to mimick as much as possible from the Xbox interface. Once I had made the theme I felt I could at least use it for a while. “A while” became quickly a few years, and while I’ve tried in the past to update to a new theme, I haven’t really found the time nor do I really have the experience as a designer do to design a site from scratch. This new look was at first designed by Carlos Eriksson, but because he was busy with all of his projects, he couldn’t find the time needed to complete the design (he was working pro-bono, so no grudge against him).

So I took bits and pieces from his unfinished design, and added what I needed to create my site. You’ll surely notice that somethings aren’t yet in place, like comments for instance, but they weren’t really used that much so I felt I could release the new theme without them. But rest assure, they will come back at a later date.

This new theme is a bit more modern, it’s responsively designed, so it should work on any screen size. Even though the majority of my readers aren’t using a smaller device than a standard desktop (According to my google analytics).

Enough of that, what have I done this last week of my glorious vacation? I spent last week in the cold Ostrobothnian city Vasa, sat around there wishing it could’ve been a bit warmer.

Boy was I suprised when I exited the airplane at Arlanda, like I was in a different country (which I was). The weather was so warm that I was almost wishing that I’d be back in Finland. The following days were even hotter, reaching temperatures around 30 degrees, and with the high humidity in Stockholm, it felt even warmer. So I’ve been quite reluctant with leaving the apartment (which surprisingly has been quite chill).

The Silent Cartographer

One of the few times that I’ve been out, I went straight to mediamarkt to fetch a one year Xbox Live Gold subscription and Halo 10 year anniversary edition (which I haven’t had time to play before now). Halo: Anniversary is a remake of the original Halo Combat evolved that was released back in 2001, only the the new edition has updated graphics, everything else has been kept the same. It took me roughly 13 hours to get through the game with the “Normal” difficulty setting, which shows how much worse I’ve become in that game. Back in the days I could’ve probably gotten through the game in 10 hours on the hardest setting, “Legendary”, but that was then. I did have some rather nostalgic backflashes when playing the levels “The Silent Cartographer” (which was the original demo-level for Halo:CE) and the all time legend, “The Library“, probably the most difficult level in Halo on Legendary.

Anyway, Microsoft has started to give away two games per month if you’re a Gold subscriber, so I happily downloaded Assassins Creed II, this month’s second game. I didn’t really care for the original Assassins Creed, I don’t think I even got through the first level before being so bored that I had to stop playing. But since the second game in the series was for free, I’d might as well try it out. I’ve played maybe an hour, and even though I can’t say that it’s on par with the original’s boringness, it comes pretty close.

monorun for Windows Phone

On the subject of gaming, I’ve also starting to port monorun from Javascript to C# and XNA for Windows Phone. XNA, which is a game-framework for Windows, Xbox and Windows phone, has been discontinued since the start of this year, which makes learning it a bit meaningless. I had originally started to port the game to C# with MonoGame, which is an OpenSource implementation of the XNA framework. Even thought MonoGame has reached version 3 and above (current release is 3.2), it had some major bugs in it which made monorun basically impossible to implement in MonoGame, so I went back to building it in the original XNA. I really haven’t worked all that much on this project, but having a framework wrapping all the low-level implementation stuff into easy-to-use implementation, means that I’m almost done with the game-part (I really only have the collision detection left to do). I haven’t yet released the source to github, but that will come when I’m at a more stable version.