Archive for March, 2009

Alida adventure game, inspired by Myst universe, is finally available on OSX (besides MacOS9 and Windows), and ships on 5CDs. It is distributed by Got Game Entertainment, and priced 23,69 euros (however for now they are out of stock of the OSX version). Screenshots and trailers are available here, and we can read a review at Just Adventure (also at,, gamespot and

Got Game Entertainment also lists Rhem 3 (the next episode, Rhem 4, is planned for end of 2009).

At Myst & URU Obsession site forums, we can find a Myst dedicated section, that leads to images from all episodes : (Riven) (Riven) (galleries from all episodes, including RealMyst and URU)

MX Files (modifications/pan views) (Myst pictures not apperaring in the game)

We can also listen again to SC Alter song, that was composed in November, 2006, and was inspired by a music from Myst IV Revelation.

Myst and Riven for iPhone

Posted: March 27, 2009 in Games
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The iPhone version of Myst is in beta stage, and we can discover first screenshots here. A Riven port is also planned (see some screenshots here).

As iPhone games were center during the Independent Game Festival (among finalists we noted Edge, Zen Bound, and the older Dizzy Be), we can read a long article from John Carmack about iPhone games development (optimization concerns), illustrated by the Wolfenstein port (whose engine was based on the older ray casting to determine elements to display).

Ross Boucher provides a comprehensive discussion about WAI-ARIA spec, that deals with accessibility through DOM. As usual the additional comments brought a lot of useful informations. Here are my thoughts :

Document (HTML, XML) manipulation in a browser has to be made by altering DOM model (modifying nodes values or adding new ones), and the language to achieve that will be typically Javascript (could be any other language if in another context). The WAI-ARIA sepc is then based on DOM to provide/define accessibility features/roles.

Web applications are now hybrid, that is they are made not only of a document, but also of various heterogeneous elements : Flash element, Cancas element, WebKitView, etc. These elements address specific problematics (features or performance concerns not available from a document – we have to note however that HTML5 extended the document’s possibilites, by addind video tags and database storage for example) : animations, 3D, etc. (the text parts logically will remain in the document’s DOM nodes – except for specific cases where it has to be animated, zoomed, etc., or as with the Bespin editor, that is based on Canvas). We have to note that WebKit’s CSS Animations also provide separation of model (animation definition through CSS) and interaction language. A document can render without Javascript, but Javascript can’t be executed outside a document context.

These various elements have to communicate with each other in order for responding to user actions, and that has to be made through DOM manipulation for now (for example a user action in a Flash view that has to change a document’s node value). We then speak about APIs accessibility, that can be from a container’s element to another, or from a container’s element to the system itself (in order for benefit from features or optimizations not available in the container). Apple still allows through WebKitView to use 3D acceleration (for 3D transforms) on iPhone (Cocoa access from Javascript, by using a WebScriptObject and JavascriptCore).

Finally the accessibility from the user point (zoom on a text part, underline, etc.) depends from the technical accessibility (APIs inter-communication). In fact technical accessibility (in browser containers inter-communication, or access to system functions from the browser) should be referred as availability to avoid misleading.

About containers inter-communication (that is on browser, not system/external function call) we can read a thread about controlling a Flash movie (passing parameters) from a Cappuccino application. For that to work, the CPFlashView has to provide access to some Flash embed’s DOM node attributes (and requires a name attribute on the _DOMEmbedElement to get the right Flash handle). On the other way (Flash–>Cappuccino) the Flash ActionScript code has to have access to the Cappuccino root DOM element (that is normally hidden by the framework).

Cappuccino 0.7b

Posted: March 21, 2009 in IT/Dev
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A new version of Cappuccino, 0.7b, is available. It is still in a beta stage but it merges recent new features : CPTableView, themes (including a tool for extracting definition from themes), the new Aristo theme. The build procedure no more uses steam nor ant, but instead Rake (Ruby’s build tool). Moreover the press tool doesn’t work for now with that new version.

We can find an example of CPTableView use at Tom Robinson blog (source code here).

Alien Abuse is a new action/shooter game for iPhone, available at the AppStore for only 0,99$. From the provided video on the editor site it seems that the game pushed the technical limits even further (smoothness and controls), and could be the new reference in that gaming area. First reviews are all very positive. Moreover the game features 20 levels, providing 20 hours of gaming.

LiveFire FPS on iPhone

Posted: March 19, 2009 in Games
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Ngmoco, the editor of Rolando, presented LiveFire, a multiplayer FPS for iPhone (through Wifi or 3G) that reminds Nexuiz. As with Cube, movements and actions are controlled by touch, and looking/aiming by using the accelerometer. The FOV is said to be great (is somewhat a problem with many iPhone games) and there are many evidences that the game is based on the Quake 3 engine (that was open-sourced some years ago). We can watch a video here (low quality format but even with this it cannot play smoothly on a G4, that can still handle perfectly H264 480p… so perhaps it is Flash ?)

Lite versions of X-Plane Racing and X-Plane Helicopter are available at the AppStore. The games sessions in these demos are limited to 30s.
We can also download a 9.09 update to regular X-Plane (makes the multiplayer game smoother).

A 1.1 update to Rolando is available at the AppStore. It brings 5 new levels. We can also find a 2.3 update to Bugdom 2, that brings high resolution terrains textures, a larger D-Pad and smaller memory usage.

Caster is a new 3D action game for Mac and PC, that was out in January, 2009. It provides various large landscapes (with great water reflection and deformation), and a very original animation (that reminds Lugaru mac game). The game was announced for iPhone (due next month).
Meanwhile we can download a mac and PC demo, and access to stunning videos (3 trailers of the mac/PC version, and one preview of the iPhone version).
The desktop version is priced only 4,99$ (through download), and additional episodes will be provided for free for owners of the initial release.

The site provides tutorials on Cappuccino, and notably a new one about serialization solutions for client/server communications : CPKeyedArchiver/CPKeyedUnarchiver (extends CPCoder and requires to implement the CPCoding protocol in custom classes), JSON and CPPropertyListSerialization (plist format, that is also available on OSX/Objective-C FoundationKit, in XML and now also in binary for better space management). The format produced by CPKeyedArchiver doesn’t have an equivalent in Objective-C (it is a proprietary one, called plist280), and classic/basic property list (plist) don’t allow to manage custom objects (moreover Cappuccino’s CPPropertyListSerialization doesn’t manage yet arrays nor Date type).

Then for now communication with an Objective-C backend isn’t as easy as it could be. For a J2EE server side the JSON format is preferable (no native CPCoding equivalent in Java, nor plist format support). However JSON has to be extended in order for managing custom objects namespace (that is what CP2JavaWS does, it can manage custom objects and nested collections).