All new KickCode and introducing Hijax Games
I have completely forgotten to post on here about the relaunch of the KickCode site, or my new gaming focused development brand, d’oh!
First things first, I rebuilt and relaunched the KickCode site a good few weeks ago. The new site is smarter, cleaner and clearer, and focuses on what we do best - helping businesses improve. Whether it’s increasing revenue or users, decreasing churn, or another business goal you have, we can almost certainly help you achieve it. We’re providing lots of good business and technical content on the blog too, and you can sign up for the newsletter to get a nice round-up of things we’ve written, worked on, or found interesting. Check out the new site now!
I’ve also launched a separate gaming focused brand, called Hijax Games. The thinking behind this was to provide the same great focus we do on KickCode, but specific to the game development niche. We’ll be working on our own games and sharing development progress from those, as well as being available to work on client game development. Lastly, we’ll be providing great game development content to help other game developers, with the tools we’re best at, from RubyMotion and Joybox, to Unity3D. Expect lots of interesting stuff over the coming months, and again you can sign up to the Hijax newsletter to be kept in the loop.
So that’s that, busy few weeks launching those - let me know if you have thoughts, comments or questions on the new sites, and please get in touch if you think KickCode or Hijax Games can help you with your idea!
Ten Percent de France
With the Tour de France in full flow for the 100th edition of the famous cycling race, and my resumed interest in fitness and in particular, cycling (indoors, at least), I’ve decided to have a little fun, and try to match my daily goals on the bike with the riders in France. Of course, I have neither the time, nor the legs, to go ahead and match them km for km, so I figured I’d start off by aiming to do 10% of what they do on each stage. I’ve just about caught up now after the first three stages - and when it comes to the time trials, as they are shorter stages, I’ll do those full distances - so 25km is on the cards for todays team time trial. I don’t anticipate keeping pace with those guys, and of course, even if I did, I’m on the relatively comfortable confines of an indoor exercise bike, and not a sweltering French road course with undulations and category climbs. However, it adds a little fun dimension to my exercises, and my watching of this years Tour. If you fancy joining me, or perhaps even pushing it to 15% or 20% of the distances, then tweet at me and let me know how you’re getting on! Much like the Tour, perhaps we can all help drive each other on, like a virtual peloton headed for the Champs-Élysées in 19 days time.
I finally got chance to mess around with voxel.js the other night, and thought I’d have a little fun with it. You can do an awful lot of cool stuff with voxel.js and its associated modules, including generating terrain from a PNG heightmap. But I thought it might be cool to create structures from a PNG, so you can automatically have structures built and hoisted in front of you in the 3D world, based solely on a 2D graphic. Thus, kickcraft was born.
It works best with logos, where there is only a few colours in play and fairly distinct, simple shapes. It uses the incredibly useful png2json script from within the heightmap terrain module to turn a PNG image into a JSON document. From there, kickcraft loads it in, and looks up materials for the colours it finds in the RGB data for the PNG. There is a hosted demo here which loads the KickCode boot icon by default, but you can also click here to see it running with the image data for the full KickCode logo (you’ll need to keep walking to see the entire thing, as the draw distance comes into play). You’ll need to be using a browser that plays nicely with WebGL too.
I could do a lot of cool stuff to extend it - color shading/tinting the basic materials to match the source color would be a particularly nice first step forward, so then it could automatically deal with the entire RGB range, rather than as it does currently, matching specific colours to the materials to use. Then a hosted PNG to JSON converter would mean you could point it an image URL, and have it show up in the world!
In time it might well then work as a sort of mosaic structure builder for even more complex images, but for right now it was a fun little experiment to create a 3D world with a little something of mine in there. If you’re interested in getting started with WebGL then voxel.js is a great, fun way to dive in.