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Generating graphics

I started my coding career generating visualisations. I didn't know what to call them back then -- at the time I was getting heaps of data (multi-element geochemical analyses on thousands of samples) and making amusing "certificates" by generating Postscript output for our printers. So I was wedging code between data and layout to create nifty. Also, handily enough, useful. And pretty.

So now when confronted with a problem of statistical analysis I usually write code and generate my graphics out of whole cloth. I have a bunch of software around to do it for me but none of it does exactly what I want, so while it's handy for doing prototypes and experimenting, in the end I write code. Postscript, however, is no longer my output format of choice. It's just so bloody easy to crank out SVG (which has a remarkably legible standards document), and there's great software to manipulate it and convert it after the fact.

So I also play some role-playing games. One of these has rules by which you can generate star systems. That's a natural to code, so I did. Next, of course, you want to map those systems out. So I wrote some code to make maps. Naturally, the output of the first is the input to the second. The end result is pretty. I'm in love.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 15th, 2008 05:15 am (UTC)
That is very nice. The only question I have is, can the generation portion be tweaked easily to change time periods of the Traveller Universe? For instance, in Mileu-0 games, for Pocket Empire type games, can you generate for restricted TL, Pop and Bases?

Secondly, you seem to be a bit of a programmer. I've had an idea for quite a while to make a utility to make running a Pocket Empires type game online but I don't have the programming knowledge or expertise to do so. Wish to collaborate? I've made a hellish spreadsheet utility to aid me, but it's not quite enough.

I'd love to do a web form based reporting program that would give me the data of what the players wish to accomplish, aid me in massaging that information to give a quickened response, and maybe an update of mapping.

It's a bit difficult to explain in a post. If you're interested I'll talk in email or IM.
Feb. 15th, 2008 05:22 am (UTC)
Sure all that's pretty easy. In fact the generation code is something I could redo from scratch for variations if need be.

As for coding your project, I'm more a command line tool chain hack than a web interface programmer, but if it sounds fun I might be prepared to commit. I'll warn you, though -- it's almost always way more work than a layman expects. I optimize my project selection for simple because I'm really lazy.

Pester me at bjmurray dot halfjack at gmail dot com and we can see if it's fun enough.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


Brad J. Murray

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