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Gimmick's News

Posted by Gimmick - December 31st, 2020


I haven't got enough clout to be listed on the Community tab, but I figure since everyone's doing one of these things, why not join in?


I started the year off with "Happy New Year!, or why you should watch the Joker movie". Back when movies in the theater were still a thing, haha. It's aged well, I suppose.


The pandemic seemed like such an outlandish prospect back in January and February. Despite having heard of it through friends with family in China, it seemed like it was one of the regular articles that would pop up every 4-5 years and fizzle off after a period of time. Classes were being held in person, and it wasn't unheard of to see thousands of people milling about every day. Back when it was still colloquially referred to as the wuhan coronavirus.


I guess Ebola made me too optimistic. Or maybe I had been desensitized because of it and wasn't paying attention. Or both. In the meantime, other things kept stealing the show. The incidents involving Iran. The australian bushfires. And some more I don't recall.


I took part in a hackathon, and submitted a game to NG that I made during that time.


Cyberpunk got delayed.


I took up swimming. (I'd long been meaning to do it, and with the weather getting warmer I could go in the morning a little easier. And it seemed like a good enough physical activity to take up.)


It's crazy to think about how lax we were back then. It almost feels like a different universe altogether.


I started watching anime again around this time. I'd briefly stopped watching anime from August to December, because I always used to watch it with my brother - it's better enjoyed with an audience. Oh well, I suppose talking about it is good enough.


Then came the alerts. News of cases popping up in Iran, Italy, and other countries. It still seemed like a faraway fantasy, even though it was all but knocking on the door.


It’s going to disappear. One day, it’s like a miracle—it will disappear.


I still remember joking about it, although it became less funny as time passed. I remember attending Kent Beck's talk back on the 4th of march. Packed rooms, small spaces, a buffet.


What was I thinking!? What were they thinking!? What was anyone thinking?!


I like the numbers being where they are. I don't need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn't our fault.


Less than a week later, Italy would lock down. Things had reached a boiling point there.


Then came the deaths. Oh, the deaths. It was gruesome. Even without being in Italy, it felt chilling to witness.


(On a lighter note, cue the coffin dancers! It's hard to believe that was this year.)


Classes had, of course, shifted online at this point.


I consider myself fortunate enough to not experience the brunt of the pandemic and its knock-on effects. I tried picking up some new languages (Rust, JS, again). I tried learning how to draw; after all, I had a graphics tablet, and what better way to make use of it? Hell, while I was at it, why not try continuing to learn french - surely a B1/B2 course would be good to take, right?


I dropped them all like deadweight when other things took priority. I had spread myself too thin, again. I guess the only mainstay of the lockdown was the fact that I took up cooking more often during this period, as a matter of necessity. That was a nice benefit I suppose, because my diet before that was rather unsustainable.


Went to the ER for gastrointestinal trouble not a week after the lockdowns. Thankfully it wasn't anything serious. Although it did feel like there was an air of tension around the city as a whole (and for good reason), and I'd get that same feeling whenever the bus stopped at the hospital en route.


A month or so after the lockdowns, things seemed to be improving, well in some countries moreso than others at least.


My research started in summer. Lotsa reading.


Found out about syncplay and other video synchronization services and this really helped me watch anime regularly again.


Resumed work on ASBoxer and the AIRDock and Syncomps libraries - it'd been a long time since I'd touched them, and it felt good to be back.


The months after that, well...I suppose it all went by in a haze. I'm leaving out the George Floyd incident, the protests, and the other bits of news that happened around that time because it just sort of blurred together. All I remember feeling was this vague notion of "how is it gonna get worse next?" when it came to any sort of US news. I can't think of many things of note in the months of June, July, August and September, except for maybe my birthday, and the fact that research progressed from "reading" to "experimenting".


Then came October, the debates, then November, the election, and fun was had at each step of the way. Mostly at the clownshow's expense, sorry not sorry.


Cyberpunk got delayed again.


Fast forward to December. Cyberpunk's finally out. It's meh. Better luck next time.


Year's over in a flash. Scene. Roll curtains.


---


The biggest personal achievements I suppose I can claim are learning something about neural networks and machine learning. Prior to this year, I didn't know all but the vaguest stuff about it.


There's a lot more that I've probably forgotten to include here. A year IS a long time, after all, and this was one of the longer (and somehow shorter) ones.


What's 2021 gonna be like?

We'll see.


The temptation to take on too much and spread oneself thin is too easy at times. That just ends in failure, though.


I'm inclined to continue learning french, but I'm unsure as to the rate. I'm eyeing online classes, but that is also TBD.


I may pick up drawing again. I'll have to see how to balance this so that it doesn't end up being tossed to the wayside.


I have no idea when ASBoxer will be completed, nor do I think anyone cares. Even though it runs on AIR and so will continue to exist even after Flash is discontinued as of today, I think the landscape of tools has changed so much over the past years that ASBoxer's raison d'être is possibly moot at this point. Even so, I suppose I'll finish it for posterity's sake.


AIRDock got an update! It's finally got one feature I'd been working on for quite a while - remembering the locations of panels in their rooted positions.


And take all the plans with a grain of salt - they don't always turn out as expected :)


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Posted by Gimmick - October 30th, 2020


So that start before was a false start. Doing it the right way resulted in problems with having it be synchronous, and doing it fast would've probably made it break somewhere down the line. Given that I was planning to use this in ASBoxer by porting it to Flex, I tried making some mockups and I didn't like how it'd've turned out.


Status: Halted until further notice. I'll finish ASBoxer first and return to this if I think it'll be useful.


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Posted by Gimmick - October 19th, 2020


Yeah yeah I know Flex is outdated tech but it has shiny buttons and who doesn't like shiny things??

Well, this aged poorly. FlexDock (the planned AIRDock -> Flex port) has been put on hold until further notice.


Original post follows below.

---


Yeah yeah I know Flex is outdated tech but it has shiny buttons and who doesn't like shiny things??

Thankfully AIRDock is already generic enough that porting to flex just requires changing a few methods here and there! The DividedBox component is good enough as a "native" container; that means a lot of the stuff is already handled by Flex, and the major things to handle are just

  1. traversal
  2. creation
  3. dragging

containers! I'm not sure whether to achieve a PoC based off a direct port to AIRDock and then pare it down until the bare minimum is remaining, or to start from scratch and build up from there.


Starting from scratch has the benefit that I won't include useless cruft, but using AIRDock means I can retain compatibility and interop with pure-AS3 applications as well, which is also a huge selling point. Currently I'm leaning towards approach #1, especially since I have working results already! Voila:


iu_182716_2555669.png


All of this has been done just by calling AIR/FlexDock functions! I realize it's not a lot, especially since the following MXML code does almost the exact same thing and is more optimized:

<mx:HDividedBox width="100%" height="100%">
  <mx:HDividedBox width="50%" height="100%">
    <s:Panel title="leftmost" width="50%" height="100%"/>
    <mx:VDividedBox width="50%" height="100%"/>
        <s:Panel title="middleup" width="100%" height="50%"/>
        <s:Panel title="middlebottom" width="100%" height="50%"/>
    </mx:VDividedBox>
  </mx:HDividedBox>
  <s:Panel title="rightmost" width="50%" height="100%"/>
</mx:HDividedBox>

But it's a start!


Further optimizations include collapsing all containers on the same level (e.g. "LLLLRF" is all on one level instead of 5, because HDividedBox supports multiple containers per level instead of just 2), along with classic Flex optimizations like deferred initialization and rendering, but those are left to much later - especially because I've just been winging it almost all the way and have started learning Flex only now (which is rather stupid of me because good luck finding tutorials that don't lead to dead links 50+% of the time...praise The Wayback Machine!)


Also, while using Apache's Tour De Flex to familiarise myself with the components available in Flex, I came across the third party Ardisia Components Library. It has pretty much everything that AIRDock/FlexDock aims to do but much better, and it even has "native-like" Windows skins as well! I would have just let this go and used that library instead to finish ASBoxer already, but there's always a catch...


...it's $600!

No way that any hobbyist is gonna use that library unless they already have it for some reason. That's a justified but outrageous price. For reference, I paid half that for my laptop.


Tags:

1

Posted by Gimmick - June 11th, 2020


im 22


4

Posted by Gimmick - May 17th, 2020


It's been quite a while since I last made a news post, let alone since I talked about HitShaper! So I'm still working on it (almost 5 and a half years since I first started it) but it's been nice watching it grow. The main stuff that's been added since 2016 (when I first finished theming support) was support for extensions in SWF files. There was a brief phase where I was using Workers to offload extensions to different threads, but that got too unwieldy to manage!


Then, I switched over to using a shared database that could be accessed by sessions; this seemed like an almost-perfect solution (except for synchronization) since databases are asynchronous by default, and easy to share using transactions. Now, the user can add any "import/export" extension, which can handle importing and exporting to any file format - as long as the extension uses the database to do it!


I finally finished collapsible panels! This took quite some time to finish, but the result really looks a lot more like modern IDEs like FlashDevelop, PyCharm, Eclipse and the like. Take a look at the video below!


Apart from bug fixes, the main thing I'm excited to have in the pipelines is first-class extension support! I plan to allow for users to add their own (swf-based) extensions, which means that they can have any panel in their workflow, as long as it adheres to the extension API!


In effect, it's like Flash CC's extensions toolbar - imagine a Kuler-like color panel, or a "frame editor" panel, or even a "face detector" panel which autogenerates hitboxes based on the face / body / other features it can detect within an image - if it's made as an extension, then it'll be supported! Especially due to AIR's NativeProcess API, it's very possible to, say, have such a panel which communicates with a facial detection binary, and returns results back to the user. The possibilities are huge!


But that's all still in the future. For now, grad school is making me a bit busier than usual, so while such things are in the works, they may or may not be done quickly...let's hope! In the meantime, here's the "first look" for many of you:



Tags:

1

Posted by Gimmick - August 7th, 2019


Ça fait 3 jours que j'ai reçu l'attestation de DELF A2 (que j'ai passé il y a 2 mois), et évidamment je l'ai réussi ! (parce que je ne l'aurais pas reçu si je ne l'avais pas réussi) Mais c'était un peu plus facile que ce que j'ai imaginé (d'après mes commentaires dernières) alors j'ai été surpris d'avoir de bonnes notes.


Voici mes notes:


Compréhension des écrits : 24 / 25

Compréhension de l'oral : 23 / 25

Production des écrits : 22 / 25

Production de l'oral : 19 / 25


Mais j'ai entendu que le B1 peut-être vraiment difficile que l'A2, donc il faudrait que je révise bien avant de le passer...


...on en parle ?


3

Posted by Gimmick - June 11th, 2019


Was a bit tougher this time around. Quite a few confusing curveball-type questions in this compared to the previous one. Fumbled quite a bit in the speaking test, and for some reason couldn't stop saying the infinitive form of verbs even when I knew I had to conjugate them. Bah, I'll be getting the results dans un mois. Je pense que je vais recevoir environ 70 (sur 100)


Posted by Gimmick - March 11th, 2019


Yay. I'll get my results in 10 days. Rather easy, fwiw.


Edit: Apparently it's a month, not 10 days. Bah


Edit 2: Got my results! 99.50 / 100, hooray!


Compréhension de l'oral: 25/25

Compréhension des écrits: 25/25

Production écrite: 25/25

Production oral: 24.50/25


I have signed up for A2 :]


2

Posted by Gimmick - October 2nd, 2018


It's been almost four years (less 2 months, to be precise) since I first announced work on ASBoxer in the Newgrounds BBS. Well, for those of you who were paying attention anyways. Ever since then, it's been a damn near neverending quest for the red dragon. Countless time was lost in adding new features and making things look snazzy, all the while ignoring the base concept of time to market. Not that I'd have sold it anyways...not if it were so rudimentary. I have "standards", you know. (Yeah, right.)

In the meantime, a lot of stuff has changed. A lot. The entire tech landscape changed, swiveling towards the internet. AIR all but lost significance, as if it didn't already. Somehow, fucking JavaFX of all things became slightly more relevant. JavaFX. Not that I'm complaining - it's a swanky runtime - but it was pretty much an abortion from the get go thanks to Oracle and somehow that managed to become more popular than AIR. And I'm happy for it. I might use it in the future (just not for ASBoxer, because it's a nightmare to port anything from one engine to another, and a useless value proposition at that)

Other things apart from tech happened too. Too many to count, and the past four years have honestly just seemed like kind of a...haze to me. It's hard to believe it, but yes, I am "that" age where life seems to just pass by fast (the days go by slow, but the years go by fast, you know the rest). 

Kept adding more features to ASBoxer in the meantime. Skinning, custom components, localization support, you name it...all with nothing to show for it in reality. As far as y'all were concerned, I just had screenshots from a bygone era, and nothing more. And that's true. It's vaporware, by this definition. Something that should have taken a year...then two...then three...now galloping on to four and with no signs of stopping.

In the meantime, I also made the - I believe - one of a kind (for AIR, that is) AIRDock because I'd not found anything like it. Making that helped me a lot in designing and learning the value of good design practices, something that I'd shirked when making ASBoxer because I just wanted to code, dammit. Who needs planning? I know the code anyways.

Hah. As if. Once I came back to ASBoxer, with a new insight, I realized having a 10,000+ LOC in one file was probably not a good thing to be proud of. Thankfully, it was not spaghetti, so I was able to get back to it relatively easily, but let's just say that it won't be seeing the underside of 8,000 anytime soon. I added concurrency (background worker, technically) support because the main thread was too damn slow for running processes. That was a crapshoot of lost messages and faulty coding and testing. Ultimately, I forgot the meanings of the messages I'd used in the code and everything related to that had turned to spaghetti (thankfully, just restricted to that area alone). It still exists in incomplete form, haha.

Now? I'm still working on it. No way in hell I'm giving it up, even if it's the comatose dog lying on the road after its untimely rendezvous with a high-speed car tyre. I've had a lot of fun making ASBoxer, and it's taught me a lot, and gave me a lot of joy - albeit rather double-edged at that - while doing so. I'm still running around breaking things fast - but early; better now than later where it really counts. I've planned to migrate away from the custom zip file format and instead use a fixed database to support easier asynchronous operations; in so doing, hopefully import/export operations will be able to return to the main thread again, back from the land of concurrency (to be fair, it is hard, and even more props to those who get it done right). After that? Maybe. We'll see. 

And for reading this far, here's a rather old Imagine Dragons song. Never really a fan of them - really the only two songs I heard from them were this one and Thunder (IIRC) but it's a nice song, I guess.

S/O to @PsychoZombii, if you're still here dude hit me up let's chat sometime


2

Posted by Gimmick - August 24th, 2018


Time sure does fly by.


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