Texas outline

August 2009

Timelapses, etc.

One of the things folks like to do in Ludum Dare is record timelapse videos of the compo. Usually these are screenshots over the 48 hour period, one every couple of seconds; other times they’re webcam shots of the participants over the same timeframe, again every couple of seconds. I’ve never successfully put together a timelapse video, partly because I never got the tools sorted out beforehand and partly because I always manage to screw up the recording somehow.

Not this time, though.

I’ve got a pretty good set-up going: screenshots every two seconds under both windows and linux, autostarting on login for both (No forgetting!) and saving to an empty harddrive formatted to fat32 so both OSes can access it. Images are tagged with the time in a consistent format, too, so I can make sure they’re all in the right order after the dust settles and I get around to encoding the thing. In case you’re interested in repeating this feat for yourself, let me describe the software and hardware setup: One desktop, dual booting Linux and Vista + one Macbook, running OS X and equipped with built-in iSight camera. On Linux (Ubuntu, 64bit) I’m using scrot with a custom makefile, dumping JPEGs of my screen every 2 seconds. On Windows I’m using Keeyai’s excellent Chronolapse, a tool that I’m pretty sure came out of an earlier LD. I’m also using Chronolapse to merge everything together in the end, because it works with screenshots saved as a series of images and can do picture-in-picture compositing. For OS X I’m using EyeSight to take pictures with the iSight camera every 2 seconds. The laptop is sitting off to the side when I’m not using it, so that image will either show me working on the desktop, on the laptop, or not working at all (e.g. sleeping).

Not bad, eh? And all free software to boot.

Ludum Dare #15

Just in time, it’s Ludum Dare #15 — yet another weekend-long extravaganza featuring little food, less sleep, and a whole lot of rapid game dev. For once I’ve actually assembled something beforehand: a motley collection of initialization scripts, configuration files, and subsystems I jokingly call an engine. It’s available for review over at GitHub, if you’re into that sort of thing or if you’re coming from Ludum Dare itself and want to keep me honest.

This ought to be a good compo, and for a slew of reasons. The last compo, back in may, netted over a hundred submissions — breaking records we didn’t even know we were keeping. As for me, I’ve been all fired-up about this sort of indie development lately, partly thanks to mvromer’s influence, and partly due to attending the splendiferous Edinburgh Interactive Festival. Hopefully I’ll get enough work done during the week, meet all my goals and whatnot, that I can participate without inducing too much research-guilt. I guess we’ll see.