Sublime Text 2

For the past few weeks I’ve been trying out a different text editor instead of my standard Notepad++. That text editor is called “Sublime Text 2″ and let me tell you, it’s a breath of fresh air! From the word go, Sublime felt more useful to my programming and I could tell a few of the features would save me tonnes of time and increase my productivity. If you’ve never heard of it, head over to the website and try it out for yourself! If you’re as easily pleased as I am you won’t be disappointed. I saw it described somewhere as “The text editor you’ll fall in love with” and I agree with that statement wholeheartedly. Here are a few reasons why…

  • It’s Beautiful with a plethora of alternate Themes to the standard white on black that can be straining at times.
  • It has a tonne of programming language support. (and a large plugin base for the non standard languages)
  • It’s packed with really useful keyboard short-cuts.
  • It has superb find and replace functions, allowing you to change a variable in 100 different places at once.
  • It has a distraction-free mode, going full screen and directing your eyes at the important parts of the screen with your code cleverly aligned in the centre.
  • It allows alternate layouts including a grid of 4 files, one in each corner or 2/3 columns.
  • It has a really helpful code preview on the right hand side about a thumbprint wide that overcomes any scrollbar problems by allowing you to quickly see which part of your code you are moving to.
  • Full font-zoom capability allowing you to work from any distance. I.e. code using a wireless mouse and keyboard in your living room.
  • Finally, it allows you to use code snippets (extremely useful!) and macros. You can even write your own scripts!
A quick snippets example in C
Say you wanted to write a main method. By default there’s snippet installed that allows you to simply type “main” and enter, displaying the following code. Pretty neat huh?

I’m sure there is a lot more about this text editor that I don’t know but for now that will do. Whatever happens, I highly recommend it…such a cool piece of software, enjoy!

Screenshot of Sublime Text 2 in action

Screenshot of Sublime Text 2 in action

POV-Ray graphics coursework

A fine example of the power of POV-Ray - taken from Hall of Fame

Computer Graphics 2 (CS-307) is by far my favourite module that I’ve taken at Swansea. I find the immediate applications of the theory really interesting and love the way coding graphics allows you to completely change the scene with just a few lines of code – results immediately visible. I’ve also had a keen interest in the games industry for a number of years, following a number of developers such as the legendary Peter Molyneux and smaller indie developers such as Mojang and Wolfire.

The Graphics module isn’t a direct application of games however but I still find it massively interesting. The software that the lecturer (Dr Mark Jones) has decided to give examples in  is POV-Ray or the “Persistence of Vision ray-tracer”. Before the course, I must admit I’d not heard of it but it’s a very impressive ray tracer capable of very realistic scenes given enough time and effort (render time can be weeks for some of the more in-depth scenes). Some of the incredible projects people have made can be found in the Hall-of-fame.

Our  coursework for the module is split into 3 parts:

  1. A simple scene rendered in POV-Ray to demonstrate basic scene description ability.
  2. An essay based on a complex function of our choice that’s available in POV-Ray. I have chosen to study “The use of fog in gaming”
  3. The third coursework is by far the most interesting to me. It is an open ended project requiring us to demonstrate a number of the computer graphics techniques taught in the course in POV-Ray. I intend to make a detailed interior of a house (possibly on an island or beach front).

If you are interested in writing your own scenes in POV-Ray simply visit the download page and get started :). Tutorials on the scene description language it uses (also called POV-Ray) can be found here.

Thanks for reading, check back soon to see how I got on with my first coursework.

First!

Hello, welcome to my blog – first post of many.

As you’ll know if you’ve seen the “About” page, I’m a 3rd year Computer Science student at Swansea University.

This blog is a portfolio of some of my work. My current projects are:

  1. A Graphics project – Using the POV-Ray scene description language to create a high quality ray trace of a house interior.
  2. A  Web Development project – Making a web interface for a College so that teachers can track and visualise student progress. This is also my undergraduate dissertation.
  3. A Game Development project – Creating a first person game in Unity3d, creating assets in Maya or 3ds max.
  4. An Android Development project – Making an organisation app that is tailored to student life.

Alongside all of the other coursework I have to do, this is quite a hefty amount I plan on doing. To make life easier for myself some of the projects may go untouched for a while at times – mainly due to the upcoming dissertation deadline taking priority.

Hope this interests some people. Sorry for the lack of colour in this post – I’ll have plenty of pretty pictures when I have something to show for myself!

Here’s my about me page if you want my twitter or linked in details

about.me/danieljayne