Major Overhaul of Planet Pimp Web Site

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Did you know I maintain an informational resource page dedicated to Planet Pimp Records (the greatest record label ever to exist)? Well, now you do, and today I uploaded a massive update to the site. This is mostly behind the scenes stuff that makes the site easier for me to update, but I have also added some new features including links to external video and audio. There have also been some fancy style tweaks so the site now scales to fit mobile devices.

There are still some quirky buts, but I am working on cleaning everything up and reviewing the site and links. A big thing on my to-do list is getting rid of Flash elements and replacing them with more mobile-friendly HTML5 widgets. As always, if you have anything to add to this vital historical record, please send your contributions to me.

PRF Activity Book Submission - Pen and Ink Drawing

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This was a drawing I created to be part of the PRF 2015 Activity book. It was to be a book full of in-jokes and references to the bands and people of the PRF music community. There was a desperate last-minute call for submissions, so I obliged and stayed up into the wee hours of the night putting this together. Of course they didn’t use it and I feel like I completely wasted my time and energy. Oh well.

Resonance on PC (5/10)

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Uh oh, here we go again with another mediocre adventure game. Surprisingly, this one comes from Wadjet Eye Studios whose games have all been really good to me up until this one. On the surface Resonance has a lot going for it: well done pixelated graphics, a decent score and some clever twists on point-and-click interaction. However, the story and characters never grabbed be. Maybe it was the sub-par voice acting from a few of the leads or perhaps the controllable character overload. Controlling four characters seems like it would make for some interesting game play, but it is more of a hassle than it’s worth. Constantly having to round up everyone to go to a different area is not fun.

One of the key puzzle mechanics of the game is the ability to access memories and items within dialogue sequences. It’s basically a point-and-click version of the old text adventure trope of typing “ask character about xxx.” It worked about half the time. The other half I reverted back to the old “try everything on everything” brute force method of getting through the game. I felt like my motivations or objectives were never quite telegraphed in a fair manner. In fact, as I type this I still have a sour taste in my mouth from the final two puzzles which are just dialogue trees in which you need to pretty much need to guess blindly how the respondent is going to react or die.

Pass on this one and play Primordia or Blackwell instead.

Field / Noise by Zebras - CD (8/10)

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This is a limited issue, three track CD I picked up at a Zebras show. The songs are unlabeled and it’s in a hand made CD sleeve. Zebras mix synthesizer rhythms with noisy guitar. The result is at times funky, other times metal-y but the dominating mood is a hard edged, weird Devo-inspired sound. I forget how much I liked this band live.

Yesterday on PC (4/10)

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I’ve had pretty good luck with the string of adventure games I’ve played lately. It was inevitable that sooner or later I’d come across a dud. Yesterday had promise. I was initially drawn to the slick graphics (well, slick for a point and click game). However, the game is bogged down with nonsensical puzzles and an uneven tone to the story. There’s a horrible tangent where your character needs to learn martial arts that almost made me give up on the game completely. Eventually the story comes back around but it never is that gripping.

My First Foray into SASS

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As I mentioned a few posts ago, this site has received a major theme overhaul. Aside from a couple form element styles, this change was mostly structural and behind-the-scenes. The new theme is my first foray into using the SASS CSS preprocessing language. Let me tell you, it was a revelation. SASS allows you to write CSS using a super-clean tabbed coding style and (finally) allows the use variables and expressions in styles. I mean, look at this OCD coder’s dreamscape:

Behold the beauty of SASS!

Gone are curly brackets and semi-colons. Now elements can be nicely nested within each other and there’s lots of neat shorthand to make code more portable.

Now, I am very late to this party and it turns out much of the SASS code you find on the net is written in a more standard CSS syntax (those sass files are saved as .SCSS rather than .SASS). I hope this cleaner, more modern syntax remains supported because I am completely sold on it.

For quite some time I have heard of SASS but have always been hesitant to dig into it because I always assumed that it was some server-side application that would require SSH and Linux and a bunch of crap I don’t care about. I have since realized that this is not the case. SASS files are compiled locally into a single, standard CSS file. Still, the first thing tutorials seem to tell you to do is to go install Ruby and dive into the command prompt. Yeech! Thankfully, smart people out there (“there” equals Nepal in this case) have developed a windows app that will compile and upload everything you need.

Prepros Screengrab

Prepros is a tiny little app that does it all and I highly recommend it if you are developing on Windows. It processes many other languages as well (including Jade and JavaScript) and, regarding SASS, also includes Compass.

Compass is a set of functions and extensions to SASS that makes cross-browser development super easy. A word of warning about Compass: unlike pure SASS it doesn’t work out-of-the-box and requires some research into creating a “config.rb” file. The Zen Drupal theme includes this file and I used that as a base, and I think I understand it now.

In any event, I’m syched about Web development for the first time in a long while and I am glad I made the leap. Also, support Prepros and buy a copy (or two).

Another Site Update

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Well, recently I’ve been trying to learn how to use SASS for styling Web pages and have kind of fallen in love with it. So here is my first go at it in the form of a new site template. Not much has changed visually, but, trust me, there have been a ton of changes behind the scenes. I will post more about this and the trials of retrofitting a Drupal theme for SASS sometime in the near future. In the meantime, look at the neat comments buttons I made!