Category Archives: EN – English

THE 256 LETHARGICDOG GEEK CHALLENGE #006/256


Challenge #006: Drawing Super Meat Boy in Vector Graphics with InkScape (or Adobe Illustrator)

GOAL:
The goal of this challenge #006 is to use the vector graphics app Inkscape (or Illustrator) in order to draw the main character of the Indie Game Super Meat Boy, from the Team Meat Studio.
I guess the two members of this Indie Studio wouldn’t mind us to do so, as you can see them enjoying Fan Art Youtube videos and pics of Meat Boy.

Super Meat Boy

DESCRIPTION:
For those of you who don’t know much about vector graphics, it’s just another way to do drawings for the web and apps, but at the opposite of other apps, such as Gimp or Photoshop, your drawing is made of items that scale well while you zoom in (without showing “pixels”), and is in my humble opinions much easier to use than their Pixel based counterpart, at least when your purpose is about to get nice graphics without needing to be a proper artist yourself.

Inkscape screen

Inkscape is a free open source application for Windows, Mas OS X and Linux (available at https://inkscape.org/en/) whereas you will have to pay around USD 500$ for the Adobe counterpart which is Adobe Illustrator. Both of them being professional tools, il will be your decision to choose among them. Main thing you have to know is that Inkscape is generally preferred for Web and In-App art, and Illustrator for professional printing.

Regarding the work to be done here, I decided to challenge you with Meat Boy, as this might be doable after a dozen hours of learning Vector Graphics, and because I am a huge fan of Team Meat and Super Meat Boy since I watched the movie “Indie Game – The movie”.

IGTM Anniversary

ACHIEVEMENT EXPECTED:
In order to succeed, you will have to use either the Inkscape app or Illustrator app as discussed above, and practice until you get used to the path, object and layer tools that are mandatory to reach your goal. Once you get there, you will have to find a proper model to get inspired, but if you dont find any, consider the picture below to be the target to reach.

super-meat-boy

Should you need any help about vector graphics, you will find plenty of video tutorials on youtube, and some other learning sources that I recommend on my Google+ 2D Art Collection (http://plus.google.com/+LethargicDogDotCom/Collections)

Once you have finished your artwork, you will have to save it, then export it as a bitmap format (bmp, jpg, png…), and finally publish it anywhere on the web, then you can consider it a success and choose another LethargicDog 256 Geek Challenge.
Have fun, and good luck !

Pascal

THE 256 LETHARGICDOG GEEK CHALLENGE #005/256


Challenge #005: Code With Anna and Elsa at code.org

GOAL:
The goal of this challenge #005 is to use the “LEARN” menu at website code.org for programming Character Animation based on Pixar Animation Studio Motion Picture named Frozen.
This challenge is intended to be done prior to the challenge #001 for those who feel it was too difficult to achieve for now.

CodeOrgLogo

DESCRIPTION:
Code.org is an online programming platform aimed to teach how to code to absolute beginners. This site is highly recommended for people (Adults, Children Aged 8+) who want to take their first step into computer programming, or for those who have failed to deal with more advanced programs such as Scratch (available online at scratch.mit.edu) or Stencyl (download it at stencyl.com) or Even Visual Studio, Unity3D, Unreal Engine and so on.
Code.org has another advantage compared to the other ones above, that is you can run it on any modern browser, or even on your tablet. No excuses..
Many famous people are partners of this organisation, such as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, or even Will.I.Am.

code.org-course-image

At Code.org, many activities based on game coding (for the most part) will take you through the first stages of computer programming. All you will learn in there will be useful if you want to do some serious coding in the future. But for now, the challenge will be to succeed in the Frozen’s Anna and Elsa puzzle games.

ACHIEVEMENT EXPECTED:
In order to succeed, you will have to use the code.org website. Once you get there, you will find the Frozen Movie Characters at the “LEARN”/”Hour Of Code” menu, then click the “GO” button for getting started.
An introduction video will play, introducing the goal, the main parts of the screen and showing a first sample as well. Once the video has ended, you will be offered to solve the 20 puzzles.
Should you need any help, there is a tutorial video on the bottom left part of the screen, and I will also provide some additional hints in a future post here at lethargicdog.com

Once all the 20 puzzles are solved, you will be offered to enter your email address and your name, in order to receive your first “Hour Of Code” programming certificate. And once you have published this document online, you can consider it a success and choose another LethargicDog 256 Geek Challenge.
Have fun, and good luck !

Pascal

Laptop Renewal for Laptop Entrepreneurs.


Hi,

I have been working for ages with my 07′ HP Compaq NC2400, which is a pretty good machine after all. During all these years, it’s been doing OK for web browsing, updating articles, checking emails, few spreadsheets and Slideshows, but it failed when it came to 3D Design, Games and Apps Programming, and most advanced tasks I am supposed to deal with nowadays, as a teacher and a Laptop Entrepreneur as well.

Business-Entrepreneur

So then its time to say goodbye to this pretty reliable but now super slow NC2400, and to consider a step forward entering the circle of the privileged Ultrabook Workstations users. Let’s say I will have a two ground budget for this, and willing to buy as soon as Windows 10 is available (Some of the apps I use do not even run on Linux or Apple or Google Operating systems anyways. The future machine will have to deal with heavy usage of Unity3D, Blender, Inkscape, as well as Visual Studio, Android Studio, Lego Digital Designer, Stencyl, Evernote and many others).

Several Specs that I will be looking for:

  • 12 to 16 GB of RAM.
  • 256 GB SSD Storage (Minimum, has to be SSD)
  • Around 15.5′ Display, with a minimum of 1920×1080 Screen Resolution.
  • 7 hours Battery Life
  • A proper GPU Dedicated to 3D Animation
  • Renown Brand with Proved Reliability and Business Specs Products Range.
  • Around 2.5 Kg, (I need to be able to commute on daily basis, including frequent Flights)
  • i7 processor, 4th or 5th Generation with 2.6 Ghz Dual Core Minimum)
  • Extended ports will necessarily include 2 USB3 Ports, and External Display Capabilities
  • Docking Station Available (Optional)
  • Price Around 2.000 $
  • 3 years Warranty

HP Zbook 15

So far, I have been looking at the Lenovo Thinkpad W550s (or W541) and the The HP Zbook 15 (15u G2). I have considered many other options before that, such as a 13′ or 14′ Ultrabook (Dell XPS13, Lenovo X1 Carbon, Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro), but the screen seems too tiny for Design, and both were lacking of NumPad, which is mandatory for most of the apps I use. I also had a look at many 17′ Workstations (Same HP and Lenovo as above but with 17′), and Mobile Gaming Machines (Lenovo Y Range, RazerBlade 2015, MSI GS60, HP Omen, Acer Aspire V Nitro), but there was always something wrong with most of them (Missing Mandatory Specs (as defined above), Too Heavy Weight, Too Expansive, Weak Battery Life, Not Business Oriented Brands, Noise, Cooling..). There must me some other pretty cool machines from Acer, Asus, Dell, or Fujitu or Toshiba, but do not consider these manufacturers to be at their best when it comes to Ultrabook WorkStations, I might be wrong though.

That’s why I have reverted to the Classic HP and Lenovo Workstations, machines brands that I have used for up to 15 hours a day, for many years, without an issue.(That might sound old fashion to the younger readers, but I would generally be faithful to a brand that has never let me down before).

lenovo-laptop-thinkpad-w550s-main
All that said, and as I need a reason to choose between the Zbook and the W550s, I will probably go for the latter, thanks to it outstanding battery life, that can reach 17 hours, which is an impressive figure, especially for a WorkStation.
These few words were not intended to be a proper review or products comparison, but rather a tribute to these 2 products, and especially the W550s, and a suggestion for Professional Nomads who consider to renew their hardware in the coming weeks.

Take Care.
Pascal

THE 256 LETHARGICDOG GEEK CHALLENGE #004/256


Challenge #004: Solving Original 3×3 Rubik’s Cube in less than 60 seconds (1 minute)

GOAL:
The goal of this challenge #004 is to solve the Rubik’s Cube (www.rubiks.com) in less than 60 Seconds.

rubiks-cube

DESCRIPTION:
The Rubik’s Cube is one of the most famous puzzles since its creation in 1974. It was invented by Hungarian Sculptor Ernő Rubik. It is a cube made of 26 smaller cubes, 9 on each face, the central one is replaced by a patented rotating mechanism. The world record is set to less than 6 seconds,(Under 4 seconds by the CS3 robot), but according to most specialists, it can be solved in under a minute, after learning a basic routine and some practice. Another reason why I have set this challenge time to under a minute, is because the American actor Will Smith has managed to solve it in 55 seconds at a french TV show few years ago.

CS3 Cube Solving

ACHIEVEMENT EXPECTED:
In order to succeed, you will have to purchase a 3×3 rubik’s Cube that can be found at your local toys reseller, or online at http://www.rubiks.com for 15£ or so. You can also find plenty second hand for cheaper, borrow it from a friend, or even start practicing with online apps. You will probably need to learn one of the many methods/algorithms available, and practice for a few weeks before you get there.

cube_timer

Theoretically, you would have to use a proper Speedsolving timer, in order to get accurate time. But if you don’t consider to break a world record, a simple timer will be fine. Once you are ready for the record, get the help from a friend or two for the timer and video recording (A smartphone would be fine for this). Once you have published that video online, you can consider it a success and choose another LethargicDog 256 Geek Challenge.


Have fun, and good luck !
Pascal

THE 256 LETHARGICDOG GEEK CHALLENGE #003/256


Challenge #003: Your Hometown Skate Park with Sketchup

GOAL:
The goal of this challenge #003 is to use Trimble Sketchup (Used to be Google Sketchup) at www.sketchup.com for designing a Skate Park.

skate_graffiti

DESCRIPTION:
There’s not much to be said about the skate park itself. Everybody knows what it is. But it has to be made of at least three modules, two at both ends and one in the middle. I expect some street art on each face, based on photos or anything else.
Regarding Sketchup itself, make sure you download the free version (Make), unless you have other projects that require advanced features.

4761__sketchup_pro_2_10_6_15

ACHIEVEMENT EXPECTED:
In order to succeed, you have to use the Sketchup App, available at http://www.sketchup.com.
After the Skate Park is finished, you will have to export it into a 2D picture (PNG format), so then you can publish it on any of your favorite social networks.
Should you need any help for getting started, you will find many templates and members achievements on the Sketchup site (check the “Learn” Menu). Hundreds of YouTube tutorials are also available.

SkateParkJeremie

If you can get close enough to the picture on my sample above or even better, or if you prefer to user your favorite 3D design app instead, you can consider it a success and choose another LethargicDog 256 Geek Challenge.
Have fun, and good luck !
Pascal

Sketchup

Pong on Scratch.Mit.Edu (Challenge #001/256 Howto)


Hi,

About a month ago, I wrote about the very first of my 256 Geek Challenges, (see Challenge #001/256).
If u struggle to finish it, you will find below the result I expected, and you will be able to see the details as well.

Notes and Credits:
All the work included is from me, apart from original sound ‘pop” featured as standard.
The game is a tribute to Original Atari Game “Pong”, 1972.
The purpose of this development is to be a sample for my students, kids, friends kids, my nephews and nieces also.
I consider programming and computer skills to be as important as foreign languages, maths, physics, history and sports. Everybody should be able to program a computer according to Steve Jobs.
Instructions:
Click the Green Flag to Start the game.
2 people can play.
Left player uses A and Q keys for Up and Down.
Right player uses P and L keys for Up and Down.
First player to score 11 wins.

Theoretically, you should be able to play my scratch game from there, hope this works fine. Click on image below to play the game:
Pong Scratch

If you want to see code and details, click the link:
Original Pong Game 1972 with Scratch. (Code, Images, Details)

Take Care.
Pascal

The Bucket List


Hi Folks,

Have you watched the film “The Bucket List”? Not yet ? Well, I highly recommend you to do so ASAP actually! Of course the critic reviews are not so good, but a movie starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman cannot be that bad, and anyways, this is not the film by itself that I want to tell you about, but the story of the birth, the death, and a couple of things we all may consider to do before to kick the bucket…
image

Sooner or later, depending on our age and our personal situation, we all wake up some day thinking “What have I done so far in my life?” or “how long am I likely to survive the nuclear threat, the global warming, the recession while eating Genetically Modified Organisms 3 times a day?”

Well, I don’t know about you, but for my part, I made the decision to have a plan, just in case things go wrong. And guess what? I called it my bucket list!
image

10 categories, 100 Items, one rule, just tick the box when done.
Here is mine, mostly hidden, we are not so close yet:-). You have a look, you let me know about yours, all good ? (some of my choices may sound cheesy, but I don’t give a damn, build your own, this is the thing about this thread…)

My Bucket List

A/ Random Stuff 1/2

1 …Insert your own stuff here…

B/ Random Stuff 2/2

11 … Insert your own stuff here…

C/ Charity

21 Become rich enough to join Gates/Buffet Charity Programme
22 …

D/ Relatives
image

31 Teach my kids about fun and entertainment, that comes with hard work and commitment (work hard, play hard)
31 Keep in touch with close family and friends, always show love and affection, whatever is the distance.
32 …

E/ Self Esteem

41 Read and Learn about Human Kind as much as I can.
42 Write an e-book
43 …

F/ Motorsports

(I’m sure you’ll easily replace this one with your own stuff)
51 Drive a Formula One, even for 3 laps
52 Visit GoodWood Festival of Speed
53 …
image

G/ My secret Dream

61 It’s a secret actually 🙂
62 …
63 …

H/ Shows

71 (attend your favourite band best live show ever)
72 (see a major event – can be Olympics, Football World Wup, New York Fashion Week)
73 …

I/ Parties

81 Glastonbury Festival
82 Oktober Fest
83 Montreux Festival
84 Rio de Janeiro Carnival
85 …
image

J/ Travel

90 Visit New York, St Petersburg, Dubai, Seoul, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Los Angeles, Beijing, Sao Paulo, Singapour
91 …

Take Care. (Maybe today I mean it even more that usually !)
Pascal

The 256 LethargicDog Geek Challenge #002/256


Challenge #002: Build a Porsche 918 Spyder with Lego Digital Designer

GOAL:
The goal of this challenge #002 is to use the Lego Digital Designer Application, available for download at ldd.lego.com in order to design/build a Porsche 918.

DESCRIPTION:
Lego Digital Designer is a 3D design application that let you build Lego models the same way that you could design them for real.

Most of the bricks are available in several categories. You have to pick a brick and take it into your model, and repeat that simple step until the job is done.

image

The model you have to build is the Porsche 918 Spyder, Lego set #75910. If some parts are not available yet at the time of reading, you can adapt the model and try to get as close as possible. Don’t get fooled by the age range written on the box, because the design with LDD is not as straightforward at it seems.

image

ACHIEVEMENT EXPECTED:
In order to succeed, you have to use the Lego Digital Designer Application, available for download at ldd.lego.com and build the car, but also add the racing driver in his suit, and a finish line as well.
Should you need any help for getting started, you will find online help and tips. Dozens of YouTube tutorials are also available.

image

After you have created your model, the app will let you generate the assembly instructions as a PDF. Once done, you can consider it a success and choose another LethargicDog 256 Geek Challenge.
Have fun, and good luck!

Pascal

The 256 LethargicDog Geek Challenge #001/256


Challenge #001: Original Pong Game Programming With Scratch

GOAL:
The goal of this challenge #001 is to use MIT Scratch at scratch.mit.edu for programming a game named “PONG”

image

DESCRIPTION:
PONG is a quite simple game that was originally created in 1972 by the company Atari. It is well known as one of the very first mainstream Videogames ever. The purpose of the game is a puddle/ball game similar to tennis or table-tennis. It involves one player (against the machine) or two players. This is a black and white two dimensional game, with basic graphics.

The audio is fairly simple, with no background music but a simple beep as the ball hits any paddle or pitch side.
The score is kept above the field (upper side of the screen). Each player earn one point each time the opponent fails to return the ball.
The first one to reach eleven points wins the game.

ACHIEVEMENT EXPECTED:
In order to succeed, you have to use the Scratch Programming environment, available at scratch.mit.edu
Should you need any help for getting started, you will find many templates and members achievements on the Scratch site. Hundreds of YouTube tutorials are also available.

image

After you have created an account on the website, you will be able to save your program and share it to the world.
If you can get close enough to the gameplay, the graphics, the “flavour”, and sound of the original game, you can consider it a success and choose another LethargicDog 256 Geek Challenge.
Have fun, and good luck !

Pascal