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2017-03-14 14:14:32
rating 6


2016-12-23 18:26:42
rating 5.9


2015-12-02 16:47:16
rating 5.9


2014-09-28 09:30:46
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2014-09-23 13:52:23
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2012-10-16 10:19:33
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2012-08-08 14:29:11
rating 6
2012-07-27 14:16:42
rating 5.9
2012-05-22 17:11:25
rating 5.8
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2012-03-16 15:40:18
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2011-10-25 16:33:27
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2010-12-13 17:02:31
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2010-05-16 08:19:01
rating 5.2
2010-05-12 17:13:23
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2010-04-30 14:10:06
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2010-04-22 21:26:21
rating 5.6
2010-04-14 13:55:38
rating 5.9
2010-03-23 11:29:31
rating 5.9
2010-03-18 13:27:14
rating 5.8
2010-03-10 20:42:47
rating 5.8
2010-03-04 16:56:41
rating 5.7
2010-02-26 22:22:32
rating 5.5
2010-02-16 16:15:38
rating 5.8
2015-12-02 16:47:16
63 votes, rating 5.9
Moving FFB away from Java and Icon scaling
Hey guys,

it's been an awful long time since the last blog (can hardly believe this is my first entry this year). I've been slowly catching up on all things Fumbbl, 2015 has been awfully busy for me. My eldest daughter's been sufferring from (still is to some extend) some serious health problems, we've experienced several annoying disasters around our home (cellar flooded twice, broken water pipe in the bathroom etc.) and work has been demanding as well. You know, life happening in inconvenient ways...

So there hasn't been much opportunity to work on FFB. Just a little bit here and there. The goal still is to move the client completely over to Javascript and HTML5. The serverside will continue to use Java. There are some bits and pieces done, but it's still a way to go. I've been cleaning up the current code while going through everything the 100th time and will release a small bugfix update (shadowing and sidestep bug, anyone?) soon.

The main reason for this blog is something else, though. There has been some confusion in the forums mixing together 3 different topics concerning FFB. Those are separate concerns that I would like to clear up.

1) Moving the client from Java to JavaScript / HTML5

This is a necessary step as Java in the browser is slowly becoming ever more painful to use. Christer needs to sign the JARs (the code libraries used), which costs an annual fee. Players get asked security questions that they are unsure how to react to. Java needs to be updated continuously and recent versions aren't available on all platforms (e.g. older OS X versions). It would help the general usability of the game to turn it into a web application.

2) Scaleable client (larger pitch and icons)

The client currently uses bitmaps for displaying the pitch, player icons and player portraits. This means that as it is, it isn't scaleable. Scaled bitmaps quite simply look awful. The current client therefor cannot keep up with ever larger screens and higher resolutions. The simplest way to go around this would be to provide different resolutions to choose from, which would mean several different icon sets and pitches. Scaling down is better than scaling up, so having a larger icon set (and pitch) minimized might be workable. The better way to do it would be to have all icons vectorized so they scale without a loss in quality. Technically this is independent from the client being coded in Java or Javascript (one can do vector graphics on both platforms). And here is the main catch: I CANNOT DO IT. Just as with the current icon set I need help from graphically talented persons to handle this. I can put things together once I have something to use. And I need a full set (that is 2 teams with player icons, portraits and pitch) to be even able to start coding.

3) Using the client on a tablet

Implementing point 1 above (moving to Javascript) would theoretically enable the client to be used on a tablet (which has it's own browser). But only in theory. A touch interface is quite different from using the mouse. You don't use keyboard shortcuts on a tablet. Chatting will pop up the screen keyboard which covers part of the pitch. The automove path follows the mouse around, which you can't do with your finger on the screen, etc. The whole client design needs to change for that. Point 1 allows for point 3, eventually (using PhoneGap for instance). But moving FFB to the tablet is a lot of work in its own right.

I just wanted to clarify that those topics are separate concerns and doing one of them does not mean the other ones will be realized automatically. My personal plan would be to do them in order. IF I can find enough time, IF Christer continues to do his thing and IF there is still enough interest in FFB until I'm done.

Rant over. Go play!

Rate this entry
Posted by koadah on 2015-12-02 16:57:26
Best wishes for your daughter.

Slow and steady wins the race. How many javascript efforts have come and gone? :)
Posted by Kalimar on 2015-12-02 17:02:13
Right now it's just been slow. Still working on the steady part ;-)
Posted by drunkagent on 2015-12-02 17:08:09
Thanks as always great work!
Posted by Sigmar1 on 2015-12-02 17:10:43
Kalimar is actually Glenn Beck?? Who knew?! :)
Posted by OTS on 2015-12-02 17:59:17
Thank you for your efforts Glenn Beck.
Posted by mister__joshua on 2015-12-02 18:07:48
Great news. Good work man.
Posted by Triton on 2015-12-02 18:12:26
Really hope your daughter gets better. That's the most important.

Thank you for your efforts on FFB.
Posted by Dominik on 2015-12-02 18:37:09
Danke für die Neuigkeiten und alles Gute deiner Tochter. Familie geht vor!
Posted by Shinomune on 2015-12-02 19:25:23
Priority is always family, best wishes to all, specially your daughter.

And amazing work as always :)
Posted by grunth on 2015-12-02 19:27:21
hmmmm.... thx for all you did and will do mate, its just... awesome :)
Posted by Nightbird on 2015-12-02 19:38:16
Thanks for continuing to work on this great site/game!
Posted by Balle2000 on 2015-12-02 20:04:19
Here's to the continued recovery of your daughter. And let's hope Nuffle stops flooding your cellar! I'm sure several of us been wondering were you've been, so it's actually really good to hear from you, even though I don't know you personally. Anyway, looking forward to more of your stellar efforts, and changes whenever they arrive. And now that I know you're still alive, expect some bug reports to come your way soon. I've been saving up ;)
Posted by harvestmouse on 2015-12-02 20:56:36
Best of luck with everything. I'm not sure of the difficulty of 1 and 3. 2 though the current vectored images don't work that well. I'm not sure what the answer is for that. I guess it's something we'll have to do some day!
Posted by WhatBall on 2015-12-03 00:01:07
I've always said I was stopped making icons until we begin a new set of scalable ones for the new client. I am in for number 2 on the list and willing to work on getting a team together to make this happen.

Thanks Kalimar! \o/
Posted by WhatBall on 2015-12-03 00:04:01
Also, glad to hear your daughter is getting better.

And the side step bug, thank you sir. Stunty will be a much less stressful place...
Posted by Dominik on 2015-12-03 00:52:57
Who doesn't vote this blog with a six?
Posted by harvestmouse on 2015-12-03 00:59:01
Yah, I was also thinking that.
Posted by CCSenor on 2015-12-03 01:26:59
as ever, many thanks for your efforts Kalimar and Christer.
Posted by the_Sage on 2015-12-03 11:35:29
Nice to hear from you, Kalimar. Thanks again for all the hard work.
Vector-graphics or high-res player icons? Yes, please! I'm not at all talented in this regard, but do know we have a lot of people on the site who are.
Posted by Purplegoo on 2015-12-03 19:15:58
As ever, thanks for the hard work, and I hope all things at home settle / improve soon!

Have a great Christmas. :)
Posted by birdbanger on 2015-12-03 22:03:05
The player icons actually look surprisingly good when scaled up. Sometimes even better.

Generally speaking scaling up is always a bad idea. But if you preserve the hard edges and pixelated look - no smoothing, the fumbbl icons actually look quite good. Best results can be achieved with always doubling the scale, so no "half" pixels have to be calculated.

Anyways, I started trying to make a vector player icon. It is completely another form of art than pixel art. With good skills it can look very good, like in games like Kingdom Rush. And ofcourse you could add some animations on the players.
Posted by harvestmouse on 2015-12-03 23:14:21
Interesting, I was thinking that smoothing was exactly what you need to do. How does a Mr Furious stunty icon look scaled up? He did Tzeentch, Nurgle and Gnomes.
Posted by Verminardo on 2015-12-04 11:21:20
Sorry to hear about your daughter being ill, I hope she is better!

I played a game or two using touchpad and that was really awful, can't really imagine anyone would want to play using touchscreen.
Posted by Kurgol on 2015-12-06 20:55:46
I hope your daughter is on the mend.

I totally agree that html+javascript+vectors is the way of the future, but have you considered implementing the scale2x algorythm for the current bitmap client as an interim solution? http://www.scale2x.it/
Posted by Thomcat on 2016-06-19 11:16:49
Best wishes.

On the larger Pitch and icon issue - can the icons from the fumbbl addon to the old lrb 5 client not do the job?

There where alot of icon collection going on back then - for the Large Field option.

I do still have a collection of icons I put together back in the day to the "Large field option" in the old client

I do not own the rights - but they where alle downloaded here on fumbbl for use in the old client.

4 icons of each (1 move and one stand - in both blue and red)
Dimensions: 40x40 to around 54x58