— issue #18 {February 2016} —


Hello, and welcome to the eighteenth issue of Equilibrium. Since this is the first issue of the year, allow me to send you wishes for a happy, healthy, and creative New Year.

As the first side-project of the year, I spent a few hours to build Nevermind (my new blog written in Greek) using Sculpin, a static site generator written in PHP (one of the picks of this issue). If you can read Greek, head over to it to have a look.

I love reading printed magazines, especially if they have a retro touch in them and cover games, computers, and hacker culture. The other day I was actually reading an old gaming magazine, which was published in 2000.

Skrolli - A Printed Computer Culture Magazine

When I landed on Skrolli's Indiegogo campaign, it was a no-brainer that I would fund it. The project was successfully funded, so I'm waiting excitedly for its publication!

A few months ago, I read The Martian book (featured in issue #16) and I loved it. I just watched the film adaptation of the book, which I found very nice. Obviously, you can't expect the level of detail that a book can offer in a film, but I think the producers did a good job overall.

The film is fast paced, contains most (but unfortunately not all) of the important scenes from the book, and it has the same "atmosphere" as the book. My wife -who didn't read the book but was familiar with it since I didn't stop talking about it while reading it- really liked the film as well.

As always, enjoy the issue!

.blogs (interesting reads from around the web)

Doing Terrible Things To Your Code — codinghorror.com, 2015

"I believe a key turning point in every professional programmer's working life is when you realize you are your own worst enemy, and the only way to mitigate that threat is to embrace it. Act like your own worst enemy. Break your UI. Break your code. Do terrible things to your software."

Programming advice from John Carmack — d3dvortex.blogspot.in, 2005

"Don't expect it to be easy, you will have to work at it. (...) Lots of people that want to program will talk a lot about programming, but not actually write that many programs. You should write hundreds of programs."

What I like about PHP — coding.simon.geek.nz, 2014

My point of view: bad programmers will be bad no matter what language they choose to use.

How A Mod Team Helped Age Of Empires 2 Thrive — rockpapershotgun.com, 2015

Age of Empires screenshot

"When you are modding you can do awesome crazy stuff without caring if they will fit on the original game. You can put dragons in there and people will love it because it is a mod. But when when you are an official dev, a lot of things change. You have a lot of new restrictions that you didn’t face before and everything needs to make sense [and] fit in the game nicely with the rest of the stuff. And achieve that certain level of quality."

My Resume is Fiction — chrisbaglieri.com, 2015

"Craft your resume to how you want it to look, and then figure out how you're going to make that piece of fiction a piece of non-fiction in year's time."

Why Instagram Worked — backchannel.com, 2014

"Our fundamental idea was that people would want to connect and share experiences out in the real world, through snapshots of their lives. In retrospect, Instagram may seem “obvious” — communication through photos is universal. But products are defined by a series of decisions and assumptions, and our combination of being photos-first and public-by-default would prove to be a combination that solved an unmet need."

.podcasts (sometimes is better to listen)

The Laracasts Snippet — laracasts.simplecast.fm

Each episode of the The Laracasts Snippet podcast offers a single thought on some aspect of web development. Nothing more, nothing less. It is hosted by Jeffrey Way, the creator of Laracasts which was featured in issue #7.

.open source ("show me your license")

Sculpin — sculpin.io

Sculpin is a static site generator written in PHP. It converts Markdown files, Twig templates and standard HTML into a static HTML site that can be easily deployed. I recently used it to build Nevermind (my Greek blog), which I managed to have up and running in just a few hours.

.books (physical or electronic)

Interphase — phaser.io

Interphase is a book for Phaser (an open source framework for Canvas and WebGL powered browser games featured in the previous issue) developers of all skill levels, written by the creator of the framework. It contains a guide to the Phaser State Manager, along with eight very interesting "Making Of" guides, each of them covering the development of a different -relatively simple and easy to build- game.

.games (everybody needs some play time)

Papers, Please — papersplea.se

Papers, Please: A Dystopian Document Thriller

"Papers, Please is a video game created by indie game developer Lucas Pope, developed and published under his pseudonym 3909. It focuses on the emotional toll of working as an immigration officer, deciding whom to let in and whom to exclude from entering the fictional dystopian country of Arstotzka." [wikipedia]

I'll only make one point regarding this game which looks like it came out of straight from the 80s: It's one of the very few games that I re-played a few times back to back (its length is short) to experience some of its possible endings.

.non-profits (for a good cause)

Lighthouse Relief — lighthouserelief.org

Lighthouse Relief is a Swedish organisation operating with volunteers from all over the world. They currently provide emergency relief to refugees that arrive on the Greek island of Lesvos, on the shores and in our 24/7 operational reception camp and clinic.

Their main priority is to protect the most vulnerable groups such as children, women and the elderly. They want to continue working there until the emergency is over but need all the possible help they can get.


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