Some Projects

Posted by F1ak3r on Sept. 1, 2015, 1:49 p.m.

I've been busy lately. Here's some stuff I've been doing:

First off, there was Ludum Dare about two weeks ago. I really want to thank you guys – Jani, Acid and Ferret especially – for all getting into it and inspiring me to do the same and just sit down and make a damn game. It's lacking in areas, but it's a start that I might not have otherwise made. I've started on the post-LD version and hope to have it done in a couple weeks, and then I'm probably going to keep exploring this text game thing.

I've always been put off finishing my games because I don't enjoy drawing graphics, but this way I don't have to do that. What's more, in text I can do stuff with story, which always requires the most graphical resources in the world of pictures. Plus, working in infosecurity has made me a lot less comfortable about downloading and running random EXE files as is the way of hobbyist game dev, and so I have some reservations about making others do the same. I would rather, at this point, make browser games.

And speaking of random downloaded EXEs, I'm working on a Windows Metro app to turn this:

into this:

I've got well over a thousand of these games, collected and organised over ten years, sitting in folders and I'd like to get some search and automatic statistics going. Integration with some sort of API (like on GameJolt) or web scraping system for screenshot covers would be killer as well.

I've hit a few issues with the Windows app permissions system and sandbox, which I'm in two minds about. From a security perspective, it's great that apps are sandboxed and stuff like file access is heavily policed, especially in a phone context. But if you want to make a game launcher like I am, well, you can't really do that so well: Windows apps can't launch EXEs. So I'm probably just going to settle for opening the game folder. That's security, I'm afraid: you gotta sacrifice some convenience and/or elegance not to get pwned (Benjamin Franklin can suck it).

I've always quite liked a lot about the modern Windows flat style, and now that the modern apps fit in normal windows on Windows 10 they've become quite pleasant to use. So that's mostly why I made this slightly odd choice of platform. This project is also an interesting exercise in using a verbose language in an IDE on Windows, which is pretty much the exact opposite of how I normally program stuff these days.

And on an even less useful and relevant note, I've recently redesigned the CSS on my personal site so that it's all my own work rather than just a modified version of someone else's theme. I've also written a plugin that integrates nice typography into my chosen hipster blogging framework, mostly for the curly quotes. The results looks quite nice, I think, though the main font's ligatures don't render wonderfully, especially on Windows, so I probably need to experiment with different fonts or hack ligatures out of Typeset.js. The source HTML is quite messy now as well, full of <span>s for kerning and smallcaps.

My little plugin has the distinction of being one of the few to actually exist, mostly because the framework's plugin features are in very early stages with little documentation. I'm planning to write a tutorial to alleviate the latter though.

Seguing from that, since I like to do a roundup of the more formal posts I make on that site when I blog here, I've written:

* A long article about using Vim, first in a series I'm slowly doing on all the major/interesting text editors.

* Some web-app security stuff about unexpected side-effects of JSON on potential cross-site request forgery vulnerabilities.

* A reworking of a post about Iji I made on this site a few years ago, to be slightly less pretentious.

* A technical tutorial on LUKS encrypting a second HDD after you've installed Ubuntu.

* And finally a post-mortem of my Ludum Dare game.

I've got a lot more articles planned and partially drafted, mostly about game programming and web app security, plus a couple of reviews of things and one or two more tutorials (Google Webmaster Tools indicates that the tutorials are my most popular articles – feels good to give back). The main idea is to keep things fairly varied and hopefully interesting to people completely external to me. I'm also open to requests, but tend to have a rather long turnaround time on articles.

My job is going well as well. They say your first job is supposed to be quite awful, but mine is so good I'm scared it's only downhill from here. I've learnt so much about web technologies, Linux and Windows services and networks, and I'm about to start some stuff on Android and iOS security. I get to work with incredibly competent people on interesting things, don't have to work on one project for more than two weeks or so, and use both my technical and writing skills.

Plus it's fun to see the faces of developers when you tell them what you just did on their pretty little websites, from bypassing authorisation controls to popping shells. And it's definitely given me a better attitude towards testing and intentionally trying to break software, something I was always bad about in my gamedev.


Mega 8 years, 7 months ago

I like that Game Library project, it'd help me a ton. Currently I have a shortcut folder on my desktop with about 200+ entries in it.

I'm not 100% versed on Metro apps and their permissions, but I'm pretty sure I've used one or two launcher apps that are able to launch external applications? I might clone your code and take a look at getting that to work. :P