Make retro computer game sound effects with sfxr/cfxr



This is a little tool I made in connection with the 10th Ludum Dare competition held in December 2007. Its original purpose was to provide a simple means of getting basic sound effects into a game for those people who were working hard to get their entries done within the 48 hours and didn’t have time to spend looking for suitable ways of doing this.

The idea was that they could just hit a few buttons in this application and get some largely randomized effects that were custom in the sense that the user could accept/reject each proposed sound.

via sfxr –

You can grab Windows and Linux versions of sfxr from that page. He also links through to cfxr, a Mac port (screenshot above).

I found this through a Unity video tutorial I’m watching.

F.lux: Set your screen’s colour temperature based on time of day

F.lux preferences

During the day, computer screens look good—they’re designed to look like the sun. But, at 9PM, 10PM, or 3AM, you probably shouldn’t be looking at the sun.


F.lux fixes this: it makes the color of your computer’s display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day.

It’s even possible that you’re staying up too late because of your computer. You could use f.lux because it makes you sleep better, or you could just use it just because it makes your computer look better.


My 27″ monitor throws out a lot of light, and F.lux instantly makes it much easier on my eyes. I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to live with it though, as even after 15 minutes, I can still perceive a yellowish hue. It may be because I have two types of fluorescent bulbs in this room, and neither are giving the colour temperature the app expects. A fine-tuning control may help.

For someone who isn’t interested in graphics work of any kind, this free download may be a lifesaver (or at least a life-improver).

Available for Mac, Linux and Windows.

(via @randallb / Tumblr)

Dalton Maag are killing Helvetica and going open source

Aktiv Grotesk

I was lucky enough to see Bruno Maag talk at the Millenium Centre last year at a Cardiff Design Festival talk. He was interesting, entertaining, and although he was mainly talking about the challenges of designing non-western type, he still managed to get a little dig in about Helvetica. In this video he goes into more length on the subject of Helvetica’s general unworthiness:

As someone who is still newly interested in type design, it’s inspirational to hear someone talk so passionately on the differences between what are to the untrained eye, almost identical copies of each other. And with all this Helvetica bashing, presumably he’s been told more than once to ‘put up or shut up’. So he has.

Dalton Maag, detail Aktiv Grotesk is a new font family designed to replace Helvetica entirely (for the sum of £222.77). Creative Review has a great interview with Bruno Maag with some interesting theories on how the inferior Swiss font became so popular anyway:

People just use Helvetica because they have heard of it, it’s on everyone’s computer and everyone else uses it.

The Ubuntu Font

The new Ubuntu typeface, by Dalton Maag

When Canonical unveiled Ubuntu’s branding overhaul and new desktop theme earlier this year, the company also revealed that it had commissioned well-known type foundry Dalton Maag to design a new font specifically for Ubuntu. The font will likely be used by default in Ubuntu 10.10, which is scheduled for release in October.

(via Ars Technica)

This is even better news though – a high quality open source typeface, built to suit the new Ubuntu branding also created by Dalton Maag. As you would expect from an open source project, the font is currently in beta and has just been opened for ‘bug testing’ on the Canonical Design blog.

I hope both parties here can learn some lessons. The open source movement really needs to learn the value of good visual design, and if Dalton Maag are serious about wiping Helvetica off the face of the planet, they could certainly make use of the FOSS model for distributing Aktiv Grotesk. I can’t think of a quicker way of getting it onto everyone’s computer.

Continue reading

FontForge – Other ways to build a typeface in Linux?

FontForge I have always had the ambition to design typefaces, but besides reading several books on the subject and creating one (very rough) font, I’ve not made any progress.

Well, I still haven’t, but I have just installed FontForge. After much digging, it seemed to be the only real option for Linux (not that other Mac and Windows are exactly overflowing with options). I’m know Inkscape has some type-specific features – and I plan to explore these – but I really wanted to try a dedicated program. Continue reading


WikiReader The WikiReader is a funky Hitch-Hikers Guide style gadget that gives you Wikipedia in your pocket. I love the form, the touchscreen, the low power consumption, the low price and that it uses a MicroSD card. You can subscribe to bi-annual updates and they will post you the cards, or you can download the (4GBs of) data yourself.

I’m waiting for an e-reader gadget like this, but the size of a paperback, that allows you to put any data on the card to read. Ideally running some flavour of Linux. And none of this copy protection nonsense!

That’s all I want. Continue reading


Mark Shuttleworth has kicked up a bit of a storm by apparently saying that Linux was “hard to explain to girls”. There is an open letter post about this on the Geek Feminism Blog, followed by a hell of a lot of comments on the subject. It seems to boil down to ‘he didn’t really mean it like that‘, ‘it’s not okay to say that kind of thing, even if you didn’t mean it like that‘ and ‘has anyone seen this video or a transcript anyway?

Anyway, I’ve made a little graphic that Ubuntu could use for their 11.10 release if they wanted to tackle this issue. :)

(Please note this was produced with a high level of sarcasm and irony. If you are offended, please look up those words before commenting!)

Continue reading

GUI design for a Google OS


Last night I stumbled across this Photoshop mockup I have 2/3rds completed of a potential GUI for a Google operating system. This was created before Android, Chrome and Wave existed (as far as anyone knew) and is based on nothing but my own thinking.

I rather like the look of it, so I'm going to finish it off over the next few lunchbreaks. You’re welcome to share any thoughts you have on the subject in the comments.

Openbox logout icons

On and off for the last week I have been experimenting for pretty much the first time with some icon designs for an Openbox logout script being written by Nik_Doof for #! CrunchBang Linux.

I’ve attached a screenshot below of the 0.1 release in action, as well as some alternative icons. I plan to revamp the icons: I’m going to try a set making better use of PNG transparency, and also provide a smaller size (64×64?). Of course, I’ll also make the SVGs available in due course.

Any feedback is welcome!

Continue reading

I hate the command line!

So, on Windows, if I want to move the My Documents folder elsewhere, I dig around in the settings and find out how to do that. It's a little buried away, but you can find it logically enough.

But if I want to do the same trick with my /home directory in Linux, I have to type in some gibberish. Now cutting and pasting isn't hard, but if it goes wrong (like it just did) then I'm none the wiser. What went wrong? How do I fix it? I'm left running back to Google, or begging for help in forums, to probably be ignored.

Two steps in a GUI or freaking ten lines in terminal!

There's plenty I love about Linux, but this shouldn't be the trade-off…


Inkscape is an Open Source vector graphics editor, with capabilities similar to Illustrator, Freehand, CorelDraw, or Xara X using the W3C standard Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) file format. Supported SVG features include shapes, paths, text, markers, clones, alpha blending, transforms, gradients, patterns, and grouping. Inkscape also supports Creative Commons meta-data, node editing, layers, complex path operations, bitmap tracing, text-on-path, flowed text, direct XML editing, and more. It imports formats such as JPEG, PNG, TIFF, and others and exports PNG as well as multiple vector-based formats.