Aleksandar • Vacić

iOS bits and pieces

Age of Empires III

Few months ago, first screenshots emerged. Fans old and new called it “a visual orgasm”. Indeed, the first screenshots were so amazingly detailed that it looked impossible that they were from the game itself. After E3, things are shaping up. Screens still look amazing, there are videos as well and a brand new official web site.

amazing screenshot

Now, I know there are other games. I know there is that KillZone awesome-looking demo for PS3. That’s all fine and jolly. But Age of Empires is the only game I played for more than one year. I played Rise of Rome, than Age of Kings than Conquerors for something like five years. I simply don’t have time to play anymore, but if I find time, I would always go to Zone and play AoC. It is the best 2D real-time strategy ever made and believe me I tried them many.

When AoM came, it did not really struck me that hard. Actually far from it. They took away the best thing from AoE - reincarnation. I was bitten down to the only 50 (or sometimes 10) vils so many times in team games, and with help from team mates reincarnated in several minutes with new army, new economy and joined the fray again. In AoM, with limited number of places I could rebuilt, this was not possible and huge slice of fun is cut off.

I’m a firm believer that 3D strategies will never be as good as 2D. 3D greatly diminishes the playability. I don’t know how to explain it, but I always had much more fun playing 2D than 3D.

The mere mention of AoE name ignites the sparks in head and fingers. I don’t know whether it will be as good as AoC, but damn sure I’m gonna buy it and try. I can’t bloody wait. If only they allow me to build wherever I want, whatever I want. Man, that would be awesome.

Monaco GP

I can’t really remember the last time I have seen the Monaco Grand Prix exciting like this. Exciting because of the racing, not the incidents and spectacular crashes.

I don’t have much time to write (even this post is later than previous ones), thus only a few highlights. McLaren is definitely the team of the moment. No one was the match for Kimi today. It would probably be the same with Montoya if it wasn’t for that stupid thing in the practice. McLaren went for victory for Kimi and points for Montoya and did both. Juan Pablo did a fantastic things at the start, when he slipped through 5-6 cars before the first corner. That freed him to push from the very beginning and eventually got to 5th.

Williams drivers were amazing. Yes, they were terribly faster than Renault, but to overtake in Monaco is amazingly hard. It was thrilling and so much fun to watch them breaking hard, shortening the curves, and generally giving the best show F1 can give.

Renault may seem like slipping, but I think not - they took the wrong tyre choice. They deteriorated badly in the end, more than other teams and it costs them too much. All teams used very soft compounds, but Renault seem to have taken the greatest risk. The grip is almost non-existent here, and they probably wanted to “create” it, as much as possible. No risk no gain, the saying goes. They did not gain this time, but I respect them for trying.

It’s good for the championship though, as Alonso’s advantage has diminished this small bit and if McLaren keeps the pace, it will be a close battle in the end. Even with that, I think that one DNF for Alonso would still be needed to really make it close.

Spain Grand Prix

Not much of excitement in this race. Funny thing is that most duels were between team mates. At different parts of the race, both Williams, both Toyotas, both Jordans and both Renaults were driving back to back. Teams resolved the possible conflict by getting one of the drivers into the pit.

What was obvious in the last race finally materialized in this one. McLaren is the quickest beast in the field. Kimi demolished everyone else and even Montoya could be on the podium if it wasn’t for the problem with the fuel rig that cost him quite a bit of time. It was bloody well time to see Darth Vaders cheering :).

Similarly, Fisichella could be in for the podium, but the nose problem made that only wishful thinking. Alonso drove as good race as previous ones, but Renault was not on par with McLaren.

End of the road?

My long-time readers may remember that, back in the early days, ADxMenu had two versions. One that used .htc file and only one set of styles and the other that used only javascript but two sets of styles. The reason was that .htc version at that time used original Peter Nederlof’s csshover.htc which went through entire document looking for elements to apply :hover trickery and thus had far from good performance on very long pages.

Things changed when I recoded it to work only with menu elements and ADxMenu 3 utilized it to its fullest potential.

However, performance issues are not defeated yet. In the last project I’m working on, I have three menus on one page and two of them are very large. The page itself also features a great deal of various positioning, using both floats and pos/abs position. Accompanied with these three menus, this brings IE to its knees - it takes him 4-5s on P4-2.8GHz with half-gig of RAM to render that page and execute the .htc. 90% of that freeze time goes on .htc processing.

But not only that. Since my css applies position:relative on li:hover and thus does the actual positioning in that moment, re-rendering of the page takes some time and going from one menu option to another has a very noticeable lag. Last time I have seen such behavior was with Netscape Navigator 4. Sigh…