Danceionette using Unity Free

Danceionette – Yuletide Edition

My iPhone/iPad app has launched just in time for Christmas.

It’s also available for Android!

I’m excited because this means I’m now officially famous! It was either that, or putting the game up in the post office window. I’m sure I’ll get about as many hits!


My dad came up with the idea of dancing marionettes after looking at the ragdoll physics with me in Unity. Then I tied it to a rhythm matching game with a Christmas theme. The whole thing is written using C# scripts in the Free version of Unity 3.5. Last March, Unity had an offer to get a free license for the mobile (iPad/Android) versions and I also had that.

Why a snowman, rather than Santa Claus? Well, I didn’t have time to create a lovely character in a 3D modelling package and a snowman is basically made of spheres.


Raspberry Filling and Raspberry Pi

Blinking heck. I’m on the front page of the Raspberry Pi blog. Thanks Liz, and please send any contributions to the user manual to


Raspberry Pi and me



Received my Raspberry Pi on Friday; thanks Myra.  Tried Fedora on it (too many bugs) and then Debian (but I had the Feb version, Doh!).  The February version didn’t have all the software I needed so this morning I’m getting just released April version.  Wooo..



SantaNav uploaded.

Just uploaded my first Android app. My neighbour’s daughter couldn’t put it down.



Designed by me, suggested features by my sons.  Free artwork and music from the web and programming in Java by me.

Computing Education in Britain, 2011

I recently wrote an article about the state of British computing education for the game development community. A lot of the community already know about the issue but, I am guessing, there are more that have not and especially across the rest of the world.

Please read my article on #AltDevBlogADay and leave a comment there.

How to set a transparent GLSurfaceView

If you want to set a GLSurfaceView to be transparent, the solution is quite simple but takes quite a bit of trial and error
to get there. Here is my trial and error to save you doing it too.

In the android documentation it states that it is possible to make a GLSurfaceView transparent by a call to


This might have been true once but on my device (HTC Desire, with API 8) this can cause the rendering to just look corrupted. It basically appears to be two badly coloured images of what I’m drawing.

Most of the material I found on the web states that you need to use setEGLConfigChooser to select the correct surface format that includes transparency. I guess calling setFormat(PixelFormat.TRANSLUCENT) isn’t doing anything to the OpenGL surface.

Common consent appears to say that the desired format is as follows:default
glSurfaceView.setEGLConfigChooser(8, 8, 8, 8, 16, 0);

This gives 32 bits, 8 bits per channel including alpha although the default is 16 bits without alpha (RGB656)

However just calling this will cause my phone to crash. This is because the format is now out of sync with whatever getHolder().setFormat(PixelFormat.TRANSLUCENT) gave us. So instead I needed to call


Finally, the last and least documented requirement is to call


You can easily check this works for you by modifying the SurfaceViewOverlay example in the APIDemos that are supplied with the SDK.

Before it calls

glSurfaceView.setRenderer(new CubeRenderer(false));

Add the lines

 glSurfaceView.setEGLConfigChooser(8, 8, 8, 8, 16, 0);

So, the cubes will appear on top of the hideme buttons when you make them visible.

I hope this helps anyone struggling with a transparent GLSurfaceView.

Raspberry Pi for £15 (less than $25)

Very excited to hear the continued development of the Raspberry Pi computer.  Not much bigger than a USB stick it will have the following specification (provisionally):

  • 700MHz ARM11
  • 128MB of SDRAM
  • OpenGL ES 2.0
  • 1080p30 H.264 high-profile decode
  • Composite and HDMI video output
  • USB 2.0
  • SD/MMC/SDIO memory card slot
  • General-purpose I/O
  • Open software (Ubuntu, Iceweasel, KOffice, Python)
See David Braben (of Frontier Developments) talk about the reasoning behind this little computer. Much of the UK is driven by the consumption of computer software and this little beast will open up that access to even more people, especially our children.  However, more importantly, we need to encourage the future producers of computer software and getting this into the hands of children could help.  With the right development environment it could bring forth an innovative era in computer software (and probably games) much like the sub-£100 ZX81 did back in 1981!
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