This post is a quick annoucement that I changed the main text and math fonts and hopefully for the better.
Background: This blog runs on WordPress, using an almost vanilla TwentyEleven theme and using the QuickLaTeX plugin for math typesetting. But while WordPress uses a default sans-serif font (it explicitly prefers Helvetica but also accepts any lookalike) the default font in is usually Computer Modern, a completely difference typeface. So with standard settings, there was always going to be a font mismatch between text and math.
In order to mitigate this, I previously found Computer Modern Bright as an alternative font (see the old announcement post) that is a better match with Helvetica. CM Bright is one of the few sans-serif fonts in that has full math support. But CM Bright also has issues, for example it is hard distinguish lowercase l from uppercase I, and some of the generated SVGs do not render correctly, especially if they are images of single letters.
Now I switched the main body text to Times, or whatever the browser’s default serif font is. This is then combined with the newtx-package on the -side, so now text and math use the same font (at least theoretically). See how this turns out for yourself:
a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
The top row is text-mode (your browser’s version of Times or a substitute), the bottom row is math-mode (a rendered SVG image by ). In both cases, the requested font size is explicitly 16 pixels. It is expected that the match is not perfect, especially that the metrics will be slightly different, but overall it should be an improvement. I am aware that common wisdom usually says that serif fonts are bad for online viewing, but hasn’t this advice become obsolete with high-DPI displays? And boy does the Times font look sharp and serious! Every blog post now automatically looks like a paper.
In order to keep this site spam free I approve every comment by hand. This means that comments will not immediately appear after posting.
Unfortunately, comments tend to appear in bursts. There can be long stretches of no activity (where I get nothing but spam), during which I will get lazy and will tend to check less and less often, only to be surprised when there are multiple legit comments waiting (usually after a link has been posted to social media).
So if you think your post got stuck just try again.
The slides of my 2013 talk at FMX in Stuttgart were available for download for a long time now in both Keynote and Powerpoint formats. However, people keep asking for a PDF version. As I wrote in the comments once, I always had bad luck with the PDF export from Keynote, so I left it at that.
Yesterday I made a major discovery: The option “export to PDF” is not the only possibility, in fact, it is quite an inferior one. The thing that I overlooked is that one can also just pretend to “print”, and then, in the subsequent printer dialog, chose “save to PDF” instead. Not only does this give additional options but also produces nicer formatting and a smaller file!
I wonder however the UI designers at Apple really intended this to be the primary means of PDF export?
Anyway, I updated the slides to PDF format and also made some minor corrections. I exchanged the font Humanist 521 with Gill Sans. Apparently the former is an official clone of the latter, and since Gill Sans is preinstalled on a Mac anyway, I may as well just use the original. The metrics also seem to look nicer in the PDF. I also copy-edited some of the notes to be more educational than just a transcript of my talk.
I found the reason for why sometimes all Latex in my posts got clobbered. The culprit was an outdated plugin, which—as a side effect—deleted backslashes from posts. So I deinstalled the sinner and also repaired all math that I found was broken. If you still find broken math, drop me a line.
I always wondered when X‑Plane would jump on the PBR bandwagon. I like X‑Plane, I think its the best actively-developed* flight simulator out there, but I always felt that shading could be better. For instance, there is this unrealistic ‘Lambert-shaded’ world terrain texture, which becomes too dark at sunset; another is the dreaded ‘constant ambient color’ that plagues the shading of objects.
Now in this post on the X‑Plane developer blog, Ben announces that Physically Based Rendering is a future development goal, yay! Then he goes on to say that, while surface shading will be a solved problem™ because of PBR, others like participating media (clouds, atmosphere) would still need magic tricks for the foreseeable future. Weiterlesen →
How do you say ‘I joined twitter’ in latin anyway?
But then I discovered that I am onto something: According to one argument, the brand name of Twitter should have been ‘Titiatio’, had it existed in antiquity. And according to another argument, latin should be an ideal twitter language, because it is both short and expressive.
Spellforce 2 was released in 2006 and will be 8 years old by april. Nevertheless, the third add-on of the series shipped a month ago. Talk about a long seller!
Of course I’m attached to SF2 because I wrote many parts of its engine back then. This time I was briefly involved to help the developers include my attribute-less normal map algorithm. The original SF2 did not have any normal maps, and therefore none of the original art assets comes with tangent space information. This is an ideal scenario to pimp up the visuals without touching the geometry, simply by making a shader change and adding normal maps. Weiterlesen →
I just got news that Velvet Assassin has been ported over to the Mac and is available on the App Store! However, I was not at all involved in the Mac port and I don’t know the developers who did – it came as a surprise to me as to anyone else in the former team. Here is a direct iTunes link: (Edit, no longer available as of 2021, unfortunately).
Shader Bug on ATI graphic cards
Unfortunately there is a shader bug with ATI graphics chips. It happened to me while trying it out on a 2011 iMac with an ATI Radeon HD 5670. I got reports from friends that this is not a problem of the Mac port itself but it happens on PC too. The problem is related to ATI chips with drivers that are newer than 2010 or so. Here is a screenshot: