Hmmm. That's a very strange photo.
This is the Member of the Month; an interview that I do at the end of each month. It's a fun way of finding out about respected members of the community.
I personally select each month's Member of the Month. People are picked based on their contributions to the community, whether they are: making excellent trials, providing comic relief or just being a brilliant person. The next Member of the Month could be you!
If you have any questions about the Member of the Month system, please PM me.
Evil! Evil! Evil!
That's one impression of henke37, because he is our resident critic here at AAO. Though his criticisms can seem a bit harsh at times, his bluntly put one-liners and frank advice and opinions have been both praising and down-putting to authors since almost the beginning of the AAO English community.
Living in the snowy country of Sweden, henke is not known for any trials that he has made, but is still a big part of our community. He enjoys playing trials in his free time, but he also enjoys finding security exploits in them! He's also working on his own case engine in Adobe Flash.
Meph: Hello, welcome to the fourteenth Member of the Month interview.
henke37: Thank you. It is a pleasure to be here.
Meph: Can you tell us about how you found AAO, and what made you want to join?
henke37: I am not sure, to be honest. I think I might have found it as a reference from CR.net on the case maker list. I joined because it seemed to be a good tool, I think.
Meph: Ah, OK. So how did you first begin to contribute? Did you post in the forums or did you start writing a trial?
henke: I remember my first day, I went to the forums. I am not a writer so I hadn't anything to write for a trial. But I certianly had opiniions to post on the forums.
At least I managed to stop myself from spreading the discussion all over the place, I only put it in a new topic. We all know how well I managed to stick to that philosophy.
Meph: Ha ha. Yes, you've pestered us quite a lot about it.
Meph: I also recall that you began to make your own flash player for trials. How is that coming along?
henke37: Glad that you asked. Sadly it has been getting little to no time lately since studies and the GK2 translation project has taken all of my programing time.
The main engine, that being the AA1 engine stuff, is actually mostly finished. I still haven't gotten to the psychelocks. But I have started on the AAI engine part, it is just lacking the full bottom GUI and logic. But walking around works fine!
Oh and I haven't finished all the fancy 3d effects in the menus. With that said, I have actually gotten some of them done already. They look cool. It's not that hard once you know what you are doing. But it does end up being a bit of code when you have to manually tween each object using transformation matrixes. It's not that the math is hard; it is just a lot of small steps in each animation.
But on the other hand I have begun on a few minigames. I actually wrote the core of the fingerprinting minigame before I even begun on the main engine. And the footprint minigame also has some interesting code written, I wrote a special depth based floodfill routine for that.
One part that I am particularly happy with is the debugging panel. It allows trial authors to easily see what is going on. It shows the actions that are executed, the variables and their values and so on.
I also hope that people are going to take advantage of the video support. But frankly I think that it is best used in moderation, normal bitmap animation works much better here. If the first three games didn't need it, then why would we need it? It is none the less a great opportunity for trial authors to be able to use video if they so chose. Video is great for very complex animations that can't be done with traditional animation systems.
The main thing left is to import the character animations. I have had some marvelous help with the graphics editing there, but since I seem to be the only person alive with a copy of Flash I have had to do the animation myself. Some of the time it can be quite tricky. It is probably due to my extreme attention to details there. I just don't like it when blinking and such doesn't work right.
I actually have an announcement to make about the project.
Meph: Oh? What is it?
henke37: I am actually making it an open source project. This means that other people can pitch in to work on it and that people can see how things work.
It may be a bit of a complicated project, but each piece isn't very complicated at all. As such, I think that people will be able to help out where it matters and not worry too much about the other stuff.
Meph: If it's going to be open source, then that automatically makes it awesome! Where can people go if they want to contribute?
henke37: I have set up an assembla project. People can check out the files from the repository and see if it works for them. If it does they can join the project proper. There is of course also the forum topic were people can talk about the project.
Meph: Henke, I think it would be fair to say that you are our resident critic here at AAO. How did you gain your criticism abilities?
henke37: I guess I am just naturally atuned to point out things that I spot. I don't sit quiet. I act. But also having an eye for detail and being able to think up scenarios where expectations, rules or assumptions fail is a skill of mine. Of course it helps if I know the subject being criticised, but a lot of this is gut instinct.
Meph: Ah, I see. And I think you've played many of our trials here. Which one is your favourite?
henke37: It is not the first time I am asked this. The last time I answered that Narok's trials were good (that's the ones with the imaginary friend). This is still true, but Jean Of mArc's recent "misc" trial series, the omincient game, is interesting as well. And there is also something new around each month that is well made. I guess it is just hard to pick a favorite when there is so much great stuff there. I have lost count of how many great trials we have.
Meph: And what about your own trials? I know you haven't made any of your own, but do you have any ideas for any trials you could make?
henke37: I do belive that you are misinformed, or plain forgetful, I have made a few ones that is released. There is the lame beatboxing fancy expression test and the RPS press all test.
Oh and the various bug exploiting ones. Aside from some boring alert proof of concepts I also made one that used AJAX to edit people's signatures. I had a laugh at other people's expense there. At least it wasn't too automated.
But serious stuff? I actually do have some losse specifications for an AAI style case. But I am not exactly working on that. It will probably never be released, since I have serious demands on this. Things like having a frame to write on and so on. I want to know the rough outlines before I start writing the details.
And of course, I have helped out in a few cases that other people have made, but I doubt that counts. Writing a little code just isn't enough for it to count.
Meph: Ha ha. I remember those trials that you made to find the security holes in the editor? Are there still any vulnerabilities?
henke37: None that I know of right now. But then again, it has been a while since I last checked.
I guess I am just not good at knowing the inner details of implementations in webbrowsers, that kinds stuff is needed a lot in these kinda situations. There are all sorts of quirks in how they parse "creative" code.
Meph: Now let's talk about the real AA games. Which one was your favourite and why?
If the AAI game count, then I think that is it. But the other games are also good. I guess it is hard for me to pick favorites when there is nothing that screams to me as being "best".
Meph: OK. But did you have a favourite case?
henke37: Hmm, I do suppose that 3-5 is quite a good case. It manages to sum up the series quite nicely, not just story wise, but it has all the things that makes a case an ace attorney case. You have a convoluted murder execution, and not just one villain that is brought down, but two. It also deals with a lot of dangling plot threads at the same time.
The intro to the case is also quite well made. It's no Ghost trick, but it still manages to be quite interesting and catch your attention from the start. There is also the fact that you get to play as Edgeworth. And watching him in pain is always funny.
The ending is also quite good. It isn't just "whee, we won", but serves to give the story of the game a proper conclusion, something the previous games didn't quite do. The outro actually takes time to wind down from the story and gives you a feeling that it is all over.
Meph: You said that you were helping with the GK2 translation project. What is your role in the project, and how is the project coming along?
henke37: I have written an application called GKTool that allows people to extract the files from the custom archive files used by the game. It is also supposed to extract the script in editable form. It also includes an automated graphics extractor and some graphics editing tools.
The project is going well when it comes to the raw text translation, but the other things is taking time. But at least we have some progress when it comes to the code editing. We have figured out where the font is stored and in what format. This allows for properly variable spaced text, something very nice for normal text.
However, the graphics editing is a point I am not fully sure about. While it is easy to find the section that is supposed to be language specific, note the word "supposed". I am sure the developers missed a thing or two when separating things.
Meph: It sounds quite technical, but it's good to hear that things are going well. Will we need to play it on an emulator when it's done?
henke37: Unless you got one of those user writeable ds cards, yes. But we are aiming to keep the game fully compatible with both methods.
Meph: The DS emulators that I've tried are either rubbish or very laggy. Hopefully that won't be a problem for most people. Which one do you use?
henke37: I don't really have a favorite. They all work quite well most of the time.
As for being laggy, it is quite a demanding task to emulate hardware. The DS got two cpus and two 2d graphics renders, a pretty good audio system and 3d rendering. The DS has several chips to do the job, but an emulator has to do it all on the CPU.
Perhaps the 3d rendering can be properly offloaded to the GPU, but the main issue is how tight the syncronization is between everything. A lot of the load in an emulator is actually task switching. And one shouldn't underestimate the other parts either. Even 2d rendering can be quite the task. There is a reason why consoles have separate graphics chips even for 2d consoles.
Meph: Now let's move onto your personal life. What's your usual day like?
henke37: Right now it is summer so it is not so usual, but here I go.
I wake up no earlier than 12, but usually around 1 pm. I eat breakfeast, some days take a shower and then I catch up on things online that I have missed when asleep. Then I continue to sit in front of the computer, making breaks for dinner and chores. I have started to wrapp the day up by playing TF2 for some hours until around 3 am.
As for what I do on the computer? I work on my University project, my synth. It is how I get my money this summer. Of course I slack off a lot, but that is the main thing I do.
Meph: You clearly have a lot of experience in programming. When did your interest in it start?
henke37: That is a tricky question. I guess it was some time in elementary school. The worst part here was that I could not find any proper tools. No ides, no compilers, not even any good books. All the books that I could find at the time was rubbish. I guess that is what you get for starting with BASIC out of all things. I wish that I would have had the resources of today at my disposal back then instead. That would have accelerated my progress quite a lot.
The lack of a good computer didn't help either. For a long time I was stuck using either obsolete hardware or ancient hardware.
Meph: What was your life like when you were growing up?
henke37: I have always been a quiet person. I guess I am just not the kind of person to make contact with people. This has lead to me generally having troubles finding friends.
I actually got diagnosed with "Aspergers syndrome". As such I ended up in a special school for children with similar diagnoses. It wasn't bad at all, I made friends and did manage to learn things. But it could get quite unruly some times, a few of the other students had anger problems. But I didn't get into many fights. In fact, only four fights that I can recall. I still got a scar on my hand from one of those.
Meph: I see. It must have been quite tough for you sometimes.
henke37: As I said, it wasn't bad at all. While unusual, it wasn't bad.
Meph: So what do you plan on doing in the future?
henke37: First I plan on finishing my studies with a fancy title. Then I plan on working as a professional programmer.
Meph: What other interests do you have?
henke37: Aside from programming, I don't actually have many interests. I like to play video games and such. Nothing special actually. But programming is quite wide. Of course, there is also the fact that I sometimes watch anime. But these days, that is more common than going to the movies.
I do suppose that you could call "likes to watch Flash movies" an intrest. There is some very tallented people out there. I actually have a "little" collection of movies saved.
Meph: I suppose you want me to ask you what they are?
henke37: Actually, no there isn't much to say about it. There is some comedy stuff, some action sctuff, some drama and some music videos. Nothing you wouldn't find in an ordinary movie collection.
Meph: What are your favourite video games other than AA?
henke37: That tends to be whatever I am currently playing. I am fond of adventure games in general, but I can name some of the ones that I actually remember:
- Ghost trick
- The proffesor layton series
- Plants vs zombies
- Most titles by Telltale games
Meph: Thanks for the interview, henke. Is there anything that you would like to say to the community before we finish?
henke37: I might as well repeat the fact that I can sometimes forget to mention positive things when I get caught up in listing mistakes and such. Remember, I use specific wording and I only mean what I actually write.
Meph: OK. Thanks again for the interview! Goodbye!
henke37: Thanks for the honor. Be seeing you!