One thing I’ve been asking myself for a long, long time is if there is a provable coherence between code and caffeine. Given a programmer who is in the best of health, does caffeine enable her or him to produce more efficient code? I know this sounds some kind of paradox unless there is a coder who does not suffer from some sort of illness, be it psychical or physical. What is more, the aforementioned statement definitely excludes the author from being the guinea pig for the test.

About one and a half year ago, some of my friends spread the rumor that I’ve had a severe heart attack, but as far as I can evaluate the circumstances, this was my body warning me of a critical level of stress, because I was working on too many things at the same time. Mainly, it was my internship where I developed a video conferencing solution and a game we were working on at Rarebyte, but additionally there were so many little jobs to do such as repair some guys’ computers or help someone code something and so on…

Thinking of stress, this leads us to the next question. Do programmers consume caffeine because of stress and tiredness and if yes, isn’t that exactly the worst mixture? I’ve limited myself to two coffees a day, because I feel some kind of weird if I drink more, but I’ve also experienced that when I’m very stressed out, the coffees sometimes don’t agree with me…

I thought about replacing the word coffee with java, as the programming language Java is derived from it and I’m currently working on some Java stuff, but wait…we’re getting off topic here ;) Anyway, I like coffee and I would drink a lot more of it if I could bear it physically. As I often like to enjoy my coffee by drinking very slowly or forgetting to drink because I have to concentrate on my code, I’m always confronted with the problem that it gets way too cold. In order to solve it, I bought a USB cup warmer, for geek’s sake. I thought this little gadget could keep my coffee on a temperature level that is enjoyable. I was wrong. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really matter if I switch it on or off. The damn coffee cools down anyway.

Problems are always hidden in the details. By no means it is a bad idea to produce such a gadget, because at least there seems to be a functional feature the thing provides. The actual problem is that the heating plate of it only heats up in the middle and the margins remain cold. Almost every cup, however, has some kind of seam and the bottom of the cup doesn’t touch the plate of the warmer. Therefore, the cup and the coffee remain cold. So, nice idea with the cup warmer, bad implementation ;)

Work on FengGUI

I’ve been working with FengGUI for a few weeks now, so I decided to write a few lines about it here. Basically, FengGUI is a GUI system written in Java that uses OpenGL for rendering. It does not require any middleware, but is said to work with a bunch of game libraries such as LWJGL. Components (these are called “widgets”) such as buttons, combo boxes, labels etc. are provided, but also a wide variety of more complex ones, such as tables, split and scroll containers. Loading and rendering fonts is also supported and is, in my opinion, one of the critical features for building some kind of GUI system or HUD in a game.

Recently, I joined the development team to improve a few things and fix some bugs. On the FengGUI website you can find a Java WebStart demo with some nice examples ;)