Google: GDC Online Oct 10th-12th

This year at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) Online we have organized a Developer Day on Oct. 10th full of Google information for game developers. It will feature hardcore technical information on Google products and platforms delivered by Google engineers and developer advocates. We’ll discuss the latest projects we’re working on and how our online technologies can help you better create, distribute, and monetize games that reach a larger audience than ever before. We’ll present everything from how developers can build hardware accelerated 3D games for the browser with WebGL to the game framework used to bring Angry Birds to the Web.

In addition to the Developer Day, we will also have a booth on the Expo floor on Oct. 11th-12th where we’ll have representatives from the Chrome Web Store, Native Client, WebGL, App Engine, Google+, In-App Payments, Google TV, and AdSense/AdMob demoing technologies and platforms for game developers. Come by booth 503 to try out Google products and ask questions, or hang out in our Google TV lounge.

For more information on our presence at GDC Online, including session and speaker details, please visit Hope to see you in Austin!

Not able to attend GDC? Check out Google Game Developer Central to get an overview of Google products and services that are particularly relevant to game developers.

Custom Fonts in Open Street Map

The default font family used for rendering text labels on maps created by Mapnik (and the one shipped with it) is Deja Vu. Deja Vu Sans Book is a pretty nice font, and can be seen, for example, in all the labels used on Open Street Map:


So what if you want to render text onto a custom tile overlay using a different font?

  • Perhaps you’d like to create a custom tile layer using image labels to match Google Maps?
  • Or how about going for a Bing Maps feel with image labels?

To do so, first you need to register the location of the directory containing the fonts you want to use. For example, to make all the installed Windows fonts available to Mapnik, add the following to the top of your python render script:


Mapnik needs to reference these fonts by their font name (not by filename, for example); To find out the correct name to use for each font, once you’ve registered your custom fonts directory you can call the following:

for face in mapnik.FontEngine.face_names(): print face

On a fairly vanilla installation of Window 7, this gave me a list of available fonts as follows:

  • Aharoni Bold
  • Andalus Regular
  • Andy Bold
  • Angsana New Bold
  • Angsana New Bold Italic
  • Angsana New Italic
  • Angsana New Regular
  • AngsanaUPC Bold
  • AngsanaUPC Bold Italic
  • AngsanaUPC Italic
  • AngsanaUPC Regular
  • Aparajita Bold
  • Aparajita Bold Italic
  • Aparajita Italic
  • Aparajita Regular
  • Arabic Typesetting Regular
  • Arial Black
  • Arial Bold
  • Arial Bold Italic
  • Arial Italic
  • Arial Regular
  • Browallia New Bold
  • Browallia New Bold Italic
  • Browallia New Italic
  • Browallia New Regular
  • BrowalliaUPC Bold
  • BrowalliaUPC Bold Italic
  • BrowalliaUPC Italic
  • BrowalliaUPC Regular
  • Buxton Sketch Regular
  • Calibri Bold
  • Calibri Bold Italic
  • Calibri Italic
  • Calibri Regular
  • Candara Bold
  • Candara Bold Italic
  • Candara Italic
  • Candara Regular
  • Comic Sans MS Bold
  • Comic Sans MS Regular
  • Consolas Bold
  • Consolas Bold Italic
  • Consolas Italic
  • Consolas Regular
  • Constantia Bold
  • Constantia Bold Italic
  • Constantia Italic
  • Constantia Regular
  • Corbel Bold
  • Corbel Bold Italic
  • Corbel Italic
  • Corbel Regular
  • Cordia New Bold
  • Cordia New Bold Italic
  • Cordia New Italic
  • Cordia New Regular
  • CordiaUPC Bold
  • CordiaUPC Bold Italic
  • CordiaUPC Italic
  • CordiaUPC Regular
  • Courier New Bold
  • Courier New Bold Italic
  • Courier New Italic
  • Courier New Regular
  • DFKai-SB Regular
  • DRMS T1 Regular
  • DaunPenh Regular
  • David Bold
  • David Regular
  • DengXian Bold
  • DengXian Regular
  • DilleniaUPC Bold
  • DilleniaUPC Bold Italic
  • DilleniaUPC Italic
  • DilleniaUPC Regular
  • DokChampa Regular
  • Ebrima Bold
  • Ebrima Regular
  • Estrangelo Edessa Regular
  • EucrosiaUPC Bold
  • EucrosiaUPC Bold Italic
  • EucrosiaUPC Italic
  • EucrosiaUPC Regular
  • Euphemia Regular
  • FangSong Regular
  • FrankRuehl Regular
  • Franklin Gothic Medium Italic
  • Franklin Gothic Medium Regular
  • FreesiaUPC Bold
  • FreesiaUPC Bold Italic
  • FreesiaUPC Italic
  • FreesiaUPC Regular
  • Gabriola Regular
  • Gautami Bold
  • Gautami Regular
  • Georgia Bold
  • Georgia Bold Italic
  • Georgia Italic
  • Georgia Regular
  • Gisha Bold
  • Gisha Regular
  • Impact Regular
  • IrisUPC Bold
  • IrisUPC Bold Italic
  • IrisUPC Italic
  • IrisUPC Regular
  • Iskoola Pota Bold
  • Iskoola Pota Regular
  • JasmineUPC Bold
  • JasmineUPC Bold Italic
  • JasmineUPC Italic
  • JasmineUPC Regular
  • Jing Jing Regular
  • KaiTi Regular
  • Kalinga Bold
  • Kalinga Regular
  • Kartika Bold
  • Kartika Regular
  • Khmer UI Bold
  • Khmer UI Regular
  • KodchiangUPC Bold
  • KodchiangUPC Bold Italic
  • KodchiangUPC Italic
  • KodchiangUPC Regular
  • Kokila Bold
  • Kokila Bold Italic
  • Kokila Italic
  • Kokila Regular
  • Kootenay Regular
  • Lao UI Bold
  • Lao UI Regular
  • Latha Bold
  • Latha Regular
  • Leelawadee Bold
  • Leelawadee Regular
  • Levenim MT Bold
  • Levenim MT Regular
  • LilyUPC Bold
  • LilyUPC Bold Italic
  • LilyUPC Italic
  • LilyUPC Regular
  • Lindsey Regular
  • Lucida Console Regular
  • Lucida Sans Unicode Regular
  • MV Boli Regular
  • Malgun Gothic Bold
  • Malgun Gothic Regular
  • Mangal Bold
  • Mangal Regular
  • Marlett Regular
  • Microsoft Himalaya Regular
  • Microsoft JhengHei Bold
  • Microsoft JhengHei Regular
  • Microsoft MHei Bold
  • Microsoft MHei Regular
  • Microsoft NeoGothic Bold
  • Microsoft NeoGothic Regular
  • Microsoft New Tai Lue Bold
  • Microsoft New Tai Lue Regular
  • Microsoft PhagsPa Bold
  • Microsoft PhagsPa Regular
  • Microsoft Sans Serif Regular
  • Microsoft Tai Le Bold
  • Microsoft Tai Le Regular
  • Microsoft Uighur Regular
  • Microsoft YaHei Bold
  • Microsoft YaHei Regular
  • Microsoft Yi Baiti Regular
  • Miramonte Bold
  • Miramonte Regular
  • Miriam Fixed Regular
  • Miriam Regular
  • Moire Bold
  • Moire ExtraBold
  • Moire Light
  • Moire Regular
  • Mongolian Baiti Regular
  • MoolBoran Regular
  • Motorwerk Regular
  • Narkisim Regular
  • Nina Bold
  • Nina Regular
  • Nyala Regular
  • Palatino Linotype Bold
  • Palatino Linotype Bold Italic
  • Palatino Linotype Italic
  • Palatino Linotype Regular
  • Pericles Light
  • Pericles Regular
  • Pescadero Bold
  • Pescadero Regular
  • Plantagenet Cherokee Regular
  • Raavi Bold
  • Raavi Regular
  • Rod Regular
  • Sakkal Majalla Bold
  • Sakkal Majalla Regular
  • Segoe Condensed Bold
  • Segoe Condensed Regular
  • Segoe Marker Regular
  • Segoe Print Bold
  • Segoe Print Regular
  • Segoe Script Bold
  • Segoe Script Regular
  • Segoe UI Bold
  • Segoe UI Bold Italic
  • Segoe UI Italic
  • Segoe UI Light
  • Segoe UI Regular
  • Segoe UI Semibold
  • Segoe UI Symbol Regular
  • Segoe WP Black
  • Segoe WP Bold
  • Segoe WP Light
  • Segoe WP Regular
  • Segoe WP SemiLight
  • Segoe WP Semibold
  • Shonar Bangla Bold
  • Shonar Bangla Regular
  • Shruti Bold
  • Shruti Regular
  • SimHei Regular
  • SimSun-ExtB Regular
  • Simplified Arabic Bold
  • Simplified Arabic Fixed Regular
  • Simplified Arabic Regular
  • SketchFlow Print Regular
  • Sylfaen Regular
  • Symbol Regular
  • Tahoma Bold
  • Tahoma Regular
  • Times New Roman Bold
  • Times New Roman Bold Italic
  • Times New Roman Italic
  • Times New Roman Regular
  • Traditional Arabic Bold
  • Traditional Arabic Regular
  • Transport Medium
  • Trebuchet MS Bold
  • Trebuchet MS Bold Italic
  • Trebuchet MS Italic
  • Trebuchet MS Regular
  • Tunga Bold
  • Tunga Regular
  • Utsaah Bold
  • Utsaah Bold Italic
  • Utsaah Italic
  • Utsaah Regular
  • Vani Bold
  • Vani Regular
  • Verdana Bold
  • Verdana Bold Italic
  • Verdana Italic
  • Verdana Regular
  • Vijaya Bold
  • Vijaya Regular
  • Vrinda Bold
  • Vrinda Regular
  • Webdings Regular
  • Wingdings Regular
  • Yu Gothic Bold
  • Yu Gothic Regular

To use one of these fonts, set the TextSymbolizer face_name attribute in the style applied to your layer to the name of whatever font you want.

For example, here’s a style with default Deja Vu Sans Book text labels:

and this is the map it creates:


And here’s the same map rendered with, oh I don’t know, say Comic Sans MS Regular style (don’t ever, ever do this! Maybe unless you’re creating a map of how to get to a children’s party…)

which leads to this:


Bing Maps: SQL Server Denali CTP3

At the beginning of the week, there was a new version of the Bing Maps AJAX API rolled out (version 7.0.20110630165515.17). There’s a list of changes at but, to summarise them here:

  • Directions and Traffic information (both features that were included in the core 6.x control) have been added back into v7 using the new optional module functionality.
  • New venue maps mode allows you to see layouts in the inside of shopping malls etc.(Haven’t seen much use for this yet – don’t know if it really exists outside the US)
  • You can now disable birdseye mode – very useful since it prevents you accidentally breaching the Terms of Use if not licensed to use it!
  • Polygons and polylines have a new dashstyle property, which means you can style vector shapes so that, for example, electricity lines and railways show as dashed lines (as in an Ordnance Survey map).

I’m particularly pleased about the last two features, since these are both things that I’ve suggested about on the MSDN forums… whether it’s coincidence or not, I’m glad they’ve now been implemented.

SQL Server Denali CTP3

A download link to the latest preview version of SQL Server was announced on Twitter, and a rapid rush of tweets followed as people clammered to see what new features were included.


I’m only interested in summarising changes for the spatial toolset, which as far as I’ve found out so far, are as follows:

Firstly, the Spatial Results tab is back! Introduced in SQL Server 2008, broken in CTP1, and back again, it’s everyone’s favourite quick way of visualising geometry or geography data. The 5,000 object limit still seems to be in place:


My next test was to see whether it could plot the new curved geometry types. Initial results were disappointing, when selecting a CircularString resulted in nothing but a white screen, while a LineString drawn between the same set of points was displayed as expected:


This same problem occurred across all curved geometry types – to display a curved geometry in the spatial results tab, it seems you have to linearise it first – for example, using STCurveToLine(), or creating a linear buffer around it using STBuffer() as shown here:


(Note that, although these features look curved, they’re really just a many-sided LineString and Polygon, respectively). Hopefully displaying true curved features will make it into the next release.

As for new functionality, there’s a new extended method, IsValidDetailed() – which tells you not only whether a geometry is valid (which is what the OGC STIsValid() method does), but why it’s invalid. Here’s an example script to test it:

DECLARE @g geometry = 'LINESTRING(0 0, 5 10, 8 2)';
DECLARE @h geometry = 'LINESTRING(0 0, 10 0, 5 0)';
DECLARE @i geometry = 'POLYGON((0 0, 2 0, 2 2, 0 2, 0 0), (1 0, 3 0, 3 1, 1 1, 1 0))';
  @g.STIsValid() AS STIsValid, @g.IsValidDetailed() AS IsValidDetailed
  @h.STIsValid(), @h.IsValidDetailed()
  @h.STIsValid(), @i.IsValidDetailed()

And this is the output – which is much more useful when it comes to fixing invalid data than a simple Boolean obtained from STIsValid():


As with some of the updates to the Bing Maps control, I was particularly pleased to see this feature get included since it was something I’d raised in the MSDN forum – Microsoft are certainly scoring lots of points with customer responsiveness with me this week!

The only other functional addition I could see was the AsBinaryZM() method, which retrieves the Well-Known Binary of a geometry, complete with Z values. Previously, the only way to retrieve (or input) geometries containing Z and M values was via Well-Known Text, since the WKB representation stored 2d coordinates only.

The new method works pretty much as you’d expect, and the resulting serialised value also demonstrates some of the flags indicating this geometry has Z values:

DECLARE @g geography = 'POINT(1.6 52.5 100)';