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M. Sc. Computer Science and Physics, Indie Game/Software/Web Developer, Writer, 3D Artist, and too many other interests. https://pingpoli.medium.com/membership

More and more companies are adopting the free and open-source software.

A screenshot of a scene and the user interface in modern Blender versions. It’s a scene of a beach with a lot of rocks and dune grass and an ocean with a sunset. The userface is dark gray and you can see a node editor at the bottom.
A simple scene in the newest Blender version that can easily compete with other 3D programs, image by author.

3D modeling and VFX software is incredibly expensive. Licenses for Maya, Cinema 4D, or 3DS Max cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars per year. This makes it very difficult for beginners to learn and too expensive for most independent artists and developers.

For a long time, there were no good alternatives. Blender wasn’t good enough to compete with the industry-leading programs. However, everything changed with the very impactful Blender 2.8 update in 2019. The free and open-source software took a big step to catch up and is now up to par with the other programs (if not better in…


What is a good admin panel design and is it worth your time?

An image of my website’s admin panel with the navigation link tab open and a short list of links with a few options.
The updated admin panel of my personal website, image by author.

They live in the deepest and darkest corners of the internet. Always in the background. Never seen by the majority of normal users.

No, I’m not talking about porn or the dark web.

I’m talking about admin panels and dashboards.

These days, almost every website has some type of configuration tool in the background. Whether it is a small personal blog created with a content management system (CMS) or the biggest websites out there that are managed by massive companies with thousands of employees.

So what are the design challenges when it comes to admin panels and should you invest…


A 1,500-year-old game is now conquering the internet

Inspired by the recent Netflix hit The Queen’s Gambit, millions of people are getting into chess. Chess websites, content creation, and esport events are booming. It may not have 100 champions, 50 weapons, or crazy explosions, but it has an unrivaled tactical depth, which makes it not only a great game to play but also a very interesting and engaging esports title.

Chess is the ultimate easy to learn, hard to master game. …


How to use the Twitter API to track your follows and unfollows

Twitter bird
Photo by OpenClipart-Vectors on Pixabay.

Are you posting regularly on Twitter? Do you get the occasional follower here and there? Are they unfollowing a few days later because you didn’t follow them back? Enough with that!

Let’s find out who is unfollowing so we can burn voodoo dolls with their names… oh, sorry, I’m getting ahead of myself. I mean, so we can learn the Twitter API!

This is what a lot of my experience on Twitter has been like since I started posting regularly at the beginning of this year. …


The Netflix drama series shows the struggles of an orphan on her way to become the best chess player in the world

The movie poster of The Queen’s Gambit, an image of a woman sitting behing a chessboard.
Image from imdb.com.

As I was scrolling through Netflix, a new thumbnail caught my eye: A beautiful woman sitting behind a chessboard. This had me intrigued. I love chess and as it so happens beautiful women. I started watching and got immediately hooked.

The Queen’s Gambit follows the life and career of Beth Harmon, an orphan turned chess prodigy. She struggles with substance abuse on her way to becoming the best chess player in the world.

Based on Walter Tevis’s 1983 novel of the same name, the fictional story plays in the 60s and manages to capture the emotional struggles of the main…


The upcoming German election is a very close race between three parties with complicated coalitions

An image of the German Bundestag building with a German flag in front of it.
Photo by Maheshkumar Painam on Unsplash

In less than two weeks, on September 26, the German federal election will happen. Unlike the United States where only two parties compete for the votes, the German Bundestag is made up of multiple parties. Historically, there were also just two parties that got the majority of the votes. This year, however, is the first time with three parties that have a realistic chance of winning the election.

The German Federal Election System

In German elections, you can choose between a large number of parties (47 in this election). However, a party has to get at least 5% of the votes or win 3 election…


Is this what the clickbait culture on the internet could lead to?

The series poster of the show where you can see a phone with the viral video on it. The video shows Nick Brewer holding a sign that reads “At 5 Million Views I Die”.
Clickbait series poster, image from imdb.com.

When college volleyball coach and family man Nick Brewer is abducted, a viral video appears on the internet where he is holding a sign that says “At 5 Million Views I Die” and a race against time begins. Will his family and the police find him before the video reaches 5 million views?

The new Netflix mini-series Clickbait portraits a very realistic seeming scenario where a crime is used to get views on the internet. …


Creating a more efficient custom font file format and removing FreeType dependencies

A title image that shows multiple paragraphs of Lorem Ipsum on the left and a bitmap font texture atlas on the right.
A new library to handle fonts and an improved way to render text for my game engine, image by author.

I know, it’s been a while since my last game development blog post. I didn’t have a lot of time to work on game development recently and I have been focussing on writing and 3D modeling/art instead. I’m also at a point in the game I am working on where I would need a few weeks or months of mostly uninterrupted time to focus on adding content and balancing.

Anyway, I had a bit of time recently and I really wanted to do some C++ game-development-related programming. One of the systems that I wanted to improve for a while was…


The heat produced by big data centers mostly goes to waste but could be used productively instead

An image of a bunch of servers in a data center.
Servers like this produce a lot of heat that mostly goes to waste at the moment. Photo by Science in HD on Unsplash.

A few days ago, the almighty YouTube algorithm recommended me this video by Matt Ferrell about computer waste heat recovery.

Data centers and computers around the world consume a significant amount of energy and produce a lot of heat in the process. In almost all cases this heat just goes to waste. At the same time, we are also using a lot of energy to heat millions of houses for many months of the year. What if we could use some of the waste heat from the servers and use it productively to heat our homes and other buildings instead?

Waste Heat Recovery


Why I struggled with the Writers Challenge

Photo by Ameen Fahmy on Unsplash

Last month I participated in the Medium Writers Challenge in which you had to write a 500+ word story for a given writing prompt and have the chance to win 10,000$. For one and rather obviously, I could really use that 10,000$. But secondly, I wanted to challenge myself and write about something which is a bit out of my comfort zone.

However, being forced to come up with ideas for a given topic proved to be extremely difficult and I struggled more than usual with the writing process itself.

Idea Generation and Inspiration

How do you come up with good story ideas?

Typically…

Christian Behler

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