on Dec 20, 2007
As part of the Wavatars plugin, I added a bit that will add a line in the footer of the blog, which will link back to the Wavatars homepage. (The user can turn this off in the admin panel.) I wanted to see where the thing wound up, and spread the word around. So far it hasn’t worked yet.
The plugin has been downloaded 115 times as of this morning, but the only incoming links I see are from people directly writing a post about wavatars. I don’t see any incoming links that are a result of the blurb in the footer. Here are the ones I do see: Talking Out Of Turn, Murphyzville, The Right Side of the Boat, Scuffulans hirsutus , Zona Cerebral, and The Hotel Blues.
Some people might choose to disable the Wavatars blurb in the footer, but I think the big reason it isn’t showing up is that most themes just don’t support the
wp_footer () function I hooked into. None of the sites I listed above have the blurb in their footer. (Some don’t even have footers.)
Be sure to check out The Right Side of the Boat, which has wavatars with an alternate art set. (I actually like it better.) You’ll still have the same face, it will just be drawn with a different style. Very cool.
I have all sorts of things I’d like to do to add even more variety to Wavatars, but any change means everyone’s faces would be re-rolled, and I don’t want to do that. It would break the portability of faces between sites, (unless everyone upgraded) which sort of defeats one of the main purposes of the entire project.
I love working on this sort of thing, though. It might be interesting to work on another plugin which supports switchable themes for the avatars. So, you could choose which theme to use on your site: Wavatars-style cartoon faces, anime faces, stick figure characters, little robots, geometric patterns, Halloween pumpkins, snowmen, and so on. People could make art sets for the plugin and put them out for others to use, so instead of one plugin making one style of icons, it could be expanded to do any style you like. I’m not sure if people would want to try and sort out themes-for-a-plugin, which is a strange concept and not something any of the WordPress repositories could understand or categorize properly.
You’d want it to be simple for an artist to make their own set of icon parts without requiring them to do any coding. The plugin itself would have to work out the details of how to put the bits together, so all the artist needs to do is make transparent / masked PNG files and stick them in a folder together. It would read from the directory, check the names of the various files and note how they are numbered. (head1.png, hair5.png, mouth22.png, etc) It would use the numbers to figure out how many possible combinations there are for that particular layer. The only trick I see is figuring out what order to do the layers. Maybe the artist would have to give some sort of hint. Maybe it would do them alphabetical, so you’d have to name the parts a_head, b_eyes, c_nose, etc.
Okay, I need to stop thinking about this or I’m going to lose another weekend.
Shamus Young is an old-school OpenGL programmer, author, and composer. He runs this site and if anything is broken you should probably blame him.