I'm a programmer in the game industry. I blog primarily about tools and rendering but my posts can run the gamut of my experience so they can be very diverse and awesome. I was a tools programmer for Gamebryo in the past, currently doing interesting animation and machine learning work at Activate3D for the Kinect. I'd like to think of myself as a tools programmer but I wear all kinds of hats. I'm talking beanies, Kangols, fedoras... Scarves, babushkas... Baseball caps, beanies. Yarmulkes.
Posts by Nick Darnell
  1. Oxel: A Tool for Occluder Generation ( Counting comments... )
  2. Global Game Jam 2012 Wrap-Up ( Counting comments... )
  3. Creating Kinect Controls for Angry Birds ( Counting comments... )
  4. Kinect, Anthropometry and You ( Counting comments... )
  5. Making Your Files Merge Friendly ( Counting comments... )
  6. Robust Inside and Outside Solid Voxelization ( Counting comments... )
  7. Trip Report: Gamefest 2011 – Seattle ( Counting comments... )
  8. SWIG: Casting Revisited ( Counting comments... )
  9. Project Photofly Experiment ( Counting comments... )
  10. How I Organize Research ( Counting comments... )
  11. Hierarchical Z-Buffer Occlusion Culling - Generating Occlusion Volumes ( Counting comments... )
  12. Extend Visual Studio! ( Counting comments... )
  13. SWIG and a Miss ( Counting comments... )
  14. Do the Truffle Shuffle to Start ( Counting comments... )
  15. Chaining Compute Shaders ( Counting comments... )
  16. Subsurface Scattering Volumes ( Counting comments... )
  17. Teaching the Toaster to Feel Love [Part 2] ( Counting comments... )
  18. Teaching the Toaster to Feel Love [Part 1] ( Counting comments... )
  19. Redneck Cloud Computing ( Counting comments... )
  20. Documentation [Easy Mode] ( Counting comments... )
  21. The Art of the 48 Hour Game ( Counting comments... )
Advocacy /

About a year ago I got tired of trying to keep the mounting supply of PDFs and PowerPoint slides I’ve collected over the years organized.  They weren’t searchable, I had to organize them in broad categories in folders, I couldn’t share them between work and home, they took up a ton of space on my computer and I had to make sure I kept them backed up somewhere.

I couldn’t find a service online that did everything I wanted.  The only one I found with any promise was Google Docs, but they have all kinds of size restrictions and the PDFs uploaded aren't searchable.

So I ended up cobbling together a solution that works for me and wanted to share the solution with everyone else.

The Cobbling

I started with a Media Wiki based web application because I want to be able to access this library anywhere.  I already had a bunch of domains lying around I could use and was already paying for hosting.  Media Wiki also has a huge number of extensions people have written for it that were invaluable in accomplishing my end goal.


The main page is a combination of two extensions,

  • WikiCategoryTagCloud – Lets me display all my categories as a cloud on the main page, letting me quickly find something from a particular event.
  • DynamicPageList – Displays the giant list of files I’ve collected.  They are organized by when they were uploaded, so finding something I uploaded recently is a breeze.

I also made some modifications to the default limits on my wiki’s upload so that I could upload the fairly large PDF files and PowerPoint slides.

One crucial goal I had was to make the text in PDFs and PowerPoints searchable.  For that I used the FileIndexer extension.


I could have stopped there but ended up finding a extension that would render the contents of the PDF directly to the browser window if for some reason I didn’t have a PDF reader or was on a slow connection and wanted to look at a single portion of a large PDF.

For that I was able to use the PdfHandler extension, which has a dependency on the WebStore extension.


One Year Later

A year after cobbling the pieces together I’m still pretty happy with the solution.  It hasn’t failed on me yet and I have constant access to my library no matter where I am.  I wish I could package up the relevant pieces so others could just setup their own whitepaper repository, but I haven’t checked the redistribution rights of all the relevant bits.

How I Organize Research @ nickdarnell.com