Not everything's about substance. Sometimes, you
just want to be entertained. This hack describes a few such things.
Calling them fluff would be unkind, though;
there's a fair bit of talent, imagination and effort
at work here. Most of them won't get you a pay
Messing Around with Games
Any computing environment worth its salt will eventually be able to
play Tetris, or at least adventur. Firefox is no
different. With lots of scripting and display technology,
it's no surprise that simple games are knocking on
the door. Of course, the biggest game you can play with Firefox is
called "Where's that web page I
You can play Zork and
adventures of days gone by. The Gnusto Firefox extension uses
games. Some games are listed at http://gnusto.mozdev.org. Zork, shown in Figure 1, can be found at http://www.batmantis.com/zorks/.
It's best to download the .z5
games to local disk and then open them from the Gnusto window.
Don't try to load them directly from web links.
Figure 1. Zork I running inside the Gnusto extension
The Card Games extension provides dozens
of single-person card games if you happen to be snowed in over
winter. Figure 2 shows an example of a game in
Figure 2. Card Games extension showing game options
It's also possible to play simple 2
console games from the 80s and 90s.
Dynamic HTML (and Dynamic XUL) provide a fast enough basis for the
required sprites. To play these games, you don't
even need an extension. Just visit the MozDev Games web page
can run the games online by clicking their links, or you can download
the games pages to your laptop and open them whenever you want. Figure 3 shows Xultris, a Tetris-like game.
Figure 3. Xultris block management game
Stretching Your Wings with Gestures and Pie Menus
Pie menus aren't seen much in desktop applications,
but they're common in games, ever since they were
made popular in fantasy console games (change from sword to potion!).
Pie menus link a
mouse movement to a context menu in a way that offers fast selection.
Such things are innovative enough to get you a job at Microsoft.
easyGestures extension presents a
fully customizable pie menu for your enjoyment. Figure 4 illustrates the default set of options.
Figure 4. easyGestures extension at work
Move the mouse upward sharply to see the
secondary menu, press Alt for the alternate menu, or do both to amaze
and confuse yourself.
The easyGestures extension is highly configurable; just double-click
it in the Extensions Manager window.
Of all the Firefox extensions,
gesture extensions probably sit least
well with each other. By all means, try out the many excellent
alternatives, such as Mouse Gestures and Radial Context, but
it's probably better to have only one installed at
any given time.