Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of hacking on the frontend code for a bunch of xkcd’s interactive comics, including: unixkcd, xk3d, Umwelt, Time, Externalities, and Lorenz. This weekend, I was pinged about making something to coincide with the release of What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions. The process of building ”Pixels” was even crazier than our usual April Fools rush, and had the extra intrigue of being live during Randall Munroe’s Colbert Report interview. Here’s a few anecdotes from the development of Pixels and a quick explanation of how it works. I hadn’t worked with some of the graphics programming patterns (coordinate systems!) for a while, so I ended up making some classic mistakes – hopefully you can avoid repeating them. :)

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