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When I start daydreaming online, I’ve found myself wondering why I can’t control a little Mario and make him jump around the eBay ads for crap I looked up two weeks ago. Well, it turns that out that I can.
Developer Aaron Randall has coded together something that he calls Screentendo. This is a Mac app that enables you to take a screengrab of anything on your desktop, and it will then try to transform it into a Super Mario Bros. level. It’s incredible, and I wish I could use it on my PC.
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Randall made Screentendo using Cocoa and Sprite Kit, and he’s uploaded the source code to Github. You can grab the code there and compile it for yourself as long as you have OSx and CocoaPods, which you can download here. Unfortunately, this is not compatible with Windows.
Once you have Screentendo running, you just need to place it over the area you want to Super Mario-ify and click on the grayed out area of the app. That’s when Randall’s magic kicks in.
Randall goes in-depth explaining how the whole thing works on his blog, but what you need to know is that Screentendo uses a few algorithms to determine the layout of whatever you have the app looking at. For something like the Google logo, it can detect the letters as objects. Once that is worked out, the app breaks everything into blocks and starts laying out Mario-style bricks to form the level.
“This app is a proof-of-concept hack, and has a few shortcomings,” Randall wrote in his blog. “Image processing is currently really, really slow – sub-blocking the image takes a long time. The current implementation also requires a reasonably distinct contrast in the underlying image for the block detection to work.”
So, colorful letters on a white background — like the Google logo — is ideal. Randall also says that the jumping physics are a bit off. But who cares when you can break apart The “G” in Google with Mario’s head?
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