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Wavatars Development

By Shamus
on Sunday Dec 16, 2007
Filed under:


After I showed off my new Wavatars WordPress plugin on Saturday, a lot of people posted just to see what their wavatar looked like. I feel bad, but I’m afraid that initial system had to go and as a result, everyone’s Wavatar has been changed. This was for a good cause. I’ve moved away from PHP generated random numbers to random values derived directly from the hash of the email. To translate out of programmer babble: The plugin will now generate the same wavatar for you no matter where the plugin is running. Different websites running the same plugin will give you the same, predictable results.

I also added a bunch of new parts for greater variety, so the plugin can now generate 956,384 different shapes in 57,600 different color combinations for a total of 55,087,718,400 unique Wavatars. That should be enough combinations for now.

I’ll be releasing the plugin later this week. If you have a WordPress blog then you’ll be able to have wavatars on your own site. I’ve ironed out the installation problems, so that you should be able to simply upload the thing and turn it on. (In theory.)

Also, I can’t take credit for the idea, which I first saw at implemented as MonsterID. (Hat Tip: MetaBLOG.)

Comments (136)

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  1. DGM says:

    Very nice.

    If you feel like putting more work into your site after this, is there any chance we could get a preview function for comments?

  2. Shamus says:

    DGM: I’d like to, but since it’s email and not IP based I don’t have the required value when the page is generated.

    Actually, now that I’m thinking about it, maybe there would be a way to do it with some fancy Javascript. I’m rubbish at Javascipt, though. You’d need a way for the user to fill out the comment email field and hit “preview” to see the resulting wavatar. Somehow you’d have to capture the value of the email field and send it to a little 60×60 IFRAME, which would be a PHP page designed to take the form input and show the resulting avatar.

    I guess the only part I can’t figure out is how to grab the field contents and stick it into the query string.


  3. Marauder says:

    looks good so far…

  4. DGM says:

    “You'd need a way for the user to fill out the comment email field and hit “preview” to see the resulting wavatar.”

    Sorry, I may have been unclear. I don’t want to preview the wavatar, I want to preview what I typed. For spellchecking, making sure my tags worked, etc.

  5. Jim says:

    Hah, my new Wavatar looks like its having some major issues. Note to self: turn Gravatar back on tomorrow, lest I get used to that face staring at me.

  6. James says:

    Now I’ve got to get a Gravatar so I don’t have to look at this this next time I post…

  7. ZzzzSleep says:

    It all looks good, Shamus. Well done on the wavatars.

  8. Sharpie says:

    Aww, I liked my old one, I hope this one is as good!

  9. Joe says:

    DGM- ditto on the previews. It’s not quite so important now that there’s the bit of “permitted tags” right above the comment… but it would be kinda nice.

    And I keep thinking, it’s sort of interesting… If you don’t feel like creating a gravatar, and want to “browse” for a nice wavatar, you can just keep using e-mail addresses with something different after a +. (many e-mail systems disregard that. I know gmail does.)

  10. Daemian_Lucifer says:

    55,087,718,400 unique Wavatars,eh?So,at a rate of about 3 minutes per each e-mail for generating it and posting here,Id need about….314427 year.Ok,time to get bussy!

  11. Nathaniel says:

    Lesse if this new one is as good as my old one…

    Also, I noticed that on the dark theme, the quotes in some of your posts have the same background color. This is most apparent in the D&D Campaign posts.

  12. food4worms says:

    It’s pretty easy to get the values off your form. Here’s something that should work on this page:

    function show_form() {
    var author = document.commentform.author.value;
    var email = document.commentform.email.value;
    var url = document.commentform.url.value;
    var comment = document.commentform.comment.value;

    ‘author = ‘ + author + ‘\n’ +
    ’email = ‘ + email + ‘\n’ +
    ‘url = ‘ + url + ‘\n’ +
    ‘comment:\n’ + comment

    If you wanted to do a preview thing. The easiest would be to submit the form to a “preview page” with a “accept” or “deny” button on it. Have that page then submit all the fields to wp-comments-post.php on accept, and return to the blog page on deny. That wouldn’t require any javascript at all.

  13. Bowmore says:

    They’re cute, but I was kinda hoping they’d be dice…

  14. Ryan says:

    Love the all the updates, Shamus!

  15. Tylhandrias says:

    I’m on yer webpage, testing my wavatar.

  16. Steve says:

    I don’t know. Do you think the wavatars fit in well enough with the dice theme of the blog?

  17. SiliconScout says:



  18. Jimmie says:

    I like these. They’re kind of cute! I’m not sure they fit on m blog but they are geeky-cool.

  19. BrikZ says:

    Sheer Curiosity Drove me to this. Damn you Shamus, damn you and your kooky website coding. ;)

    A fine job tho, almost makes me wish i stuck w/ CS in college, almost.

  20. Sarah says:

    I like the new text for the “anti-spam word” protection code…doodad…..thingy.

    You know what I mean.

  21. Joel D says:

    Just wanna see mine, without a big-ol’ search…

  22. Davesnot says:

    yrdyomh 2.3.4 (that’s testing 1,2,3.. for those wondering)

  23. Chaos Fact says:

    Just checking out my Wavatar too.

  24. Rich G. says:

    Never heard of a wavatar until now.
    Is it luck of the draw about the security word?

  25. Davesnot says:

    Great.. _Now_ my Gravitar decides to start working.. lovely.

  26. Davesnot says:

    So.. my wavatar is..

  27. sleepyfoo says:

    also just testing today

  28. Kristin says:

    Hoping for a better wavatar!

  29. Chris says:

    Let’s see, let’s see…

  30. Scott says:

    Davesnot: I would guess your Gravatar was probably not working because of capital letters in your e-mail. Shamus seems to have fixed it. Thanks, Shamus!

  31. Griffin says:

    I just failed my saving throw against posting a pointless comment just to see my wavatar. Sorry?

  32. Snook says:

    To prove this post, I wanna say: Damn you Shamus, for getting me interested in D&D!

  33. Crusader Corim says:

    Well, I don’t post often, but now that it is ironed out, I’ve got to know what face I get to display here.

    You know, for science.

  34. straechav says:

    I second that, this post is purely for science. It’s not about curiousity, it’s about putting order in the world, and for the betterment of mankind.

  35. Bosun Bumm says:

    I can’t wait to see my very own personal wavatar

  36. Bosun Bumm says:

    Ooo! I love it

  37. Zaghadka says:

    Hmm. The default Wavatars remind me of a game called “Snood.”

  38. Zaghadka says:

    This Weblog looks deep within my soul and assigns me a wavatar based on the email with which I joined. -Homer Simpson, sort of…

  39. ngthagg says:

    This will work fine until some jerk takes the wavatar of someone else and uses it as their gravatar, along with the person’s name, just to confuse people.

  40. Nazgul says:

    Testing… Please oh please nothing boring or dorky… An evil monocled one would be good LOL…

  41. Nazgul says:


    (beats head on desk)

  42. Snook says:

    I think my campus e-mail one looks cool. Sunglasses and an “o-face” for the win2k!

  43. Snook says:

    Oh damnit I’m gonna have to stick with this one now, it’s too hilarious!

  44. Bizarre says:

    I guess if all the cool kids are doing it…

  45. Dr-Online says:

    Test 1, test 1, 2

  46. CryptoKnight says:

    Testing my wavatar, like so many others.

    Having fun, Shamus?

  47. Kevin says:

    Shameless wavatar check.

  48. Kris says:

    So… Let’s see how this thing looks!

  49. mookers says:

    aw, I liked my old wavatar better. Still, they’re awesome :)

  50. Stubby says:

    Let’s see what happens…I’m hoping for a slightly more cheerful look than last time :D

  51. JB says:

    Had of course to check, I did.

  52. silent_death says:

    Wavatar test ^^

  53. dwarfenhoschi says:

    also testing

  54. QE says:

    Shamus, your comments feed (?feed=comments-rss2) is broken, as of the 15th. You’ve got a long title including malformed stubs for lots of entries and no description.

  55. Denzine says:

    Since I don’t much like posting without some kind of content, here’s a link to an unfinished novel set in the future of the Legends of the Five Rings universe circa 2000 or so.


  56. whitehelm says:

    I wonder what mine looks like.

  57. Germelia says:

    … because everyone’s doing it. And I’m curious.

  58. Vegedus says:

    But I liked my old one :(

  59. Randomscrub says:

    I am curious also…

  60. Randomscrub says:

    Not too shabby, even if mine does look like it’s giggling…

  61. Ravs says:

    And as I’d like to see wavatars too here’s my bit of random content which shows you how to make a digital whiteboard using a wii remote and a couple of red led lights.

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