Wednesday, 28 March 2012


 I've spent the last while doing programming on a personal project, rather than something that might turn a profit. It gives me something fun to work on as a break though.

I talked about it a few times on my old blog (All Evil Laughter) but I've started from scratch rather than continue with that code base. Though I am taking little pieces of code when it's useful.

The game is a mix of several styles but it's mostly about building a civilisation. This will be complicated by what will hopefully be emergent gameplay.

As you play, your civilisation will slowly advance through tech trees, but through inventions by your civilisation, not what you choose. So a lot of luck will be involved and hopefully it will deal well with situations where you don't discover the wheel etc.

Currently however the game is very simple and is only a simulation rather than a game.

There is grass, it grows and spreads, there are trees, they grow and spread.
There are deer, they trample and eat the grass, and eat saplings.
Grass gets trampled down to dirt, and if that gets trampled enough it can turn into packed dirt which grass won't grow on.

There are also wolves who eat deer (and other dead wolves).

Deer and wolves breed etc, wolves hunt down and eat deer.

And there is of course water which animals need to drink to survive.

Currently there's a bit of a problem as the wolves eventually kill all the deer, then slowly die out.

Alternatively the wolves are stupid and don't stay close enough together to breed, leaving a final world where the deer have taken over.

I'll be adding herding behaviour to creatures to lower the chance of this happening.

Next on the list is adding the first humans, and making more interesting world generation, fortunately I still remember the useful resources from last time, such as:

Instead of Flash and C# I'll be going with Java, as that's what I've been using these days. With the initial part based off the Libgdx library I may even have mobile support to a certain extent!

Graphics are currently just someones mod of the original IBM PC character set. I'll slowly replace it with my own tiles like last time, while keeping ascii for debug.

Anyway I always enjoy feedback, and when this actually gets some gameplay I'll be uploading the jar file to here so you can mess around with it.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Busking and a question

Last Saturday we went out busking again and had a much more successful time.
We found a nice quiet corner where people had room to sit and listen, and perhaps we were much improved after practicing most days. The Vodafone store was nice enough to let us play right outside and even popped outside a few times to give us money!
The nearby coffee stall offered us free coffee.
We went away with $43.30 from 1:45 hours of playing :) I was astounded I though we'd made about $18 which I was more than happy with.

I don't have any pictures of us busking so here's the picture from the newspaper article we were in a few weeks ago.

Katie has a plan that we will do 'gigs' (conferences etc). Basically just background noise for receptions etc. She's been working on a flyer people can take away so we can advertise as we busk.

However we're struggling with a price to put.
We were thinking:
For Katie solo $50 for the first hour and $40 for each hour afterwards.
For duo $70 for the first hour and $60 for each hour afterwards.

Obviously it needs to cover some travel time etc but we're really not sure what people would pay.

So my question to those who come to this blog, what price would you think is reasonable for a solo violinist or violin/ukulele duo?

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

More Woodturning

Hasn't been a very productive week, been setting up the new computer but the speed of the internet out here has made that a bit of a task. I did do some woodturning while waiting though!

Here's the results of what I did last time:
The first one was the best, it's the one I had pictures of last time.
But the foot was rather a mess after being gripped in the chuck, so I turned up a small piece of wood and glued some sandpaper to it, creating a small sanding disc.
I then ground away the foot with that, wasn't perfect but was better than what it was.

I then turned the offcut from that into this little cup as practice. It didn't turn out too badly, the walls are nice and thin.
I then turned another piece of firewood into this bowl:
The piece was absolutely horrible to turn for some reason, took me a long time to get it to a nice round surface. Also I didn't have any lights down there so I couldn't see what was going on down the bottom, I ended up cutting it a little close as you can see from the picture below. The internal chuck split the wood and there's also a loose knot right in the center.
Here's how my wood collection is going, pillaged from various stacks of firewood around the place:
 I wasn't feeling very artistic the other day,  and as the computer was busy downloading I headed down to turn some branches to cylinders. You can see my little sanding disc in the corner of this image:
 As I was thinking of making some toilet roll holders,  I decided to try turn a base.

This is where I finished for the day, you see that is was dark and raining, not the most pleasant of days. That piece is still sitting on the lathe as I haven't been down since then, been trying to do some programming.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

First go at woodturning

Spent a few hours setting up my lathe and having a go at turning a piece of firewood (fairly sure it's macrocarpa).

Will probably do some more tomorrow, try and finish it off. Now to research different finishes for wooden bowls.

P.S. VERY EXCITING!!! Turning on my own lathe wewt!

Monday, 5 March 2012

Update Time: Lathelathelathelathelathe

Well, it's been a busy week, but not much computer time going on.

Biggest news is I have a lathe! And it's purty!

I bought it off Trade Me from a member the Nelson Woodturning Club who is moving overseas.
Thanks Bjorn and Renee!

They were very kind, and threw in all these tools for free.  Sometimes you get lucky :) I'm still grinning.

Here's where I'll be working, under shelter but outside, with a nice view of the river (and lots of sandflies to keep me company).

So where do things stand now?

Programming: -$168 previously, -$2179 computer plus extras, +$2.07 from Flying Kakapo Sales (thanks Mum!) Now: -$2344.93
So yeah, not a millionaire yet, but there's still time!

Woodworking: +$1,150 NZD previously, -$800 Lathe, -$970 Bench Grinder, Drill Press, Hand drill plus small tools. Now: -$640
Today was an expensive day, with stops at Placemakers, Mitre10 and Bunnings. I did some research last week finding the cheapest places and today we went and spent the money. Big thanks to my Uncle Michael and Auntie Raewyn for the voucher they gave me last birthday, and to Aunt Liz for the money recently which went towards buying these tools.
I'll be thankful each time I use them!
I also picked up a fan and some pantyhose to use to make my dust extraction system. I'll post more once I complete it, using some good old number 8 wire :)
On the safety line I grabbed an RCD and a fire extinguisher.
Now the woodworking starts in earnest, hopefully I'll be posting some pictures of my beginning attempts soon.

Music: +$0 previously. Now: +$8
I mentioned previously that we'd been out busking, we were lucky enough to be interviewed by the Nelson Mail!
You can see us at Nelson Mail: Highs-and-lows-of-busking.
That's us on the video loading screen, and there's a couple of seconds of us playing :) Not bad for one week in the city.
Hopefully there'll be plenty more busking trips. We were planning on going last weekend but were stopped by a storm. If you want any of those promised youtube clips you'd best post and bug me with a request. Although Katie put a lid on my plans to buy a $1,500 camera for making videos... something about needing to make money first, I didn't understand it.

Currently music is winning by a long ways!

That's all for now, time to get back to work on updating Flying Kakapo (I'm such a slacker).