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Showing posts from 2012

I'm Your Zombie Wingman!

Created by Oatmeal

It's good to know that when the zombie apocalypse happens that I'll have some staying power...

Game Update 4: A New Mapping Solution?

I have spent many long hours staring at the code I've written for my Ultima Style cRPG. As I mentioned back in my last up date I'd run into a few snags. One was a crashing problem where I was trying to de-allocate memory for an object I created twice. That fix came pretty quickly once I looked at what I was doing.  The next problem has not been so easy to fix.

The problem I'm having (and I'll see if I can explain it) is I have a tile based map (using Mappy) and I have a little animated guy running around the map. Now, every time the little guy moves he moves an arbitrary amount of pixels. This represents his speed and needs to remain constant through out the game. Since the map is bigger than the window that contains it the map needs to scroll. The part of the map that is shown while scrolling is represented by a rectangle and it has a coordinate system that is an offset from the coordinates of the little guy.  The problem is when I'm on the upper and left side of…

Resurrecting A Macintosh Quadra 605

A while back I inherited an old Macintosh Quadra 605 from my uncle. He was in the process of moving so he needed to get rid of it and another old Mac. More on the other Mac in another post. I was a little leery of taking it as it was sitting on the floor, upside down in his closet when his basement flooded some earlier time. Looking at the machine you could see a bit of water damage so I thought the thing was shot and almost passed on it. I'm glad I didn't.

The Macintosh Quadra 605 is a damn cool machine in my opinion. First off it has the stylish "pizza box" design that I liked back in the early 90s. It is a cool form factor and I really, really wish it had never gone away. Unfortunately the desktop paradigm went the way of the dodo and the massive tower became the norm. I really never got that. The CPU in the Quadra 605 is the Motorola 68LC040 and it's clocked at 25MHz. The 68LC040 is a "l"ow "c"ost version of the 68040. What makes it low c…

I Loved My Amiga 1000...Still Miss It

While I'm still trying to figure out what is wrong with my Ultima style game which is using Mappy to create and display the maps I thought I'd take a quick back in time. Well, computing time that is.

Back in the ancient days of micro-computers (the 80s) I broke down and bought my 3rd computer. The year was the beginning of 1987 and the computer was the Amiga 1000. I got my A1000 just before they discontinued them and released the Amigas 500 and 2000. I wasn't too worried about that though as I thought this computer was one of the coolest that I'd ever seen.

What had sold me on the Amiga computer was, aside from Commodore made them (as far as I was concerned they could do no evil back then), going into the game store at the mall. They always had computer hooked up showing demo modes to games. They had the DOS ones, some Macs a few 8-bit micro-computers and, of course, the A1000 and it seems like the had BattleHawks or some other LucasArts game. (They were…

Game Update 3: Tiny Little Dude - UPDATED

So, finally after wracking my head around seemingly simple problems, surviving Halloween and surviving the Elections I'm back with an update. Of course it's a good news, bad news update. But, with projects like these, it seems to be the norm.

The Good News
The good news is that I have my sprite class pretty much working. If you look at the picture above you'll see a little white knight among the tiled background. What the picture doesn't show you is that the little fellow is animated. There are four frames of animation and it seems to work pretty well.  In a way it's starting to feel like an Ultima style game.

Game Update 2: Heaven And Earth

Another update on the programming my game. I've achieved my milestone of implementing a map using the Mappy map maker and the associated files. As a result I've had to change my development environment because I was having problems linking the mappy files to my project. Apparently with the gcc compiler on windows I needed to compile it to an "object file" and link it to my project as such. The problem is mapping the %PATH% variables properly so I had access to the Allegro header files. On Windows it's a pain in the ass. Seems like it's much easier to do from Linux.

So, from the image you can see my little program has a map (with my hasty, thus crappy artwork) that can be scrolled using the keyboard arrow keys. I feel good getting to this point however, I've been this far along in other programming projects and lost interest. So, the next hurdle will be to implement a sprite that is controllable by the mouse and that can react to collision tiles on the ma…

Game Update 1: The Blue Screen Of Life!

I figure that since I made a huge proclamation of making my own CRPG I should start updating on how it's going.  I mean really, come on, right?

So. Since I made my epic blog post I've worked on the game for a couple days now. Some of that time has been story related stuff and some of that time was getting Code::Blocks, Allegro 5 and Windows all to play nice. I finally got Code::Blocks, Allegro 5 and Windows all to play nice. Wasn't that hard. This is a good thing since when I start making the Linux version I'll most likely use Code::Blocks to develop the game.

Of course, the reward for my hard work is a window filled with blue.  That's okay though because it shows me that everything is working well together.

New Things & Game Programming UPDATED

Since the passing of my grandfather back in June I made it a goal to lose some weight. It took me about six weeks to drop ~20 pounds and I'm still at it. I feel good about this and it really hasn't been that difficult.  So, in honor of achieving a goal of losing weight and since it's been so empowering I've decided to set some other goals and see if I can achieve them. The first of these is a programming goal.

I must confess. I'm an okay C/C++ (yes I know they are two different things) programmer. Not a super good one but an okay one. I can usually figure out how to achieve most task and if I get stumped a little Google-fu has gone a long way in helping me. So, my next goal is going to be programming a Computer Role Playing Game (CRPG) for Windows and Mac since I own the two. I do have a Linux computer but it is in sad need of repair at this moment. As soon as I get it fixed I'll port it to Linux too. I've done some tech demos of 2D maps that I was pretty …

Make It So...Please?

Apparently even celebrities like Patrick Stewart and William Shatner cannot get good service from likes of Time Warner Cable.

I'm often dubious of the large cable conglomerates in the United States. They often jack up prices with no additions of service and we lag behind the rest of the world in terms of acceptable broadband speeds.

Almost Banned Jurassic Park Blooper Video

A number of years ago I put up this video of a blooper in Jurassic Park on YouTube and it's become very popular. I think people love to find Easter eggs and bloopers in their favorite movies. It makes watching them over again fun.

Universal This video almost didn't make it. Early in 2012 I got a DMCA take down notice from Universal regarding this clip. If you do watch the video you'll notice that the amount of footage I use is less than 3 seconds and there is no audio from the movie. Also the fact that it's of lower resolution, doesn't give away a key plot point and I'm providing commentary over the video is a clear indicator of Fair Use.

Fortunately I was able to argue against the take down notice from Universal and get the video reinstated. I have to give Universal kudos for agreeing with the fact that the clip I use is Fair Use.

Amazing Results Or How I Dropped 12 Pounds In A Week

Usually I write about nerdy stuff on here like retro computers or low-budget films I like. This time I've decided to share a positive life changing event. Don't worry, I'll get back to my nerdy goodness by next post.

Hah! The title of this post sounds like one of those silly infomercials that promise "amazing results" using their product. However, I would like to forgo the normal nerd related stuff I usually write about and actually talk about some amazing results.  Of course, this story starts with a hint of sadness.

I posted  before about my grandfather passing away back in June 26th. It was a very hard thing for me to go through. I sat in the hospice and watched my grandfather, a man whom I both loved and respected very much, go through the painful last few hours of his life. It was heart breaking and surreal. A few days later would be the funeral and my grandmother wanted grandsons to be the pallbearers. Being the oldest grandchild I was on the list.

The fune…

Writing A Commodore 64 BASIC Program On A C64 Emulator: A Christmas Candle [UPDATED]

Going back to a retro computer system is interesting. Especially when you go back to develop software for it. That's exactly what I did. Using WinVice, a Commodore 64 Emulator that most people probably use to play those old C64 games that you can find on the Internet, and using BASIC, that old, somewhat easy to get into, interpreted and insanely slow programming language that was usually bundled with most 8-bit computers, I set about recreating a classic family Christmastime memory.

In the Beginning Back in the early 1980s I created a flickering candle as a sort of demo/entertainment program to run during the Christmas Holiday. I wrote it in BASIC and I wrote it on my TRS-80 Color Computer. It took a couple days to figure out and write and I had to use a tape player as a storage device. Anybody who remembers those days remembers how time consuming and error prone that tended to be.  I was pretty proud of myself for accomplishing this and rightly so.

Now, I've decided to red…

Quick Update

Due to the death of my grandfather last week (June 26th) and the subsequent funeral I've not really posted much. I am sorry for that.

I have a few topics I'd like to start posting about in the near future. One is programming. I was going to do a small series on 8-bit, game related, BASIC programming, specifically for the Commodore 64, but I ran into some problems with the emulator (WinVice) and the fact that it messed up my line numbers when I tried to do a very basic program. I guess my current paradigm of programming is a little different than the spaghetti method I used to use in the 80s. I may still do that once I get my real C64 out of storage and setup somewhere.

Another project I am looking at is learning Python. I've dabbled with it a little bit so I was thinking of developing a series of easy to implement games starting with a simple text adventure. This was how I used to learn new flavors of BASIC back in the 1980s. I figured with a few text base games under my b…

Ten Year Civ II Game? Incredible!

A member of Reddit called Lycerius has been playing the same Civilization II game for the last ten years. What makes it more interesting is the fact that he is a stalemate with two other A.I. players and it's been total war for the last 1700 years in game time. There is starvation, pollution and war. Lots of nuclear war.
I've been playing the same game of Civ II for 10 years. Though long outdated, I grew fascinated with this particular game because by the time Civ III was released, I was already well into the distant future. I then thought that it might be interesting to see just how far into the future I could get and see what the ramifications would be. Naturally I play other games and have a life, but I often return to this game when I'm not doing anything and carry on. The results are as follows. [via Reddit] The this is an interesting concept and the comment sections to read are interesting too. Especially the parallels this game to George Orwell's 1984.


That's Not How You Do It or Data Driven BASIC Adventure Games!

I was reading an online book that was originally published in the early 80s on writing DnD style text adventure games in BASIC.  As a matter of fact it's a book I used to own but somehow and somewhere between the 80s and now it disappeared.

I have several things that have done that and I often wonder where they've gone. Probably that sacred place where all my socks go during the dry cycle when doing laundry.

As I was reading I came across this page where the author shows how to implement room descriptions for your nasty little dungeon.  Go ahead and take a look. I'll stick around until you get back.

Back? Good! Did you notice what was "wrong"? Not really? Okay, let me point something out.

Here's the problem. He should …

New Dark Star Wars Game...Wow, this Might be...Interesting!

So I saw on Gamasutra that LucasArts is looking to release a dark game in the Star Wars.  This looks interesting and I hope they are able to pull this off.  From the article:
Players will take control of a bounty hunter exploring the Coruscant underworld, as he attempts to uncover a criminal conspiracy. The game promises third-person gritty combat, as opposed to supernatural Force powers. [via Gamasutra]  This bodes good things to me as I am getting sick of robed Jedies or Sith wandering around with their laser swords deflecting blaster bolts and levitating stuff.  What is also nice is the fact that the game is going to take place on Coruscant which is one of three favorite locations of mine in the Star Wars universe.  The other two being Tatoonie and Naboo.

Diablo 3 Woes - [updated]

So, as a part of the Annual Pass for World of Warcraft, I got Diablo 3.  Knowing it was going to be a mess when it launched and being keenly aware of it's "always online" Digital Rights Management (DRM) I decided to wait a few days for things to steady down before I downloaded, installed and played the game.

I must say, hell has definitely come and it's not the demonic horde of the game. It's the fact that I cannot stay connected to the servers in a SINGLE PLAYER GAME! I think to date I've been able to kill four monsters and in that time I've been disconnected two times.  The first time locking up my computer.

I don't know what Blizzard is hoping to do but apparently it has a lot to do with their Real Money Auction House. I guess they are hoping it will be a recurring source of income for them.  I'm to assume that if it's successful then it'll probably rear it's ugly head over on World of Warcraft. Also, I'm pretty certain that a …

I've Returned...Again!

By Daniel Biehl

Well, back to Blogger.

I do have a domain name but some stupid Russian hacker got into my .htaccess site and is redirecting all my traffic to another domain.  I think it's Russian as the domain redirect to a site with a .ru domain.  Stupid hackers.

Of course, I've gone through great lengths to try and clean it up to no avail. I've stripped my site down to a basic, static HTML file and the redirect is still there.  Yes, I've removed all .htaccess files and I'm still being redirected.  Unfortunately I hosted my site with GoDaddy.  Should never have done that.  Apparently they have a history of this sort of thing happening and it happens at a lower level (server wise) than can be accessed by their customers.

So, I'll use Blogger for a while until I can figure out how I can try to fix things.  One thing is for sure. I'll never use GoDaddy again.  Nor will I recommend them to anybody. Sigh.

Just out of curiosity, and it seems a strange question …