Sunday, September 18, 2016

Let's Play Ultima 1! Part 1: Getting Started

Never finished it though I've played it many times.

Hello and welcome. I've finally decided to play through Ultima 1 from beginning to end. I've decided that I will not use a walk through or any other hints or cheats found on the web. I will try to use my wits and the provided manual to figure this stuff out. I'm playing the DOS version which I bought over on Good Old Games.

A little history. The first time I played Ultima 1 was back in the mid 80s. I had several friends who played it and a technique was to grill each other at school the day after an intense night of gaming. We'd let each other know any secrets we found or how to solve a quest if it proved to hard to figure out by our selves. Those were fun days of gaming.

One may wonder why I'm starting on Ultima 1 instead of Akalabeth  (or Ultima 0). A number of years ago I played Akalabeth on an Apple II emulator and recorded the process to be uploaded to YouTube.

After going through that I found it hard to actually want to play the game again. I might give it a go if/after I finish Ultima 1. There is now a C64 version of it out now and I'm thinking about giving that a go. We'll have to see.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Mr. Mister - Kyrie

Used to hate this song!
Ah, Kyrie by Mr. Mister. This song was on power rotation on Atlanta radio stations back in 1985. They played it so much that I actually was sick of it and it took many years before I was able listen to it again.

The lyrics "Kýrie, eléison" mean either "Lord have mercy" or "Christ have mercy" in Greek and according to composer Richard Page the song was basically a prayer. Think about it.  "Kýrie, eléison down this road that I must travel. Kýrie, eléison through the darkeness in the night."

It's funny, now I quite enjoy the song and will freely listen to it whenever I hear it.

As far as living in the 80s when this song came out it reminds me of the early years I had my Commodore 64 and playing games like "Bruce Lee", "Spy Hunter" or "Raid on Bungling Bay". It also reminds me of road trips from Conyers to the malls in Atlanta with my friend Tracy.

I rate this song highly.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Controller Woes

Curse you analogue controller!
Wow, it's been a few weeks since I last posted anything here. I should remedy that.

I think I will.

Let's talk programming.

When we last talked I'd been working on a Zelda-like for Linux and I'd made a bit of progress. One of the things I was testing was the ability to use a controller.

SDL2 makes it fairly simple to hook a controller up to your computer, find it and use it and I did tests that did just that. Using the left analogue stick I made a sprite move around the screen. This worked well for both horizontal and verticle moves. But there was a problem.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

New Amiga Game

I didn't get much done program wise and worked a bit on my movie I don't have much to show.


There is a new Amiga game that has just come out and it's free to download. Dan Wood over at gives a bit of a review.


Friday, August 5, 2016

Fighting The Good Fight!

Looked up "silly" on the Internet. Was not disappointed.
The struggle is real my friend! Okay, just kidding.

That aside I got a bit of work done on the game today. Unfortunately it's a bit of underlying stuff so their is really nothing to show. It looks exactly like the image I uploaded yesterday when run so have a look at that if you want to see what it looks like today. Instead I'll find something silly to upload.

Today's work was making a texture class to wrap images I load up into it. The class handles rendering and will return the width and the height of a loaded image.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Step By Step

Updated "retro style" graphics but not final at all.
Today it didn't seem like I got much done today but I actually got more than I thought I would.

Aside from the new graphic I made for the temporary title screen, I created a timer class so I could control the frame rate of the game. The game now runs as fast as it can but updates the screen ~60 times a second. I'm not sure if I will keep this as some people have displays that refresh at higher frequencies than 60 hertz. Some people are up in the 120 range and beyond.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016


Pretty but not much to look at.
I'm not going to lie. I had a hard time getting into the project today as the thought of going over and rewriting stuff I'd done before did not appeal to me. I wasted a bunch of time doing "other stuff" until I forced myself to sit down and actually work on it. I was happy I did. Unfortunately I didn't get as far as I wanted too.

Live and learn, eh?

It's Late. So Late

Not quite state of the art graphics...yet.
So, once again I didn't get as far as I wanted to. The plan was to pull the Windows source code from BitBucket and get that working on Linux.

Well, pulling the code was the easier part. Getting it working under Linux was a lot harder. I spent more time than I should have mucking about with that. Eventually you have to decide if it's better to spend the time trying to get what you've working under the new OS or starting over from scratch.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Success! Kind Of...

Ugh, my day job makes me want to finish this game as soon as possible so I can, maybe, make a living off of game development. I think to myself that maybe I won't enjoy it (you know, seeing how the sausage is made) but I know working for myself is a hell of a lot better than putting up with a gig I do not enjoy.

"Hello World!"
Today I had hoped to be further along on my game than I got. I have a feeling I might be typing that a lot as I progress along this path.

The main problem was that, for whatever reason, my Linux workstation would lock up when ever I tried to do some updates. This happened four or five times and I'm not sure what was going on.

Three of my favorite movies. #spaghettiwesterns #clinteastwood

via Instagram

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Home Sweet Home

[Billings, MT] Today was a long day and a tiring day but all in all a pleasant day. I got to see some family I hadn't seen in a long time. Unfortunately it threw off my driving schedule. I don't mind because I wasn't under a huge time constraint. I simply didn't want to be driving into Billings in the dark.

Unfortunately this means I'm home, gotten some food, gotten a shower and am almost ready for bed. It's pushing 10 pm right now and I am tired.

I was hoping to get a SDL project up on my Linux box and a "hello world" program going. Doesn't look like it's going to happen right now.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Longest Day

Metroidvania Internet Search Result. Image Found Here
[7:30 am] Have you ever had an epiphany? A plan or goal so clear that you knew what you needed to move heaven and earth just to achieve it? Have you ever had this happen and then a day or so later, or even a few hours later, you come off your “high” and feel like giving up because you aren’t feeling as motivated as you were?

This hasn’t happened to me. I’m sure it will though.

Friday, July 29, 2016

I Believe Tim Sweeney Is Right

An Oldie But Goody
[Williston, ND] Linux has been on my mind a lot lately. Even more since I read several articles about Tim Sweeney and his dislike for Windows 10 and what, potentially, Microsoft could do to turn Windows into a walled garden and kill off services like Steam.

Of course Sweeney is right. Even though it hasn’t happened yet doesn’t mean it can’t or won’t. I do remember the Microsoft of the 90s and what they attempted to do to squash competition. I don’t trust them. But then I do the stupid things and start reading the comments on these stories. People are either totally trusting in Microsoft or they don’t care. Or, maybe, they just trolling.

#roadtrip listening. Good stuff! #montypython

via Instagram

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Self driving cars can't come fast enough!

So pretty but made me sick(er).
The self driving car, for me, can’t arrive fast enough!
Let me explain.
I live in Billings, MT. On the weekend of April 1st 2016 (actually March 31st) I drove to Missoula Montana to visit some friends and do some hiking. I hadn’t been in that neck of the woods in almost 11 years. It was long overdue. During the drive out there I had developed a cough that persisted the duration of the drive.
I remember thinking, “why am I coughing so much? What strange disease do I have?”
I finally arrived at Missoula and met up with one of my friends. We went to Pizza Hut where we both used to work in the early to mid 90s. We marveled at how much the place had changed. We ordered food and reminisced about the old days and all the silly/stupid/fun stuff we used to do. During this time my cough went away and, in the back of my mind, I thought that maybe I had kicked what was making me cough.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

To Vlog or Not to Vlog

Producing a video blog every day? Yeah, right.
So, I've been trying to decide if I should vlog or not. For those who are not in the know a vlog is simply a (V)ideo B(log) that's posted to a video ingester and then people can play it back and watch how your life is going. The thing is most people have fairly boring lives so talking about what you had for dinner or how you felt when you woke up would get old fast. My life is like that and a vlog would risk becoming redundant very quickly. So, if I did it I would need to do it as a way to get out of my own comfort zone and do strange new things every day. At least to have something to talk about.

I've been in that mood lately. The one where you look at your life and say, "wait a minute! I was going to do <insert bucket list items> before I died." Well, the simple fact for me is that I turned 48 on my birthday back in February and had the realization that the number of useful years I have left could be disappearing and quickly. So I really need to do something with my life. It might give younger people some comfort knowing that not all of us older folks know what we want from life. And, the fact is that most simply settle for their lot in life. To me that's sad.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Good Ol' Buck Rogers Who Was In The 25th Century

Could have been so much better.
I own the box set to Buck Rogers and the 25th Century. I used to watch this show religiously as I did
with anything with the slightest hint of science fiction that came on television. Some shows were bad and my 11-12 year old mind new it at the time. Some shows were bad and it took the sobering effects of time to realize how bad they were. Buck Rogers was one of the latter.

One of the things I used to love about those shows and movies were the lasers and laser like effects. They were bright, vivid and cool in my mind and I used to devote a ton of time trying to figure out how they did them. That meant visiting the library many times over.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Et Tu Facebook...Apparently My Page Is For Those 21 And Older

Yeah, so I should have used a white font with a black stroke.
So, I have a Facebook Page and I like to try and get people to like my page if not for the quirky and slightly strange sense of humor I have. The world needs more people like that. Of course that page supports a YouTube gaming channel that I seem to totally ignore even though I got partnered with Maker Studio. I think if I participated more that I'd probably make some descent money doing the YouTube thing.

Anyway, so I decide I'm going to promote my page by spending a few hard earned sheckles on some advertising. I go through the process of setting up some advertising. I've had other pages where I've used boosts and advertising to good success in driving traffic to my page. I thought I'd do it for this one too.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016


Spent hours watching these demos.
One of the cool things about my Amiga 1000 when I got it was that it included Amiga BASIC and a number of demo programs. When I first got the computer one of the first things I did was to fire up BASIC and watch the demos. I would eventually try my hand at programming after a bit. This was before I bought any games for the machine.

Getting used to Amiga BASIC took a bit of time as I was used to 8-bit Commodore BASIC and the reliance on line numbers. Also, I was a horrible spaghetti programmer and made judicious use of the GOTO command. It took a bit of time to grow out of that. The other thing I needed to get used to was the fact that there was a bunch more memory to do stuff in. Making big programs was, at least a bit, more feasible. I did take advantage of that.

Monday, March 21, 2016

First Encounter With The Rubik's Cube

Rubik's Cube
Rubik's Cube is still a fantastic toy.
One of the coolest things about the 80s is the pop culture that permeated everything. And one of the strongest pop culture icons of the 80s is the Rubik's Cube. Right now, as I type this, I'm looking at two Rubik's Cubes that I own. They are originals that were bought in the early 80s. Probably 1982 or 1983. When I hold them in my hand and really "feel" the weight and texture of them I can transport myself back to those days when I first held one in my hands and was fascinated by it.

Like any decade the 80s can be divided up into sections. There is the early section where a lot of what makes up the decade is defined by the decade before it. For example, in the 80s there are several songs that are considered 80s songs but were released in the late 70s. There is the middle section where the decade can stand on it's own as a decade. It is what it is. This is usually a very short time in the mid decade. One or two years at best. Then, there is the late section where the decade starts changing and starts defining what the next decade will start out as. The Rubik's Cube is an indicator of that.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

My Own Battlestar Galactica Fan Series

Except newer and cooler!
People who know me may be surprised that I had once plotted out two seasons of a Battlestar Galactica series. I was recently going through a bunch of my old stuff and found several notebooks of notes and drawings that outlined the series and some rough treatments for several scripts.

The show was to be a continuation of the original 1978 series. I did this back around 1993. Right in the middle of what I consider to be a pinnacle decade for science fiction television programming. I was even trying to figure out how I would put such a thing together because the best that I had available to me was a super 8 mm film camera, access to MCAT, a public access channel, and a strong desire to save my shekels to buy a brand new Amiga Video Toaster set up. Sure, I could have done it. It would have been a giant fan film.

Monday, March 14, 2016

6 Things Star Trek Should Do To Make Me Watch It Again

To boldly go back to where we once were.
I've watched the new Star Trek trailer off and on over the last several months, well, at least since they released it, and I just saw it again. I can honestly admit to myself that I'm sad where Star Trek is going anymore.

Like many people I was genuinely excited when I heard about the so called reboot of the series. I was anxious to see Star Trek set back in the era of The Original Series (TOS). Of course the first movie came out and I enjoyed it on a superficial level but it was, for a lack of a better analogy, like eating too much candy. Sure, it's good and tasty but after a while your body wants something a bit healthier. And, in this case, healthy meant something more cerebral.

The Simpler Days of Star Wars

Simpler Days of Star Wars
When we didn't know much about Star Wars
Long time ago in the late 70s after the Star Wars phenomenon had hit us I was able to get the following poster through a Burger Kings/Coca Cola promotion and I remember spending many hours just looking at it and taking in the details.

This was in the time between Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back came out and there was not a lot of information on the Universe of Star Wars. This was a time when Darth Vader was a bad guy straight and simple who had killed Luke's dad. Darth Vader was simply his name and not a Title.
Those days were interesting and especially so for my 9 to 10 year old self.

I often think about and sometimes talk about paradigm shifts or Copernicus moments. When one day something is a certain way and has been for as long as people can remember and within a moment the world changes in a very real and perceptible way. Suddenly things are different. Sometimes they happen overnight but usually it’s within a year to a year and a half. In my lifetime I've gone through three of them that I can think of.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Back in 1984...

With all the stuff going on over the new Ghostbusters reboot/remake I got to thinking back...
In June of 1984 Ghostbusters was released upon the United States. I was 16 and had joined Police Explorers a bit after that as a result of a classmate who was also in Police Explorers and had asked me to join.
Of course Ghostbusters was a hit and a phenomenon so, when October rolled around a local haunted house needed someone to direct traffic at their super popular (and Ghostbuster themed) haunted house. I didn't have a uniform yet so they gave me a pair of white gloves and I had to hangout with a uniformed Explorer. Our Explorer group did this to raise money for our organization.
The haunted house played the Ghostbusters theme over and over. It was on non-stop repeat and, for a while, I grew to hate that song. It took a long while before I could listen to it again.
As the night went on and the Ghostbuster's theme played for it's umpteenth time I'd gotten into the groove of directing traffic. Probably was subconsciously grooving to the song too as some sort of Pavlovian response to the music. A car pulls up and rolls down a window. A guy who looked like he had just rolled off the set of Breakin 2: Electric Boogaloo looked at me, white gloves and all, and asked me if I was some sort of white Micheal Jackson. I thought about it for a moment and replied, "yes, I think I am," which was unusual for a shy guy like me. The guys in the car, the other Explorer and I had a good laugh about it and then he continued on his way.
It's a funny story and I often think fondly back at it because now it reminds me of some sort of scene in an Adam Sandler 80s themed movie.
Those days were awesome!

It's been awhile

Actually it's been a freaking long time!!!!

My last post was in February of 2013? Sheesh!

So, I've rediscovered the blog and I hope to contribute something useful to the blog-o-sphere.

I didn't finish the dungeon diver C64 game but I've played and uploaded a bunch of Minecraft. If you want to check that out then you are more than welcome to.

Anyway, I'm off to blow off the dust this place seems to accumulated. We'll see if I can do better this time.