All entries for February 2007

February 28, 2007

The Little House Who No–one Loved *

Once upon a time, there was a house. People used to come from all over to see the house, because it had six bedrooms, and was therefore rare. And they would look around the house, and say, “This is a nice house. The rooms are large and having one toilet for every two people is not in the least bit unnecessary. Maybe I shall live in this house while attending a nearby university.”

But then they saw the kitchen, and went away again. “I have been tricked!” they would say. “I thought this house was nice, but now I see that it has no kitchen. Where it should have been, I instead found a small cupboard with kitchen-like objects in.”

And so the house became very lonely and sad. “Why must I have been built with such a tiny kitchen?” it groaned. “No one will live in me and I shall grow old and be demolished all alone. Oh, what a cruel fate for a poor house like me!”

Until one day, a group of six eager young students decided to live together, and they found that they should have started looking for houses weeks ago; for the only place left they could find was the sad and lonely house **. And some of them looked around the house and said, “This is a nice house. The rooms are large and having one toilet for every two people is not in the least bit unnecessary. Maybe we should live in this house while attending our university, even though it’s less convenient than Alan’s current house and he’d have to get a bike and he’s lazy.”

And then they saw the thing that the landlord called a kitchen and they said, “I have been tricked! I thought this house was nice, but now I see that it has no kitchen. Where it should have been, I instead found various kitchen-like appliances in a small storage unit.”

And they went home and decided that they probably wouldn’t get the house, but they should probably just check what the other eager young student thought even though she hadn’t seen the house and so couldn’t possibly understand the smallness of the kitchen. And so the story should have ended…

But it was not to be. In a fit of madness, one eager young student phoned up the landlord and said that the group would take the house, before happily informing the others of this. They began to think and worry, for while no one had refused to live in the sad and lonely house, equally no one seemed to be that enthusiastic about living there and maybe the collective apathy was clouding their judgement.

But then when they thought about it some more, they liked the house and took it and hopefully they all live happily ever after in the house that isn’t sad and lonely any more.

The End.

* It’s actually quite big.
** Technically untrue.

February 27, 2007

Bounty Hunter Extraordinaire

The Assassins’ Guild is running a Bounty Hunter game, where everyone knows everyone else who’s playing, and you respawn every day. When you kill someone, the bounty on your head increases. It’s about the only variant playable with only four people – I predict some nasty grudges will be formed.

I saw the president of the Guild in Costcutters while walking to a VGDSoc meeting. If the meeting had started, he would have been safe, but when I found that we hadn’t yet got into the room, I went back to wait in ambush. I could have sworn he looked at me when he came out, so I ran towards him. I think if I had stepped behind a corner instead, I could have had an easy kill as he walked past me. As it was, I had to chase after him.

He promised vengeance with his new secret weapon, which I shall be doubly on my guard for.

Later, I tried to get into Claycroft to get the other two players, but that didn’t go so well. I got someone to buzz me in, but for some reason it didn’t work. I spent a while considering my options and then decided to just go home. As I went, I noticed that a door was open and started to run to it before it closed. What I failed to notice was that it was open because one of my targets had just came out holding a large super-soaker.

It shoots further than I run, so I conceded defeat. Tomorrow I shall get my revenge.

February 24, 2007

Collision Detection

Collision detection is still really hard. I reckon I’m getting somewhere, though, mostly by ignoring what the big book says and implementing the least efficient algorithm I can understand. And then guessing what values need to be negative and which need to be positive so he doesn’t end up falling upwards. And then drawing intricate diagrams on scrap pieces of paper to understand what’s going on, only to find that the exact opposite happens for no readily apparent reason. And then re-reading my code for the 15th time, realising it’s a horrible mess but knowing that any attempt to tidy it up will break just about everything I’ve done so far, and to be honest it’s not that great anyway; I might as well break it, then I’d have an excuse to start from scratch. But then I realise that even if I were to start from scratch, it would just take me another week to get back to where I am now, and the new code would probably be even worse.

So yeah. Totally getting somewhere.

February 23, 2007


Writing about web page

The 48 Hour Game Making Competition could have gone better. I hadn’t gotten enough sleep before it, and definitely didn’t get enough during it. The result was horribly buggy (note that this is the version that I tweaked to appear less buggy than it actually is).

To fix this, I borrowed a big book on collision detection. It concentrates on 3D stuff, so it may not turn out to be very helpful, but it’s still quite interesting.

I’ve also got my teammate Sam’s game Beer compiling under Linux, but for some reason it doesn’t want to do static linking so you need to download Allegro.

February 15, 2007

Computer Science and irony

Apparently, Computer Science lectures have the worst attendance rate out of all degrees at Warwick. This shouldn’t exactly shock anyone – computer scientists are about as lazy as you can get without actually becoming a humanities subject.

When I heard this, I smugly mentioned that I’ve actually managed to not miss any of my lectures so far this term. All the modules are interesting enough to wake up for.

That was on Tuesday evening. Wednesday morning comes, and of course I find that I’ve overslept and can’t be bothered to get in.

(In my defence, I was at someone else’s house which is much further away than my nice house in Canley, and their clock was wrong. Plus, it doesn’t count if I end up dropping that module.)

February 14, 2007


Why do we have the expression “brain like a sieve”? Sieves are highly useful kitchen utensils and make an excellent analogy for the brain – you should sift through large amounts of information, breaking it into smaller piece of information that can be processed separately. The only reason you could possibly have a problem with a sieve is if you were to somehow mistake it for a strangely flimsy wok. So the next time you catch yourself using that phrase, qualify it by appending “but not like a good sieve, like a bad wok-sieve hybrid that leaves your food in a gooey mess on the floor”.

There’s another 48 hour game making competition this weekend. Should be good, especially since I have some experience of making games this time. I’m hoping to get Operation Meltdown to a vaguely-complete state before then, so I can spend the next 3 months finishing whatever we start at the weekend. It should just be a case of ending the game if you destroy all the regulators.

I got asked some questions by some people with a big camera. But I went with my usual plan of just saying the first thing that sounds vaguely philosophical. The witty thoughts didn’t appear until afterwards. And since the new, witty thoughts are much better answers, I have to wonder if my non-witty answers mean these people now look down on me like scum. Not to worry though, it’s not as though they knew me. Oh, wait…

Apparently, I have demonstrated outstanding achievement in my degree course. I think that before congratulating me on that, they should give me some kind of short questionnaire. “Did you do any work for your outstanding achievement? Yes/No (pick one)”. And then I could say no, and then they could go bother someone else.

February 07, 2007

Programming stuffs

Worked some more on Operation Meltdown. Apparently, last time I did that, I was rewriting the input handling. I left it after removing the old code but before adding the new code, so you had a totally non-interactive view of people wandering around a power station. Fixed that, and also added the code to do something when you die. It won’t be very much work now to re-add the introduction text and the explosion drawing.

I also joined one of the VGDSoc projects. I added water, which currently looks like white squares spawning next to other white squares. Unfortunately, sometimes the water level on one square decides to increase and increase and increase, totally ignoring my clever code to spread to adjacent squares if they have a lower level of water. I never knew that fountains were a natural phenomenon…

Killed the Chief Inquisitor of the current Assassins’ Guild game yesterday, making me Corrupt and a valid target for all ten or so people playing. The turnout for Assassins’ Guild things has been exceptionally poor this term. I think we need to advertise on Facebook – I met one of James’s friends from home recently and he’s taking part in Loughborough’s first Assassins’ Guild game. Apparently it has about 70 people playing, and was mostly advertised through Facebook.

Went to Chocfest, the only juggling convention to combine chocolate cake and juggling. I won the highly prestigious last place prize in the Chocfest Chocolate Cake Competition with my cake that sort of looks like a mutated cookie but inside is fudgey but I was hoping it wouldn’t be. Got some good (and painful) club juggling done as well.

February 01, 2007

The adventures of Data Structure the data structure

I have spent the last 12 hours writing a pitiful amount for our group software project documentation. Very slowly. But I also wrote a cheerful and uplifting story about a data structure which James won’t let me put in an appendix.

Once upon a time there was a lonely data structure who had no friends. So he talked to the great programmer in the sky, who told him that if he really wanted, the data structure could be used in the algorithm the programmer was making. And the data structure was happy, because he would get to meet new and interesting data structures. Maybe he’d meet a charming young lady data structure, fall in love and get married.

Which just goes to show you that programmers are great and you should suck up to them more.

I have a 9:00 seminar tomorrow in which I’m meant to be enthusiastically Solving Problems. Nuts.

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February 2007

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