All entries for March 2007

March 25, 2007

Physics engines are complicated

I’m trying to actually read the Game Physics book rather than just skimming through it. That helps it make more sense, but there’s still far too many equations in it.

I’m finding that I have learnt a lot of the stuff it’s talking about. But not in Computer Science lectures, oh no. The only useful maths has been from the optional modules I took last year like Mathematical Programming 1 and Introduction to Quantitative Economics. Which is annoying, because IQE was rubbish and I’d hate to actually use any of it.

Working on Operation Meltdown, I was shocked to find code comparing strings with == rather than equals(). That broke horribly (as it ought to) when I changed things. The compiler really ought to give warnings for that type of thing.

I now have the code to iterate through all images in a directory in a jarfile, though, so I no longer need to manually load each image by name.

March 20, 2007

Cutting your nose off to spite your face

My brother Ian spent yesterday being a rebellious teenager, because I stopped him watching cricket after about 2 hours to play Twilight Princess. So when told that if he cooked some tea, he could watch more cricket afterwards, he decided to pretend to do so, while actually creating some bizarre concoction. It involved slicing an onion in half, sticking uncooked spaghetti in the top like cocktail sticks, and then sticking slices of ham on top of that. And then he ate it. I really wish I’d taken photos of it now.

“Carbohydrates, protein and vegetables – a balanced meal”

Then when I told him he had to wash up, he locked himself in the toilet with his iPod. I tried pointing out that was a total waste of time, but apparently any activities other than watching cricket are a total waste of time anyway. Later, he came out, still didn’t want to do it, and locked himself in the other toilet, sans iPod – which has got to be even more boring than watching cricket.

I have replaced the Collision Detection book with a Game Physics book. Unfortunately, I don’t understand a lot of what it’s saying, so it’s not a huge improvement. Still, work on Blobber proceeds.

March 10, 2007

Juggling for fun and profit (or charity)

I’d agreed to do some juggling for a busking festival today. I had expected that I’d just be there on my own, entertaining whoever might walk past—it was not so.

There was a whole crowd there, which was quite daunting. Especially since I knew that I had a limited number of tricks, and had been relying on people passing through not being able to notice when I did exactly the same trick five minutes later. But even though it seemed highly repetitive to me, it seemed to go down well. I even thought up a new trick and managed to do it at least twice; although since it’s not very flashy, it’s quite likely that nobody noticed/cared.

In the end, I think I juggled for about 15 minutes at a time, three times. After I’d gotten used to the audience, I got quite into it. So much so, that I was still juggling at 4:00 when Jen phoned me, and I had to dash across campus to her presentation about the Four Colour Theorem.

The group project is not as far along as it should be. It’s due in on Thursday and the implementation still isn’t finished. And once it is, there’s a large amount of writing to be done about it.

Collision detection is still really hard.

March 03, 2007

Bounty Hunter Extraordinaire (Part 2)

Follow-up to Bounty Hunter Extraordinaire from Draknek's Deprecated Devlog

I’m really liking this Bounty Hunter game; it lets you try different tactics with few consequences if it all goes wrong. The fact that I’m winning might also help.

On Tuesday, I tried to get revenge on the guy who killed me. I snuck in the back of his lecture to verify he was in there, and then tried to predict which exit he’d use. Unfortunately, he’d seen me come in and changed his exit strategy accordingly. He managed to sneak up on me due to some bad placement decisions.

This meant he’d now killed me twice, which was a state I wasn’t too happy with. The next day I instead chose to wait outside the building, and this worked better. I was able to hide behind a corner as he walked past and shoot him from behind. Then I went back home to waste the entire rest of the day.

But he was still one kill up on me, so my vengeance was not yet complete. I tried surprising him early Thursday morning, but nothing came of it. I also waited near some lectures for the other players, but the only thing I learnt from that was that it’s much more difficult to recognise people from above/behind. But I get lucky – as I’m walking home, I manage to accidentally catch my prey on his two minute trip to submit work.

This places me in the lead, and I’m happy to continue my killing streak the next day. I kill one of the other players before his early morning lecture, and later, I happen to see the other across the road as I come outside. Running to kill him, my phone fell on the ground and is now slightly broken, but the important thing is that I got him.

I tried to take out the third and final player, so I could have killed them all in one day, but it turned out that he’d foolishly got himself killed already, by the guy I killed not more than 10-15 minutes later.

I’m away for the weekend, and after that I may give everyone a few days of peace. See if they work up the courage to try to take me out.

March 02, 2007

I want a laptop

A laptop would make going home/coming back easier. It would also be useful for VGDSoc stuff like competitions and coding sessions. I’d probably install Windows on it for game-making, but since it would probably become my main computer, I’d have to have another OS for general use.

If that were Linux, I’d have to make sure I got a laptop that was mostly compatible. Wireless is meant to be especially problematic.

Or I could get a Mac, which would mean I wouldn’t have to worry about compatibility. But I haven’t really used OS X at all, so it would be a bit annoying if I didn’t like it. And I’d have to find and install Windows myself.

I think I’m leaning towards getting a Mac at the moment. But even if I do decide to do that, do I buy one soonish or wait until a new version of OS X comes out?

New blog location

After a hiatus of several years, I’ve started blogging again at

My website

Looking for more information about Alan Hazelden? Follow me on Twitter or go to my website.

March 2007

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