All 4 entries tagged Blobber

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May 25, 2007

My programming projects

I have several programming projects at the moment that I could work on:

Kraken prototype

There’s a game-making competition on the theme of Ocean Odyssey that VGDSoc is involved in. One of the ideas suggested was a game where you play as the Kraken, destroying passing ships.

I liked the idea, but wasn’t sure controlling a Kraken was feasible – tentacles are fairly deformable, and that’s always seemed quite complicated. So I made this prototype and decided that not only was it feasible, it was also damn cool.

Unfortunately, the competition needs to be done in XNA, which being a Microsoft thing, won’t run on Linux. Also, the competition culminates in a 48 hour session which is right in the middle of my exams…

Operation Meltdown

I want to polish off one of my games before the end of term, and since Operation Meltdown works (although isn’t yet very game-like) and Blobber was way too ambitious and is full of bugs, the decision was quite easy.

I finally got it to the stage where it contained the bare essentials of a game the other day. Then I packed it into a JAR file and it broke. Apparently you can’t read from a directory in a JAR file the same way you’d read a directory on the filesystem, so my code to load all the images in a directory broke. Okay, so I thought, I’ll do a check for that and get the directory listing another way. And I did, and it worked, so I tried uploading it.

And then it broke again when you ran it as an applet. The code was opening the JAR file containing itself and reading through the entries, but you can’t do that from an unsigned applet because you can’t read from the local filesystem. In the end, I just removed the applet version from the website; I’m not sure anybody would want to play it in applet form anyway.

Javascript for Mark

This one has the benefit of me getting paid if I do it. But it wouldn’t be as interesting as some of the alternatives, and it involves Javascript and maybe some Ajax too. I should probably do it just because I said I would ages ago and never did, though.

ezConvert for phpBB 3.0

With the release of RC1 of phpBB 3.0, I took a look at the conversion system. It assumes you have database access to the forums you’re converting from, so I’d probably have to bend it quite a bit to get it to convert from ezBoard.

The alternative is to keep it as a module in the Admin Control Panel, which is probably what I’ll do. But even though it wouldn’t require a total rewrite, I’d want to pretty it up before releasing it like that, so either way would be a fair amount of work. Probably not something I do before the exams, then.


The Web 2.0 start-ups must be mocked! And they must be mocked at the very latest by next April Fools Day.


Blobber is retired from development, probably until I start my third year project which will probably be a physics simulator. Because after failing to make Blobber work, trying something more complicated is the ideal plan…

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.

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.

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.

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