Saturday, 15 April 2017

London Update!

Well then, looks like I might manage a monthly update schedule on this blog with how busy things have been lately :P Busy in the best of ways though!

London Calling
Over the past month I have been very organized in terms of work and real life stuff; PocketCiv continued to be worked on but more importantly... I now work as a software developer in London! :D

It's been a fantastic experience moving to London, huge thanks to Ben Davie and the Godfreys for letting me stay at their places in London whilst I got accommodation sorted out. Really appreciated getting to stay over in between traveling all over London.

The flat I eventually settled on is rather nice. A small cosy, inexpensive place with only a 20 minute commute by train into central London. I love it when public transit is done well :3

PocketCiv version 0.1 when?
As for hobby programming project work? That has been going great too :D
London, being such a huge metropolis has places like the LoadingBar where indie game developers can meet up to work on their games and show them off to other developers. I was lucky enough to hear about and attend the BonusStage event on the 2nd of April. Got to see some neat in development games and talk to the creators :o

LoadingBar also acts as a Co-working space for inde-devs during the day, will probably visit it quite often when I'm not busy with work work :P I went along to it yesterday (good Friday bank holiday) and re-acquianted myself with the PocketCiv codebase:

Now that's a well-formed empire's territory!

Managed to re-jigger the sidebar to work a little bit better (tidied it's code too :P ) and the game has the beginnings of mouse controls and a minimap:

Still working on arrangement of sidebar contents...
PocketCiv is now looking very much like the graphical mockup I posted last month and the latest in-development version is linked on the Github repository :P

I'd love to give a timeplan for when I'll be doing the first proper v0.1 release but it just so happens that there's gonna be a Ludum Dare Compo next weekend, super stoked to get to take part in it at an in-person event this time! :D

Sunday, 5 March 2017

PocketCiv: Prototype

Time to once again resurrect my blog after far too long an absence! :D

Haha, but it hasn't really been that long considering I've been in training for proper software development and hadn't really stopped blogging during that time. As mentioned in my last blogpost as part of the training course we were called upon to do some personal blogging, documenting our time at QA's Academy. Link: QA Trainee Blog

Although half of that blog was personal posts about what we've been up to (spoilers, mine involved Dungeons and Dragons and boardgames :P ) we were also asked to write some technical articles about areas of technology that interested us. A real opportunity for me as I've been posting about things in computing that I find interesting here on this blog for years :D It hardly felt like an obligation at all!

My topic of choice for these technical blog posts was Procedural Generation, something that I have dabbled in several times (check the tag for it!) Seeing as I had previous experience with creating interactive examples of procedural content generation I decided a big feature of my technical blogpost would be such little, interactive web apps :D So many of them!

This was probably a bit of a tall order and I found it damn difficult to keep up with the intended, weekly publishing schedule (alternating from personal to technical). This was on top of our training too so I frequently finished posts off the weekend after the Friday they were due :P I'm quite pleased with the first couple of technical blogposts I did which you can see links for below:
Each of those pages has ~3 interactive web applets on the same page to mess around with, I'm pretty pleased with how they came out in terms of aesthetics and how well they integrate into the text. I can see myself revisiting the concept in the future and making some more article/demo combinations :o

(Third technical blogpost on pseudorandom number generation and procedural textures is buggy and unfinished. the fourth one; potentially on 3D mesh generation, exists only in my head in draft form :S )

It was great fun and I can see myself revisiting that series of technical blogposts in order to polish them up and post them here some day...

Wait wasn't this a blog post about a Prototype?

Yep it is! I just wanted to write an introduction to what I've been up to, maybe it should have been a separate post but the reason I'm posting again on my personal blog is to share my progress on a new Hobby project: PocketCiv!

It's so nice to be making one of these things again, my programming tasks of late have been very practical and focused on learning to use particular software tools. Extremely useful stuff and I feel like a much more competent programmer when it comes to proper serious software applications and serverside programming. Highly useful skills.

I still enjoy making my own brand of browser based toys/games and have some free time at the moment to put towards one. I'm going back to my computer gaming roots, all the way back to the original Civilization from 1991(!). The game has changed so much over the decades since then but I've always had fond memories of that neat, little DOS strategy game. It's graphics were so delightfully minimalist and clean, as it had to be due to the lack of power in PCs at the time.

So, PocketCiv is my attempt to take the basic, initial gameplay of that title and create a browser based app that has the core game loop of an early 4x Strategy game. :) It won't be complex but that's the point! Just a simple, quick experience that has you exploring a procedural world :3

I've created a prototype to stand as something of a Minimal Viable Product, the barest of essentials in simulation, display and controls. Settle on a single island, uncover the fog of war and fight other, computer-controlled factions. Victory is only by conquest at the moment and can be quite the arduous task if the starting continent is large and well populated. Sometimes you'll start on a tiny island alone too, rather extreme opposites!

The prototype can be played through a link on the PocketCiv Github repository I linked above.Read the instructions and give it a play for 10 minutes or so. It shouldn't be too tough to win a war against the AI, taking a whole island might be a challenge :P 
I'm sorry that the graphics are the most basic they can be and the controls are keyboard only. Not to mention the graphical bugs....

I can show you what I'm planning on getting the game to look like though :D A spin on the venerable, classic art style of the original Civ:

With any luck, version 0.1 of PocketCiv will look very much like this mock-up screenshot :)

Saturday, 17 September 2016

And Now The Holidays are over

Well, a blogging Hiatus that lasted the whole summer probably wasn't what I was going for :P

I can't feel too guilty about it though as I have been very busy the past few months. I've been knuckling down to finding s Software Development job and, great news, I've got one! :D

I'm currently on a training course with QA Consulting before I start work for them as an IT Consultant. Such a good opportunity to move beyond my self taught coding skills.

One of the coolest things about this course is we are going to be expected to keep a blog whilst doing it; posting personal and technical entries. So whilst I probably won't have much time for personal projects to post about here I will still be blogging over on:

(Which can also be reached by clicking on my profile picture on the right :P )

I've posted the first personal blog entry and next week will post the first technical blog post. My topic of choice for those posts won't come as much of a surprise to anyone who has been reading this blog though :D

Friday, 1 July 2016

Summer Holidays

So this blog hasn't been getting any updates for- *checks calendar* the whole of June o: . Main reason for that was that I was away on a lovely family holiday in Corfu.

Agios Georgios Corfu

So that was good, shame that I didn't spare some time to put a note up on this blog beforehand. Oh well I'll have to keep trying to keep up with weekly updates. To be fair I didn't take a computer away with me so I've not got a whole lot of coding to post :P

I've been playing a lot of German city builder games recently. Settlers 7 and Anno 1404 in particular. It's pretty likely that my next programming hobby project will be related to them.

I'll be thinking about what to develop for version 0.4 of the Voxel Editor too, what functionality would *I* as a user like to see the most?

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Voxel Editor Version 0.3

As mentioned last week I've been working away at the Voxel Editor program. Been adding so many new features that it's high time I shared them here to get feedback from people. As always the program can be found at the bottom of this post :P

Friday, 20 May 2016

Update of Progress on Voxel Editor

Now that I've mostly recovered I have been getting into some proper improvements to the Voxel Editing project, behold!

There have been some pretty big changes in the programs capabilities :D

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Binary Glyph Visualiser

Been rather unwell past week so haven't managed to get much hobby coding done.

I did mess around with a method to visualize Binary files/programs based on byte glyphs. Probably not of much utility but I really like the neat hieroglyph-like symbols it produces :3

Throw in some syntax highlighting and you get a better sense of the structure inherent in bytecode. This is a whole program from a certain bootloader, congrats if you can guess what :)