Archive for the ‘chipwits’ Category

Channel Zilch Sellout bidding war

June 28, 2007

To my surprise and delight, my eBay auction for Clarion West is going great guns – it’s up to $36 for the naming rights to a character in Channel Zilch. Join the fun for a worthy cause:

I had 2 1,000 word days in a row. I am going to finish that novel by the end of July.

Lots of nature news – our loons have chicks. I saw them riding on top of one of the parents. This is the first Summer I’ve seen them with chicks. Hope they make it through the Summer.

A bear has stripped most of the blueberries off Ogre Island. It left mounds of its calling card all around the island to mark its territory. I’ve been eating a few berries every time I visit the island, but the bulk of them are ripped up and riding in some black bear’s tummy.

I am slowly improving ChipWits. Having a bit of problem focusing to program because I’ve restarted a seizure med. Since I’ll be driving Margaret to Seattle and visiting friends there for 2 weeks in the middle of July I think it will be August before I hold the next contest and start the countdown to release. Slow, but I am determined. The game is looking really good, but it takes more time to accomplish programming tasks with wobbly neurons.


Doug Sells Out!

June 22, 2007

The Clarion West Write-a-thon is going swell. I’ve hit my 500 word/day target every day since Sunday. I’m going to cross the 110k word line tomorrow for total Channel Zilch word count.

I’ve got an auction at eBay going for the Write-a-thon:

“Be an Astronaut or a Hacker in the Novel Channel Zilch”

I’ll let you name an astronaut or singularity hacker in the book if you win the auction. I’m proud (and a bit surprised) that it has a bid from someone I don’t know. A cheap way to have your name enshrined in high-class literature – bidding has started at $10.

Time to work on ChipWits.

Clarion West Write-a-thon Begins

June 18, 2007

It’s the second day of the Write-a-thon and I did another 500 words (529), which is my daily target. It’s great motivation to be writing in the company of the other 33 Write-a-thoners. Some of us post our progress on the Clarion West forum so there is a sense of comradery and shared purpose.

Had a great Daddy’s Day yesterday. Margaret made pancakes for breakfast and then we went swimming in the lake. In the evening we worked on GODinabox’s Flying Spaghetti Monster game and our pirates are coming to life. Here’s a peek at the dandy pirate Evelyn Bonecrusher:

Evelyn Bonecrusher Head

It’s a hoot turning the clay heads of gangsters from my 22-year old game King of Chicago into pirates. Margaret made a sweet pirate outfit for him of which we’ll be taking some photos tomorrow. I also did some painted ships and captain cabin interiors.

Last thing we did was to watch the final 3 episodes of Full Metal Alchemist, an excellent animated series. Great art, filled with non-clich├ęd dramatic situations and characters. Highly recommended. I’m sure I’ll watch all 51 episodes again.

Off to swim in the lake and then I’ll do some ChipWits work.

Lots of action on selling The Pad

May 31, 2007

Here’s the listing for The Pad. I’ve shown it to 2 people and tomorrow 2 others are taking a look. I’d say that’s a pretty good indication that it’s going to sell. Going to miss the place.

I had a great day of programming yesterday. Got the Apollo file system working. I’ll be posting a Mac version of the game next week.

I’d love to release ChipWits this month, but still am not able to schedule milestones reliably. The important thing is that I keep making progress.

Today I get Margaret into ActionScript coding. Really looking forward to it.

Had a gratifying nature adventure yesterday. A flycatcher has had a nest over our back door for the past couple of Summers. The nest came down because there were 6 fledglings weighing it down. I fixed it back with wire and a ceramic slotted bowl. As I type this I am watching the 2 parents busily ferrying bugs to their demanding brood.

Got 150 words written last night. Did some research on ion thrusters.

Got ChipWits working on the Mac

May 19, 2007

Running under Adobe Apollo. Apollo is slick. It was a cinch to convert my Flex project to an Apollo project.

I gave one last shot at getting ChipWits running under MDM Zinc and it went off into a loop that was impossible for me to debug on the Mac. So I bit the bullet and converted it to an Apollo app.

Apollo isn’t ideal because it’s in alpha right now. The installation will be a hassle because a user will need to install Apollo first and then the ChipWits.air Apollo file. When Adobe rolls out the release of Apollo installation will be a one-step deal, but for now if a player doesn’t already run Apollo they’ll need to install it manually.

I got a Mac Powerbook off eBay a few weeks ago – a 1.5 ghz G4, which will be the low-end Mac we support. I picked this Mac as the target at the suggestion of Jay Bibby of . ChipWits runs a tad slower on the Mac than my PC of the same speed, which concerns me. I may hire a Flax/Flex animation guru to review my code to help me pump up the performance of the game. Flash isn’t the speediest game platform, for sure.

It felt good to see ChipWits running stably on a Mac again after 23 years.

Major New Build of ChipWits

May 18, 2007

The latest build of ChipWits is filled with LOTs o’ new features. I really pumped up the IBOL editor. The most important features are undo/redo and multi-chip drag and drop. Both features were requested in ’84 and are finally ready for your enjoyment. Since a lot of the player’s time is spent in the IBOL editor, making it slicker is a big win for the game.

I also changed the Subpanel system, letting players create as many named Subpanels as they need rather than just A-G.

I added the new Register operators to let ‘Wits do math and have addressable variables. The ChipWit can now drop a Counter object, which has a numeric value. I am going to create Register-based missions with a CounterLock – a door that opens when a Counter with the correct value is dropped onto it.

I also added the ability to add comments to chips. This will help a lot in making IBOL programs understandable.

I am going to wait a week to get some feedback before I hold a contest.

Until then I am going to work on the Mac version and start working on a full suite of tutorial missions.

Feels great!

Flex, my ChipWits dev platform, goes Open Source

April 26, 2007

When I looked for a cross-platform game development environment over a year ago Adobe Flex was just coming out the door. Margaret was comfortable doing animation in Flash, but I was sceptical of ActionScript. When I got a look at ActionScript 3.0 I felt comfortable taking the plunge.

I’ve really enjoyed working with Flex. Today’s announcement that Adobe is open-sourcing Flex gives me even more confidence I made a good choice of platforms. Scoble has some nice vids up of interviews with core Flex devs about Adobe’s open source move.

I’ve spent the past week working on IBOL editing in ChipWits. I’ve got undo/redo working well. Got copy/paste working last night along with the start of multiple-select. Tomorrow multiple-select drag & drop. Since ChipWits players will spend the bulk of their time editing IBOL code anything I do to ease editing will pay off bigtime.

Today I also got a Mac Powerbook which I bought off eBay. It’s a G4 1.5 ghz – which is going to be our base Mac target machine at the recommendation of Jay Bibby of Jayisgames . Having a Mac version of ChipWits ready when we launch is important to me because ChipWits came out first on the Mac in ’84. Apollo is still not ready for me to use to deliver Mac ChipWits ( and Mike Chambers suggests that Apollo will be following Flex’s example ) so I will be wrestling with the killer Zinc Mac bug.

New Build and ChipWits Contest

April 3, 2007

Feels great to post a new build and kickoff a new ChipWits contest. I haven’t been very productive the past few weeks, so I can sleep well tonight knowing I’ve hit another goal.

The next few weeks are mainly about building ChipWits missions, and I had some fun with ChipWits Caves tonight. The maze is 8 rooms in a row that spell out “ChipWits” with their walls. There are 2 CDs worth 2,000 points in 6 of the 8 rooms, and those CDs don’t respawn. They are each adjacent to “islands” of walls in the center of rooms. I’ll be interested to see if any playtester codes for that condition or if blind fumbling is the most efficient strategy.

It snowed today – wet and sticking to the trunks of trees. The whole world got whiter again. With the grey sky it’s like the contrast got turned way down.

I decided to do some fish watching this evening so I took my dogs and flashlights down to the lake. It was way too wavy and snowy to see a thing in the water. But it was fun walking with a flashlight through the snow.

So I still haven’t seen a single fish after a week of open water. I wonder when I’ll see the first Central Mudminnow swimming up Mudminnow Creek? I’ve got 4 of them in my aquariums and they are cool fish with a very commanding attitude. Their spawning run is like a miniature version of a salmon run. I spent hours last Spring watching these cool little fish fight their way upstream over dams made of twigs and leaves. The water is running in the creeks but the isn’t warm enough to trigger their spawning yet.

Good day of programming

March 31, 2007

I’ve had some problems programming recently, so I haven’t pushed ChipWits forward much. So it felt good tonight to have a productive session. It looks like I will meet my goal of having a new build of ChipWits tomorrow. And I will kick off a new contest.

I added high score keeping for each mission. So players can keep tweaking their ‘wits to break the high score and high series records.

The lake has been open for days – way too early in Spring for the thaw. The past 2 years ice went out on April 9th – this is almost 2 weeks earlier. A definite result of global warming, which scares me.

The next few decades will be stressful for the plants and animals in my woods and lake. It’ll be sad to see marginal species die off. I wonder if the pitcher plants will survive? Or the flying squirrels?

It’s been too blustery to take advantage of the extra week of canoing. Maybe tomorrow.

Some Pix of The Pad

March 28, 2007

A few days ago it got to 80 here and Margaret and I had a picnic by the lake. I got back into my fish-watching relaxation groove. Margaret took some pix of ice andour wild little world.

Today it was cold but there was a huge crack in the ice so I was able to CANOE!!! All the way out to our island (which you can see in M’s pix ice8 and ice9). Believe you me I wore a life jacket. That water is near-ice.

Margaret is heading off on the train tonight to Seattle to spend time with her Ian and other friends. She’s working hard to get one last piece of ChipWits are done.

I have been rather burnt-out, so it was fun to wake up today feeling like working hard. Got a good start on a new tutorial mission designed by Margaret. It turned up a bug that I was able to track down quickly.

I am going to miss the girl. She’ll be gone on her adventure for 2 weeks. ChipWits should be released by the time she returns!