Category Archives: Uncategorized

Fun with game character movement (1920s automobile)

Screen Shot 2015-05-23 at 9.26.38 AMThis is my first blog post in almost a year!  Let me introduce, very briefly the current experimental game I’m working on. This is a card+board+actionfigure game, themed on the italian mafia of the 1920s.  I will remove this paragraph here, when I’ve got a better introductory blog post written.

Last night the cars were functioning like busses or taxis. Public transit, anyway.

The valuable point and planned mechanic is to prevent a game player from attacking too early. In Risk, a player can attack quickly by adding all his/her new bonus armies to a single space and attack during round 2. That often fails so people often bulk up an offensive force, but neighbouring opponents always see that and bulk up their defence of adjacent regions with their own bonus armies.

Screen Shot 2015-05-23 at 9.26.27 AMLikewise in this game, attacking could possibly take place early, but the following idea came up in brainstorming: let’s prevent early attacks by limiting the access to vulnerable opponents too early, by requiring a car for one-or-more associates to travel together, and form a decent attack force.  Thus, is the inclusion of stylish 1920s automobiles. Currently 3D modelled is the Studebaker Erskine.  This restriction of attack rule is applied even if the target location is just across the street, or against a next-door neighbour (same side of street).

The development of the cars was a challenge at first, because of the conditions to check for the appropriateness of the game space it was traveling to. Actually, that’s because of the placement of playable characters was done earlier, and I was using the same logic and UI control for drag-drop, and so I copy-pasted the if-statement conditions.  All conditions for if a character (and/or car) should be put onto a game space were amalgamated into a single gigantic, horrible, unreadable condition:

        if (gamespace.iscontrollable == true &&
            (gamespace.playerturf == this.currentplayer && (gamespace.playerowner == -1 
||gamespace.playerowner == this.currentplayer))
            || (gamespace.buildingtype == building.buildingtype.park && 
(gamespace.playerowner == -1 
|| gamespace.playerowner == this.currentplayer))
            ) &&
    gamespace.associatescount <gamespace.associatesmax
            ) {
             // gamespace is accessible and isn't overloaded and can receive new playable character so do that here

I broke up the multi-level nested if-statements early in the car development, to make progress easy and rateable.

During development I’ve disabled the maximum-per-space limit on cars and playable characters, so the following is missing that point.  It eventually came down to this:


  1. Is the space controllable? (any home-turf buildings , and parks)
    1. Is this a car being moved?
      1. is this game space within the current player’s home turf?
        1. is this game space owned by no one?
          1. ALL GOOD, not owned by anyone, move the car
        2. is this game space owned by the current player?
          1. ALL GOOD, move the car
        3. is this game space owned by some other player?
          1. BATTLE MODE
      2. is this game space within any other player’s home turf?
        1. is this game space owned by no one?
          1. ALL GOOD, not owned by anyone, move the car
        2. is this game space owned by the current player?
          1. ALL GOOD, move the car
        3. is this game space owned by some other player?
          1. BATTLE MODE
      3. is this a neutral area like a park (the only alternate to home turf regions)?
        1. is this game space owned by no one?
          1. ALL GOOD, not owned by anyone, move the car
        2. is this game space owned by the current player?
          1. ALL GOOD, move the car
        3. is this game space owned by some other player?
          1. BATTLE MODE

The separation of conditions made this so easy to manage, I immediately migrated the code back into the character-movement decision making, to replace the single gigantic, horrible, unreadable condition previously above, but changing the ALL GOOD bits according to the rule restricting game players to move single characters into opponent turf or any other area occupied by an opponent.

All-in-all, it worked out very well.  During construction, it was fun to break rules, find myself driving a car to an opponent game space where an opponent character was standing, and loading that enemy into the car and driving it back to my own home turf, just because the code allowed for it.  Like a taxi rather than a practical game element, it was just a bit of fun messing around with rules during development.


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Roma, Queensland July 26-November 5, 2013

When I flew back to Australia from South East Asia, I decided to go to Brisbane, the capital of Queensland, on the east coast because I had never been there before. I caught a flight into Perth and then an overnight flight across Australia into Brisbane.
I arrived early on Saturday July 20. I had spent more money in SE Asia than I had budgeted for so I decided to look for a job right away. I also wanted to apply for my Australian tax return because their tax year is July-June instead of the calendar year. I printed off some resumes and then downloaded the government’s free tax return program. I also registered to take a coffee barista training course on the following Tuesday, to develop some coffee making skills in hopes of getting a day job at a cafe in the city. Australia doesn’t really do percolated coffee. Everywhere sells espresso, cappuccinos and lattes. At home they actually use instant coffee or have a cappuccino machine!
When I downloaded the tax return program it wouldn’t work so I called their technical support team and was told that my macbook’s operating system is too old so the program wouldn’t work. I had to go to a tax agent 🙁
On Monday morning I found a backpacker travel agency that also helps foreigners with their tax returns and I got that sorted out. What a relief! I walked out the door and noticed a sign next door advertising help in finding jobs for backpackers. I inquired and walked out with a job starting the following Saturday at a country pub and restaurant in a town six hours inland from Brisbane, called Roma.
Over the next couple of days I saw some of the sights in Brisbane and prepared to go to Roma on the Friday morning bus. I also got to visit with my friend Suzy, whom I worked with in Alberta while she was on a working holiday visa for Canada. I also took that barista course and had a great time!
When I arrived in Roma I was pleasantly surprised that the town was bigger than I was led to believe. Where I was to work, the Commonwealth Hotel, is one of about five properties in town providing a sports bar, pokies (coin slot gambling machines), a lovely restaurant and rooms for rent upstairs.”The Comm” also has a liquor store and TAB machines to place sporting & racing bets. It is quite a popular place! I trained to work the good service till in the bar and to work in the restaurant, and from the on try scheduled me to do food running full-time, delivering the food from the kitchen to the bar and to the restaurant when it was ready. I guess with my previous experience I could carry more than the other girls and I easily became familiar with the menu. In this job I also had to help out in the bar and the restaurant when they became busy. A couple of times each week I would also do morning cleaning of the property -vacuuming and mopping floors, cleaning the windows and counters, cleaning the pokies machines, cleaning rooms upstairs, etc. I was glad if this because food running was generally only about 5 hours or so per day. Some days were very busy and I stayed longer to help out and some days were quiet so I only worked my food running hours.
It was an alright job and I or along with the other girls well enough.
There were a bunch of Irish girls, one Scottish girl, one English one and a German girl besides me. All of us lived upstairs in shared rooms like dorms, with a common bathroom and a “kitchen” (a fridge on its last legs, a microwave, kettle and wok) and lounging area. We also had a balcony and washing machine that we could use for free! I was so happy to have my own bed and wardrobe, to not have to live out of my backpack for the next few months!
I liked Roma – the community, my job – both my coworkers and the clientele, and having a regular pay cheque was nice too! Also our chefs in the kitchen were really good and staff could get meals off the menu for $10 which is a pretty good deal. Time passed and I was having fun. I booked all the flights I would need for my inwards travel, right until flying into Toronto in February 2nd.
I did take a four day vacation in September to the coast to see my friends from Phillip Island, Rachel, Jamiee and Will, when they took a holiday on the East Coast. We went to Warner Brothers MovieWorld theme park as well as SeaWorld.
I end ed up staying in Roma until November. Melbourne Cup, Australia’s largest horse race and practically a national holiday, was November 5 so I told my boss I would stay and work until then. It was a very busy day! We all worked at least 10 hours and then I did a whirlwind job of packing my stuff and off I went to take the overnight bus to Brisbane. My working holiday visa was expiring on November 7 so I had to leave the country. I met with my friend Sothea for a couple of hours in Brisbane before I caught an evening flight to Auckland, New Zealand on November 6.





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The Overland


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Fight narcissism! Social media can drive self and social improvement

I have lived in several places. The latest arrangement has me living in a nice town house.

And the unfortunate thing about living in this place or anyother townhouse, is the risk of bad neighbors… They are so close by, their quirks are inescapable. So if they like to park extra vehicles all over their yard, when there is perfectly good spare parking 30 second walking distance down the street, or their anklebiter dog barks every 2 seconds for hours straight, every day (no exaggeration), or they play blaring music and their subwoofer sends bass through the wall every day, then you can guess a persons quality of life might drop.

So an idea came to me recently, seems social media may also be taken this way, at times.

I had used Facebook, for the full time I’ve had an account, to spew words that some people would find amusing, but not caring how everyone might take it. And it was more for my own ammusemrnt much of the time. I dare say, mildly narcisistic.

A few months ago, one person on my friends list posted a picture that shocked me. It wasn’t the type of picture that is so totally out of character that forces a person to bring it up, and others probably enjoyed the picture, so I said nothing. But what I did do is reduce my use of the social media for low-quality status posting. And low quality photo sharing.

My interest is shifting more to the career focus, to increase my leverage of these social media to earn more. So like a good neighbour, I won’t cause a big scene if a neighbour is doing something annoying, but carefully, tactfully bring it up so they can choose to correct the situation. And at the same time, I will use the momentum of social betterment to build up more momentum of self-betterment.

One thing d like to bring up: I really like “the good bike project Toronto”. Google search for that, you will find the story of an amazing real-world social improvement social media project.

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POS (point of sale) custom setup with hardware

Nearly complete is one of my recent projects: setup a new store in town, in whatever ways I can help.

What it has involved, includes website, printed products (loss-leader notepads, business cards, etc), cellular network payment processing, point-of-sale payment processing and inventory and account management, plus media hardware and software, and multiple security systems and redundancy systems.

What that boils down to is: a lot of work, a large amount of little bits that all need to be collected from a dozen sources and assembled into one clean solution.

Most is not too difficult. Security system? well, the business location will have metal bars welded across the windows and doors, and security mesh wire along the warehouse door. But the cameras I’m buying will need to be placed in good locations, installed and wired to the main box, and that hooked into the network. Not so big of a problem.

But getting the point of sale software and hardware is a big confusion. Because there is a lot of unknown variables. Right now I’m struggling to find an Ingenico 3070 device, or a similar product. Also setting up the accounting is not too tricky, but the software being used is Simply Accounting, and it has no built-in point-of-sale functionality, but requires a third-party application.

So this third party application must have all the connectivity to hardware like a barcode scanner and cash drawer. Unfortunately, there is no way to test it because there is no trial version of the software.

So in a nutshell, this post is a bit of a rant (for the moment), about point of sale operations and hardware being confusing, fractured and such.

However, I have found a couple good resources out there.

While typing this blog post, I searched for “open source pos software” and found, among others, the following:

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Useful content vs entertaining content

There is a great conversation in the movie Morning Glory. It is a quick debate about the quality and value of news and information.
Are cold-hard facts more important than candy-coated trivia?

I’m considering a reorganization of this blog, and conversion into more of a discreet page format, rather than a huge blog page greeting any visitor.

First up: Converting the “About” page to a “Contact” page.

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