Monday, 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas

Well that’s me done for another year. This hasn’t been a spectacular year for retro related stories on this blog but hopefully next year will be better. What I can say is that over the last month I’ve been working on a new design for a ZX Spectrum game. I don’t want to give too much away bit it will contain ghosts and a multi levelled mansion (no it’s not an Attic Attack remake). I don’t plan on linking it to my Iron Sphere character but I’m not ruling out a tentative link as the game design develops. As it is rare for me to have any spare time so don’t expect to see this game finished until this time next year. Hopefully I’ll be able to show some video clips of something working by the second quarter. Just like my other games, this will be released through Cronosoft (assuming they want it). 

Wishing you all a merry Christmas and a retro rated New Year.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Secret Santa

My colleagues know my interests and hobbies so well. This year my “Secret Santa” got me a short wave radio kit. That’s me sorted Christmas afternoon after a massive dinner.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Sweets at Christmas

By popular demand, here is a picture of a tin of sweets provided by the company for Christmas. As a bonus, one my colleagues brought in a cake made by his wife. We don’t go short on food here at work.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Christmas is work

I’ve just been pressganged into putting up the Christmas decorations at work. Lots of sticky tape and paper clips were used in creating a winter wonderland. Careful planning was used to cause maximum inconvenience to taller members of staff… Ho Ho Ho :)

Friday, 23 November 2012

Virgin Atlantic Challenge on a Raspberry Pi

I can now die a happy man. After a bit of fiddling I finally managed to get the game I wrote back in 1986 to run on my Raspberry Pi. The game is “Virgin Atlantic Challenge” and you play the part of Mr B. Not a great game but good to see it running again on hardware I couldn’t have dreamt of way back then.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

VNC running on a Raspberry Pi

Having a shortage of monitors around the house, I decided it would be easier to run VNC on my Raspberry Pi and connect to it remotely. I had some fun giving it a fixed IP address and amending my DHCP server to exclude this value. It took a little while to get everything to boot correctly and auto start the VNC server but I got there in the end. Here is a screenshot of the VNC client running on my Windows 8 laptop. If anyone wants some advice on how I set this all up, let me know and I’ll blog the settings etc.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Sateon Access Control

The company I work for has just released a video for the application I write. Looks pretty slick and not a line of Delphi to be seen :)

Monday, 1 October 2012

Women at EuroGamer

It was also nice to see that there were women at EuroGamer :)

EuroGamer Expo 2012

Just back from a fun day at EuroGamer in London. Loads of unreleased games to play as well as some old classics in the retro zone. Seeing manic miner playing on a real ZX Spectrum brought back memories of attending the "LET" computer show back in the 1980's. Things are a bit more hi-tech these days but still lots of fun.

I'm doing my "where's wally" impression. Can you spot me ?

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Windows 8

I am now running Windows 8 on a laptop. I can’t say I was impressed with the upgrade installer and the new UI is not very intuitive. I guess it’ll take a bit of getting used to but all the admin stuff seems hidden away. Probably great with a touch screen but with a mouse it’s a right pain. Maybe there are some keyboard shortcut keys? Need to investigate after I get Delphi running :)

Friday, 18 May 2012

A new blog for my radio interests

As I don't want to fill this blog to too much random stuff, I have created a new one for my amateur radio ramblings. If that sort of thing floats your boat, then check it out over here: M0ZQR

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Pi in action

Having now sourced all the additional bits to get my Raspberry Pi working, I finally got it powered up. I had a small issue as I didn't know what the username and password had been set to. After a quick look at the Raspberry Pi site I was able to access Debian in all its glory. Next I wrote the obligatory "hello Pi" app in Python which fortunately worked first time. Next is to buy a wireless USB dongle from eBay and to think about building a box to put all this in. Here is a screen shot of the rather "in-ya-face" background.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Friday, 4 May 2012

My Raspberry Pi is here

At long last my Pi has arrived. I've placed a Debian image on a new SD Card and will be powering her up as soon as I can find a spare keyboard and mouse. Here is a picture of her:

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Dual band transceiver

My latest new toy. I bought myself a handheld dual band transceiver that covers the 2m and 70cm bands. All I have to do now is interpret the Chinese inspired manual to get it working with the local repeaters. Now I can stay in touch, wherever I am.

Friday, 13 April 2012

DevWeek 2012

Another good set of sessions at DevWeek this year. Picked up loads of programming tips. Hope next year might have a track on programming the Raspberry Pi but I think that's probably as likely as a track on assembler :)

Had a good in depth look at Windows 8 and the new visual studio. I think Windows 8 will be good for home / phone users but I can see large companies being happy about the way the UI works with apps and normal Windows legacy applications. Only time will tell if this is Microsoft’s new “Vista”.

The Barbican in London is a great location and the sun was out all week. Here is a picture of a couple of my work colleagues enjoying the sun after some dark sessions in “the pit”. Looking forward to next year.

Pro Kart racing at Rye House

When I’m not writing games in my spare time, I take my son kart racing. Here he is at the second round of the Junior GP Championship at Rye House. This round was incredibly wet with almost continuous rain throughout all three sessions and the final race. My son did very well considering he had never raced in the wet before. These Pro Karts were running slick tyres in the rain, on a track that had standing water. Power slides were the best way to tackle the corners. Here is a picture of my son in second place after exiting the last hairpin. At the end of this year’s season I hope to invest in a kart of our own. My son will then be old enough for us to race in the Pro Kart endurance series where we will share the kart for three hour long races.

Monday, 5 March 2012

My son's first YouTube video

My son has started a YouTube channel. Check out his first video here: Minecraft

The MCTM24 animation was created in After Effects and the screen capture was created using MS Expression Encoder 4 (the joys of having an MSDN account) The video was then put together using MS Live Movie Maker.

Friday, 2 March 2012

EuroGamer Expo 2012

Just bought a couple of “early entry” tickets for the EuroGamer Expo in London. I’ll be heading straight for the retro section.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Raspberry Pi

After trying for hours I managed to get onto the Farnell website and pre-order a Raspberry-Pi. It won't be shipped to me for over a month as the first batch sold out but it'll give me some time to get my head round Linux. With any luck I'll soon have some "retro" games running on them. Check out the Pi website here: Raspberry-Pi

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Windows phone port of the remake for Cavern Fighter

Looking forward to developing my Cavern Fighter remake for the Windows phone. The first job was to dig out my old tools and see if I could extract the map data from my Delphi app into something useful. It didn’t take too long for me to use my map making tool to export the data as XML. Now that it is in a more manageable format, I can start to think how It can be used with a new rendering engine. This isn’t going to be a quick project but it makes a change from then day job.

The original level design tool

The original byte data converted into XML

Friday, 6 January 2012

Virgin Racing

My son trying to work out if anyone would spot him giving the car a quick spin. To be honest, Timo Glock shouldn’t have left the keys in the ignition :)

Pit Babes

After an exciting drive up the M1 to Coventry I was presented with the sight of a couple of girls who knew everything about motor sport....

Last exam

I’ve just completed the final amateur radio exam. This was a tricky exam but well worth the effort. My new call sign is M0ZQR, so give me a shout on 2m if you’re able.