Archive for the ‘Technical’ Category

Blender Scout Car

Monday, December 17th, 2018

This was a quick model I put together to try out some low-poly modelling techniques. The goal was to produce a model that could be used in a game engine such as Unity, running on a low-end mobile device.

Scout Car Render

I was inspired to make this after watching Garret_R, one of the developers of the game Parkitect, streaming himself creating rollercoaster car models for their game.

Read on for more pictures…


Z3 Puzzle Solver Examples

Sunday, December 17th, 2017


The one thing I enjoy more than solving logic problems is writing computer programs to solve logic problems.

Microsoft’s Z3 Theorem Prover is a very handy tool for doing this.

You can find my collection of example puzzle solvers here.

So far it includes solvers for Border Sum Sudoku, Chain Link Sudoku, Futoshiki, Mosaic, Stars, Suguru and Sujiko.

The End Is Nigh

Friday, August 4th, 2017

The End Is Nigh

The End Is Nigh is a fun game that I have been playing recently by Edmund McMillen (and Tyler Glaiel), creator of Super Meat Boy, amongst other things.

One of the things I particularly enjoyed in the game were the collectable game cartridges that unlocked mini-games within the main game. I loved the retro-style title screens that each of the games has, although I was a little frustrated that you don’t get long to look at them in game and that they are displayed with a retro television effect which blurs the images.

So, I set about to see if I could find the images inside the game code.

Here’s what I found …


CodinGame with Visual C++

Saturday, April 29th, 2017

I’ve been enjoying some of the challenges and contests at recently.


There was one thing about the site that frustrated me, which was that their web IDE only supports code in a single file. This isn’t such an issue for small problems, but as your code gets more elaborate it becomes more and more of a nuisance finding things and moving around in the file.

While they provide some nice features to help with that, such as code folding, my preference is to write regular C++ code, complete with header files, and to do that in an editor of my choosing.

So, here’s how to set up Microsoft Visual Studio for doing proper C++ development for CodinGame.


DIY Arcade Joystick

Saturday, October 24th, 2015

I recently received a couple of arcade fighting games in some software bundles I bought from Namely, Skullgirls and Street Fighter IV. While they are both playable with a regular XBox controller, they are designed to be played with a proper arcade style joystick. Like this one:

DIY Arcade Joystick - v2.0

This is my DIY Arcade Joystick made for roughly £20 using only basic tools. Read on for details on how I made it.


How to connect a Commodore 64 1541 disk drive to your PC over USB

Sunday, March 29th, 2015

I recently dug out my old Commodore 64 computer hoping to retrieve some of the old code I wrote when I was younger. It was my plan to transfer it to my PC so that I could run it using the Vice C64 emulator.

C64 1541 Connector

As I no longer own a television I couldn’t connect up the C64 and see it working. Even if I could, I’d still have been left with the problem of how to get the data from the 5.25″ disks and onto the PC. There was a mass of outdated information on the internet about how to make a cable to connect to a PC parallel port, but it’s been many years since PCs have had those. There were also a couple of nice looking products for extracting data from floppies (Kryoflux) and for connecting a drive over USB (ZoomFloppy) but given that I didn’t even know if my disks would still work, I didn’t really want to pay a lot of money for one of those.

And then I found this article. I don’t own a Teensy, however, I do own the very similar Minimus AVR and it turns out that it was perfect for the job!

Read on for instructions on connecting your Commodore 1541 to your PC, no special electronics knowledge required.


Hearthstone Ladder and Arena Simulator

Friday, August 8th, 2014

One of my favourite games at the moment is Blizzard’s online card game Hearthstone.


This article is about my attempts to answer the following questions about the game:

Roughly how many games would I expect to have to play and win to reach Legendary rank in Ladder play?

How good a player would I need to be to make a profit (in in-game gold) playing Arena?

Read on for the answers.


Trials Fusion Bot

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed playing both Trials Evolution and the recent Trials Fusion sequel. The Trials games are physics-based off-road motorcycle simulators, requiring the player to negotiate tricky ramps and obstacles, using just throttle, brake and leaning the rider forward and back.

Trials Fusion

The objective of the game is to complete each track as quickly as possible with a minimum number of faults. Since levels play out exactly the same each game, this game seemed to me to be the ideal candidate for adding some automated assistance.

I pondered how to do this for quite some time, trying various ideas. Eventually I came up with a solution I was happy with.


“Ores” Web Game Playing Bot in Python

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Recently whilst looking up information on the internet I came across this tutorial on How to build a python bot that can play web games. I’ve written similar things myself before, but this looked like a nice simple method, so I thought I’d give it a go.

This is the game I picked as my target:

Ores Web Game

(You can play it here)

The goal - to write a program that will automatically play the game exactly the way a human player would play. That is, using only the information visible on screen with no behind the scenes fiddling or poking with the game’s code.

And here’s how things worked out …


O2 Headphone Amplifier Project

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

O2 Headphone Amplifier

I made this! It is a headphone amplifier for use with my Sennheiser HD650 headphones.

I’d love to be able to claim that I designed it, too, but that wouldn’t be true. It was designed by NwAvGuy and sold as a self-assembly kit by All I did was buy the parts and put them together.

Read on to see what’s inside and how I got on …