Hearthstone Ladder and Arena Simulator

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.

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Trials Fusion Bot

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.

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Sujiko Solver

January 21st, 2014

This is a partially filled in Sujiko puzzle, taken from the cover of December’s Beyond Sudoku magazine.


It’s a pretty straightforward puzzle - simply fill in the digits one to nine in the cells such that each set of four cells around the centre circles adds up to the number shown in that circle. There is more information on the inventor’s webpage here.

Since solving these puzzles is relatively easy, and having just finished reading this book, I decided to try and come up with something more interesting to do with them. I had a number of questions that I wanted to answer…

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How to mod Rogue Legacy

October 4th, 2013

One of my favourite games at the moment is indie game, Rogue Legacy. It’s a fun little game that involves hacking and slashing one’s way round a randomly generated castle.

Rogue Legacy

Me being the way I am, I couldn’t resist doing a bit of hacking of the other kind. That is, I decided to have a little poke around with the game’s data files and see if I could view them and/or modify them.

It turns out that yes, it is possible (although not straightforward!) to customise the in-game graphics. So, if you’d like to find out how to have your portrait hanging on the castle wall in your own personalised version of Rogue Legacy, then read on.

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The Shard

July 20th, 2013

The Shard

This is The Shard, currently the tallest building in Europe at over a thousand feet tall.

Want to see the view from the top?

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Zombie Apocalypse!

June 9th, 2013

Zombie Apocalypse

Here I am fresh from a recent encounter with the undead. I have no idea what has happened to my nose in that picture - perhaps that’s one of the first symptoms of the zombie virus and now my brain is going to start slowly rotting away?

This picture was taken at Zombie Apocalypse which was a very thoughtful 40th birthday present from my brother and his family. I say thoughtful … although I’m not sure what thoughts made him think sending me off to be eaten alive was a good idea!

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“Ores” Web Game Playing Bot in Python

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 …

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O2 Headphone Amplifier Project

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 headnhifi.com. All I did was buy the parts and put them together.

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

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Creating a Texture Atlas using Inkscape

November 18th, 2012

Following on from my previous article on Creating Game Graphics in Inkscape, here is a further look at how to integrate your graphics into your game engine.

Assembled Character

This time I will be demonstrating a way to combine all of your graphics into a single image file and create an XML file to describe that file in a form that your game engine can understand. This is called a Texture Atlas. Using a texture atlas (sometimes called a Sprite Sheet) allows your game engine to handle your graphics resources in a far more efficient manner than if it had to deal with individual files one by one.

My provided solution will create the files in a format that can be read and understood by the Starling Development Framework, but the method would be easy to adapt to other formats.

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Creating Game Graphics in Inkscape

November 15th, 2012

Inkscape is an Open Source vector graphics editor. I was introduced to its use in game graphics design by the articles on Chris Hildenbrand’s excellent blogsite on 2d game art for programmers.


What follows is not a guide to creating your graphics, but a set of instructions for getting your finished graphics out of Inkscape into a form your game engine will be able to understand. In a later article I’ll be going further into using Inkscape as a tool for game development.

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