Showing posts from 2012

Dream Game

I had a dream that I was playing a game where Alison was seriously kicking my butt. It was like playing Othello against her for the first time.

I woke up in the middle of the night and wrote down the rules of the game. The brain dump, and my responses to it are below:

Players take turns.

Tiles are laid out in matrix.
I recall that the tiles were rectangular and colored as if they were fields. They are called in my notes "Kingdom Tiles" later on

Level starts out at 0
As I recall, the level was kept track of with a token on a level track, with each level corresponding to a specific resource.

The following are options I enumerated for possible turns

1) destroy opponents Kingdom Tile based on Level current
As I recall, you could only destroy tiles from the outside of the opponents matrix, and you also could only destroy the tile that corresponded to the current Level (so, if the Level track read 3 you could destroy their leftmost (or rightmost if you were to their right) til…

Selecting to copy in Emacs

I just installed a new version of Emacs, and found that my beloved copy to the clipboard via mouse selection was removed.

I really enjoyed this feature. made it so that when I was copying info out of an emacs buffer to another program I would just have to select it with the mouse.

It was that easy. No keystrokes, no other clicks, just select it with the mouse.

If you want this functionality back it is possible to get it back by modifying your .emacs file with the following:

(setq mouse-drag-copy-region t)

Dungeon Generator

Apparently there is some interest in how I made my dungeon generator. As of yet it outputs pretty basic maps, but there is enough there to build off of (in my opinion).

The code is in C#. It is supposed to simulate a human picking up square tiles that are one of the following: passageways (dead end, straight, turns, Ts and intersections) or rooms (vaults, one exit, two exit, three exit, or four exit) and placing them in an n by m grid configuration so as to make a maze of passageways and rooms.
The call to generate a map looks like this:
MapBuilder mb = new MapBuilder(); mb.Build(6, 4, 1);
And the output looks like this:

│╔═╗┬═ ├╝╦╬╬. │$╬┼└┤ ╠┴╬╬═┘

That translates to this:

The input that I gave for this example was larger than I would usually give. if you cut off the right two columns and the bottom row:

│╔═╗ ├╝╦╬ │$╬┼
It gives a far more nethack like dungeon (7 rooms + a vault on a level would not be unusual.)
Having upstairs and downstairs placed would be simple (though in my ascii condens…

The Weekend of Ill-Health

Early last week I mailed out another set of playtest copies of Polynesia. I didn't get a ton of feedback from the last set I mailed, but perhaps this time will be better.

The girls have been sick recently, and Friday I even fell ill. I usually don't get sick, but apparently being in close contact with three sick people was enough to push me over the edge. I ended up with a sinus headache, a fever, and general tiredness.

By Sunday I was feeling fairly well, but Andrea had a fever, pink eye, _and_ an ear infection, so we kept her home from church. It was pretty miserable.

We had a visit from Mom and Dad. They came over and dropped off food and treats since we were sick. It was nice, and Andrea is doing better today. (I am feeling much better myself.)

During the weekend I coded a small program that generates mazes that are topologically similar to 'Rogue' levels. I am thinking of making another card game - this one based on Nethack and other roguelikes. You will draw til…

16 tips for aspiring suburban goat owners

I thought that I would put together some thoughts about owning a goat (to share the wisdom that I have acquired in the months I have had since I have gotten goats.)

If your goat gets something blocking it's teat (in our case that caused either the milk to not come out or the milk to spray in all sorts of directions) then you can place the teat in warm water for a minute or two before milking and that will probably clear the blockage.Pour your milk into mason jars and put them directly into the freezer for ~40 minutes to chill them really fast (it makes the milk milder in flavor)Instead of using a big stainless steel pail to milk into, you can milk directly into the mason jars that you are planning on chilling the milk in. Just milk directly into the filter, using a metal ring to hold the filter in placeUse coffee filters instead of the expensive filters. They drip slower, but they are 20 times cheaper (if you buy the basket shaped ones they even fit a mason jar almost perfectly)Buy…


Things are going well over here. The holiday season is on its way and we are taking it fairly easy.

This last week we discussed with Andrea the Poulson's family tradition of having a new years eve talent show (to show off things that you learned this year). Andrea said: "Sara learned to grab, and Rea learned to take things away from Sara"

This has recently become a problem. Sara will grab everything and try to bite it, and Rea doesn't like her toys being grabbed. Rea is getting better, but still she sometimes dislikes her toys being bitten.

We told Rea that she can buy Christmas presents for her family members, and she liked the idea, so she pays us 3 'tokens' (which she gets by going to bed without any trouble, cleaning up, and using the potty) to take her to the store. She then gets to pick out one gift. So far she had bought a package of cinnamon bears for Alison, a plush turtle (from the DI) for Sara, and a bunch of plastic grapes for Me.

The turtle was …

These things ought not so to be

We had our church Christmas party this week. As we were getting ready for it we dressed andrea up in a Santa Claus suit. I was narrating as we strapped Sara into her car seat
"With this coat and this hat, Rea looks just like Saint Nick.
All she needs is a reindeer...
Rea looked around"

She did start looking around for a reindeer as I continued to quote:

"But, since reindeer are scarce, there was none to be found."

She cut me off at this point. She had grabbed the decapitated horse head on a stick toy and triumphantly raised it over her head:

"Here is a reindeer!"

She then began to ride the new reindeer around the room.

the 30th marked the end of work on Dancing Robots. I think that I will polish it up a bit and release it as a PnP game.

Here is a link to the current rules document.

This Saturday we made another cheese. it was a derby. I swear that it is far bigger than 5 lbs (but I have not yet weighed it.) It is the biggest cheese we have made yet. It ha…

Hearse Karma

You all know that I play Nethack. Recently I have been playing Unnethack as well. The reasons for this are that Nethack has not been updating for a while, and Unnethack has added some interesting features.
One thing that I like about both games is that when your character dies it is dead for good. An interesting add on to that is that the game sometimes saves the level of the dungeon where a character died so that future characters can find it and interact in some way with the other adventures in the dungeon (looting their corpses). These save files are called 'bones files'.
On multi-user systems the bones files that you meet will often belong to other players, but on modern windows boxes you almost never have two players playing on the same installation of Nethack. This means that all of the bones files you meet are boringly going to be your own files.
Enter Hearse.
Hearse is a program that takes your bones files and replaces them with bones files from other people's comp…

Happiness and cheer

We are home from California. It was fun, but I am also glad to be back.
We asked Andrea what she wanted for Christmas, and her list was as follows: 1) Hershey's Kisses 2) Wet wipes (to play with) 3) A "Mommy's hand" toy (whatever that is) 4) More picture scripture books
Sounds pretty easy to fulfill.
I am looking to get a new cheese fridge for Christmas so that I can up my cheese production in the spring when both of our goats are producing milk.
During the stay in California apparently Lala had more problems with her udder - they appear to have gone away since we got back, but she is producing far less milk than she did up until recently. Now the question is: To cull or not to cull?
I have ordered another printing of Polynesia. We played some games over the holiday that cause me to want to retool trading, but that is being put on hold until at least the end of November as I am still working on dancing robots.
Dancing robots is fairly simple and pretty fast as well. …

The last Non-Unicorn

We went to California this week.

So far we:
Went to the beach (it was a little too cold to swim without a wetsuit, but Alison had one, so she did it). We looked for shells and built some sand castles. I climbed over a rock outcropping and found the grave of the lobsters. I found two entire dead lobsters and the parts of at least eleven more. It was pretty cool.
We also went to the Poulson's ward building on Sunday. I never knew any of them, but it was fun for the Poulsons.
We went to the zoo and saw all of the animals (except, as Andrea will tell you, the rhinos). She liked the 'Unicorns' best (which were actually freaky looking goat-antilopes named Takins).
She also loved the bones (in the labrea tar pits exhibit) which were, according to her, 'in the walls'.
We also played some more games of Dancing Robots (one game with Alisons mom who is completely not a gamer). She seemed to understand fairly well what was happening, and she pulled off a massively awesome '…

Those decapitated horse head on a stick toys

What a snow storm! In Sandy we got over 2 ft of snow. Additionally Alta (The ski resort east of us) just opened up this morning (which is earlier than usual).

We pretty much just stayed home on Saturday and enjoyed our warm house (I walked off our property once to shovel the end of the driveway, but other than that we were home the whole day.)

It seems like Lala (our goat) has mastitis. She has been spraying milk in all sorts of crazy directions when we try to milk her. I am going to buy a test today to see if she really does. Until then we are pasteurizing our milk (which makes it stronger flavored.)

Andrea and Sara are doing well. Andrea made her own pizza the other day. She didn't really flatten it enough, so it was more like a roll with pizza toppings. She likes to help her little sister Sara out, and gives her hugs often. She also offers Sara to ride on her rocking horse (we have a movie of that, but I forgot to pull it off the camera.)

The other day Andrea didn't want to…

I don't want pretend juice!

Rea: "I want juice"
Me: "Then drink all your water"
Rea: "Rea is pretending to drink her water"
Me: "Dad is pretending to pour you juice"
Rea: "I don't want pretend juice!"

Also: A month long blog about Dancing robots.

We are all goat-men

This week:
For Halloween we went to my parent's house and Andrea trick or treated at perhaps 15 houses.

November 1st marked the first day of both NaNoWriMo and NaGaDeMo. I am participating in NaGaDeMo, and Alison is in NaNoWriMo. NaNo is fun, but I didn't want to take that much time away from developing Polynesia.

The game that I decided to make is "Dancing Robots". So far I am not too far along. I have a basic rules doc, but not even all of the rules are defined, and most of the cards are not yet created.

I read Harry Potter and the Natural 20 this weekend. It was pretty funny (though it is not a complete story yet). D&D folks - you will find it a fun read.

I also have been reading a fair amount of HP Lovecraft recently, and decided this weekend to have a Halloween RPG one-shot campaign. We used the InspectresUnspeakable micro supplement for rules, and 'The Dunwich Horror' as a starting point for the story. The gameplay went fairly smoothly. The rules w…

Dancing Robots

This week in retrospect: Rea decided that she won't go to bed without crying. We thought it was the darkness, but now I think that it must be the fact that Sara doesn't go to bed at the same time as her. We got her a night light, but it didn't help.
She also decided that she wanted to play hide and seek with Jesus on Sunday. It was pretty cute.
We picked grapes and made grape juice on Saturday.
We carved pumpkins on Monday.
We also made some pizzas: eggplant parmesan pizza, and bacon sausage five cheese pizza. Both were good.
My bike is finally working again. It had gotten so many goat heads I thought it was dead for good. Hopefully these new tire liners will work.
My card game is still moving along (however slowly). I have some guys online testing it, and two now have said that they have played games. No-one has written a summary of their thoughts yet.
I am also thinking of doing NaGaDeMon (National Game Design Month) this year insted of NaNo. Perhaps December 1st will ma…


I went through all of the cards in Polynesia and updated them to the new layout. It is apparently possible to make all of the cards have a larger image and smaller text areas without changing the rules on the cards or decreasing the font size. Here is a gallery of the cards.

The guy who helped me to rework the cards decided that his work was done (probably more because of the fact that I didn't tell him why I was regenerating all of the cards (I was really worried that some card's text wouldn't fit in the small box, so I had to make sure of that before I could continue making other changes) than because he thought that the cards were actually up to snuff), so now I have to try to push on without him and see if I can finish making the cards look better.

That last paragraph was a single sentence with a lot of parenthetical phrases in it... Pretty much true to my style.

Alison and I have been talking about making a family motto. The impetus for this decison was that I pointed…

Cocoa Samoa

This last week in summary:
Monday: We celebrated Andrea's birthday. She got a kitchen set from Grandma Sumption's house and a Lynley Dodd book (We had Slinky Malinki and Hairy Mclairy already, and both were fun books, so we got her Open the door, which was fun, but the punch line was above Andrea's head (though Alison and I found it very funny)) Andrea also played with Legos for the first time. It brings back good memories to play with Legos again.
Tuesday: I went to Sort tech conference. It was fun, and the classes were pretty useful. I especially enjoyed the class about the Netdurino, and look forward to figuring out some hack that I want to make. Andrea had her 2 year checkup. She is 27 lbs, 2' 10" and healthy.
Wednesday: I went to Sort tech conference again.
Thursday: We baby sat for the Nelsons so that they could go to the temple. It went well.
Friday: We made pizza, and went to the Clark Planetarium for our date. Andrea especially enjoyed the stairs and walki…

The weekend

This last week I had 3 other people request copies of my game (bringing the total to 9.) No-one has given me any feedback about playing it yet, but hopefully that will come soon.

I also got a message (on the same website) from a guy in New Zealand who requested me to sell my copy of "First Strike" to him. First strike is a WWIII war game about the cold war becoming a hot war. It was printed in Utah, and I found a copy of it at a thrift store. I played it a few times (I think with Andy and Scott), but it was pretty boring, and took much longer than it should have for the strategic depth that it had.

I told him that I was likely to never play it again as I didn't like it, but that did not deter him. I priced shipping, and told him that it would cost over $40 to ship it, but he still wanted the game. I mailed it late last week (since he really wanted it). Hopefully he gets some enjoyment out of it.

This weekend was General Conference, which I spent with my parents. We had …

Bling Playtest

Last week I mailed out some copies (6 total) of my Polynesia card game to people who were willing to blind play-test it (I originally wrote 'bling play-test', which is pretty much the opposite of what I meant, since the copies that I sent them were black and white, and printed on 20lb paper and such. Pretty much the least bling version of the game possible).

I have also been working on the symbology of the game with a guy who contacted me with questions about it. He has been very helpful in terms of coming up with symbols for various concepts. It is possible that the simple cards in the game will soon be much more light on words.

We had too much milk this week, so I made a fast 'Fine Herbs' cheese on Saturday. Literally anyone could make this cheese. You can't go wrong. All you do is add some acid (1 tsp citric acid powder in 1/3 cup of water) to 1 gallon of milk and heat it to ~198 degrees. This kills everything in the milk and makes it form curds. You let it cool…

Galaxy Truckin

This last weekend was a fun one.

I just got my copy of Galaxy Trucker (if you haven't been following I won it on a board gaming website for answering questions about the game). I have played 3 games so far. It is a fun game. I think that I will bring it to a family dinner some time.

We just opened a Gouda. It has a milder flavor than last time, but still isn't quite smooth as a normal gouda.

We had a weekend getaway to celebrate our third anniversary, and went to the Brigham city temple dedication. The weekend was fun (once we got into the cabin).

My cards that I ordered from SuperiorPOD came in after about a month of waiting. The colors are better, but the Lindauer pictures are still too dark. Perhaps I will lighten them again.

We also ripped up the carpet in the front room and got a rug from the DI to replace it. The rug cleaners have the rug right now, and they are supposed to give it back some time, but they have not called us to say that it is ready.

I am trying to figure …

I'm not dead yet

This week Sara has been particularly flirtatious. She definately notices us when we are holding her and talking to her, and she loves to smile and coo at whoever is holding her. She has also started to have a 'fussy o-clock' (Just like Andrea at her age). The only thing that helps her during that time is (as Heather aptly named it) "blanket prison". When she is fussy, but not too fussy she likes to stand up (she is strong enough to support herself (though she has no sense of balance, so she needs to be steadied)).

Andrea continues to show her independance from us, and is getting to be more of a hand full daily. This sunday was the primary program, and Andrea decided that she needed to be up on the stand. She walked over to the point just below where the sunbeams were and started trying to jump up. She is good at jumping, but she would have had to jump 4 feet just to get ahold of the edge of the partition. She wouldn't come back of her own accord, so I had to tak…

Destroying Angel

This weekend we made a '4 lb' derby (It must have been less than that, though (It appears that the goat milk makes a less dense curd, and that it loses more whey on pressing)).

The curds set up well, and we cut it without incident. What makes a derby a derby is a pseudo cheddaring process that the curds go through. You put them on a cutting board and cover them with a warm towel. Every 15 minutes you turn them over, and eventually they become about the hardness of a hard boiled egg.

After you finish that you rip them into chunks and press them for 26 hours at varying levels of pressure, and then you set them out to dry.
It turned out pretty good so far. We also made some ricotta out of the whey (and some 'gatorade' out of the whey after the ricotta was removed).

While we were making the cheese, we made a quadruple batch of granola as well. Alison bought some mango pineapple that we added. It adds a very tropical flavor.

We also took a walk and found a few mushrooms that l…

Mostly about board games

This last week was a busy one. We decided that we would have a garage sale on Saturday, so we culled all of our books. We ended up with hundreds of books (they wouldn't all fit on a table), some board games,  some of Andrea's clothes (we had been given so many clothes that we hadn't even had a chance to put her in since she grew so fast), some NES games, and some toys.

On Thursday I posted some ads online for the sale, and in a few hours someone had called and offered to buy all of the NES games. He came over that night and bought them for $50. Friday someone in Texas somewhere told me online that they would buy Twilight Imperium off of me for $50 + shipping, but I told him I didn't want to ship it, so if it didn't sell during the sale then I would mail it to him.

The sale started Saturday morning and we had someone show up right away and ask for the NES games (which were all already sold). Some lady bought about 100 books, and got the 'bulk discount' ($5 f…

A brief update

We talked to everyone in the general vicinity about the goats, and no-one complained. They are being quieter recently, so I would expect that we can keep them.

I called about getting a chicken license, and the lady said that I don't need one cause we are A-1 zoned (so apparently the animal control guy was completely wrong about everything).

La-La (the big goat) has decided that she is top quadruped in the yard, and as such she tends to head but Rusty and Clarabell (the small goat). She also likes to jump up on the massive wooden spool that we got for our goats.

Clarabell is a younger goat of a smaller breed. she is timid right now, but I expect that she will become bolder soon. She invades the chicken coop and jumps all over everything. A very energetic goat.

The chickens broke out of their coop last night and pecked up the yard. It was funny to watch them, and they all went back to the coop when the sun went down, so they know that it is their place. Apparently one of them is an …


This last week has been memorable to say the least.

During the week I spent most of my free time cleaning out the old shed, fixing it up, and building a goat proof fence for the purpose of protecting our garden.

In case you have not heard - the thought of getting a goat has moved from being a not so distant future thing to a completed thing. Alison has been watching the classifieds and we found two that we wanted to get.

We also were wanting some chickens, but a ward member was had a surplus of four chickens, so we went over to their house and got them.

Perhaps I will be uncle Farmer Mike instead of uncle Pirate Mike.

Unfortunately everything has not been smooth sailing. We got one of the goats Saturday at 3:00, and by 6:00 we had a visit from the Salt Lake County Animal Control Unit. Apparently someone was bothered by the goat and decided to call the government instead of talking to me.

The story that the animal control guy told was that they had received a complaint that we had a goa…

Arbitrary information

This weekend we had a ward camp-out. It was pretty fun. Friday we went up to 'big cottonwood canyon' and set up our tents. They provided hamburgers and hot dogs for dinner, and then we talked for a while. I played a 'angry bear' game with the little kids where I was a bear and hid some honey and then went to sleep. They stole my honey, and then I chased them around angrily until someone gave me more honet to appease me. In the evening we brought out marshmallows (apparently we were the only ones in the ward to bring them) and shared them with all of the kids. Since we use only 5 marshmallows total (out of a 1 lb bag) it was a good deal. If we don't find some way of getting rid of marshmallows they just go stale.

Sara slept well (Andrea kept us up this time :), and breakfast in the morning was great. We came home before noon, and took a nap. We went over to the Sumption (if that is spelled correctly) residence and picked up some old firewood to add to our pile in th…


I think that I am in love.

Perhaps a bit of an exaggeration, but I just discovered Butterkase (probably butter-cheese in German). It is fairly mild in flavor, very soft, very smooth, and it melts pretty well too. My next cheese making attempt will probably be Butterkase.

Sara, Andrea, and Alison were all sick over the weekend. It made for a tiring weekend for me (Sara was having a hard time breathing, so I stayed up most of the night Saturday making sure that she was OK.)

I have re-colored my Polynesia card image files, and am going to make another partial printing of the cards to see if my color changes brought the cards into alignment with what I thought that they should look like. I will also make another pass over the rules to make sure that they are all current.

For Sunday dinner I made four cheese pasta with shells (three of the cheeses were home made: parmesan for saltiness, derby for the flavor & meltability, and ricotta as faux 'meatballs'). The ricotta cheesebal…

I, for one, welcome our new zucchini overlords

Sara's eyes are lightening. They are still blue, but I think that she will probably not end up with blue eyes in the end. She is now above her birth weight, and continuing to grow rapidly.

This morning I could smell fires as I rode my bike into work - apparently Utah is still ablaze.

I played two games of Polynesia with my actual cards this weekend. They were well received. I am now starting to clean up the art work more, as well as correcting the colors for printing. I am thinking of changing the point symbol from a 6 pointed star to a sphere. The color will still indicate how many points it is worth, but the black star will be replaced by a white sphere (to indicate one point).

I tried to build Nethack4 on my machine, but I can't seem to get it to run without errors. It took a few hours to get as far as I did (and no-one that I could see has posted online that they were able to get as far as I did using visual studio as the compilation tool). I posted how I did it here in ca…

Three Burritos Tired

Having a weekend with no Sunday meetings is an amazing thing. We should have fifth Sundays more often. They allow for more naps.

Andrea told me on Sunday that she wants to grow up to 'be a Rusty'... I am not quite sure what I think of that.

Sara has been sleeping well for the last few days. She is a pretty happy baby. Perhaps even easier than Andrea was at her age.

UnNethack has slowed down its release schedule recently (Which means that I am getting bored waiting for updates on when another release will be forthcoming.) I have (briefly) considered making my own version of Nethack. The thing that causes me to have presentiments about that is that the code is horrible to behold, and I am not really keen on delving into it.

I have sleeved all of the Polynesia cards - everything is ready for our first time playing Polynesia with a real deck this weekend.

I just finished 'A Brief History of Time' (which I have not (surprisingly) read before). It was interesting, but a lot …

Tired times

I haven't posted in a while because of supreme busyness (or, as Milne would write it Supreme Busyness).

This last week we bought three kinds of grapes at sunflower market: black, red, and green. Black grapes are pretty good - tart with a harder skin. Though they aren't directly analogous to the wild grapes of Michigan (being large and seedless and sweeter by far), they do remind me of them (the days spent picking them by the bunch and eating them (for years afterward just the thought of those grapes would make my mouth water (because the sourness of the grapes required a lot of saliva to raise the PH to a manageable level.)))

The thing about sunflower market is that they have excellent quality produce, but it is fairly expensive. In order to get you in to the store they sell one thing at a highly competitive price each week, Wednesday to Wednesday. The current sale is cherries - 99 cents a pound. I would highly recommend that anyone in the salt lake area go and get some.


They call me Doctor Worm

Good morning. How are you? I'm Doctor Worm.

I'm interested in things. (At the very least this week has been an interesting one)

My Polynesia cards have not yet arrived (They were due to be finished printing on Wednesday of last week, but I got an email on Friday last from SuperiorPOD saying that my order was complete, and on Monday I got an email saying that my cards had been shipped.) When they arrive I will do a post about how they are (quality and packaging mostly)

I have been toying with the idea of replacing the Strategy board with individual cards for different strategies, and cards to indicate how many points you have. I think that it could make the game much cheaper to print in the long run. I have multiple different options for printing point cards, and I want to make sure that I choose a cheap one that is also easy to use. Here the options are (from cheapest to most expensive)

0) Tell the player to get paper and pencil and keep track of their points (like Munchkin do…

I feel ... JUGULAR ...

Whatever that means.

This weekend I waxed the gouda that we made a few weeks ago.

We went to a farmers market at Gardner Village on Saturday. We bought some beets and some cherries. The cherries are pretty good.

We also lit off a few more fireworks this weekend - Andrea is starting to like them more.

Yesterday we made pizza - pineapple mushroom pepperoni pizza and pineapple mushroom sausage pizza. We added 1/7 white flour this time, and the crust came out way more fluffy than it usually does (not necessarily a good thing - I like the pizza for the toppings usually (but not a bad thing either, it is not like thicker crusted pizza is horrible, it is just different)).

I have wanted to reread the Chronicles of Amber since yesterday. I will probably give in and read them some time soon. Perhaps when we are stuck in the hospital after Alison has the baby. I want to reread them because someone commented on the internet that they thought that Corwin was the villain of the series (and I read h…