Wednesday, 17 December 2014

ShareJs - Windows 8.1 install

Install Windows SDK
Install VS 2013 express
install nodejs
install coffee-script
npm install express
npm install optimist

npm install connect@"<2 .0.0="" p="">npm install share@"<0 .7="" p="">
this may fail through linking errors

open C:\Users\carl\node_modules\share\node_modules\ws\build\validation.vcxproj and update configuration to latest version of VS and save.

npm install share@"<0 .7="" p="">
this should work now.

to start example server:

node node_modules\share\bin\exampleserver

Ludum Dare Jam 31

On the 5th December I took part in the Ludum Dare 72 Hour Jam. The theme this time was 'Entire Game on one screen'. In the earlier voting rounds the theme of 'Snowman' had been popular and we spent Friday night up to the announcement looking for ideas based around this. Then at 02:00 Saturday morning the theme was revealed and we had to come up with another idea. After sleeping on it, it was decided to do a Beat 'em up style game of children against Snowmen (I had found some pictures on Pinterest which we really liked and wanted to use in the game)

I was joining @Garethiw and @gredgie , The plan was that I would come up with the sound and other areas that were normally rushed near the end of their previous Jams. As Eddie Izzard put it  when talking about his Clarinet playing in a band, I would be doing 'the bits that were left over'.

So we had a theme and off we went. Garethiw wrote all of the game code in Unity and Gredgie created the graphics, while I came up with sound effects, some of the UI and the bodycount scoreboard scripts. Our work was committed to Github which seamed to work well apart from some issues with prefabs.

I had great fun over the weekend especially when creating the voices for some of the creatures in the game. As with my previous entry I marvel at the ability of my friends and that they let me join them.

Gameplay footage

Time lapse of the weekend

You can play our entry at the links below.


Unity Web player link

Ludum Dare Entry

LD31 Pinterest board

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Ludum Dare 30 - Jam

Over the weekend of 22nd August to 25th August I took part in the 30th Ludum Dare Game Jam. The aim of the jam is to create a game within 72 hrs based on a theme revealed on the Ludum Dare Site. The theme this time was Connected Worlds, we had been coming up with rough outlines of ideas for the final 20 themes and this was the one we didn't want (always the case !). After some discussion we decide to go for a Romeo and Juliet based game where you were trying to defuse the hostilities between the 2 families result in the main character not killing themselves.

We had decided to use Unity 3D as our platform ( I have recently started learning it and my team mate @Arakade has previously entered the jam using it. We set off with myself doing attempting the 3D  model sourcing and Aracade writing AI using behavior trees with a view that we could switch between code and modelling type tasks as we went on. We decided to use assets from the Unity Asset Store that we already owned, gave us a good head start and meant we could get something working to play with quite quickly.

I started to looking  at character models created with MakeHuman , Autodesk Character Generator (ACG) and the Unity Multipurpose Avatar(UMA) framework. We ended up using a lead Romeo model from ACG and other models being generated via UMA. The big problem was clothes, UMA starts of with vests and jeans and the ACG models are more aligned for soldier/zombie games. So  I set off to try and play fashion designer. This ended up with me spending large amounts of time upgrading my skills in blender and Unity's animation tools and neglecting a lot of the other stuff I could probably have made more progress with. After I switched to laying out the scene using the Cartoon Town and Farm Kit from Micheal O and messing around with Shakespearean Insults I enjoyed myself more and made better progress.

We ended up submitting a game to the Jam, it was not in a state that we felt was anyway near initial concept but it would have been a shame to not show off something and watching the characters being controlled by Arakade's AI Behavior trees insulting each other is quite fun.Our starting view for the jam was that we wanted to learn new skills as well as having fun and if we came up with a completed game that was a bonus. I definitely learned a lot and enjoyed myself over the weekend, maybe next time we will finish ......

Ludum Dare Game Page

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Windchill and Scala: a quick dabble

Scala runs on the Java Virtual machine (JVM) and compiles to byte code the same as Java, this means that like jython it can also use Java libraries. One of the nice features of some modern languages is the REPL a console that allows the direct input of code to the interpreter along with instantaneous feedback.

 PTC's Windchill PLM/PDM Application is written in Java and also features an API to allow it to be customised to meet customer requirements. Running the Scala console inside a windchill shell allows access to windchill libraries and hence allows code be run on windchill's Method Servers using remote method server calls.

To give it a try download and install Scala from then open a windchill shell and type scala to access the Scala REPL.

Like Java, before you can make any calls using the Windchill API you need to import the classes, also to be able to run windchill methods we need a remote method server instance, so we can enter

import wc.method.remotemethodserver

 followed by

val remotemethodserver=RemoteMethodServer.getDefault()

 now that we have a method server  we can access it's methods, by entering


we can print out the start time of the method server as shown below.

Typing this in line by line would soon get repetitive and boring so we can create our code in a text file and then run it via the Scala console using scala filename.scala in this case scala WindchillExamples.scala

The below code shows some examples of using the windchill api to create a part and query the database, the syntax looks similar to how it would be written in Java with a few differences (specifying the class in the query spec and casting the returned part object from Persistable for instance). 

import wt.part.WTPart
import wt.method.RemoteMethodServer
import wt.fc.PersistenceHelper
import wt.query.QuerySpec
import wt.query.SearchCondition
object WindchillExamples {
def main(args: Array[String]) {
  println("Hello, Windchill!")
  // Get MethodServer
  val remotemethodserver=RemoteMethodServer.getDefault() 
  val name="examplePart" 
def countParts (name:String){
  //example query
  var qs=new QuerySpec(classOf[WTPart]) 
  qs.appendWhere(new SearchCondition(classOf[WTPart], WTPart.NAME,SearchCondition.LIKE, name))
  val qr = PersistenceHelper.manager.find(qs)
  println("Query results count: "+qr.size())
  val resultantPart=qr.nextElement()

def createPart(name:String){
  //example create part
  var part=WTPart.newWTPart()

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Controlling a Berry Clip from Node.js

I am looking to try and run a workshop session at my local developers group, the group contains developers form a range of background and hence a number of languages, this makes workshops interesting. To be able to do any interesting projects with a Raspberry Pi I would prefer people are spend their thinking about problems and not battling which ever language is currently running on my RPi devices. A recent pole suggested that javascript was the most widely used language among the group so I decided to see could be achieved in Node.js.

I found a few libraries/modules that allowed gpio access and decided to try onoff since it the example code included using an event to trap button pushes.

I am not quite sure currently what my final project will be but starting off with a simple project I decided to try and control my Berry Clip 6 LED addon board.

The below code selects a random LED to turn on and turns off the previously lit one. Full Information and a run script can be found in the README.ME
var Gpio = require('onoff').Gpio,
    ledA = new Gpio(04, 'out'),
    ledB = new Gpio(17, 'out'),
    ledC = new Gpio(22, 'out'),
    ledD = new Gpio(10, 'out'),
    ledE = new Gpio(09, 'out'),
    ledF = new Gpio(11, 'out'),
    button = new Gpio(07, 'in', 'both');
var leds=new Array(ledA,ledB,ledC,ledD,ledE,ledF);
var lastLed=ledA;, value) {
  var activeLed=Math.floor(Math.random() * 6);



Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Analog Thumbstick and the Raspberry Pi

For a while now I have wanted to try using analog inputs with my Raspberry Pi. The Pi hardware only supports digital inputs, but it is also capable of communicating with expansion chips using an interface called Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI) . I decided to try my hand at getting a ThumbStick from a GamePad to work They are available for a few pounds from ebay and so would not require me to destroy an existing console controller. 

Some internet research pointed me in the direction of using a MCP3008 10 bit Digital to Analogue converter. The first guide I found for using one of these was on the Adafruit learning system and used something called Bit Banging, further research showed that later Pi do not need to do this and a guide on Raspberry Pi Spy gave me a starting point using a library called py-spidev. This lead to the below circuit diagram. The 2 direction (X & Y) signals are fed into the A/D converter. When the AD converter is queried by the python code a value between 0 and 1023 is returned representing the position of the stick ie 0 is extreme left, around 500 centre and 1023 extreme  right.

The next part was to make my stick work like a joystick. I decided to have a play with PyGame (PyGame is installed as default on the Raspbian image) and see what I could come up with. At IWDEV 2 Gareth Williams gave a Introduction to Monogame and created a simply shooter based on an alien and his cat. Trying to recreate this in python on the Pi would provide me with a suitable test for my joystick.

Once this was working I started to create some code to act as a bridge between the A/D and the normal Joystick functions. Luckily this proved to just be a case of setting range of the A/D converter values when initialising the uniput library and then passing in the value received by querying the chip. I used a third analog channel for the switch activated by pressing down the stick but it should really be a digital GPIO input and I was being lazy. 

The results as a Google + Auto Awesome montage

The python uinput library download and install details can be found at:

Matt Hawkins guide to the MCP 3008 including enabling the kernel modules and installing py-spidev can be found at:

My final python listener script can be found on github at:

To start,  run the script which loads the uniput module and then start the python script with the command:

sudo python &

this should start the script as a background process (requested via the &) and display the process id of the script. If you later want to quit the script you can stop it using sudo kill -9


Sunday, 24 November 2013

Snap N Paint

After a recent visit to see my niece and nephew I wanted to see if I could come up with an app that they might use. My idea was to create a paint by numbers style app but to source the picture to be coloured from an image.

The result is Snap N Paint, the picture is captured via the camera and processed using the OpenCV library sobel function, this provides an outline which can then be coloured in.

To make sure the correct colours are available in the palette, the original image is used. The user selects the area they would like to colour and the correct colour is set active.  

My current results are shown below (and my dodgy colouring skills), it is still a work in progress and I will probably never release it but it is quite fun if you have a stylus and a tablet.