Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Chainmail Necklace

I'm home for the holidays and nothing says home for the holidays like cable TV and chainmailling.  I've got all the tools and fair bit of wire.

I cranked out a quick necklace/chain. It's using something like a Full Persian weave, but not.  I'm not entirely sure what it is.  It's built by adding an extra ring to 4-1 European chain to make it more like a cylinder.

Here are some pictures:
The necklace

A good look at the weave

 I have played Duke Nukem Forever

Next project will probably also be a necklace.  I really like this one,so that may be what happens.  I'd need to make some really small rings.

I also really like the RSD Weave.  So that might happen too.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I Want to Write a Sci-Fi Book

I want it to be about the kind of people who leave home behind to go out into the unkown.  I want it to be about the crew.  Everything from how they feel and what they do.

What makes them go into space?  What do they do out there?  What is their job aboard the ship?  How do they kick back and relax?  How do their ideas and concepts about going into space mesh with reality?

Anyway, I totally know what I would do and why I'd go up, but I'd really like to grab other peoples perspectives on why they'd go up, or why they think other people would.  I made a super quick form using google forms, so if people want to send me their thoughts, that would be awesome:


It's pretty open ended, you don't have to fill in anything you don't want to.  If you feel a form is too restrictive, don't be afraid to email me at 4liamk@gmail.com.

Also of note, if anyone wants to get in on this and wants to write some stuff, I'd be totally down with collaborators.   I know some pretty talented people are out there.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Space Slayer: Earth's Last Hope

Made this for a class in second year!  Fun times.  Woot gamemaker.

Fly and Be Free

They came just as we thought they would. They began their attack from orbit, destroying our major military installations. With no ability to defend ourselves, their ground troops had no problems enslaving the human race. In days we became nothing, but they made a mistake. One of their interplanetary crafts, dubbed The Shrike, crashed near a pocket of resistance fighters. Unfortunately the controls were a mystery.

You were one of those resistance fighters lucky enough to stay alive. Your entire family, friends and acquaintances were killed by the invaders. Fueled by your thirst for revenge you managed to figure out that you moved with the arrow keys, and shot with the Z key. Your mission is to take that ship into space, and find the alien home world. There you will find the alien overlord. Rock On! 

Game Executable. Click here to play!

Game Design Document

User Manual

Going to Grad School

As of a few days ago, I'm officially going to be working towards a Master Degree at the University of Victoria come January. Should be really fun.

There are a variety of plans and projects in the works with some really cool people and organizations.

The big reason for going to UVic is that the faculty is awesome. I've had the opportunity to work with some great people. Yvonne Coady for one has really helped me along.

I've joined a team of people who are going to be awesome. The only thing missing is a team name. It has to be catchy, awesome and probably have something to do with parallel programming. Woot computer science!


Friday, September 24, 2010

Liam's Open Source and Free Poker Timer - in Python

You can download it here

I really like to play poker (in this case texas holdem), but games of poker can take a long time. In my head, an ideal game of poker would take about 2 hours and let people live normal lives.

An actual game of poker can take 5+ hours. This is undesirable. Specifically when your friends only play poker to humor you.

As such, tournaments often raise the blinds by x after 20-30 minutes. This can totally be done for your games too, but I found a serious lack of help with such a task. In particular if you want a program which does this, it'll cost you 10+ dollars or require you to sign up somewhere.

Like Seriously?

I decided to make one, it took me an afternoon and fills all my requirements. It's python so you can run it almost anywhere. Also you can change it to fit your purposes.

It raises the blinds every 15 minutes like this. The value here is the small blind, the big blind is twice that.

This should hopefully go for the 2 hour games mark and also make the first hour pretty relaxed. Everyone should be able to play for an hour, and even new players won't have a hard time. After an hour it will become an increasingly hard game and really take some skills, but the blinds shouldn't get rediculous.

This assumes 200 chips. If you do 1000 - multiply everything by 5. I just don't see the point of playing with 1000 fake dollars when you could do 200 and play the exact same game.

It requires python 3.1 and the pygame library. Also, in the same directory as the script, you need to have a song or sound file named "song.mp3". I suggest you put your favourite song there.

You can download it here

Once again this is beer license software and was developed to alleviate a huge and pressing gap in python poker timers. You may edit and redistribute it as long as you keep the beer license notice and don't make any money off it. Anything else requires my permission. Thank you!


if you have any questions or comments, let me know!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Pax was Awesome and the Chainmail was a hit!

Pax was awesome, start to finish, but the coolest thing was how well the chainmail went over. A lot of people liked it and I got a ton of compliments. I met some cool people and it was a great conversation starter. My only regret is I did not wear the chainmail sooner, as I only wore it on Sunday.

I bumped into some serious chainmail people, particularly was the girl who runs Knitted Steel. Apparently you can buy stretchy rings which make awesome bracelets, I may have to try that out.

I also played Duke Nukem Forever! Say What!? That's a pretty big deal.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Done my Chainmail!

Sort of want to post pictures, but I mostly just want to show up places wearing it. I hope they make a lot of movies set in fantasy realms (or the past; I prefer fantasy realms). I'll be that guy!

I also cranked out some bracelets which really rock. Three were made in totally and I gave two away to awesome people. Might post pictures of the one I still have left. We shall see.

All in all, it was a fun, relaxing and rewarding experience. It actually helped me get through some tough times. There is a week of my summer known as "Hell Week". You literally have no idea how bad that week was. I swear to god, making chainmail bracelets saved my sanity. I am not in an asylum because of them, and they make great gifts!

Also, I figure I should link the two sites which really got me started and continue to be incredibly useful:
  • CG Maille: Awesome site full of tutorial and know how. The big thing is they really show you how to make good weaves with easy to understand diagrams that look beautiful.
  • Chainmail Basket: Really good knowledge base for tools, technique and unorthodox projects. I still really want to make a cube.
Also of note, don't do what I did and buy wire from home hardware. It's like 10 bucks for 150 meters. This project used about 500 meters and that get's expensive. Go to a farm supply store and buy electric fence wire. It's the same stuff, but 10 bucks will get you at the very least a mile. Then you can probably sell what you have left over for like 8 bucks.


P.S. Next project - bean bag chair. Anyone have a sewing machine I can borrow/use? Anyone know were you can buy the beans?

Buy Games New

Purchasing used games from EB really rips off developers. EB get's all the money and they keep it for themselves. You should really buy new games as that supports the people who made it and then they can make more.

Essentially when you buy a new game, you're sort of paying for that one, but mostly you're paying for them to make the next one.

To the developer, when you buy a used game, it's like piracy, but you gave your to money to EB games instead of keeping it. Literally they see just as much money from someone who bought a used game as from someone who stole it.

Spend the extra 5 bucks, so great companies like Bioware can keep making the games we love to play.


Friday, July 9, 2010

The Decipher Machine

Awhile back I posted my Dspeech Cipher Machine created originally to make a fake language (though not really a language) to vex my D&D players.

I realize that working through a word for word cipher on your own is somewhat brutal, so I made an online tool to help make the process a bit better:


It lets you input a bunch of ciphered text and then takes you to a page where you can guess at its meaning. It can also save you a dictionary for use later and you can type in a dictionary if you'd like. This should allow people to build up a common known set of words and rock it out.

I thought it was kind of neat and it shows off what you can do with php and html.


Monday, July 5, 2010

Starting Making Some Chainmail

I've wanted to do this for awhile now, but didn't have the time, tools, or know how. Having read up quite a bit on armor in the last few days and even more on how to make chainmail, I pretty much figured it out and bought the only required material: 150ft of 16 gauge galvanized steel wire.

It's not the fastest process, but I'm already much better at it than when I started. The weave is a bit more complicated than I thought and can get a little tricky, but it's coming together. I'm running with a 4 in 1 european weave which was apparently very popular back in the day. I think my rings might be a little too big, but it'll save some time if they're larger than standard.
Anyway, What I really wanted to do was post on my setup:

I think it's slightly more interesting than my finely weaved mail.

You can see I build a new row seperately and then attach them to the previous. I got a long piece of plywood, which you can see at the bottom, and hammered nails onto each side. This helps me keep the chain straight while I'm working on each row and then combining the rows together.

I also got a slightly wider, but shorter, piece of plywood and hammered some larger spikes into it. They keep my rings nicely stacked up, so I grab them easily. The big piece also can fit everything on it, so I'm pretty mobile.

I use the pipe to wind the wire into a spring and the aviation snips to cut it into rings. I've found them to be the best so far. They make a good cut and I've recently discovered you can cut about 13 rings at a time.The needlenose pliers are there to expand and close rings if need be, but generally I just twist them open and close by hand.

Anyway, so far so good. It's actually been a really fun experience. I've learned a fair bit; I'm sure all of it's useless. (unless the Knights who say "Ni" show up)

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

New Build Soon

Why not? I've done a fair bit. I'll probably post an ubuntu version in a couple of days. It should run on most linux out there.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Email from Penny Arcade's Greenhouse!

Say What!?

I fired them off an email awhile back asking what it takes to get on Greenhouse. They got back to me with the answer of a "quality game".

I'm most definitely a ways off from that, but it's awesome motivation. Some day I'll have the game they're looking for... some day.

Likewise, I don't suppose anyone out there wants to crank out some cool music for this project? I suck at cranking out music, but you could and then you'd be on the ground floor of this enterprise.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Dspeech - On the Fly Cypher Machine

A few years back, I had drank a lot of coffee and envisioned a way to make a "language" using a pretty simple find and replace machine.

Basically it would have a dictionary of English words and their translation and go through a text document and replace all the words with their new equivalent.

Ok, I know some of my friends know multiple languages and may be sort of passionate about this sort of thing. We both know this isn't an actual language. Hence language in quotes at the very start.

The coolest thing was that when it stumbled across an undefined word, you made it up on the spot and added it in to the language. Slowly a vocabulary would build and you'd have something.

At the time, I couldn't quite get it to work. A few months ago, I wrote the entire thing from scratch in about 15-20 minutes.

The source code can be downloaded here

Now, I don't know what use you'll have for this.

I personally use it to make a fake language to throw at the people in my D&D game. Basically they find script written in what I call "Dark Speech". This provides a solid way to write stuff in English, and make it impossible to read, yet possible to decode.

You could use it to send secret messages to your friends, but you'd both need a current copy of the dictionary for that to work. Then you'll hit issues with concurrency.

Anyway, maybe someone in the whole of the Internet can put it to use.

Also my second piece of beer-ware - still no beer, but maybe one day.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Added sound!

Well mostly just a song which plays while you go through the text level. We've got a long, long way to go to get sound for everything, but this isn't half bad.

There isn't really a screen shot for this, so you'll have to take my word on it.

Anyway, all the songs are going to be in the format known as "ogg". This means you should be able to replace any of them with songs you like.

It turns out the entire development team is composed of sub par musicians, so we will never make you listen to what you don't want to.

Regardless, when it comes out, you might as well just go ahead and replace the songs with something like this:




-Liam out!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Slightly Nicer Hud

Check it:

I sometimes wonder why I post these to facebook too. It's automatic, so no real work. I do get the feeling most of my friends are much cooler than me and don't really care for this kind of thing.

Anyway, I really like how this looks.

It's almost, almost, atmos, starting to look like a game.

Did I just say Atmos? Yeah I did. Those be scary.

Next stop sound, but that'll be sometime after july 10th.

Currently my big project is building a small water management system for remote first nations communities. It's more just a proof of concept, but it's been a lot of fun. It's also not very often I get to say my work might - just might- help someone out.

P.S. Kylan should write me a riveting plot.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Control Change + HUD

I decided the original control scheme was a bit too difficult, so I revamped it.

No it plays kind of like an fps on rails. You use wasd to move around and the mouse to aim. I like it a lot more than it used to be. The big reason for the switch was:
  1. The game was difficult to play
  2. I wanted to take advantage of platform known as the PC. The mouse is an awesome. I think people who play lots of game's on console have either forgotten or don't know how slick a mouse is.
I also added a bit of a hud. This was pretty easy to do, I just hadn't figured out the quite how to keep it in the correct place all the time. This has been fixed. I also implemented a simple scoring system (SSS)

There is a little wire sphere which is acting as a cross hair in there too. I'll have to make a real one soon.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

OpenGL hates text

It's almost as if it was designed for something else!

Anyway, rendering a standard room, I can get about 3-6 fps. It has to work pretty hard to do it too. I'll probably try and do some profiling and figure out where the performance is being lost.

This is actually crazy cool. Usually your tools to do a specific task are really rock solid.

How many times have you ever had to optimize something: pretty much never.

So basically OpenGL sucks at text, and this means I can break out things like loop unrolling, macros and whatever else to try and get it working faster.

Should be fun!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Thunder: Heroism on Steroids

So, on the TI-83 graphing calculator I once made an rpg that was all text. You played as U and you went on a fairly short adventure to save your lost love V from the evil wizard Z. On the way you encountered your arch nemesis F and had comical moments with E and C.

You fought deadly enemies like pi and even a snake at one point I think it looked like this: ==( 0_). Basically it was the best you could squeeze out of 26 letters, a bunch of math symbols, 26 variables and the BASIC programing language.

The game was called Thunder: Heroism on Steroids, and now I'm gonna try and make it again: For computers everywhere.

I couple days ago I threw together this picture:

It's a black triangle (thanks James!) - everything is running in the games "engine" and it spits out this image.

I'm doing everything in C++ with OpenGL - because I like overkill. It won't be a very long game, but hopefully it'll be fun and give people a chuckle. It should run on damn near anything which means hopefully everyone'll be able to play it.

I'm mostly just working on it so I can try out some stuff. I want to get experience making a battle system, an overworld, an inventory and a way to switch nicely between them.

Right now, you can move around. It'll only get better.

Once it's done - or I'm tired of working on it - I'll probably release all the code. Everything is probably going to be hard coded, so people with a good grasp of C, should be able to change just about everything about the game.

Anyway, wish me luck. Should be fun.

Friday, February 26, 2010


I figured out how texture objects and this has led me to get the cool character portrait things found in all star-fox clones.

I just cranked this out as an example: The character is Harle from Chrono Cross. It's just a placeholder for now, I just grabbed a random picture of a random character and threw it up.
I most certainty don't claim any ownership. The colorings a little off. The blues may be green and the greens may be blue, but the red is correct!

I had to make a .bmp loader. Twas cool and exciting actually and not that hard. bmp's are pretty simple. It sounds pretty cool though. You know when you save a picture as a bmp, I know how those work! Wild sauce.

If I can say one thing about working with such things:

Hex editors are your friends

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Gravity Simulator!

Building a Gravity Simulator. Full details can be found here: http://www.engr.uvic.ca/~liamk

Technically it's a study of Parallel Programming Techniques with a Focus of the Cell Processor, but the sample problem I'm cranking away at is a gravity simulator.

A sweet youtube video of it in action can be found here! Unfortunately recording it slowed it down by about half, so I suggest jumping to about 3 minutes in, or maybe just having it run in the corner of your screen while you do something else.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Dell Shipped to Wrong Adress

Can you believe it. When I ordered my new laptop, I mentioned that it must be shipped to my current address no less than 3 times. They've shipped to the wrong one, in an entirely different city. In fact no less than a thousand miles separate where my laptop is going and where I currently reside.

I called them up and I asked if they could redirect the order. I mean why not? I'm certainly much closer then where I am now.

Nope. They don't do that, but I can wait a week for it to arrive, in the wrong location, cancel the order and then reorder my laptop. Unfortunately it took them a solid month to build the first one. Interesting to note I took a stock model. I didn't customize anything and it still took them a month. I need this laptop for school, and I'm already one month into my semester and I should be starting my honours project in computer science, you know for my degree.

This really sucks Dell. Thanks a lot.

If I were you, and I needed a laptop soon or in the next two months. I would go someplace else.

I'm not the only one to have this problem.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Galaxy of Spherus

My friends at uvic appear to have made a pretty complete science fiction roleplaying system. I haven't tried it, but I'm linking to it so it gets higher search results. That way when I type "Spherus" into google I'll get what I want.

Try it out and get back to them


Monday, January 18, 2010

Lappy Died

And as such, haven't made a whole lotta progress. Stay tuned, or maybe take a breather for a month or two.