Baby’s First Fractal Generator

Waaaaaaay back in the day, I got a fractal visualiser free on the cover disk of a magazine. Little me had no idea what a fractal was beyond some vague concept of self-similarity. Certainly he had no idea of the maths behind them or how one went about doing it yourself. The little proto-nerd, with his basic knowledge of Basic, vowed that one day he would make his own generator.

Drumroll please, ladies and gentlemen, because nearly thirty years later, I present to you…

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Dark Souls – A Beginner’s Guide

Ah, Dark Souls. There’s no forgetting your first time. In my case my first time was very brief; I bounced off it almost immediately. A while later I tried again and got a little further, and then gave up in the face of an interface that seemed intentionally designed to be as opaque and frustrating as possible. Later still I read a couple of guides, watched some videos, learned to avoid the forums and managed to push my way through to the end.

These days I can’t claim to have mastered the game, only the truly crazy can say that, but I KNOW the game enough to pick it up and try new builds or new challenges to relax.

Anyway, this guide. In a nutshell, it hopes to be a spoiler-free, not-at-all in-depth compilation of things I wish I’d known when starting out, specifically aimed at a first-time player So, onwards Chosen Undead…
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Thirty minutes of itching… A Flower from Hermes

Another week, another randomly chosen game from the firehose. This time around it’s A Flower from Hermes. So, after half an hour, how was it?
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Thirty minutes of itching… EverHunter

So, here it is. The first game I picked from the “new, free Windows games” page from… EverHunter. It’s a 2D rogue-like platformer that uses what I can only describe as twin-stick-shooter-but-keyboard controls.

So how was it?
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Introducing… thirty minutes of itching

Recently my entire gaming experience has been Dark Souls. Learning to play Dark Souls. Beating Dark Souls. Getting sort of OK at Dark Souls. Learning not to tear chunks out of my controller with my teeth every time my kids ask “Why did you die daddy?”. Getting better at Dark Souls. Dark Souls speed runs. Dark Souls challenge runs. You get the idea.

So, in an attempt to rescue myself from the relentless black hole intent on eating my life, I’m going to start a semi-regular feature of taking a random new game from, play it for half an hour and write it up.

I get to play a new game and hopefully get to say nice things about people and games.

But right now… Ornstein and Smough aren’t going to kill themselves…

Picsie v1.11

Just updated Picsie to support variable-delay animated GIFs rather than applying the delay on the first frame to the whole animation. Not the most common use case I’ll admit, but it was annoying me and everyone knows that dictates what gets fixed first.

Improving YouTube comments with BoopTube


Everyone knows that YouTube comments are uniformly insightful and contemplative, but it always felt like they could still be improved. So in the name of learning something new I sat down and created a simple Chrome extension to try and give YouTube comments something of the respect and grandeur they deserve. And thus BoopTube was born.

The source is available in my GitHub repository if you’re so inclined.

Beep boop.

Picsie lives!

After all these years I still use Picsie as my go-to image browser – and now after four years of stability it has a new feature. Go see!

In other news, I’m using Git via BitBucket for source control now, and I’m contemplating open-sourcing the project.

Five games for the Little Laptop That Couldn’t

Ants showing off

I travel a lot – on top of the daily commute I travel across the country and back every single week. That’s a lot of time on a train, time that is ideally spent gaming. However, while I have a decent computer at each end of the journey, the laptop I actually travel with is, to put it charitably, horsepower-challenged. This severely restricts the games available for me, so whenever I find something that it will run AND will absorb my time, it’s a good day.

So to save you the trouble, here’s five games for the laptop of yesterday.
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Designing an alien alphabet

Alphabet Banner

Details. The little things that aren’t core to a game’s design or mission, that a game could ship without, they are often what gets cut when budgets and deadlines start to loom. But details can make or break a game;details can be the difference between success and failure, fun and boring, engaging and shallow. They can add spice and variety reward inquisitive players, and perhaps most importantly, let the lore and world you’ve created hold up under closer scrutiny.

Today we’re going to look at one such detail: designing an alien alphabet for your game.
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