2012 February 4

RC Models

A few months ago I wandered into my university’s R/C model club, looking for some model car racing I missed doing back home. I was somewhat disappointed when I found out that they mostly focused on model helicopters and aeroplanes, mostly because my only experience in piloting were on flight simulators – and crashes were always involved.

However I stayed on because it was still interesting watching them build and repair their models, with the miniature electronics and servos and all.

Then one day, one of my friends in the club turned to me and asked me to have a go at the flight simulator. I was a little reluctant but in the end I braved the embarrassment. The first few flights didn’t end well, as expected, but after some guidance I wasn’t dropping like rocks.

Fast forward a few days later and I could keep a helicopter afloat reasonably well. Feeling confident I bought myself a nice model helicopter for £30. It was an indoor coaxial that my friends suggested and it didn’t take long to get it to fly.

And then I broke the landing gear from landing too hard.

I fixed it with super glue, and then I broke it again by landing too hard. It can still fly, just that it’s unbalanced with a smashed canopy and is at risk of tipping over while landing without the landing gears. Turns out buying a model helicopter isn’t terribly expensive, it’s the combined cost of replacement parts, which add up to somewhere around half the original price.

So I’m laying off flying for now until my savings recovers, but it was a pretty fun experience.

2011 December 13

Adventure Recap

Since it was time to renew my web hosting fees, I felt that the blog should start anew with a clean slate, especially since the lack of good content in the past few months let the blog slide into disrepair. It has been quite a while since my last update, but essentially I’m now studying Mechanical Engineering in the UK. I’ve finally managed to find my inner self here, playing all sorts of things I always wanted to play like D&D and LARP. Back in Malaysia those sorts of things were hardly ever heard of and so I couldn’t find enough interested people. Simply put, I love it here.

My work on The Flying Penguin was halted mostly due to the difficulties I have in the game. The biggest problem is that the code itself isn’t that great and after two re-writes I’ve lost the willpower to do another. I feel like I should leave the game as it is and move on to something else more interesting. I might take up interest eventually but that’s unlikely because of the second biggest problem, its similarity to Penguin Learns To Fly. The whole similarity thing was an unfortunate coincidence, but since that flash game is better known, my game would forever be overshadowed by it.

2011 August 6

Summer Updates

I have been pretty busy the last few weeks sorting things out for my further studies. I got accepted for mechanical engineering in the UK and would be heading there in September. For those who are wondering, this is the field where my true passion lies (especially Formula 1 and rocketry), programming is just something I do as a hobby.

I would be holding off any further development on the flying-penguin until SFML-2.0 is out. I’ve been thinking about doing an overhaul in the project, using more of SFML’s features than currently used. However, with the latest API in SFML-git being quite different from the current one, I think it would be better to wait for a stable release, as patching for API changes constantly is certainly not fun.

The Quake 3 BSP Viewer is finally working and uploaded to GitHub. The program uses Qt and C++ and is available here. Unfortunately, due to licensing concerns, you’ll need to find your own map files to try out the program.

2011 May 31

The Flying Penguin 0.2 Released

After months of extensive work including a few rewrites for large portions of the code, I am proud to announce that The Flying Penguin 0.2 is ready. All the promised features such as audio, cartoon-ish artwork, high-scores and obstructions (birds) are in. At this point I would like to give thanks to the OpenGameArt.org community for helping me out with the audio side of the game.

Unfortunately, resizeable screens have been disabled because the code to save window states is rather unwieldy, especially when handling maximised windows. If you do need to change the screen size you can always edit the save file with a text editor.

I had at one point received a question about porting it to mobile devices such as iOS and Android. My answer is no, simply because I own neither of those phones, nor have any intention in buying them. Furthermore, there are aspects in the code such as the extensive use of STL containers and SFML that makes it unsuitable for mobile devices, requiring a major code rewrite.

To download, visit the project page.

2011 May 14

Back on Track

I recently tried learning 3D programming and needless to say I got a bit carried away, completely neglecting my existing projects for the past month. I even wrote a Quake 3 BSP renderer for Qt/C++ which I would release once the code has been cleaned up. I also have some nice ideas for a 3D role-playing game that I would like to work on as soon as The Flying Penguin 0.2 is out (and I’ll post the details then).

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