Assistant to the Lounge-About

The fun begins when you quit your day job.

Microsoft Windows Text-to-Speech for Unity —

I’ve made a wrapper around the Windows-only Microsoft Speech API for use in Unity. The Microsoft Speech API is a Windows COM capability that first appeared in windows Vista. It is an easy way to get text to speech in a windows application.

This post will go through the steps of making the C++ DLL and the C# behavior for Unity. If you don’t care about the “how” and just want to use the plugin skip to the end for the download and usage instructions.

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Violin Recital 4 —

I am preparing for my fourth violin recital. I am going to be playing the second and third movement of “Summer” from Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons”. The “Four Seasons” is a very popular song, but people are most familiar with the first part of Spring. The part that I am playing is less famous, but still fairly popular. The “Four Seasons” is intended to evoke the seasons of the year in the listener, and the music even has little descriptive notes describing what is happening. In the second movement of summer, is is a hot afternoon and a shepherd is trying to sleep through the approaching thunderstorm. In the third movement, the storm has arrived and there is thunder, wind, and hail.

Here is a recording of me practicing for the recital. I have another week to practice, but I’ve already been working on this movement for five weeks, so this is about as good as it is going to get. I am playing at 92 beats per minute while professionals would play at 120 beats per minute. Some parts of this piece sound significantly better at full speed, and while I can play at nearly full speed, I make more mistakes. At the recital, there will be piano accompaniment which should help.

Edit (post recital): The recital went fairly well. We didn’t do a warm-up period; so the recital was shorter, but it was a bit harder to play without the warm-up session. I was a bit less nervous than at the prior recitals and played a bit better. This was the first year where I made it through the piece without having to stop to recover from a mistake.
I brought my camera along and got some video of some of the students to provide a feeling for what the experience is like. The final performance is by the teacher.

Edit 2: I was wrong about not improving much more in the final week. With another week (probably 15 hours) of practice I did get a bit faster and more consistent. I think that some of the tricky parts are a bit cleaner too. I’ve replaced the original practice video with on that I recorded the day after the recital. Sorry about the bad focus on the new video.

Mongoose for Unity —

Mongoose is a C library for embedding a simple web server in another application. We used Mongoose for all of our web-enabled Torque games and I wanted to be able to continue using it for new games in Unity.

There is an existing extension called UniWeb which provides a web server in unity, but their code doesn’t support web sockets. I’ve just built Mongoose in windows, but it is Linux and Mac compatible as well. However, it wont support any of the mobile platforms.

This post will describe the steps for building Mongoose 5.6 as a windows native DLL, then wrapping it for use in C#, and finally including it in a Unity project.

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Le Havre single player demo video —

At the suggestion of a friend, I’ve created a video of a single player game of Le Havre where I am using the shipping strategy.

I made this video to demonstrate how to get a score near 400 without using special buildings. On people discuss and debate the expected scores for a single player game. Players have posted demo games before, but only as saves from a computer implementation. Mine will be the first video.

After making Le Havre, one of the pleasant surprises was how much fun the single player game is. I’ve played a lot of games and improved my score quite a bit. Before computerizing the game, I played the single player version on the physical board once. But the setup/tear-down and piece twiddling was just too much for a solo game.

I also made this video to draw attention to the touch table implementation. I’d like for other players to ask the publisher for permission to release my version. I’d also like to make boardgamegeek players more aware of gaming on the touch table.

Setting up RSS feeds —

I recently added RSS feeds to so that people could keep up to date with what our company is doing, and get notified when we have new or updated software.

There are lots of ways to setup an RSS feed. For example, this blog is in WordPress and WordPress sets up RSS feeds automatically. There are also computer programs and web apps that will manage your RSS feed.

I set it up manually for Dark Infinity, so I thought I would give the steps here.

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PAX East 2015 —

We attended PAX East with Mesa Mundi again this year. We had a lot of fun and got some good feedback about our games. It was great to see Toby, Rebecca, Matt and Laura again and nice to meet Liz and the guys from Lifeform Entertainment. It was also exhausting and stressful, but it is worth it to see people enjoying our games.

This year we stayed with the rest of the Mesa Mundi team in Norwood (about 25 miles out of town) and rode with them to and from the convention. We got to spend a lot more time with them this year and even met Toby and Rebecca’s kids. It felt more like we were members of the team.

See all the pictures of the Mesa Mundi booth.

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