Assistant to the Lounge-About

The fun begins when you quit your day job.

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 boardgamegeek.com 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 darkinfinitysoftware.com 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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Year In Review – 2014 —

I don’t mail out a Christmas card, but I’d like to provide a brief summary of my year to family and friends who I haven’t gotten to see this year. I also enjoy doing a bit of reflection at the end of a year.

It felt like a busy year, and I think it is because of all the travel that we did:

  • In March we went to Effingham Illinois for my Uncle’s 50th wedding anniversary.
  • We took the scenic Amtrak train ride from Denver to Glenwood Springs with Bill’s parents for spring break. (Photos)
  • We took a two week tour of England, Ireland and Scotland with my parents in September. (Photos)
  • In December we went to Chicago for my cousin’s wedding and took in a couple museums. (Photos)

We also went to two game conventions promoting our touch table software. In April we went to Boston for our second PAX with Mesa Mundi. We enjoyed the convention and getting to see all the Mesa Mundi people again. In July we brought our own touch table to the Conclave of Gamers convention which was held at a nearby hotel. This was the first time we have done a convention without Mesa Mundi. This convention was less busy, but the attendees stayed at the tables longer and we got to try a bigger variety of games.

In January we had a wedding reception game day to celebrate our legal marriage last year in New York. The wedding was a civil ceremony with just my brother and his wife as our witnesses, so this game day gave our friends and my parents a chance to celebrate with us. It felt strange to have a wedding reception after being together for so long, but it is nice to be recognized by our government, and I had a lot fun that day and appreciated the well wishes.

Right after getting back from PAX in April, I started a short term contracting job that lasted through June. Before this job, Bill and I created Fire Platoon. After the contracting job ended, I wrote Le Havre and Puerto Rico while Bill learned the Unity game engine and wrote High Score, Pair Soup and started on a space racing game.

In February I had my third violin recital. We hosted it at our house and invited my parents. I have been playing for five and half years and the rate of improvement has slowed way down. But is it more fun to play now, and I am still trying to practice daily. In August I fractured my shoulder in a biking accident and couldn’t really play for two months.

Overall we had a good year. We didn’t make it down to Mexico this year, so that will be a goal for 2015. Hopefully we will also get to spend a little time with my brother and his family next year.