We went to Chicago for my Cousin’s wedding last weekend. We spent an extra day in town and went to the Field museum, the Museum of Science and Industry and the Baha’i house of worship.

Both museums were good. We particularly enjoyed the huge model train at the museum of science and the working labs at the field museum.

Photos are here.

Le Havre – Week 3

With a total of 120 hours of work, I am happy to say that Le Havre is playable. There is still a lot of testing, bug fixing, and polish to do; but I’ve played through a full game.

Main progress this week:

  • All the building actions for the normal and special buildings
  • End game

I am still expecting another 40 hours or so of work on this game. I’d like to have quite a few more sound effects and player prompts and some better animation for resources being paid/received. And once beta testing starts, I’ll have usability improvements to make too.

Continue reading “Le Havre – Week 3”

Le Havre – Week 1

I’ve spent about 40 hours working on Le Havre. About half of that time has been spent planning screen layouts and designing graphics for the buildings and ships. Bill came up with the idea to draw all the buildings (even the ones built by the players) in the center area. This keeps the player areas very small and leaves almost all of the screen space for the “town”.

Even with that idea, the space is still quite tight. I’ve had to create a different view of the buildings and ships for each “mode” that they are going to be displayed in to limit their size.

My main accomplishment this week has been coming up with a screen layout that will be able to display everything that the players need to see, and a design of the ships and buildings that will fit into that layout. I am now fairly confident that it will be possible to play this game on the touch table.

Here is the basic layout: Town Continue reading “Le Havre – Week 1”

Mechanical Keyboard

I received the mechanical keyboard from my wishlist for Christmas. It is the Rosewill RK-9000BRI. I hadn’t been able to play with the keyboard in person, so it was pretty exciting to open it up to try.

The first few keyboards that I used were all mechanical keyboards. The Apple II computers at school, and my first Tandy had mechanical keyboards. I remember the Apple II keyboard as having a particularly satisfying feel. My first modern computer was a 386 and it had a mechanical keyboard too. All of these machines were relatively expensive compared to a modern computer, and a nice keyboard was part of that cost.

My next couple of computers came from IBuyPower (a discount computer assembler) and then I started assembling my own. All my keyboards since the 386 have been membrane style. There is nothing really wrong with a membrane keyboard; they work pretty well and are very in-expensive. The main disadvantage of a membrane keyboard is that you have to fully depress (bottom out) each key press. This requires you to use extra force to type and increases strain.

Mechanical keyboards have seen a resurgence in popularity and there are quite a few options. The biggest decision to make is which type of switch to get (there is a switch under each key of a mechanical keyboard). The switch type determines how much force is required to activate the key, how much noise a key press makes and whether there is a tactile bump when the key is activated. There is a really good post summarizing the switch types at

I picked the Cherry MX Brown switch. I wanted there to be a distinct tactile bump prior to activation, and I didn’t want an audible click to sound. That left the brown and the clear. The brown is easier to find and requires a little bit less force than the clear. The other big decisions to make are what layout you want and if you want any back-lighting.

I am really enjoying my keyboard (this blog post is really just an excuse to use it more). I am still getting used to the idea that I don’t have to fully depress the keys. I have used membrane keyboards so long that it is hard to adjust. I would say that I am already faster with the new keyboard, but I am still making a few more errors than I used to.