Dec 15

Painting Fantasy Portraits

To practice both painting and faces, I’ve started doing fantasy portraits. Once I get enough of them I’ll upload the set to and maybe incorporate them into Dungeon Monkey Eternal.

I wanted to do the pictures in traditional media because in my mind that’s how classic fantasy portraits are supposed to be done. Obviously I am not going to achieve the same kind of look as Larry Elmore or Jeff Easely but I have confidence that with enough practice I can do something that isn’t entirely terrible.

The dwarf at the top of this post was the first one I did. It’s in watercolor, which I think was a mistake, and I won’t be using that again (maybe). The human was second, and the orc was third. These were done in acrylics. Both the dwarf and orc are modeled on my own face. The human is based on a photo from

Dec 13

There’s a new open source FreePascal scifi roguelike in town…

Well actually, it isn’t exactly new. After receiving a letter from ZeniMax, Kornel has shortened the name of this beloved game and released the source. If you have never played D*** the Roguelike before, now is a great time to give it a try.

Dec 08

Dungeon Monkey Eternal now installable

I’ve made two quick changes to Dungeon Monkey Eternal. First, I’ve cleared most of the source files out of the root directory. Second, I’ve added a working packaging file. The good news is that it should now be much easier to pack the game for Linux distros, create an executable version for Windows, and otherwise move the game around. The bad news is that this update breaks all previous save files.

I’ve also been making some progress with GearHead2, and hope to make a new release of that game before the new year.


Nov 23

My Secret Life as a Mad Scientist

Just in case you were wondering what I was doing all October.

Nov 21

ITM-01 Claymore


Once it was king of the battlefield; now its name is synonymous with obsolete. The Claymore is the oldest mecha design still in common use on Earth. This longevity comes from its rugged durability and ease of manufacture.

The standard ITM-01 configuration comes with a heavy autocannon, a shield, twin light autocannons in the torso, and twin five-slot missile launchers in the legs. The launchers are typically stocked with crude but effective high explosive rockets. This can sometimes cause a problem as an ammo explosion in the leg can leave the mecha immobilized.

After the night of fire destroyed most factories on Earth, the Claymore was one of the first designs to resume production. It can be built from plans without need for special materials, tools, or techniques. Because of this it was a mainstay of most defense forces during the exodus era, and remains a common sight throughout the dead zone to the present day.

Unlike the Buru-Buru, which has a large community of enthusiasts, there is little romanticization of the Claymore. On Earth, there have been few attempts to update the Claymore with modern technology. Certainly, most of the workshops that produce Claymores lack the skills to change the design, and so just keep following the ITM-01 specifications.

On Mars it’s a different story. Here, the Claymore has been incrementally modified and developed into a wide variety of new mecha. The Longsword battroid used by the Martian Commonwealth Loyalists is a fifth generation descendant of the Claymore.

The picture was made using Jo Sonja acrylics on Canson acrylic & oil paper. One good thing about painting a mecha, as opposed to simply drawing it, is that you have to really consider it as a three dimensional thing rather than just worrying about lines on paper. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

Nov 18

Good Week for GearHead2 Development


I’ve managed to get a lot of stuff done with GearHead-2 this week. The resizeable interface seems to be working all over. The expanded gender and romance options from GearHead1 have been incorporated. Several bugs have been fixed. Work on a new title screen has begun. No promises, but maybe there will be a new release next week.

Nov 16

Jupiter Hell on Kickstarter

Korlel Kisielewicz has just started a kickstarter for his new game, Jupiter Hell. It’s an old-school roguelike with a modern interface and graphics. If you enjoyed DoomRL, then you should definitely check this one out.

Nov 08

Procedural Texture Generation

Last week I mentioned that I’ve been playing around with procedural texture generation. The method I’ve been using takes an image sample, analyzes it, and then tries to reproduce its texture in several ways. For example, take this picture of grass from the public domain West’s Textures set.


The source image shouldn’t have too many colors in it, so before feeding it to the texture generator I edited it in Gimp and posterized it down to around 10 colors.

The first texture generation method is shuffle, which just takes all the pixels from the source image and spits them back out in random order. This is good for generating a noisy texture which has the same color composition as the original, but the output lacks structure.


Next, I tried a markov chain, which records left-to-right pixel patterns from the original and tries to replicate these in the output. This one has a bit more structure to it, but the generated texture often appears streaky.


Next I tried another markov chain type algorithm, but instead of checking the state of the previous three pixels it examines the pixel above, behind, and to the upper left of the pixel to be drawn.


Finally, I tried an extended version of the above algorithm, which looks at more nearby tiles and falls back to a previous algorithm if an unknown seed case is encountered. Sometimes this seems to improve the results and sometimes it doesn’t.


You can see the Python script I used below the fold. Continue reading

Nov 03

GearHead2 New Shopping Interface


I’ve ported the new GH1 SDL shopping interface to GH2. A few things still need to be modified- the item images don’t show up yet because the GH1 code I copied and pasted doesn’t use them, and the descriptions for some item types don’t seem to be working right. Next stop: the character creation and training interfaces.

Also, I’ve been trying to procedurally generate new ground sprites using colors taken from old Sunrise mecha cartoons. This is grass. I’m not sure how it’s working yet; I want to see it in action before I judge.


Nov 02

Everything is Rocking Out of Control

japan_01The weekend before last I was in Japan for the Kaigai Manga Festa. This was my first time in Tokyo, and my first time at a Japanese convention. I met a lot of cool people, picked up a lot of new comics, and ate a lot of delicious food.

The best part was meeting a number of GearHead fans. One of them brought me a gift- this collector’s box of Dougram models. Have I ever mentioned that I’ve been trying to find a complete set of Dougram mecha for literally decades? This was an amazing gift and I’m glad I didn’t open it on the spot because I might have cried. Thank you so much.


I did well enough at the show that I may be able to justify going back again next year… though I spent enough money in Japan that I may not be able to.