Space Mud/Game Ideas

Long time no update .. a codebase. is when I talked about it last.

I was playing Starcom Nexus, and it reminded me that once upon a time i was playing with flying a ship around in gravity. I looked, it was 7 years ago. I cloned it, I updated it, I ran it. I was amazed.

I’m not going to kid myself with “I have time to work on this” .. but, if I did, what would I make? This is like “If I win the lottery”, giving space for some creative stuff to sparkle. I would have planets that (slowly, unrealistically) orbit their stars.

I would have planet and sun gravity that draw ships in

But the ships won’t crash against the planet. Instead, there will be a “autopilot” bump that happens that assists the ships into a non-crashing orbit over time. (so a few times they’ll go through the planet, but eventually would end up orbiting)

ships can do a “land” feature if they are close enough to a city, goes into an automatic “shrink into the planet” type of thing. At that point, the game switches over to text mode of having landed, getting out of the ship, n/s/e/w to visit whatever places.

At first i wanted real thrust type stuff. But that can be very unmanageable.

So make it manageable. Choose an object to travel to. Accelerates towards, the decelerates. Can be planetary. Can be a ship. Different levels of autopilot around this can be purchased. Fuel cost for the big accelerations, free small ones to prevent stranding. Standard given autopilot = bring self to a stop relative to object (so you can end up at your target)

But i don’t want acceleration to be good for interstellar travel. Not without putting in 10 minutes of game time or more. For that, i want a hypertravel mode, but with a twist:

In hyperspace mode, gravity is inverted at d^5 or something silly like that. So to send yourself to another star, you get close to your current star, switch to hyperspace, and get catapulted out that way. If you aim wrong you can still use your hyperspace drives to point yourself in some direction, but they can only slow you down or speed you up to some absolute value. (the stellar launch can exceed that value). spend more money for better vectoring and acceleration and maximum controllable velocity. You would learn about stellar launch the hard way, you could just go into hyperspace and start accelerating towards a star.

So you would theoretically line up against a star, go into hyperspace, get catapulted, get close, and if you did it just right you would get slowed down by the target star but if not you would drop out of hyperspace somewhere around your target star. You drop out of hyperspace only when your hyperspace velocity gets slow enough.

The rest of the game would be similar, i guess, to Starcom Nexus. You visit planets, you solve things, you get resources, you fight baddies, you mine stuff, etc. That’s the game built on top of the above. Except that planet visits are text adventures.

I’m writing this from a hotel in Phoenix, where i’m on vacation with my wife. Its only taken .. 2 days? of vacation time, to get my brain clear enough to where this stuff starts coming up for creativity. yay!

Missed Metformin Dose

I forgot to take my metformin this morning at 7am! OMG! What shall I do?

Well, according to Wikipedia, the half life is between 4 to 8.7 hours. I assumed 6 hours. Thanks to a little googling, the formula to use is below. I modelled it based on taking my morning pill at 5pm when I got home and skipping my evening pill (which is not at 7pm, but usually around 9pm to 11pm), and:

The formula:

I like useful math

Using Meater Wireless Thermometer

  • It turned out semi-okay. I didn’t let the steak get to room temperature before i started, I kinda hurried things along. I also misjudged the size of the pan to sear it in, so I didn’t get a good sear, and some juices escaped.
  • Note that Sear In Pan raised meat temp faster than Oven, even with lower ambient heat. That’s because the temp sensor is not on the bottom of the pan which is probably 400 degrees or more.
  • Note that the Oven said “400” when in fact it was maybe 180. “Enough hotter” that the temperature gradient is there in the food. Hence the “Preheat for a long time” when doing very sensitive recipes
  • Note the “Hotter while resting” inertia thing. Meater did warn me to take it off the heat 5 minutes before it reached temperature, and I still overshot it.

Looking forward to my next cook.

Quick Win: Small WPF App – Fast Finder Tool.

Since I don’t work on (interesting) large projects anymore, maybe I could write about the (small) places where (small) work = a (relative) win for somebody.

Returns (the department) is switching to the newer version of our ERP system. Its web based, and its a bit slow. For a customer, given a product, they have to either a) start from customer and what they bought, filter down to item, or b) start from item and go the other way. Either way its a few seconds to bring up stuff, another few seconds to apply a filter.

Solution: WPF app, doing a SQL query and using Telerik WPF RadGridView:

customerId <tab> item shortcode (Excluding size and color) <enter> (wait 1 second) – this brings up a filterable, sortable grid of when that customer bought that item (and the order numbers).

The code leaves the focus on the item short code highlighted so the next short code can be typed in. (Any customer will usually return several items – customers in these cases are businesses returning inventory for some reason – its a 20%+ return-rate industry, related to fashion.)

With this information, Returns can quickly know what prices to assign the return (the price they paid for it) and what order number to RMA against.

Returns came back with minor feedback: Colorize the rows for purchases vs returns in the grid that comes up. Done.

I’m on my home laptop, so no screenshot at this time.

Overall the screen for returns took maybe 6-8 hours spread over 2-3 working days over a span of 1 week, with 2 rounds of feedback. (These “fun” projects, i don’t start work on them till after 2pm, after I’ve worked on the less-fun more-demanding work in the morning and other misc stuff in the afternoon).

Removing Sod with a Half Moon Sod Remover

Hey I Learned Something! … had to remove 200 sq ft of Sod to make a spot for a pool. It was hard work. Over time and research, I found a way that works for me. Video.

Shot with iPhone 13 (with wide lens for some). Edited with Luma Fusion. Luma Fusion = I don’t need to pay for Adobe Premiere for simple videos.

While I’m writing a post .. My world is family, grandchildren, and some work. At work I’m no longer a contractor software engineer, but rather a member of a 3 person IT team, where the primary purpose of the company IS NOT writing software. So, there’s a lot of monitoring systems, and fixing old code to be more configurable, and finding people who have hard work to do and making their lives easier.

I’ll most my most recent wins as short separate posts.

Lego Build! Darth Vader

I made a decision this year, that each year I’ll do at least one extravagant Lego Build. Its my way of affirming:

  • My inner child matters
  • I am affluent and I can afford it

Turns out, the universe was in sync – for Christmas, I received an unasked-for Lego Darth Vader to build. 800 pieces! I set out to build it, but of course I had to timelapse it.

There were 5 stages, and I recorded all of them:

  • #1 excluded because all you see is my back.
  • #2 Nest camera, facing me and the model. I really liked the idea, so I upgraded …
  • #3 GoPro Timelapse at 0.5sec, 1080P. I felt my hand kinda got in the way, so I changed the angle
  • #4 GoPro Timelapse at 0.5sec, 1080P. It felt too slow, so I changed again
  • #5 GoPro TImelapse at 1sec, 4K.

I put them together in this video, which I’ve put on Youtube because that’s where everything else video goes. I’m thinking, the best angle and subject was #1 – you don’t see all the parts, you see the human and the model. But its not the best camera.

I think the next build, I’ll stick the GoPro where its Model + Human centered, and parts not necessarily in sight.

What I loved most about building it:

  • Wondering how the pieces were going to be used
  • Sorting and organizing the pieces
  • Admiring the novel ways they used pieces that I could not predict

Stuff not so great: Seemed there were a bunch of very custom pieces. Meh.

Crypto Taxes – Switching

First, apologies for folks who posted really good comments on one of my previous posts — been busy. I went from Grandparent-of-two to Grandparent-of-four, and they live with us, and … its amazing, but man its hard to get time to think. Mostly we’re taking care of the older two while mom recuperates from C-section and the newer two are integrated. #devops #fixitinprod

Earlier in the year, I made a decision – heck with Taxes, I’m going to investigate Crypto things. So I did – I investigated liquidity mining, and staking, and some other mining, and stuff and stuff. And now .. i’m paying the price (in time).

I used to use (no link). I ran into problems. Something as easy as importing ETH transactions from my Trezor – 34 entries. It shows a balance.

There is no balance. Using their data from their screen, in excel, added it up, NO FRICKING BALANCE. See here with Blockchain explorer. And their import from Binance.US – very broken.

I lost faith in them. So, I need to switch.

I’m trying out instead. Good news, they integrate well with various well known things. Bad news, lots of other stuff I have to do a lot of labor to get data over. Hence the checklist which I posted a screenshot of earlier. Pretty sure I’m going to leave “free tier” here shortly (5 wallet limit), but I suspect I’d have to do that with whatever I went to with the amount of experimentation I’ve done.

A particular pain: I was hoping I could connect to directly – but is serious about locking out anybody from the US. I can’t log in there anymore. Not even read-only. Bummer. Luckily, I DO trust the info in cointracking that I got from Binance. Just takes some reformatting.

And is all of this worth it? Well, for the experience – yes. However, my stint in Liquidity mining – Sure I got some returns, but the impermanent loss was made permanent. And Staking – its ongoing, but it feels like I’m gaining at exactly the loss-of-value-due-to-inflation rate of the currency (DFI). They promise something awesome when they do X Y Z in the next 2 months, I think I’ll probably pull the plug around Christmas, I don’t want to deal with the headache of reporting 2 transactions per day of staking rewards paid in the future. And I fear what Cardano’s upcoming liquidity contracts will do to DFI’s world.

Star Citizen: Delivery Missions

I’ve been obsessing with Star Citizen delivery missions. Video 1 and Video 2.

I thought maybe I could take two of them, and optimize my route. I was assuming that time spent going between planets was the longest. It might be, but just barely.

Upon examining video 2 in more detail (I didn’t have a recording of my own), I logged timestamps and made a pivot chart:

QT = Quantum Travel, TL = Takeoff/landing, WALK = using W key to Activate Limbs that Kick.

So even if a bunch of packages are at the same location, the effort of walking them to the ship may not be that much worse than doing a extra flight. But theoretically, what would the sort be?

  • Well, DESTINATION port MUST come after SOURCE port.
  • Put the same port together if you can (sometimes you have to visit it twice)
  • Group the planets together? One less QT hop

So I tried it – Here’s my work in progress –

From’s and To’ with package numbers, from 2 missions.

However, the game crashed on me, and I lost all the packages. So there’s a good reason to get done with a simple mission first without thinking too hard about it. Oh, and Planetary maps at this link:

Ok, I might be off to try Mining thanks to Intergalactic Lan Party’s awesome playlist!

Star Citizen, take my money!

I got a hankering to play Star Citizen and decided to jump in with $55. I very quickly upped my pledge to .. i don’t even know where I’m at so far. Probably $80. And its awesome.

Quick Myth: If you destroy your ship you are out real $. Reality: currently everybody has insurance until they release, and when they release, there will be in-game insurance per ship that you can buy. Just like Elite: don’t fly without insurance!

Quick Myth: Need a kick ass computer. Reality: My i7/gtx1070 from 3-4 years ago with 16G ram total, runs it about okay.

Quick Myth: Its full of bugs because its alpha. Reality: yes; but if you call an elevator and you see a black emptiness, DONT STEP IN IT.

What I’ve done so far:

  • Participate in a server-wide event which netted me almost 1/2 of a entry-level ship’s worth of in game money, while doing almost nothing other than fly around not knowing what to do. (The xenothreat thing over labor day weekend)
  • Try to land my ship at a settlement on the dark side of a planet. The light I saw was the door light not a city light, i rammed into the settlement instead. Boom + Tresspassing = Crimestat.
  • Served time in the penitentiary (14 minutes) for my crimestat. I did not try to escape.
  • Almost run out of fuel flying a ship rental to join some action. Luckily I checked before I got past the halfway mark and could jump back to get some gas.
  • Decide to trade in my first pledge ship for a better one (which has cargo space! And a bunk bed!)
  • Trying to take out my first bounty, got there too late and somebody else got him.
  • Trying to take out my first bounty, got jumped by a second bad guy. Ran away.
  • Try to descend upon a bounty target at full speed in an asteroid field. I could not dodge the asteroid that showed up in front of me. Boom.
  • Actually destroy a bounty myself with my gimpy hands.
  • Do my first cargo mission, turns out I picked the one where I visit an abandoned powered off station, float around debris in zero G, somebody destroys my ship while I’m in the station and I have to stash the box and suicide and come back and get it after I respawn.
  • EVA across a space station to get to the correct strut where I could turn in a delivery box to the right place.
  • Do a “pick up recycle waste from 3 stations” mission. Turns out I need to land closer, because I have to hoof it on foot to get into the buildings to pick up the salvage WITH MY BARE HANDS. 2nd and 3rd station, i got a bit closer in my landing.
  • Decide to upgrade my ship, find the websites which guide me to where the components can be bought, and try to go to Area 18 the big industrial complex plant … and could not find the space port. Had to go back up to look for it from afar, it was hidden behind some skyscrapers.
  • Forget to look at trade routes and missed some great trading opportunities.

This game is amazing. Its everything I dreamed Elite could be. And the ship power management and all that stuff.. its like, “super realistic” + “computer control to make it seem more like a game”, but if you want you can switch off the “Coupled” mode and go raw. Just like Elite.

3 play sessions in, cannot wait for the next one. I need to investigate using a joystick and learn more about gimballed weapons and power distribution.

Ordered a HNT Helium “People’s Network” Miner

Partly because I’m greedy, however, I stand to make maybe 50 cents a day on it .. payoff over 1-2 years at that rate. In order for it to make the bigger bucks, it needs another 2 HNT Miners within 350 meters to 2km away or so. Then the possible rewards jump up to $150/month. Maybe.

But its not just that. Its also – when I searched for a tracking dog collar, all of them had a $5/mo or so subscription for “data” for sending signals home via a cell tower. This particular network aims to cut that cost way down. But it needs people to have hotspots out there, and thus.. HNT Miners.

I want to get a sump pump that can tell me when it activates. I want a Tile that works everywhere for low cost and long battery life.
Their network is large enough now that Lime Scooters use them for tracking.

So, for just those reasons, I went ahead and invested in a Bobcat Miner. Except, maybe I got scammed? Pretty sure I went to the right URL, and my purchase experience matched those of people on YT. I ended up buying it with some ADA which I sold to get USDT. It has a 8-12 week lead time before it gets to me (once an block of orders is full, it gets manufactured then sent out). It was the fastest Miner I could get, unless I went for the more expensive Syncrhobit, which is $650.

Alas, I’ll not get the miner until after the first Halving, which happens August 1st. So the approx 0.5-0.7 HNT that I might get will go down to 0.25. maybe less if the number of hotspots goes way up. On the other hand, they’re moving to something called the validator network, which is offloading some stuff from Miners, which then takes all the HNT set aside for Consensus Groups, and gives that to Miners. So it might go up a bit.

And then also because of the halfing, the reduced supply might drive the price up as well.

Anyway. My plan is to get my one node up, and then see if i want to invest in a second node and see if I can talk a friend or relative into hosting it for a month. And if it brings in good $ (to both nodes), then … hey they can keep the node. The payoff time goes from 1 year down to 2 months or something like that, and then its just Latinum thereafter.

The internet bandwidth is not inconsequential. Its like 20G per month. Although that might go down when the validator nodes show up.

Kinda excited. I hope a decent dog collar using the Helium network shows up soon so I can justify my tinkering.