Hack of the Whenever I Get Around to It

September 26, 2007

PICRoboSim released

Filed under: Uncategorized — Chris Merck @ 12:36 pm

The simulator is finally ready for release! Features added are a sensor configuration screen, improved light calculations, Vista compatibility, improved Linux compatibility (a few of the libraries still don’t load right). Furthermore, there now is a handbook with documentation tutorials, and troubleshooting tips.

(the new look of the simulator)

(config screen)

See the PICRoboSim main page for details.


September 21, 2007

Freehand Integration and Differentiation

Filed under: Uncategorized — Chris Merck @ 2:27 am

Two years back I wrote a simple VB program to take a derivative and an integral of a function drawn by hand. It taught me a few things about basic Calculus, and even more about how not to draw sine functions. You can grab a copy of Freederiv and try it for yourself – with a tablet it becomes a great visualization tool. I will provide the source if I can ever find it, but it should be elementary to (re)write. Feel free to do so.

The obligatory screenshot(s):

(apparently my sines are more like linked semi-circles)

If you want to use it on Linux just run it through Wine. You will need two fairly standard Windows files for it to work. Simply copy “mscomctl.ocx” and “msvbvm60.dll” from the C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\ directory of a Windows machine into your ~/.wine/drive_c/windows/system32/ directory.

(Freederiv running under Wine)

September 17, 2007

Astroflug – astroids squared

Filed under: Uncategorized — Chris Merck @ 11:47 pm


What happens when you take the classic Astroids game, remove the asteroids, add 50 enemy ships, and independantly simulate the trajectory of each particle of ammunition? You get Astroflug – a rather addictive though simple arcade game. There are four levels of difficulty: beginner, intermediate, advanced, and epic. Windows and Linux binaries and sources can be gotten here. It is written using SDL, so you will need SDL.dll in C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\ or just in the same directory as astroflug.exe on Windows or install the libSDL12 and libSDL12-dev packages on your favorite Linux flavor.
Perhaps the coolest feature of Astroflug is that for each particle or enemy ship in the game a force is calculated and applied with respect to every other particle. That is, everything interacts with each other in a physical way. The result is very smooth-feeling immersive gameplay.

(a typical snapshot of an Astroflug session)

When you start to get pwned you can use a bomb blast that fires all your ammo at once in every direction. It is fun to watch how the shock-wave reacts to and wraps around the enemy ships.

(using the bomb blast)
(getting overrun)

(once your ammo “cools down” it gravitates back towards your ship!)
(interesting behavior is seen when enemy ships are told to attack each other!)

Have fun with this one. I will post any updates here (hopefully including a parallelized version).

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