So, some of you know that I’ve been working on building my own Claptrap. (If you don’t know who claptrap is, check out the video link at the end of the post.)
Screen capture to video to animated gifs are hard…
The first step was to get a 3d rendering of him. Luckily, I was able to find one online. Problem was that it was pretty dirty and everything was one object. Thus began my project to learn AutoCAD and clean it up. I was able to break out all the sides, internal parts, etc, into their own layers. It took a while, but I was happy with the results.
After having all the layers set aside, I was able to create outlines of the shapes I wanted to use. Using this, I can start making full-sized printouts (initially using cardboard) to determine how it will look and make sure all the parts go together correctly. Once I’m happy with that, I’ll move onto the cutting and welding the metal together.
The following is the first-draft prologue of my novel, ‘A Cat’s World.’ Still lots of changes to be made, but since I sent it out to my writing group, I figure I would put it up here too.
Tanya felt as if she was waking up from a long strange dream. She was sure there was pain, but now there was only a deep coldness. Some rational part of her mind decided that she was dead. She floated in this new world, this heaven in her mind. She allowed herself to be drawn into this world. A freedom from the pain. An escape from the nothingness. Within her imagination, this world began to take shape. She lay on grassy hills overlooking the ocean. The sun warmed her from above while a soft breeze tickled her cheek.
I went as Uncle Fester from the Addams Family to my brothers wedding. (It went along with the theme of the night.) Part of the costume involved a light bulb that lights up on its own. I created an instructable showing how it’s done. Check it out.
Legend of apple?
Did some laser engraving on my iPhone. Turned out pretty well. I’m happy with the results. What do you think?
This is the code behind an arduino based Rhythm game (Rock Band, Guitar Hero, etc) automatic player. The project consisted of 3 sub-projects:
Rhythm Player Midi – This project is designed to read the midi files from the disk and create an intermediary file displays the notes and the delay between each note. The code was never completed to a ‘releasable’ stage, but was completed enough just to work for our project. Changes will need to be made to get it to read different games formats correctly. This was a fun project that had me learning the ins and outs of how MIDI files actually work.
Rhythm Player Client – This code reads the intermediate file that was created by the Rhythm Player Midi project and sends the notes to the arduino to be played. Again, some tweaking will be required to get it to work in different modes.
Rhythm Player Arduino – The arduino code that listens to the notes via the serial port and sends the notes to the modified guitars.
All projects were simply hacked to get it to work under different situations. (Single Player, Co-op, multiple player, etc.) If people are actually interested, I’ll take time to make it ‘release’ worthy. (Add drop down selection to change to the different modes, etc.) My real goal was to combine the first two into a single project that would read the midi file and send the notes to the arduino without the intermediate step. I might still do this someday.
The guitar hardware changes involved using opto-couplers to separate the Arduino circuit from the guitar controllers. We simply soldered wires to the points that connected the buttons and by triggering a note on the arduino it basically tapped a button.
Code can be found on the github page.
As I started working on my Arduino Rock Band Player, I originally attempted to read the screen and watch the notes as they scrolled down the screen. It was an interesting project that let me attempt my hand at scaling, cutting, creating histograms, and other computer vision techniques. This also let me try my hand at learning and using C#. I only worked on it for a week, but it was still fun and taught me a lot about the trouble software engineers go through as they try to watch the world and make some sense from it. This project seemed simple to me, notes moving on a static background. However, to my dismay, I learned it wasn’t as static as I thought. Hammer on notes are smaller and are basically right on top of each other, which are registered as one note. Star power shoots lightning throughout the screen that can cause issues as well.
I had some ideas such as tracking the notes, and doing closer monitoring, but I scrapped this project in favor of reading the MIDI file directly from the disk. (I’ll post that project later on. I’ll add a link when I do.)
If you want to see the code, it’s posted on github. It uses the aForge.net computer vision libraries.
I wrote a new post for Fictorians about how my profession is common misconstrued via television and in movies. I tried to give a realistic view, but I wonder how useful it’ll be. I figure it might help some author who is looking to add some background story to their computer savvy characters. Who knows.
Feel free to check it out: Programmers, Hackers, and Technology via Fictorians.com
There is an amazing opportunity to get free tickets from Writers Digest to the San Fran Writing Conference coming later this month. Editors, publishers, and authors will be in attendance making this a prime place for networking. Best part is, if you’re not from the area, you’ll be able to visit me! (No, really, that IS the best part!)
Check out the contest HERE.