Don’t kids grow up quickly this days?

Quote of the day from our seven-year-old. Little serious face on: “I’m not quite sure, but I think I might be falling in love with Kirsty. I’m not sure though.”

Gahhhh. What do you say to that? Debbie almost swallowed her own head with mirth, and I managed to choke out “Well, don’t tell her that whatever you do – let her work it out for herself”, while resisting an urge to scream “No! Run away! Don’t let her near you! Oh, it’ll start with ‘ooo’, ‘aah’, and so on, but later there’ll be running! And screaming!”

Still, it’s amusing to watch how it all develops. I have a mental image of Debbie standing Bread-like at the front door screaming “She! Is! A! Tart!”. I am looking forward to Harmony growing up, though. Or, more specifically, I’m looking forward to potential suitors coming to visit. I have a great deal of anticipation for the time when I will become the all-powerful vengefull god of their painful and short little lives.

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Here’s a thought

I’ve just read in the news that the UK goverment is stockpiling enough smallpox vaccinations to immunise the entire population of the UK in the event of a terrorist threat.

People aren’t routinely vaccinated against smallpox anymore because it was wiped out several decades ago.

So where do the terrorists get it from?

Is it available because, while our nice benevolent goverments were busily wiping out the disease in the interests of the health of their good taxpaying citizens, they were also quarantining and keeping some of the virus aside for a rainy day? Really, how sick is that?


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Hiding Simulators

Gah, that’s all I can say. Gah. Today, I shall wander up to Castle Street and return Splinter Cell to the branch of game from whence it came. “But why?” you cry, “it’s the best xbox game of the year!”. Because, my friends, it is a hiding simulator. That’s what you do in it – you hide. My beloved wife pointed out to me that perhaps two hours is too long to spend hiding in a bush watching guards, and she was right. Harrumph.

Harmony (who is two) decided to get up for a wander in the middle of the night, and then sprang up again at five in the morning. Problem is, she woke Tristan (7) as well, who came up with the bright idea of wandering downstairs and putting on Teletubbies at an absolutely THUNDEROUS volume. T’ch, eh?

She (Harmony) is turning into a complete bossyboots too. Her new thang is that Dad (moi) has to get a “Kith” whenever I go to work. Problem is, while dropping Debbie and the brood off at the school this morning, she went berserk cos she was out of the car and in the buggy before she got one, so muggins here had to get out of the car in the freezing cold (grumble grumble etc).

It’s no fair.

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Moving to uJournal

Hello? Anyone home? Ah, there you are. So, what’s all this about then, eh? Nothing much, I suppose – just some vague ramblings about stuff that’s happening. Perhaps I should begin by telling you all a bit about myself – in case you care.

Well, I was born in Mayfield, Scotland (just outside Edinburgh). I wandered about a bit and eventually ended up back where I started. I’m married to a sultry northerner and have three extremely surreal children.

During the day, I work as a UNIX administrator for a web design company, but enough about that. I have more interests than I realistically have time for, but let’s run through them.

I used to write video games. Such as they are, they’re available for free on this site by clicking the Games category on the right.

I write – I’m working on a novel at the moment. I find it very difficult, but I’m determined.

I make beer. So I can drink it. Yum.

I listen to far too much music. All kinds of music. I have a soft spot for Richard Wagner and Pink Floyd.

I’m what you might call a Ripperologist (

Not much too it, huh?

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To all Nelefans, large and small, bald and furry, odious and shiny, greetings!

May we at Nelefa Towers wish you the grandest, happiest, and most voluptuous New Year possible.

ps. No, I didn’t sit up to send this – I’m too lazy. cronjobs for the win!

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From the past – on Knight Lore

I’m afraid I’ve been a lazy bugger, and done absolutely nothing of late. Well, I had a gentle poke about Atic Atac, but that’s about it. There just aren’t enough hours in the day right now……

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From the past

A few corrections here. Andy has pointed out that the Knight Lore graphics were filched from the net somewhere, (although he’ll still get cudo’s for crayoning them in 😉 ). Also, a huge thanks to Steve Smith, who painstakingly snapped each room for me, so I can get the mechanics right.

So, how’s it going, you all cry. Well. I’ve input the first few rooms (the static objects, at least) to test my drawing routines, and they all seem to work perfectly. I’ve not even thought about movement yet (ulp!). I’ll probably release a slideshow demo at some point (similar to Andy’s JSW release) once I have graphics and some music, but that’s not likely to be for a whiley yet.

Anyway, in the meantime – does this look familiar?

Knight LoreKnight Lore

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From the past

Well, I’ve started. I have the mechanics of the room drawing done, implemented a few structures to hold the room data, got a few routines to draw various room types, and have written the routine to place objects in the correct place for each room type (bearing in mind that block (0,0,0) is in a different place in long rooms compared to square rooms. All I need to do to get a preview going is to build a few linked lists of blocks.

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The Splat! Development Diary

Resurrected from, here it is in all its 1998 glory:

Anyone here remember Splat!?

Well, me, I do. Splat! was written originally by I Andrew and I Morgan of Incentive Software, on the Sinclair ZX Spectrum. As video games go, it was – shall we say – odd. It looks like this:

Anyway, the aim of the game was to stay alive by running around the maze until the percentage (beside the level on the bottom left) reached 100. Touching the red wall on the outside would kill you, as would bumping into spikey things. Plants and Plums and snakes give you points.

Just one drawback.

The maze doesn’t scroll with you – it scrolls independently of your movements, and at random. Hitting the red wall becomes a bit more difficult to avoid when you’re stuck in a U shape which is rapidly scrolling off the top of the screen.

It was perfect on the Spectrum, so why am I bothering? Well, the answer to that can be found on Andy’s Manic Miner Page .

The game is being written in C, using DJGPP and the Allegro library. It will be for the MS-DOS platform. I may be convinced to port to Linux.

Well, this is the first draft of this page – I daresay it’ll improve as the game does.

Where are we at?

05 February 1998

Did the home page (such as it is). Started prototyping various structures in the game. Basically, each level will be composed of 56×32 20×20 blocks, in 16bit colour (probably). First job needs to be a level editor.

06 February 1998

By Golly. Finished the level editor, and designed the development level (working under the principle that if one level works, they all will). Did some really ropey graphics to get me started – I hate doing graphics. Worked out a level saving format – finally decided on 50×32 instead of 56×32, with a visible window of (checks notes) 14×8. Remember folks – this games is brought to you by djgpp and emacs (well, in fact, by GNU).

07 february 1998

Thanks go to the olympian might that is Andy Noble – he has kindly ripped the graphics from splat and coloured them in, with no regard for his own personal safety, for which I am forever in his debt (I really hate doing graphics 😉 This is what we have so far (aside from me rapidly developing a habit of typing grapihcs instead of graphics – I need a new name for my array)

Splat Graphics
08 february 1998

Hoo hoo – started the fun stuff. Currently, I’m working on the static area of the game screen (ie, the bricks (that get ye), score, status, and so on.). It’s starting to look pretty good – I should be able to stick up a screen shot in a day or two. One minor hiccup, the allegro library links in at about 450k – ok, so it does graphics, sound, etc, but it’s still a bit big….

Splat Screenshot 1 Splat Screenshot 2

Intriguingly enough, most of the game is now written, although I haven’t done things like level layouts, scoring, lives, you know – all the stuff that turns a program into a game ;-). Mind you, you wouldn’t believe (You would not BELIEVE!) how sticky it was to get a decent “Random scrolling thingy wotsit” going. The blob thing skips along quite merrily, though. I had to put in some *serious* slowdown code – I’ll be interested to hear from people with 486’s to see how it runs…..

Still, getting there, I expect I’ll be harassing Andy into betatesting fairly shortly.

11 Feb 1998

Gaaaaahhhh. Nasty time at work -lots to do. I need beer. Anyway, did the scoring routine in about 8 seconds. Andy popped a bitmap of the original levels in an email, which is handy. I’m considering re-implementing the level editor so that it runs in a plain text format, and polishing it a bit so it can be distributed with the game (right now, it’s horrible).

23 Feb 1998

Done nothing – been seriously busy. Going to do something tonight – honest!

1st March 1998

Ooohhooo! Well, happy March (!) to you all (sorry – a little self indulgent Stuart nicholsism there). Having finally decided on a neat and tidy way to store the levels, I’ve finally started the grunt work of designing them and (!) storing them. A joyful task, let me tell you (yawn). A few other things have cropped up, in the line of duty – I have a sneaking suspicion that the finished article may be subtly differant from the original (well, there’d be little point in doing a *straight* copy, would there?) Still, it’s starting to look good (and silly).

8th March 1998

Good News! The noble Bjorn Lynne has given permission to use a couple of his General Midi songs in Splat. For those of you unfamiliar with this outstanding artist, I urge you to visit his home page. It’s almost all falling into place – not much longer…..

21st March

Game’s done (mostly). Just need to bolt on a front end, write the obligatory scrolly message and stick it here. I’ve fired it off to Andy Noble who’s kindly agreed to beta test for me, and his initial responses seem favourable.

23rd March 1998

Here’s a little pressy for you – the first Alpha of Splat-PC. There are still some known bugs in here, but I’d appreciate some feedback on any you find. You can download it here. Have fun.

6th April 1998

D’oh! Snakes don’t kill you. Gaaaahhhhh. Well, there’s an interesting one. I’ve had virtually no bug reports in (does this mean there are no bugs?) even though there have been 178 downloads. Perhaps the time has come to get it finished off and released. I’m aiming for a release date of this weekend so that I can get on with Knight Lore.
Anyone who really wants to contact me can get me at

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