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Welcome to HollowWorks.com!

Here you will find news and updates about the various projects I'm working on.
Fri Jun 19 10:09:34 2020

It's been a while since I last posted... A long while. I am still alive. I finally figured out what was wrong with the site, I was using a deprecated function...

Working on a new game. It is mostly testing out Godot, but I'm having fun. It's very nice, offers all the features I could want for a 2D game. It has a built in editor which is simple, but very usable. Plus built in debugging. I'm really having fun with not having to write everything from scratch, and not having something sooo complex with lots of knobs and tweaks.

I sincerely hope they keep the 2D features first class. That's my one concern, is that the engine is getting more 3D features and that the 2D will be forgotten. ;)

Fri Dec 12 22:37:00 2014

"[...] Drugs are fantastic, you'll like them. But be careful. You will lose the ability to make decisions. That's enough. The greatest danger of drugs is that they destroy the most important thing in life: the power to decide. The most precious thing you have is your power to choose."

-- Paulo Coehlo, Novelist

Sun Nov 23 17:08:59 2014

I think I like AndroidOS better than iOS.

After years of using Mac products for their unix base -- iPad, iPhone, and MacBook -- the ecosystem is becoming unbearably stifling. Rather than give more latitude to the developer, they seem to be taking away flexibility with each update to their operating systems. They have never allowed file-system level access on iOS. They made Pythonista, which was released with the ability to browse the file system, remove that ability outside of a sandbox within the application.

There are a host of other things that have been remove from the app store for giving too much freedom. Never have they allowed compilers on iOS. You may only download pre-approved file formats, this means that if you want to save files on the go and transfer them to your computer for later manipulation/installation/reading, you are out of luck without a separate utility. And forget about sending that file via email if you aren't using native mail and you cannot transfer them in any sensible way without a third party utility iFunbox or some equivalent. I figured, perhaps na´vely, that they would relax the restrictions.

I've been using a Nexus 7 (II), and if its any indication the Android experience, it's far superior. Sure, maybe it's a little slower, but it's not any slower than my iPhone 4S (which is now obsolete.) And forget about my iPad 2... It was released in 2011, and it's now 2014. They've released many skip-able (in my opinion) models in the intervening 3 years.

So what's Android got that makes it so special? Well, for starters, they give you access to a file system. Not the full file system, but enough of one to browse, take files off and put files on en-masse. For example, I was able to put my comic collection in a folder to which I pointed PerfectViewer.

I'm able to download files for which there are not necessarily viewers on my Nexus, but I'm able to save them, and email them or take them home to my computer where I can process them.

They also have a native compiler (AIDE) that you may use to develop on the go. Pair that with a bluetooth keyboard and optionally mouse, and you've got a mini dev environment.

This won't drive most users away, but this will drive developers away I think. And what's an OS without developers?

I have one minor complaint, if Google would allow one to change the filename in the download folder and/or allow you to "save as" without a separate utility, that would be nice.

All in all, I think this will be the last generation of Mac products I buy.

Sat Jan 18 11:34:00 2014

I found this article very helpful for developing on Mac - Mountain Lion: https://slashusr.wordpress.com/2012/07/27/os-x-mountain-lion-need-to-reinstall-xcode-command-line-tools/

Tue Nov 5 12:15:06 2013

I'm doing much better now (see last post -- which was over a year ago), almost back to normal.

Back at work full time, my partner has returned to school, and I'm basically back to almost normal, still a little slow speech not noticeable or barely noticeable to strangers, and still cannot run, but otherwise...

Feeling good about things. I feel like I've been given a second lease on life, and I'm going to make the most of it. I'm thinking about teaching programming in my spare time, and much less stressed about work. That's not to say I'm slacking, just not letting it get to me.

Wed Apr 25 11:25:07 2012

It was almost a year ago, that I suffered a stroke brought on by an ArterioVenous Malformation (Or AVM, for short: More Here) which bled.

My life partner woke up in the night, on that evening for no reason. Then I went into a seizure which lasted about three minutes. She asked if I was alright, and I said yes, and got up to go to the bathroom. She thought maybe it was late onset epilepsy or something, and resolved to go to the doctors next morning. Later that night, I went into continuous seizures and didn't come out of them. That's when she called 911.

I couldn't walk, talk, or eat. All of my right side was paralyzed. I was on feeding tubes, and the doctors didn't have high hopes that I would recover fully. They thought I would recover, but slowly.

I have aphasia, which means I have trouble forming words. It's in between light and medium, and varies dependent on sleep and or lack of sleep.

I'm continuing to make progress, and count myself lucky to be alive.

Wed Jan 12 20:25:07 2011

This is a great video by Jonathan Williamson (montagestudio.org) vimeo.com/1048354

I found it really informative to watch him work.

Sun Jan 9 11:10:08 2011

This is good post about story telling and open worlds:


These are some points I've thought about myself. Basically, I have noticed that when games don't tell story with a heavy hand, I end up sort of inventing personality and embellishing what are likely quirks in AI and design into story events.

Finding the right balance of story/vs real exploration is tough, and not everyone likes to play games that require imagination. Heck, sometimes I don't want to either, sometimes I just want to zone out and play.

Wed Dec 29 19:23:35 2010

This is interesting: insomnia.ac

Specifically I read and thought a lot about the post about John Romero, "John Romero brainwashed by artfagots and pseudo-academics"

Make of it what you will. Alex Kierkegaard writes like Dwight Schrute might as a game journalist. I can't decide whether it's satire or serious, but one thing is certain: This seems like an inevitable response to the "indie" movement.

Five or six years ago, I wouldn't have pictured "indie" the way it is now. At that time, it felt like games needed a reboot. It seemed like every new game was another FPS, quake with different a storyline. Gaming held none of the wonder of the early days, nothing inspired.

The games industry as a whole seemed to be missing the point, that games should be about playing and having fun. That's where I thought we were going when we (TIGSource) wrote about the latest indie games. I thought we were promoting the little guys, the ones who were working hard and turning out games that felt like they had a heart and soul.

Promoting the little guys wouldn't have been enough though, there needed to be change, a cultural shift.

Actually, it seems like maybe that shift has happened. Certainly the feeling that indies were doing something (Like taking risks) that the bigger guys couldn't or were afraid to, has had something to do with it. The current scene, for all it's pretense, has been the slap in the face that the larger industry seemed to need in order to recognize it's own stagnation.

Revolutions often seem to go further than the original goal, and maybe the indie scene has too. Now it seems to be filled with derisive and disrespectful individuals who've found a place where their bad behavior is applauded. "Wow, it's so awesome how he just totally blew off that award.", "That'll show them how stupid they are, they don't even understand what it means to be indie.", "Look at the dumb masses, they'll buy anything you throw at them."

So I guess what I'm saying is, in order to make a change you have to be controversial. Once you've made that change, it's time to step up and start proving that you're right. And that means acting like grownups, showing respect, and working hard.

Alex is all over the board, incomprehensible at times, and downright ludicrous. And maybe he is signaling another shift. One where art games and "core" games will diverge more and more until art games will only be recognizable as relatives of core games in that the medium will be the same.

Thu Aug 12 22:19:45 2010

I started a sketch blog. I'm trying to draw on a regular basis in the hopes of eventually being proficient. Sketch Blog

You can also find the link over on the left.

Sun Jun 13 12:23:23 2010

I guess my gallery code has been broken for a while. (It's a little wonky anyway, but this time it was _really_ broken.)

I've just fixed it.

Thu Jan 21 12:20:24 2010

Life is too short to wait.

Do the things that you think are important. It doesn't matter if they are, they will be by nature of your doing them.

Call your dad. Kiss a girl. Kiss a boy. Take a picture. Take a bus route you've never taken. Tell someone they are important.

You cannot ever do these things again, this is your last chance.

Fri Jul 17 07:03:14 2009

His name was Nick. The scar the ran down his face was wide and purple, and extended from his temple to chin.

Nick had an infectious smile, and a personable manner that made me like him instantly. Our conversation started when he and his friend asked if I would like to buy a bus pass. I declined, saying that I had my own and didn't need one for any family. I was also pretty sure it wasn't theirs to sell.

I don't remember how we got to talking, but by the time the bus came I knew a lot about Nick, including his name. He had grown children who he had put through college, no child of his was gonna fail in life. He was just bumming around town for a little while now that his kids were out of the house, and his wife was waiting back home for him in St. Louis.

I asked how long was a little while, "Oh, about a year now... I think I'm getting ready to go back home soon though. Probably in a month or two."

"She must really like you to hang around a year waiting."
"Oh yeah, she's a good woman he said," a smile on his face and faraway look, "Yeah, I'll probably head back soon."

Mon Mar 16 21:50:06 2009

She sat next to me on the bus, twice.

The first time, traffic was crawling over the Aurora bridge, one car at a time. I was reading my book when we passed the emergency crews. She, the woman sitting next to me, turned to me from her Blackberry and said, "They say there's a man threatening to jump."

I remember her, not because she spoke to me (though I'm sure that helped), but because I thought she was beautiful. I feel somehow oddly validated when an attractive person chooses to sit next to me when there are other seats available.

The second time she sat next to me, she smiled as she sat. I said hello, and she responded in kind. We sat side by side in comfortable silence reading when she suddenly stated, almost exclaiming, just as we passed over the bridge, "He jumped, did you know?"

I didn't know, and said that I was sorry to hear it. She agreed, "And just before the election."

"I know," I said, "he could have at least waited for the results today."

She laughed, and so did I, for both of us the laugh died abruptly.

I wondered if it would have changed his mind.

Sat Oct 18 11:32:36 2008

I spend a lot of time reading RockPaperShotgun.com lately.

Some time back, I participated in PyWeek 4, but got sick enough by mid-week that I didn't complete. Or maybe that's just a lame excuse for not finishing. you can find it here.

Wed Jul 18 22:44:30 2007

I've known about Monster Island and its follow-ups for some time, but I never remember to tell people about it. Well... consider yourself told.

Monster Island is by far, one of the best Zombie stories I've read, well worth the time spent.

Sat Jun 23 12:02:23 2007

Rules for game developers #1:

Never start the player without a clear direction, no matter how open-ended your game.

Fallout is a great example of a game that did it right. Huge open-ended world, but when the player starts the game, they are presented with "an end goal" and are started in a simple cavern with only one exit (Note though that the initial end goal is not the only major achievement a player can make during the course of the game.)

The player then has a clear direction, time to understand the game world while working their way through the first cavern, and is introduced to new elements gently.

This seems like an obvious no-brainer, but a huge number of games with potential go un-played or simply fail to engage because they miss this simple formula for introducing the player to the game world.

Sun May 6 10:23:54 2007

Open Source Gaming.

Linux is*, without a doubt, the best convergence of software for computers at this time. It is powerful, flexible, and puts the right tools directly in the hands of the people who would most use them.

I love the idea, and indeed much of the implementation of Linux. I knew from the moment I first set eyes on my cousin's AppleII that computers were something amazing, but it wasn't until many years later, when I finally had Slackware Linux installed on my home computer that I really saw what could be done with a simple home PC. Up until that time, the connection between what science and industry were doing with computers was obscure and the avenues to explore the possibilities seemingly unreachable.

With Linux, not only were the tools for building new software readily available, there was extensive documentation and a whole host of experts interested in sharing their information and discoveries. The experience was life changing.

One of the other major events in my development, was the discovery of video games -- almost immediately after discovering computers. My friends and I spent hours playing games together. We'd rent video games at a local video rental store, and play late into the night. When we woke up, we'd play again. I first learned to program in order to try and create video games for my friends to play. When friends weren't around, I'd hurry through my homework so that I could get back to playing the latest game I was working on. The only other things I worked for so obsessively (When I was older of course) were girls and motorcycles.

Games and Computers both have shaped the way I think, feel, work, who I make friends with, and have even affected my romantic relationships.

But there is a constant struggle; games don't actually achieve anything. There's no resolution to world hunger through video games. Disease, war, famine, crappy medical coverage; none of these things are solved or affected by video games. On the other hand, there are certainly arguments for computers having some demonstrably good effects on society, like improved education, communication, medical technology, the list goes on.**

That's where gaming on Open Source platforms breaks down. GNU specifically is a wonderful, amazing thing with some incredible and beautiful ideals. Without the ideals of the GNU foundation, I don't think that Linux would be what it is today. But I'm not always out trying to make the world a better place. Sometimes I'd like to forget all the other stuff and zone out. Forget all the important things I "need" to be doing and indulge my desire to play.

Linux is my operating system of choice, but when I game, I want the best possible experience, and Linux isn't the place to find it. Maybe this is the right thing. Maybe important utility and fixing world hunger doesn't belong in the same place on my hard drive as Half Life 2, but maybe play is a part of who we are as humans and is as important a part of existence as anything else. Maybe computers/video games provide us an amazing facility to explore our personal desires and pursue our wildest fantasies without actually having to live through a real zombie attack.

Is this useful? Is the ability to execute our fantasies and desires in simulation outside of our own imagination a useful and productive thing? I like to think it can be. I don't think that all games fit into the useful or productive categories, but there are some that do. Just like television, there are games that provoke us, cause us to think, feel or explore something that we wouldn't have... And there are games that are simply equivalent to the Jerry Springer show.

Games extend our human experience, they have the capacity to enrich our lives. If what I've postulated is true, then games deserve a place on anyone's hard drive and are just as important in the grand scheme of open source as any other software.

Now, the problem is that nobody wants to pay to make open source games. There are grants for writers of web browsers, user interface programmers, graphic designers and scientists, but games are only turned out for profit, and perhaps that's how it should be. I'm not sure that there should be grants for the development of the next triple A first person shooter title. I do wonder though, is there a place for intelligent, thought provoking entertainment on computers? Could there be a public game service providing entertainment for Linux/Open Source users?

I think, rather obviously given the last few paragraphs, that there is a place for games that are not part of the main stream profit grabbing game industry. I'm not sure how to get there, or what is appropriate, or even how or if it could ever be made a reality, but it sure seems like a good idea.

* When I say Linux, I mean the operating system inclusive, GNU, Kernel, Xorg, Desktop managers, etc... Whatever your religion, I think it's safe to say that all parties involved deserve credit.

** Of course, computers have also been of great use in improving accuracy and lethality of our killing machines.

Wed Feb 14 22:42:04 2007

Almost a year since the last update...

There hasn't been a lot of time for spare-time projects, but life is generally pretty good. This is just a good faith post, nothing new to report. Actually, that's not entirely true, there are a couple of new photos in the gallery...

Mon May 15 10:33:04 2006

I, Cringely has a particularly interesting piece about where Google and Microsoft stand. An interesting read.

"...Given that Google can't practically aspire to control the Internet and Microsoft can't NOT aspire to control it, Google already has a vastly lighter load to carry..."


TIGSource seems to be struggling to recover. I'm not sure at this point that it will. I surely hope it does.
Life goes on here at HollowWorks headquarters. Nothing exciting to report, which is better than something exciting and bad... I'm now aspiring to one update per month. Wow...

Sun Apr 16 12:20:33 2006

Today it's Easter, and spring is in the air.

No news yet on Zephulor, working on some animations.

TIGSource remains down.

Fri Mar 24 12:41:51 2006

This is far too long in coming, and I must apologize to the people who put in work and haven't been credited.

I've moved half of the way across the U.S. (Via moving van no less.) and things have been hectic. Not that it's an excuse.

Without further delay, I want to thank:

C.Lee Taylor -- For evangelizing Zephulor, and for writing an rpm and getting Zephulor into Dries rpm repo. http://dries.ulyssis.org/rpm/packages/zephulor/info.htm.

Pol Danilov -- For continued support, and for assisting with the upcoming releases of Zephulor. Pol is also working on a great looking remake called SIL. http://sil.nongnu.org

Ryan Clark -- The lead developer and found of Grubby Games http://grubbygames.com/games.php, for being an all around great guy, and for hosting Zephulor as an example pygame app on the Game Programming Wiki http://gpwiki.org/index.php/Pygame. If you haven't checked out Professor Fizzwizzle, go do it now!

Carlos Da Cruz -- Who tried Zephlor on Mac OS X, and sent word that it seems to work well with the exception of music not playing.

Alejandro Pulver -- Who added Zephulor to the FreeBSD ports tree http://www.freshports.org/games/zephulor/

And of course, everyone who has written to express interest or appreciation for Zephulor since it's first release.


If you read through all of that, you probably noticed that I mentioned upcoming release, and it's true. I can't say exactly when, but I'm planning a major re-work of the code, and an extension of the available levels and art. I also plan to standardize release numbers and include RPM, .deb, and ebuild support.

Yeah yeah, I've been saying that for a while, but now there's some forward progress. The project is officially setup on sourceforge: http://sourceforge.net/projects/apz/, and as I commit updates, I'll make note here.

If you are interested in joining the effort, the big thing I could use is more sound effects and music, if you are an artist who likes to pixel, I can use your assistance as well. There will be some need of python coders as well. I would really like to integrate a user friendly level editor directly into Zephulor, and if this interests you, by all means drop me a line.

Disclaimer: I cannot guarantee inclusion of all work in Zephulor, but I can guarantee credit for any who put in the effort.

If you are interested, please send an email to me, with something about yourself and what you would like to work on. You can find my contact information on the "About" page. I am fully willing to consider untested talent, so don't let a lack of past experience stop you.

Sat Sep 17 11:33:45 2005

Best security vulnerability warning ever:

A remote attacker participating in a Py2Play-powered game can send malicious Python pickles, resulting in the execution of arbitrary Python code on the targeted game client.
Thu Sep 15 11:15:32 2005

Ye-gods, has it been that long since I last updated?

Life has been non-stop. For months straight, I spent almost every waking hour worried about how to keep email flowing through the mail servers where I work -- spam has become so excessive that it is now one of the primary worries for any company with a sizable mail system. We now have things under control, and should be able to scale when the occasion requires it.

Now I'm working on moving half way across the country to the west coast. This means preparing my house to sell, making good with friends and family, and trying to find a job. Yep, I'm doing this all backwards. The move is intended to get me near the ocean, jobs that might involve making games, and newly re-discovered family.

Once things get settled, I hope to be back in the saddle, back to doing more photography, improving my drawing skills, and making a couple of small new games.

On the game front, the events of the last months have of course caused me to have very little spare time at all, but I've been working on another little game in python, sort of a single screen affair with a built in editor ala Lode Runner.

I'm also working (Very slowly) on a game that is entirely 3D. Of course my intent is to keep it cross platform, and after some research I decided on the Ogre 3D engine, though the release of the Quake 3 code has caused me to waiver in that determination. I've never really looked through the code for any of the Quake GPL releases, though I spent some time studying the Half Life model loading code (Which I understand is based on the original Quake code)... It needs to be considered, but I'll probably end up sticking with Ogre simply because I've got some work done there, and it's license will allow me a little flexibility should I decide to move into shareware.

I also tried out the Nebula device engine, but decided against it because the current development seemed to be orienting towards a windows only solution and the Linux/Unix support is nearly non-existent.

Panda 3D looks nice, but I'm leery about putting a Copyright Disney Corporation stamp on one of my games, and again there's the issue of cross platform compatibility.

Anyway, enough ramblings, tally-ho and sally forth, or something like that...

-- Aaron

Thu Apr 14 21:49:10 2005

I finally got around to creating a gallery for my photography...

I wrote the code for the gallery myself, and it's a little quick, so if you find any bugs, please to let me know. mrhollow@hollowworks.com

In other news, I read reviews or comments about Zephulor occasionally, and the most common problem seems to be lack of challenge and how short the game is. I started to look at adding some new content, but the motivation just isn't there... I think this is the end of the line.

I have, however, been working on pixel art -- and some traditional as well -- trying to improve my skill and get some art going for a new project. I will post details as I get further along, but the project is actually starting to move.

Wed Mar 16 11:03:11 2005

Apparently in the final steps to releasing Rads I introduced two fairly large bugs, which is more than a little embarrassing. I apologize to any who tried out rads and found it to be buggy.

The first resulted in rads reporting that there were no records found if the file being searched was smaller than 512k, even if there was an appropriate record.

The second, which was introduced by my fix to the above problem, caused rads to print the whole file if no appropriate delimiter was found in the file.

Both have now been fixed. Please download version 1.8.5 if you have a previous version.

The rest should be pretty stable, as I tested the program for months in production before finalizing the release. The moral of the story is, don't try to fix minor bugs just before release.
Mon Mar 14 12:30:17 2005

Rads has finally been updated! After many months of promising a new release, it's finally here with all kinds of amazing features!

This version marks the first time I have released a package with full automake support, i.e. you can now get it and install it with:


make all
make install

(Finally a real boy.)

Go to the main project page for full details.

Fri Mar 4 14:34:46 2005

I had been reluctant to post about this previously, but it's looking like a pretty sure thing now...

I have started writing for the indie game news blog TIGSource.com. The site has been growing in popularity, and is running a contest for "The Sexiest Indie Gamer of All Time". The judges are an all star cast including likes of Derek Yu (Of Blackeye software fame, and editor and chief of TIGSource), John Romero (Of ID Software fame), Nick Tipping (Of Moonpod software fame), and Jane Pinckard (Editor and Publisher of Game Girl Advance, and the Assistant Editor for Gamepro magazine.)

...I'm star struck...

-- Aaron

Thu Mar 3 10:45:21 2005

I found this comment by Richard Stallman to be very interesting. I have to agree with his viewpoint on copyright in the age of the internet.

I'm still grappling with how to marry these ideas with making money in game development -- Because really, that's what I'd like to make money for doing.
Thu Feb 24 15:07:23 2005

Interestingly, Adventures on Planet Zephulor seems to perform normally on a PII 300mhz machine when using Python2.4. For those who don't know, the current release really only runs reliably fast on a 900mhz or better machine.

More tests will be required, but hopefully this means that pygame will now be even better for games.
Wed Feb 23 09:31:24 2005

Hah, it's not Monday anymore.

The weekend flew by, and it wasn't until Tuesday that I remembered all the things I meant to do over the weekend but didn't.

I'm still working on getting automake to work for the rads project, but with the limited time I have, I may just go ahead and make the new version available. I found one bug the other day, but over all it seems to be working very well...

-- Aaron

Mon Feb 21 12:24:47 2005

It's a Monday.

I worked quite a bit on game related ideas this weekend; Creating concept sprites and studying art that I would like to emulate; Reading material about pathfinding... This is exciting because I've never done any advanced pathfinding AI, and I'm looking forward to implementing it. Zephulor uses basic, go until you run into something, and then turn around, AI, with a few special additions, but nothing that cool...

Sat Feb 19 14:25:30 2005

Doukutsu Monogatari works perfectly in wine under linux!

See my previous posts for links to the game and the english translation...

Fri Feb 18 17:17:01 2005

Python: Or how I learned to stop worrying and love the code...

A friend pointed me to a very interesting looking book:


Mon Feb 14 09:43:30 2005

If you haven't tried it (and you like platform games) you must try, Doukutsu Monogatari. I was made aware of it by http://www.tigsource.com, and am eternally grateful (Well maybe not eternally, but grateful for at least a week.)

Many thanks to the creator of the game PIXEL for a wonderful game (And ending a perfectly rotten weekend on an up note), and to the translator(s) of the game, AGTP, who did an amazing job.

The easiest way to get the game up and working in English, is to follow the instructions on this page: http://agtp.romhack.net/doukutsu.html.

Cheers -- Aaron
Sat Feb 12 21:51:15 2005

Well, despite my claims that I'm working on a new project, a lot of nothing seems to be happening. There are a number of reasons for this. One, for some time, I wasn't sure whether or not to go with 3d or 2d art. I've pretty well decided (In the last day or so) on the latter. The next is that I've been really uncertain which of the many ideas floating around in my head should be attacked first. This is still a problem, but I think I'm getting close to a resolution. Finally, I have some things that need to be done with Zephulor, and I must get those things out the door first. Oh, there's also the little matter of rads too... Need to finish that.

Now if only I can get the spare time to code and do art, I can get this thing going....
Fri Feb 11 13:41:42 2005

Well, the holidays are over, (As I'm sure most of you have noticed)...

Life has been generally unforgiving and, despite grand plans, money has been sucked into various black pits of despair (read cars and dentists.) Of course, there has been some good to counter this, so not all is lost, and the general balance between despair and delirious, well not delirious, but reasonable happiness is just that... Balanced.

I have various projects in mind that are ready for some form of (at the very least textual) realization, but so far, I haven't had the time.

On that note, I should probably mention that I've had a note on the "rads" page for some time now saying that an update was coming. It still is, just a few bugs to work out, though it has taken longer than I originally thought it would. This update is a good one, and for anyone who is using the program should be well worth it. I hope also, with this next release, to do some more extensive evangelizing, as I think rads is a very useful program with little interest shown simply because nobody knows what it does.

I've also promised some people that I would make some updates to Zephulor, and I'm still working on that. This weekend I will be mostly trying to get house related things done that I've been putting off, but I hope to work some development time in.

That's it for today, but check back, I'm determined to update this page on a more regular basis... Oh, and go check out http://www.tigsource.com, it's a very good indie game news site that is currently being maintained by one of my icons, Derek Yu (Of Blackeye Software fame).

Tue Nov 30 22:03:46 2004

Holidays are always busy, so not as much happening as I would like, but still, things are well.

I've had less time for photography, as life has been quite pressing, but I still manage to find some interesting things. (There is a link to my current work on gfxartist.com from the about page.)

I've got a new game idea that I think is really good, and I've been working sleeplessly -- I'd work while sleeping, but sleeping and writing don't go well together -- on documenting every aspect and idea related to it.

Some concept work has been done, and I plan to purchase art and audio resources so that people do not have to suffer through any more (However well meaning) attempts at sound "effects" or "graphics"... My deepest apologies to those kind souls who braved my efforts... Uh... That is to say, try "Adventures on Planet Zephulor", because it is really (and believe me when I say really) almost very good! (And free.)

Anyway, more updates as the news becomes more newsworthy.

-- Aaron
Tue Nov 9 08:42:47 2004

Updates: A program called "foomail" has been added to downloads. It is a perl script that functions in a similar way to formmail, but with file and password support. It is simple, but effective.

Note: Foomail is not formmail, but is patterned to work in a similar manner.
Tue Oct 26 13:13:48 2004

Thanks to Andrew A. Meier for his contribution to Adventures on Planet Zephulor. His patch adds support for the command line options "-h|--help" and "-v|--version".

You can find new versions of the packages on the download page for Zephulor at:


-- Aaron

Sun Oct 17 21:12:53 2004

New web page design... All of the files should be in the same place, mainly an interface re-design.

File updates soon.

-- Me
Sun Oct 3 11:32:07 2004

I've updated Adventures on Planet Zephulor.

The code update is minor and fixes a minor bug at the end of the game.

The major change is that I have released the entire thing under the GPL. Art, sound, code.

I want to thank everyone who downloaded the game, and I appreciate the feedback everyone has given.

I have taken a month off from game related work, and am now beginning to get the bug to start on a new project. Please check back for details.
Fri Aug 13 18:45:10 2004

Zephulor is now available for download. Please see the "games" link for screenshots and details, and "download" for links to linux and windows versions.

-- Mrhollow
Thu Aug 12 13:53:24 2004

Adventures on Planet Zephulor is finally ready for prime time!

I'm working on getting documentation and license etc.. all organized, and will be making a copy available for download shortly. Please check back.
Fri May 21 15:38:51 2004

Sheesh... I keep thinking I'll be done with Zephulor in the next few weeks, and then it takes four times as long as I thought to get to the next milestone.

Anyway, I'm still alive, still working on the game, and still making steady if slow progress.

More news from the source as it happens, this is Kent Manly, reporting for I-Witless News.
Sun Mar 14 16:13:10 2004

Hah! To prove I am still alive, new screenshots!

Go to the games section and click screenshots.

Still in school which is the major reason these have been so long delayed...


Fri Feb 6 14:29:19 2004

No! I'm not dead! I'm still here, and the game project is still progressing.

I started school again, so the going is slow, but I will soon have screenshots of a new locale up.

Other than that life is life...

-- Me
Mon Dec 15 12:37:45 2003

It's been a while since my last update. I'm still working on the game project. I've completed the first six levels, which are all in the same locale (You can see screenshots of the design on the games page). I'm finishing up the sounds for the current creatures and player, as well as working on background music. Once that is done, I will be releasing a download-able demo.

Check back for more updates!

-- Aaron

Wed Oct 29 16:05:37 2003

It's finally here! You can see screen-shots! You can read the FAQ! You can wish you could download the demo!


The development is going well, the game has full sound support, and is nearing the final phases.
Wed Sep 3 16:00:59 2003

Well, I do actually have a fully playable game, and by the end of August no less!

However, I'm still insecure about it, so no demo or screen shots... Soon soon. Working on art, and sound.

Started school this week, though this being the first week, it's not very intense.

-- Me
Fri Aug 8 17:24:28 2003

Well, the IGF is off... Too many pots in the fire or whatever that term is. Anyway, progress is still happening with the game... I really should come up with a name. I expect to have a fully playable demo by the end of this month.

I've also enrolled for college courses which start in September, so that's going to give me even more time to program... Right... *sigh*

-- Me
Tue Jul 15 10:52:42 2003

I'm still working on the project mentioned in my previous post. I'm slightly behind schedule, as I have had a death in the family and a near death, (At different ends of the country I might add) in the last month.

The project however continues well, and if I can keep this pace, I may even try to enter it into this years IGF (http://www.indiegames.com/)...

Anyway, as promised, screenshots soon, hopefully in a week or two.

-- MrHollow

Wed Jun 11 10:34:31 2003

I've started using Python heavily, and loving every minute of it. It's got the flexibility of C++, the programmability of Perl and it's fast; A little slower than C++ for most things but for all of the stability it's well worth it... And then there's the fact that if something is too slow in Python, you can write your own module for Python in C.

Python has made it possible to work far faster than I ever could writing C or C++. Almost every piece of code I write works as expected after I fix all of my syntax mistakes. For perspective, I've been programming in C for five years, and in just a month I'm spending maybe 10% of what I used to on debugging.

I'm currently working on a game written entirely in Python using the PyGame framework, and it's coming along well. I am currently using free sprites, so there isn't much to look at graphically. I do however have two good artists who are interested in working with me, and once I have the engine stable enough (Probably this week), I will be creating editors (Map and Character), and the artists can begin working on art.

Once that happens, I will be posting screen-shots. Initially the game will be Linux only, but because it's written in python, it will likely be ported to a number of other platforms. It will probably have some fairly hefty system requirements (For a tile based action game), again because it is solely written in Python.

Current target platform is Linux/BSD, Python2.2, PyGame, 600MHz processor, 20 megabytes of disk space (I'm pulling this one out of the air), and a video card. Of course these may change.

On other fronts, I have recently re-discovered skeletal animation code I wrote some time ago and had thought lost. I may clean it up and port it to Linux in the near future, if so, screen-shots will be here.

-- Aaron

Thu Apr 3 10:23:14 2003

Various projects in the works, and I will likely post some sample programs and code in the near future.

On other fronts, I highly recommend "Frozen Bubble" for linux. It's a wonderfully fun game. On the Windows side, I also highly recommend "Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed." It's probably one of the best simulated driving experiences ever, and you can now find it in the bargain bin for about $10.
Thu Mar 6 15:44:52 2003

Now for some updates...

I don't have any interesting code to add to these pages, mainly because anything I've done recently has been for proprietary problems related to user management or network issues.... Boring stuff without any real application to anyone else.

On other fronts, rhott is no more... At least not for the moment. Really everyone stopped working on the project back in November, but kept holding out hope that things would come back together. The artist and writer have are switching to another project, the other two programmers seem to have lost interest... Oh well. I learned a lot, and wish everyone well.

Given the tremendous amount I learned in the year working with that group of talented people, I'm confident that I will be able to make headway, either by myself, or with another group.

By headway I mean that I believe myself that much closer to my goal of someday getting paid to make games...

Tue Jan 7 16:24:09 2003

See the picture? The page doesn't seem so blasÚ now...

Wed Nov 13 09:26:30 2002

I woke up made of iron and blocks of ice, to a cold grey dawn punctured by grinding machinery that powdered sleep and calm. The clangor brought me fully awake with a start and the realization that I had forgotten to take the trash out.
Thu Oct 31 16:09:52 2002

Happy Halloween!

I love this time of year....
Tue Oct 22 10:57:55 2002

Fall is here, and it's lovely.

I'm not going to post anything about any projects, because well, I've nothing to post.

My time has been mostly taken up by people who don't seem to understand the fundamental premise of this statement; That it's my time, not theirs...

Still working, still making progress... Slowly...
Thu Oct 3 11:46:09 2002

Well it's been awhile since I last posted. I realized last night that my domain had expired a day or so before, doh. That's been remedied...

Rhott is still going, our projects are slightly different, but we're still working together and making progress, so things are good.

Mon Aug 26 12:07:48 2002

Every weekend I swear to myself that I'm going to finish up some programs that have been lying around waiting for finishing (like Vilk for instance), and every Sunday night I smack my forehead and say "Omy, I forgot to do all of those things I was going to do." .... :/ ... Oh well, next weekend.

Fri Aug 23 08:48:41 2002

Now she speaks rapidly. "Do you know *why* you want to program?"
He shakes his head. He hasn't the faintest idea.
"For the sheer *joy* of programming!" she cries triumphantly.
"The joy of the parent, the artist, the craftsman. "You take a program,
born weak and impotent as a dimly-realized solution. You nurture the
program and guide it down the right path, building, watching it grow ever
stronger. Sometimes you paint with tiny strokes, a keystroke added here,

a keystroke changed there." She sweeps her arm in a wide arc. "And other
times you savage whole *blocks* of code, ripping out the program's very
*essence*, then beginning anew. But always building, creating, filling the
program with your own personal stamp, your own quirks and nuances. Watching
the program grow stronger, patching it when it crashes, until finally it can
stand alone -- proud, powerful, and perfect. This is the programmer's finest
hour!" Softly at first, then louder, he hears the strains of a Sousa march.
"This ... this is your canvas! your clay! Go forth and create a masterwork!"

-- Linux fortune

Wed Aug 21 13:33:49 2002

Yet more changes to the web site...
Wed Aug 14 16:40:39 2002

Thanks for visiting.

I finally got around to updating the site.

Some files have changed in the download section, most notably VimLike is currently not available for download. I hope to have a new version up soon, please check back.

The look may change, but not drastically.

Most of the changes went towards making management of the site easier, though of course the look has changed as well.
Wed Jun 12 16:42:07 2002

Work with rhott continues, and while somewhat more delayed than we had originally hoped, expect to see something in the near future.

I've been tired and sick, so all plans for updates to this site, or the programs here, are on hold.

Thanks for visiting.

Sun Mar 10 09:56:35 2002

I just got finished setting up floppyfw, Linux router on a floppy. I'm impressed. I have an Intel Ether Express Pro 100 and a Cheap RealTek card with SMC chipset that is NE2000 compatible. The floppy worked without configuration changes with my cable service, and the floppy is setup as a fat file system, so one can edit the config in windows.

On other fronts, production with Rhott is going well, check back for updates, you will soon hear more from us.

I have major update plans for this site, but don't know when they'll happen...

Mon Jan 7 15:59:39 2002

Happy New Year!

Fixed a minor bug in hexcat that made it dump core occasionally.

Added a small package of simple perl scripts that I use regularly. Maybe useful as examples... Or not.
Tue Dec 18 16:55:28 2001

The holiday season has been pretty well taking all of my time. I have not had time to update anything, nor even really think about it. This will probably continue on until early to mid January.
Sun Nov 11 11:35:41 2001

Progress on Infectious (The current project with Rhott) continues apace.

On other fronts:

Work on the Novemdecillion website continues. Most of it is in flash, and the site should be live in the next week or so. I will provide links here in the news section.

I've made some revisions to VimLike, and have changed the name to Vilk. I will be uploading the changed program soon. Main changes simply make Vilk act more Vi like. U for undo, etc.

So much for finality :)
Fri Oct 19 10:52:16 2001

I've joined a team of developers working on a game engine and project. Check out the web site at: http://www.rhott.com

They seem dedicated and have some very clear goals, so I'm excited to work with them. I think you'll be hearing more about them, or now us I suppose...
Thu Oct 11 10:52:00 2001

VimLike is now in what should be it's final iteration. This is version 0.4, and it now does just about everything that a simple editor should... IMHO

As always, you can find it on the download page.
Wed Oct 3 11:14:44 2001

Added a small utility called "hexcat" to the download page.
Fri Sep 14 16:04:48 2001

Well it's been some time since I last posted...

Much has happened between the 25th of July and today. The time lapse can be blamed somewhat upon my moving to a new house and not having an Internet connection.

The rest lies in terrible tragedy.

I, like almost every other citizen of the U.S.A., am appalled by recent events, and mourn the loss of every one who died.

We shall see what the coming days bring.

Wed Jul 25 00:00:00 2001

No updates to any programs, just general news. I've been working on a 2D tile type game for the past couple of months in my "spare" time. It's turning out pretty well, currently supports multiple map layers and loads all of it's information about the map and sprites from files. I just got collision detection working as well... I will be consolidating the map, sprite and object information into one binary file next. Screen shots to be posted soon.

On other fronts, I have come up with a few additions for VimLike... I will be making a new version available soon that will support an execute list (the ability to associate say ctrl+1 with the shell command "bcc32 -c file.cpp"), I will add find and replace dialogs so that those who don't want to use the vim syntax won't have to, and I'm in the process of working out an undo feature. I also intend to fix the line numbering so that line 0 will be line 1.

It's also my intent to start trying to update this news page more often then once every couple of weeks... Believe it when you see it... ;)

That's it for now...

Tue Jul 10 00:00:00 2001

After some back and forth with the people in charge of the original VIM, VimLike will stay VimLike, with a caveat, "... Make it very clear that this isn't Vim but a completely different implementation." This is not a problem as the documentation makes it clear that VimLike is not VIM, and I have made a couple of changes in wording to make it clear that VimLike was not written using any of the original VIM source code.

Fri Jul 6 00:00:00 2001

I have written the author of VIM with an explanation of VimLike and what it is. I did this because I felt that it would be polite to inform them of my program which bears some similarity to VIM, and certainly was designed with users of VIM in mind (i.e. myself originally). I also wanted to credit them for the inspiration for VimLike.

Wed Jun 27 00:00:00 2001

VimLike is now 0.3b Beta. Fixed print so that long lines are wrapped rather than cut. Find it in the download area.

Tue Jun 26 00:00:00 2001

VimLike is now 0.3a Beta. Minor additions to functionality, minor bug fixes. Find it in the download area.

Tue Jun 26 00:00:00 2001

Rads (Radsearch) is finally available in the download area.

Fri May 25 00:00:00 2001

Nothing exciting to report, working on some minor additions to Vimlike.

Tue May 8 00:00:00 2001

Version 0.3 of VimLike is now available in the download area. Fixed some minor bugs and added new features.

Mon Apr 30 00:00:00 2001

I have uploaded my first OpenGL project with source... It's simple, but came out well. It can be found in the download area.

Wed Apr 25 00:00:00 2001

Version 0.2b of VimLike is now available in the download area. Fixed some minor bugs.

Sat Apr 14 00:00:00 2001

Version 0.2a of VimLike is now available. This version can handle opening of large files (previously limited to 64k). Successfully tested with files of up to 50megs in size.

Tue Apr 10 00:00:00 2001

Version 0.2 of VimLike is now available in the download area.

Sun Apr 8 00:00:00 2001

Version 0.1 of VimLike is now available in the download area. This is the first implementation, but seems to function pretty well.

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