Monday, August 23, 2010

Take You To My Leaders

Well, it had to happen sooner or later. My first documentary - my entry for the Golden Spigot of Hinton St. George:

It's poorly made, factually dubious, and won't tell you anything worth knowing - just like the real ones on the telly!

Saturday, August 14, 2010


When I'm using video as a source material for a recreation, I often use Avidemux.  Avidemux will either export .bmp files or .jpg files.

Exporting from Avidemux - limited options

I like to export .bmp files from Avidemux as they are lossless. However, they are also very large and I usually want to convert them to .png files to save space. To do this using a graphics package would be boring, time consuming and prone to error.

Luckily I'm able to use a handy little free software utility called ImageMagick from the GNU/Linux command line. It has a command called mogrify to do this sort of job.

To convert all the bmp files in a directory to png files I simply use:

mogrify -format png *.bmp

And then to remove the original bmp files I can use:

rm *.bmp

And the finished result:


This has saved me literally hours of work over the past few months.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

ClapTraps v1.1

You might remember that in April I blogged about the computer game ClapTraps, which was written by my friend testpilotmonkey. ClapTraps is a fiendishly addictive puzzle game written in Python using the PyGame SDL library.

ClapTraps v1.1 -  reworked title screen

Back in May I also blogged about my Inkscape reworking of the graphics for the game.

ClapTraps v1.1 - reworked graphics

Since then testpilotmonkey has released a new, expanded version of the game - ClapTraps v1.1. It includes my reworked graphics and a number of new features.

For instance, you can now redefine the control keys. This is very useful if you, like me, have a Hungarian keyboard!

Even better, people who can code in Python can easily change the behaviour the game objects, just as you can in Repton Infinity. To demonstrate this, ClapTraps comes with a XOR-style came called Arrows which has the potential to be very interesting indeed.

Arrows - a real head scratcher

Despite my best efforts to recommend the game to everyone I know, ClapTraps has been largely ignored, even by fans of Repton. I think this is inexplicable and a crying shame. It's an absolutely fantastic puzzle game and has given me and my daughters a lot of fun. It's free as in beer and free as in freedom so there is no reason not to download it and have a go - and let testpilotmonkey know what you think too!

It is available to download for Windows, GNU/Linux and OS X here.

NB for GNU/Linux users: I found I couldn't run the ClapTraps code by double clicking on the main icon from Nautilus, the GNOME file browsing program. After much experimentation I found the problem was simply that was corrupted in some way. If you copy and paste its contents into a new file it will work correctly. The copy and pasted file will be 2K shorter than the original, but work perfectly.