Friday, September 23, 2016

Children of Orc

I have just introduced my new game to the world. It is called Children of Orc.

Children of Orc is a real-time third-person strategy game that is set on a procedurally generated hex-planet. Check out the trailer video:

To get published on Steam, it can use a little help with green light votes.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Generating animated GIFs.

For future reference. This is how I record an animated GIF that can subsequently be tweeted. First I record video to an .ogg file using:

$ simplescreenrecorder
Then, I convert the .ogg file to a .gif file using ffmpeg. In this example, I skip the first 4 seconds of the input, and write as 30fps output:
$ ffmpeg -ss 4 -i in.ogg -r 30 -pix_fmt rgb24 out.gif
The resulting video will look something like this:

Monday, August 15, 2016

New Beginnings.

I was at Schiphol yesterday, and took this picture. The billboard and the airliner reminded me of June 2007 when I packed up some essentials (mainly clothing and a PS3), and was on a plane to Vancouver to start a new job with Slant Six games. I knew nobody in Vancouver, so it was quite a big step. It turned out I loved it, and since dec'13, I am a Canadian, father of two little Dutch Canadian kids. This new beginning worked out well for me.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

The best day.

The best day to plant a tree was 100 years ago. The second best day is today.

(Chinese Proverb)

It's my favourite proverb. And I love trees. Especially the slow growing oak is so majestic. You don't see many oaks in Vancouver. Cherry Blossom trees are very popular though.

Unfortunately, on the avenue where I live, the old trees that line it are pretty ugly ones. So we look with envy to the cherry blossom lined streets that are so abundant everywhere in Vancouver.

On our way to school last week, I spotted a tiny little tree in the grass. Right above it was a large cherry blossom tree, in bright pink. I compared the leafs, and they were identical, so the baby tree was the same species. Vancouver has a special week going on at the moment where citizens can get trees from the city for $10,- only. Checking out the site, it seems like many are already sold out, and I did not see a cherry blossom tree listed. So instead me and my little girl scooped out the little tree from the grass and put it in our garden. The baby tree was doomed anyway by the next grass mowing that would have killed it.

So here is the mother tree standing above the baby tree:

Here is the little fella, transplanted to our front yard. Fed with fresh ground from the garden store.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Does BC Assessment use a random number generator? (not really)

A hot topic here in Vancouver are the real estate prices. Going from crazy to insane to stark raving mad. The bursting of the bubble has been prophesied many times over, yet this never materialized.

Every year, an independent organization assesses the value of each property in BC. And those assessment reports are open public information, so it makes it easy to compare the assessments of neighbours. They assess the land and its buildings separately.

When it comes to the buildings part (harder to compare than land values, of course), I am at times baffled at what the assessors come up with. They are at times so bewildering, that I would swear that they are using a random-number generator for this.

Let me introduce to you: exhibit A and B. In a very fine part of town, on the west side of Vancouver, close to a park, we find these two neighbouring houses on Yukon street: number 7830 and number 7880. One of these buildings was assessed at $43,800 and the other was assessed at a $10,000 value.

And the $10,000 one is not the one you expect! The small one on the left from 1928 has the $44K value, and the large one from 1989 has the $10K value. Say what? No one in their right mind would value the 1 storey old timer more than the 2 storey newer house. Do the assessors think that the large one is radioactive or something? It gets even more puzzling if you consider that pre-1940 houses are not eligible for demolition in Vancouver, without recycling it.

I should clarify that for both lots, the land value is assessed at millions of dollars of course, so I guess that the building-part does not really play a role. Still, there are some strange forces at play in the Vancouver housing market.


So the user Jim on a real estate blog solved this mystery. It has to do with the RM-9 zoning. Those lots have been rezoned for RM-9, meaning that it can be used for low rise apartments. So now the land is worth a lot more, making the current mansion on it basically worthless, or $10K as BC Assessment calls it.

The owner of the old neighbouring house has opted for a special treatment according to Section 19(8) of the Assessment Act. The neighbour's land value remains being assessed according to the old zoning, which does not permit apartments. So the land value is less, but the building value is not set to the nominal $10K at which the mansion is now assessed.