Any project needs a roadmap. For my SignalR MUD I’m going to try and embrace the concept of incremental and frequent releases once I get to writing code. Each step should yield a functional end result that adds functionality and moves the project forward. There will be a couple of phases. Creation of the basic framework Making the UI for players not suck Creating a design interface to allow non-programmatic extension of the game by creating areas, creatures, items, etc. Creating an admin interface to allow modification of accounts/existing users etc. A rough outline of the steps involved in phase 1: A simple SignalR chat applicationRead More →

It’s been several months since I did any substantial work on either Rube Goldbot or any of the home automation stuff, thanks largely to changing jobs and having zero energy for projects while I got myself acclimated and settled in. I’ll definitely go back to those projects at some point in the future, but right now I’m going to center the projects I work on around getting more familiar with some of the new tech I work with at work. No better way to learn! Two of the technoligies we’re using now are SignalR, NServiceBus and RabbitMQ. I’ve worked with similar tech before, though neverRead More →

There tend to be 2 ways I work on projects where there’s a ton of learning involved: Total immersion & obsessive tinkering Think it partway through, then walk away and focus my conscious mind on anything else, while my subconscious takes over and gets ideas With the Rube Goldbot project, I’ve been using both of those strategies. Hodor, the brawn, was mostly the first strategy. Constant tinkering with electronic components and the Arduino etc., and I have him more or less working (or at least have proven that I’m on the right track with getting him working). Uatu (the eyes) and Grace (the brain) areRead More →

Yesterday I began taking some baby steps with Hodor and the Arduino as part of my Rube Goldbot project. I went from getting the on-board LED on the Arduino to blink on and off to getting it to spell out HODOR in Morse code, and finally got a single LED OFF of the Arduino blinking out Hodor. Today I wanted to take another step – this time having each letter (D, H, O and R) in Hodor’s name be a separate LED and be able to Morse out the letter. This step is important because eventually I’ll want to have individual control over each key of myRead More →

If we think of projects as our children, then I am a parent who is completely unprepared. This is very true of my baby Hodor, who is going to be the brawn of my World of Warcraft playing robot, Rube Goldbot. I don’t know anything about the underlying technology I’m going to use to make him, the fore of which is the Arduino. Conceptually, of course, I get that the Arduino is a microcontroller – it is capable of doing some computation and then sending signals out to other electronic parts who have names and purposes I don’t know anything about either, but at least this knowledgeRead More →

For my Rube Goldbot project I need a bunch of hardware. Rube’s eyes (Uatu) and body (Hodor) are going to be controlled by a Raspberry Pi and Arduino, respectively, and will use a bunch of other parts as well, but the core will be those microcontrollers or whatever they’re called. I had an Arduino Uno kit laying around that I’d never used – I got it a couple of years ago on an impulse buy because it was 50% off. I also hit up Amazon for a Raspberry Pi kit, some MOSFET transistors (not entirely sure what those do yet) and other parts. Finally, when I wasRead More →

A while back I got an invite to purchase an Amazon Echo as part of a pre-release thingy. I had no idea what the hell an Echo was or how I might use it, but the idea of a a bluetooth speaker I could tell to play music and maybe look for things on the Internet intrigued me, and it wasn’t very expensive, so I bought it. It arrived and other than use it to tell me the weather, give me some news in the morning, or play music, I didn’t do a whole lot with it. I knew there were things it could doRead More →

So I have my ambitious WoW paying robot planned out – it’s going to have a brain, eyes and a body to let it work its magic and use all kinds of awesome technology to do it. There’s just one teensy, tiny problem: I have no Earthly idea how any of the tech I want to use to do this works. I mean, I have some idea – I know how to write software, and at least a little bit of an idea how everything will need to be linked together to function, but I don’t know how to actually, you know, make those pieces workRead More →

So far there’s a rough idea of the eyes and brain for Rube Goldbot but now we need something that can carry out the actions that the brain thinks should be taken. This is the doer – it DOES stuff. In this case, it’ll send keystrokes, mouse movement and button clicks to the computer running the WoW client. The doer doesn’t need to make any decisions. All it needs to do is execute what it is told. If the brain says “press shift+1” the doer presses shift+1. It doesn’t need state, it doesn’t need anything but instructions and the ability to carry them out. There are a lot ofRead More →

My World of Warcraft playing robot needs a brain. I described the eyes already so now I need to figure out what the brain that decides what to do about what it sees will look like. The brain is going to be the most conceptually complex part – it actually has to make a ton of decisions, might have to keep state, and will have to handle a wide variety of circumstances. As such, it’s also the one I currently understand the least and, at least for now, is going to be the one described in the vaguest of terms and probably the last thing IRead More →