Hack-A-Day, Day 20: Hillsfar Lockpicking Spritesheet

For today’s hack-a-day, I meant to clone the Hillsfar lockpicking minigame. Instead, I spent all day just extracting the sprites. But I had a nice chill time, so it was great.

Edit: See the updated post for the finished game.

Here’s the original minigame:

Here’s my spritesheet:

I made it by splitting up screenshots:

Hack-A-Day, Day 18: A.I. Grab-bag

Today I got a variety of modern A.I. tools to work in a python library. This one is mostly install instructions, but it was useful for me, at least.

I took a day off after.

My conclusions were:

  • Speech synthesis runs at 400x realtime on CPU.
  • Speech recognition runs at 0.4x realtime on CPU, 60x realtime on GPU.
  • Generating chat at 0.05x – 0.5x realtime (3-30 wpm) on GPU.

I didn’t get image generation working on my allotted time.

Hack-A-Day, Day 06: Raytracing Redux (realtime video)

Today’s update is a short one. I ported my raytracer from day 02, to the Nvidia GPU: ha3k-06-raytracer

The visuals are pretty much the same. Incidentally I discovered the striations on the ground disappear if we increase the floating point precision.

Render on the GPU is 30x faster (0.05 fps -> 3 fps). That’s still not very fast.

I didn’t get video working yesterday, or anything else visually new. I will call this one a failure overall, because I have nothing interesting to show off. I learned stuff and made progress though, so it’s not so bad.

Here’s a working video!

Hack-A-Day, Day 02: Raytracing

Today I wrote a simple raytracer. A raytracer is a very simple way to draw excellent graphics. For each pixel, it follows an imaginary “line” out from the viewer through that pixel into the computer world. Then it colors the pixel based on what the line hits. Unfortunately, it also takes a lot of computing power.

Mine is based on the explanation (and code) from “Ray Tracing in One Weekend“, and the code from “My Very First Raytracer“.

Matte spheres in different shades of grey. The blue in the spheres is reflected from the sky.

The motivation for this project was to learn how to make things run faster on a graphics card. I quickly realized (before I wrote a line of code) that I’d need the basic raytracer to be its own project. Having it run faster will have to be a job for another day!

A final demo scene, showing off reflectivity and metal surfaces.
Note the pincushion distortion of the overall render, and striations on the ground.

Hack-A-Day 2023

HACK (noun)

  1. a rough cut, blow, or stroke. (the work was accomplished one hack at a time)
  2. a quick job that produces what is needed, but not well (this code is a hack, but it works!)

Hack-A-Day is challenge to make complete one new project, from scratch, every day in November 2023.

Last year (2022), I set myself the challenge to make a software project every day, and met it. I had a ton of fun, and make a lot of cool video games and projects I can show off. This year I’m inviting the rest of the world to join me!

I’m a programmer, so I’m doing a new computer programming project every day. But you can do any kind of project, whatever you pick is great.


I will post again nearer to November! Just giving blog readers an advance heads-up.