Sunday, 6 April 2014


Circles is a program to aid independent learning in mathematics.

Circles was written for Mr Bakr Al Bazi, Mathematics teacher at the Grammar School at Leeds, who writes:

"3 circles, 6 values for each circle. Students started to investigate these values with no input from me."

"Independent Learning was taking place. Ratio, radius, diameter.... every notion that involved circles was discussed and then pi came in." 

"It was wonderful! I realised that adopting the use of new technology to support traditional instructions has not only it made me change the way I teach, but also the way students learn." 

Saturday, 15 March 2014


We came across this site recently following a recommendation.  Textcraft provides a way of generating Minecraft style text.  You can then save your image as a file to use in your games and websites.

Follow this link to textcraft.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

My Planet - progress report #10

Oh dear!  Here are some screenshots showing the dreadful collapse of my planet.

Friday, 14 February 2014

My Planet - progress report #9

I know you have been dying to find out about my planet's progress.  Sorry for the delay, I hope this information is not mission-critical for you.

Current population:
18.9 million currently alive.
9.2 million currently listening to Pearl Jam in The Underworld.
1.6 with me in Paradise.

Population of the Moon.
zero (why did they all die?)

Play yourself - My Planet is available from ApeApps - (follow this link for Android version and this link for the Windows 8 version. I'm playing on Windows 8.)

Stuff we would like to see in My Planet: more planets; asteroids!; terraform equipment; more planet-development graphics.
Just a graveyard to the 100 brave astronauts and the 33 babies they sired whilst exploring this airless world.  Now they are in the Underworld listening to Grunge music from the 1990s.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

My Planet - progress report #8

Oh dear.  To teach my people a lesson I sent an Earthquake their way.  Now they have lost their 'faith'.  And I only have 20 astronauts left on the moon.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

My Planet - progress report #7

Houston. We have problem.

My moon in crisis.  Where has the little colony ship gone?

After successfully colonising the moon of my planet with 100 people and full supplies, our intrepid astronauts got to work exploring their new would and, erm, reproducing at a startling rate.  There were 133 astronauts and astro-babies when I went to work, but only 89 when I arrived home.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

My Planet - progress report #6

59% of people born on my planet are currently alive.
36% of souls go to "Paradise".  

63% of people born on my planet are currently alive.
45% of souls go to "Paradise". 

Today I have exceeded my target of 1000 000 population.  You should notice that the space project is well under way.  That's a satellite in orbit around my planet.

See the tiny blip at top of the moon?  That is a colony of intrepid space adventurers.

Monday, 10 February 2014

My Planet - progress report #5

What have I done, or not done, to make my people stop believing in me?  Or is it that my people have embraced a new humanistic lifestyle with their recent technological gains?  (Look, they've invented piers the size of Italy)
61% of people born on my planet are currently alive.
51% of souls go to "Paradise".

59% of people born on my planet are currently alive.
36% of souls go to "Paradise". 

Tune in soon for colonisation of the moon (or maybe an Earthquake, if my people stop believing in me).  I am sure you cannot wait!

My moon.  Current hypothesis suggests it is made from cheese. but further investigation is required.  If my people can build boats the size of France, they can build a ladder into space.  They just gotta believe.... 
My Planet is a god-game from Ape Apps (follow this link for Android version and this link for the Windows 8 version.  I am playing on my Samsung Win 8.1 tablet computer).

Sunday, 9 February 2014

My Planet - progress report #4

The situation when I woke up this morning.  I've just turned the sun 'on' and found that my population has doubled since yesterday.  I'm one third of the way to my target of one million souls.

 56% of people born on my planet are currently alive.
 53% of souls go to "Paradise".

61% of people born on my planet are currently alive.
51% of souls go to "Paradise".

Saturday, 8 February 2014

My Planet - progress report #3

Breeding like rabbits.  My population is currently 150977.

Here you can see that I've collected enough 'God Power' to pull-off a special move.  I have no interest in rocking my world with an Earthquake just yet, but I am interested in the Colonize Moon option.  Tune in soon to see my brave astronauts making 'One Giant Leap'.
Stats fans:

53% of people born on my planet are currently alive.
59% of souls go to "Paradise".

 56% of people born on my planet are currently alive.
 53% of souls go to "Paradise".

If you are able to contain your excitement, come back tomorrow for more My Planet.

Friday, 7 February 2014

My Planet - progress report #2

It's time for a good deity to turn the rain back on.
Hi all.  I am sure you are all dying to know how my planet is faring.  Well, so far so good.  My planet was completely dry when I finished work today, but I managed to summon a rain cloud the size of Mars to soak the planet from it's northern pole.  The severe drought (literally no hydrogen atoms had formed any bonds with oxygen atoms on the surface of my planet) did not seem to affect the birth-rate: I've nearly doubled the population over-night. 

Statistics fans will want to know: 
53% of people born on my planet are currently alive.
59% of souls go to "Paradise"

Ignore the poor reviews on the App store, and give My Planet a good try from Ape Apps.

Tune in tomorrow for more updates from one deity to another.


Thursday, 6 February 2014

My Planet - progress report #1

I must be doing something right.  A good balance of sun and rain and I've jumped up to 48000 population.  It is still early days my planet - of all the people who have ever lived - over half of them are alive today (compared with Earth - on which 6.5% of all the people who have ever been born are still alive - source 2011).

Most of the deaths on my planet are from the great flood of a week ago.  59% of people on my planet go to "Paradise".  There is no middle ground.  I won't talk about those who went to "The Underworld".

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

My Planet

My Planet is a god-game from Ape Apps (follow this link for Android version and this link for the Windows 8 version.  I will be playing on my Samsung Win 8.1 tablet computer).

The aim of the game is to try and reach a population of one-million.  The game runs in real-time, so you have to check in two or three times a day to make sure your planet has the right conditions for life.

There are two controls:  Sunlight ON/OFF, and Rain ON/OFF.  You need about 12 hours of sunlight per day, and 12 of darkness, otherwise your planet's vegetation either scorch or wither.  You also need the right balance of water - too little and the plants die; too much and your people drown!

I've had the game running on my tablet for a couple of weeks and I thought I would share my quest to reach one-million population.

My planet just after 'The creation.'
After a flood of biblical proportions, my population has recovered nicely and I have a good balance of light and water.  My civilisation should prosper.
This god is saving up for a good Earthquake.

Ooops!  It is too easy for a god to leave the rain on.   Here's hoping my population have learned how to build boats, because there isn't a button for that.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

What...another Little Man Computer update?!

That's right Little Man Computer fans - introducing Little Man Computer version  You will be thrilled to discover the new and updated version of the Little Man Computer by proceeding directly to the downloads page and grabbing your copy from the version link.

What's new in version 0.8?

  • The output report only opens if there is output to display.
  • Line labels can be numeric (if you really must...)
  • Screen-layout changed and a larger font and edit box used (useful for tired eyes)
  • Decorative art changed from naff robot to slick-looking context-sensitive artwork.   
LMC version running on Windows 7

Thursday, 16 January 2014

New updates for the Little Man Computer

Introducing a new update for the Little Man Computer - version  Please proceed to the download page.

If you can contain your excitement, I'll explain what's new:
  •  Line numbers added (allows for better error correction).
  • White space is ignored by the parser.
  • Alternate comment character full stop (.)
  • Improved error messages.
  • Improved overflow error messages.

Image showing some of the new features of the Little Man Computer.

Sunday, 5 January 2014


So this New Year I discovered the brilliant Computerphile series on YouTube.  At the time of writing they have 64 videos on all things computer related - of interest to all Computing students.

The following two videos are close to my heart.

Physicist Richard Hill revisits a childhood favourite "Elite" on the BBC, getting to grips with the assembly language programming, random number generators and wire-frame graphics.
Physicist Richard Hill takes us on a tour of the mighty model 'B' microcomputer from Acorn.

Friday, 27 December 2013

Merry Christmas

Seasons greetings all!

Some new free gifts for you to enjoy.

New Reverse Polish  Calculator
New Little Man Computer
Source code for the unfinished Space Combat Game

Space Combat, an unfinished space strategy game, full source code provided. 

New improved Reverse Polish Notation calculator

Announcing the latest version of the Superdecade Games RPN Calculator.  If you can contain your excitement, please visit the link below.

Visit the Downloads page for the full source code and executable version.

What's new in version 3?
* COPY command added.  Copies the accumulator to the Windows Clipboard.
* ACC ON/ACC OFF comands added.  Turning on forces the accumulator not to clear after a calculation.  The following result is added to the accumulator following each calculation.
* HEX/DEN/BIN/OCT commands added to switch between base 16, base 10, base 2 and base 8.
* LAST special variable added which stores the current value of the accumulator, allowing the previous result to be treated as a variable in proceeding calculations.
* INV function added.  Returns 1/x where x is the argument.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

New Improved Little Man Computer

Following some user feedback with a class of students following the OCR GCSE Computing low-level programming module (A451), I have made the following improvements to the Little Man Computer Simulator:

LMC version

  • Scroll-bars have been added to the input window.
  • Lower-case input is accepted (the LMC is not case-sensitive, so 'y' and 'Y' are same label name).
  • Improved step-through mode (there is now time to click the mouse to halt the program)

Please follow this link to the DOWNLOADS page to update your version of the LMC Simulator.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Reverse Polish Notation Calculator in BBC BASIC for Windows

A BBC BASIC for Windows implementation of a simple RPN Calculator.  We've just finished version 1.01 and is available to download from here.

Reverse Polish notation is a parenthesis-free algebraic notation, known as post-fix notation.  We are all familiar with standard algebraic notation (or in-fix notation):

(1 + 2) * 3  < in-fix notation >

In RPN, this is expressed:

1 2 + 3  *  < post-fix notation >

The parentheses are used to avoid ambiguity over the order of operations (often taught as BODMAS in school).  For example, the first expression could be confused with the literal expression 1 + (2 * 3) which would give a different result.  Parentheses are not required in post-fix notation.  For example, 1 + ( 2 * 3 ) is expressed as:

1 2 3 * +

Friday, 22 November 2013

Dementia Clock

The Dementia Clock is a Windows application designed to help people living with dementia by simply displaying the time of day as morning, afternoon, evening or night.

Follow this link to DOWNLOAD the Dementia Clock (including source code).

BBC BASIC for Windows source code follows.  Please modify and share freely.

     REM A clock for dementia sufferers
     REM T Street
     REM 2013-11-21
     REM this is a very simple program for displaying a simple clock
     REM the functionality is limited to only displaying the current
     REM day of the week
     REM and whether it is morning, afternoon, evening, or night
     REM with the intention of being an aid for people with memory problems

     REM requires BBC BASIC for Windows
     REM select Options -> lowercase keywords

     GAME_NAME$ = "Dementia Clock"
     VERSION$ = "1.01"

     REM error handling (displays message and quits)
ON ERROR SYS "MessageBox", @hwnd%, REPORT$ + " at line " + STR$ERL, "Error", 48:QUIT
REM event handler for quit button
REM set size of window
VDU 23,22,880;186;32,32,2,0
     REM set window text
SYS "SetWindowText", @hwnd%, GAME_NAME$+" version "+VERSION$+""
     OFF  : REM turn text cursor
*esc off
     COLOUR 1, 255, 255, 0   : REM yellow
COLOUR 2, 0, 0, 0       : REM black
*font Times New Roman, 48b
     VDU 5 :REM allow text to be printed at graphics cursor

     REM =========== MAIN LOOP =============
_display(" It is "+FN_getDay( TIME$ )+" "+FN_getTimeFrame( FN_getHours( TIME$ ) )+".")
       SYS "Sleep", 1000 : REM sleep for 1 second
REM ===================================

     REM quit handler
     REM user gets 4 seconds to press ENTER key or program continues
     PROC_display("Now press Enter to quit.")
     g% = INKEY(400)
     IF g% = 13 THEN

DEFPROC_display( t$ )
     REM displays text at approx half way along screen
     REM no time to code a proper centering routine
COLOUR 1+128 : CLS  : REM clear background to yellow
GCOL 2     : REM set graphics colour to red (text counts as graphics after vdu 5)
MOVE 190,290
     PRINT t$

DEFFN_getHours( t$ )
     REM returns the number of hours from the string passed
     REM assuming t$ is a string obtained from time$
= VAL( MID$(t$, 17, 2) )

     DEFFN_getTimeFrame( n% )
     REM returns a time such as "morning" etc depending on the string passed
     REM midnight - 6am = night
     REM 6am - noon     = morning
     REM noon - 6pm     = afternoon
     REM gpm - midnight = evening
n% >= 0 AND n% < 6 a$ = "night"
       WHEN n% >= 6 AND n% < 12 a$ = "morning"
       WHEN n% >= 12 AND n% <18 a$ = "afternoon"
       WHEN n% >= 18 AND n% <= 23 a$ = "evening"
       OTHERWISE a$ = "undefined"
= a$

     DEFFN_getDay( t$ )
     REM returns a string representing the current day
     REM assuming t$ is a string obtained from time$
LOCAL part$
     part$ = LEFT$( t$, 3)
     CASE part$ OF
"Mon" a$ = "Monday"
       WHEN "Tue" a$ = "Tuesday"
       WHEN "Wed" a$ = "Wednesday"
       WHEN "Thu" a$ = "Thursday"
       WHEN "Fri" a$ = "Friday"
       WHEN "Sat" a$ = "Saturday"
       WHEN "Sun" a$ = "Sunday"
= a$

     DEF PROC_preventResize
     REM prevent user resizing window
     SYS "GetWindowLong", @hwnd%, -16 TO ws%
     REM prevent user maximising window
SYS "SetWindowLong", @hwnd%, -16, ws% AND NOT &50000

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Superior Interactive

I was delighted to discover this website today. Superior Interactive - remaking retro Superior Software titles for modern PCs.

Here's their remake of Repton.

Ravenskull - now with level designer!

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Create your own ASCII heading

Someone has asked me for the code that produces the coloured ASCII heading in GOLIATH, like this:

Well, it is here:

     MODE 10
     *font Courier New, 14
     PROC_3dname( " HELLO", 6, 4 )

     PROC_3dname( " WORLD", 6, 4 )


DEF PROC_3dname(name$, col%, bcol%)
     REM produces 3d text in ascii graphics
     REM NOTE: uses ASCII characters 255, 254
     REM modified from:
     REM by Richard Russell
LOCAL A%, X%, Y%, char%, row%, patt%, bit%
     DIM X% 8 : A% = 10 : Y% = X% DIV 256
     VDU 23,255,255,255,255,255,255,255,255,255

     COLOUR bcol%
     *refresh off
     FOR row% = 1 TO 8
       FOR char% = 1 TO LEN(name$)
         ?X% = ASCMID$(name$,char%)
         CALL &FFF1
         patt% = X%?row%
         FOR bit% = 7 TO 0 STEP -1
           CASE TRUE OF
(patt% AND 2^bit%) <> 0 :COLOUR col%: PRINTCHR$(255);
             WHEN GET$(POS-1,VPOS-1) = CHR$(255): COLOUR bcol%: PRINTCHR$(254);
             OTHERWISE: PRINT " ";
     *refresh on

GET LAMP: The Text Adventure Documentary

A film that brought back a few memories: GET LAMP is a documentary filmed by computer historian Jason Scott of

The film explores the people behind the first IF games (Colossal Cave, and Zork); the legacy and future of the IF medium.  Scott describes this film as The first and last IF documentary.  Enjoy!

Here is a link to the Lost Pig game mentioned at the end. (screenshot is below)