The boat is running. We spent the entire afternoon yesterday cleaning inside and out. A test drive showed no serious leaks and the drive train runs smoothly. The engine stalled a few times before it was warmed up.

Rolling Ball Sculpture

I am still working now and then on the billiard ball RBS. No pictures yet. The loop is done and is very smooth. I’d have to say that making clean welds on the track and support wires is hard but the benefit of the electric welder when it comes to track deformation is great. Brazing gets the track too hot and lets slight pressures in the jigging cause slight links. They are not bad enough to cause the ball to jump the track or anything at all like that but they can sometimes be seen and might also slow the ball because of extra friction at the bends.

Linkage 2.1

I worked on this lately. After giving up on handling extremely complex sliding configurations, I had added a Microsoft-style ribbon bar. It’s like the tool bar in the Word or Excel that replace the menu. I’m not sure I like the idea of making any command inaccessible without customization but the ribbon bar is pretty. I also added a few new samples to show some of the benefits of sliding mechanisms.

Maybe I’ll think about adding gears pulleys and belts. The problem with gears and such is that a gear needs to be attached to something else and how that is handled in the user interface and displayed for the user is beyond me. Color-coding is one way to handle it but there is a chance that the colors run out and get recycled and then a mechanism might get confusing. There needs to be a clear way to select a link and a connector and place a pulley or gear on it so that the attachment to the link is obvious.

“Motorizing” the linkage gears and pulleys is also tricky for the same reason. Right now, there is an assumption that a rotating connector that is also an anchor has all links using that connector rotating at the given RPM around the connector. How would I “motorize” a connector between two moving links without the connector being an anchor? Which link has a fixed connection to that connector and which rotates around it? Hmmm….

Train Game

I’ve lost interest in this. I was working on stopping the train at specific locations and had some difficulty dealing with moving from one location to another while the train was covering both locations. I used the front or the back of the train for location tracking and the “stop after” vs. “stop before” stuff and the locations being under the train cause me some issues in picking a direction to move.

I was also at a point where I needed to think about programming the parts of the game that were not related to train movement. I am still not sure how to design the rolling stock so that new cars and industries can be added with ease. I need some sort of generic cargo handling mechanisms and objects and somehow use configuration files to build the specifics. Which cargo goes with which car gets complicated since there is a lot of flexibility in the real world. I don’t like how restrictive current trsain games are about cargo but making a more flexible system that allows a player to store apples in a low hopper or in boxes on a flat car or in a box car is a bit tricky.

Other Projects

It’s kayak season but I can’t find my splash jacket. It got moved out of the garage and is not missing. I’ll go out without it and without the also missing splash pants but I’d like to have them with me on any day where it might get cold and splashy.