Founded in late 2011 to legitimize the production of Diamond Find for Android, Wolf Butler Art & Software now serves comedy through a variety of digital media.


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This is operated by Christian DeWolf from sunny Halifax, Nova Scotia. Keep up to date on Twitter for all the latest news and observations.


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December 31, 2017

2017: Another Year to Evaluate

It's 8:45 on New Year's Eve, and I've just realized I still need to write one of these year-lists. Gonna blast through it quickly so I can go back to drinking.

10. Calvin and Hobbes

It's good every year, but this year I read the complete collection. So good! My favourite running joke is that Calvin subscribes to and is heavily influenced by a chewing gum lifestyle magazine. There's also a really nice part near the end where Calvin doesn't terrorize Rosalyn the babysitter for once & they play Calvinball.

9. A new recycling system

The pile in the kitchen grows unmanageable in almost no time at all, but this year we got a new bin to hold some of the items before disposal. It's certainly cut down on the clutter, and improved quality of life.

8. New couch

I'm just looking around the room at this point. Yes, the couch allows me to stretch out my 6'4" frame on a single piece of furniture in relative comfort. I recommend... couches.

7. New milk frother

This was on the list last year, but it's still really good! Frothes up that milk real nice for lattes and hot chocolates. Such a good appliance. You're still not getting an affiliate link though.

6. Vinegar store

I finally went to that oil and vinegar store nearby, and, turns out, they give you a spoon and let you taste all the vinegars! When I realized this, I almost cried. An employee came by and asked if I needed anything, and I was like, "I think everything is just fine right now." Pretty sure she backed away.

5. New cat litter system

Instead of the classic way where the cats piss into sand and track it all over the house, and it ends up on my feet and in the bed, etc. this new product uses litter pellets and an absorbent pad beneath a sort of grate. It cuts down on the smell and the constant dirt, and using off-brand pads, it even ends up being cheaper!

4. All the new friends I made along the way

Can't think off-hand who they are, but I think I built some solid relationships this year. If you're reading this: it's probably you.

3. All the old friends who stuck around

Too many to list, obviously, but thanks for making it a good year, old friends.

2. Almost being done this list

Just a little bit more to write before I can push the button on this post and cap it off for 2017 output.

1. Being done the list

I've really gotten lazier this year. Maybe kick it back into gear in 2018? Eh. Leave a comment and tell me to, if I ever build a comments system.

Posted in: Summaries of Time





April 15, 2017

Unpopular Versions of Diamond Find I Have Made

It began with a series of barely legible comics.

Df2

Who can say why? But in the fall of 2011 I had an idea for an interactive story based on this idea. I became obsessed and so sat down and wrote a little Java program that would construct one in a CSV file. I'd only build the engine to actually read/play the file four months later, after I'd written over 80,000 words of diamond adventures, because I'm committed like that.


Diamond Find: Alpha (2012)

A minimal reader did the job, and with a little character art it was playable:

Alpha

I sent it around to a few people to do editing and testing, but knew at this point I knew it could be more. I added a second CSV with more encounters and B-stories, including branching consequence trees for finding some of the unique diamonds, and a questionable storyline where the Feds send their best profiler to hunt you down after you assassinate a city councillor for a diamond.

Total users: ~10



Diamond Find for Android (2012)

Designing the game for a phone presented the challenge of text size — how to fit the content into a screen so small? I was also thinking ahead to smartwatches, which I still believe are the future. It was at this point that I decided it would work best as a speed-reading game, and thus implemented it as a flashy, lightning-fast comedy brain trainer. I even tracked down Volker Tripp, who'd done music for some of my favourite games in the 90's, to license some of his MOD music for the soundtrack. However, he stopped responding to my emails after a little while, which was disappointing, but also saved me 1300 euros. This version was the first to feature HD diamond graphics.

Android

Total users: ~35



Diamond Find LP (2013)

I definitely wanted to capture a hip demographic, and market research pointed straight to vinyl. While it took a bit of editing, I managed to fit the game onto two sides of an LP and pressed a limited edition copy:

Diamondfindlp

However, it failed to attract a minimum bid at auction and thus remains unsold. This collector's item can be yours though, for the right price! Serious inquiries only.

Total users: 0 (still in mint condition)



Diamond Find Terminus (2013)

After dismissing the idea to port the game to the more popular iOS, I decided to make a website where people could play Diamond Find for free! At first the plan was to implement it in Ruby on Rails, and thus I ported the game to Ruby, creating a terminal-based skeleton:

Terminus

Functional, but I was still more comfortable with Java at the time, and shelved Terminus after only a week.

Total users: 2



Diamond Find on FractalFic (2014)

Far more ambitious than what I reasonably had time and money to build, the FractalFic platform was designed not only to run Diamond Find, but also to allow users to write and publish their own Diamond Find-style adventures. For mass appeal, I even watered down the city councillor murder plot by making the gun chocolate.

Diamond Find running on FractalFic

It drove me into debt and depression, but the Java and web skills I learned during its nine-month build were enough to secure me an entry-level dev job. Success!

FractalFic, however, was a failure. Despite receiving some press coverage (from Clamblog), only a few people ever wrote stories, and the cost of running the server was not offset by the 'freemium' pricing model I'd set up. It ran for a year and a half before I pulled the plug.

Total users: Unknown (did not implement tracking)



Diamond Find, Today

But I couldn't let it just die. Years later, now proficient in Ruby on Rails, I knew I could implement a new version in a very short time. And did I ever!

Df binarywoods

It's free, open-source, and if you sign up, you can save all the diamonds you find to your profile & even download HD versions as wallpapers. It may be the best version of Diamond Find ever!

So will you just fucking play it? I... I can't keep doing this.

Total users (live count): 80






January 16, 2017

4 Things "Computer World" by Kraftwerk Got Right About 2017

When 'Computer World' hit the techno scene 36 years ago, it was clearly ahead of its time. But who could have believed that it would describe 2017 like a prophetic vision? Let's do a deep dive into Kraftwerk's masterpiece and see what those stylish, robotic men got exactly right.

1. Business, Numbers, Money, People

The evocative refrain is as prescient today as it was in 1981 -- computers DO power business. They keep track of numbers, exponentially more than they could in the past. Who uses computers? No, not animals. PEOPLE. And 'money'? It's like Kraftwerk foresaw Bitcoin.

2. Interpol & Deutsche Bank; FBI & Scotland Yard

These four organizations are still big players on the world stage, and you can bet that each of them makes extensive use of the Computer. Deutsche Bank would have to, if they are accessing the markets.

3. Time, Travel, Communication, Entertainment

When you think of computers, do you think of games? Kraftwerk's sly reference to entertainment may have, to the contemporary listener, brought Pong to mind, but in fact today the entertainment industry is almost entirely computerized. A large medium of communication, the internet, brings this entertainment into our homes, and when we need to travel, I know the first place I look is a computer. Do you remember when they say 'Time' in the song? Well, there's a clock in just about every computer now.

4. It's a "Computer World"

This is pretty indisputable. In 2017, while some shopkeepers may still keep records in worn, paper ledgers, a vast majority are using computers. Even day-spas and flotation tank centers use computers to manage bookings. These machines really have taken over the planet, to the degree that the world could now reasonably be classified as a "Computer" one.

I don't know why no one paid attention before now. But Kraftwerk was right all along, and 36 years later, that's astounding.

And that's not even taking into account what they said about pocket calculators.

Posted in: Music & Lyrics





December 30, 2016

Obligatory 2016 Listicle

Time to break down another year into an easily-digestable list of positive characteristics. Positive for me, anyway:

10. Got a new cat

We adopted a second cat last winter, this one orange, and even though he steals bread out of the toaster and bites the doorframes, he's a great little animal. There is much photography of him and the more annoying piebald one on my Twitter.

9. State-of-the-art phone

After ignoring peoples' conversations about data plans for almost a decade, I finally found myself in a situation where some knowledge on the subject would have been useful. Luckily, the kiosk reps were more than helpful, and after playing them off each other for my own amusement, I now have a sleek new phone that tells me more conveniently when the next bus isn't coming.

8. The Long Dark

GOD this game is good. Once past the learning curve, it's a perfect balance of chilled-out winter exploration and super-tense making-sure-there-aren't-wolves paranoia.

7. Bouldering

A sport I can do in all seasons, bouldering is as whole-body strenuous as it is fun. The community at the gym is friendly and helpful, and my unnaturally long arms and light frame allow me to succeed without necessarily being skilled!

6. Guest treatment at Hal-Con

Ah yes, this year the local sci-fi convention Hal-Con invited me as a Local Author Guest, as I am local and published a couple of books. I got car service, a PA, green room access, and all sorts of opportunities to meet actual celebrities.

It was an exhausting three days, but I sold a bunch of books, saw friends, and met new and old fans. And someone showed up with a cosplay of one of my characters!

Though I did have to admit to TV's Aaron Ashmore that I don't watch TV. That was kind of embarrassing.

5. Someone reviewed my shit

I was validated as an 'author' when one of my unsuspecting Hal-Con customers decided to review Snapback for local alt-weekly The Coast. Luckily he did not trash it. Might have had to shut down the company.

4. Two kitties sitting on me at once

The orange cat I mentioned earlier sometimes teams up with the piebald one to be ultra cute. Right now they're sitting on my lap, between me and the laptop, just licking each other all over the face. I'm pretty pleased about this, as I had specifically requested that I wanted this to happen on the adoption form.

3. Hella good Ruby on Rails jobs

My first programming job was good, compared to non-coding jobs, but it was, retrospectively, at a terrible company. After I left early this year, I got a much better job at a small crowdfunding agency, and when that contract ended, I had a few weeks to relax before starting at this new place. I'm using Ruby every day and the benefits are excellent.

2. That thing I can't tell you about

Look, I can't say a lot about this, but something good happened, and for one reason or another, it can't be printed here. I apologize for that -- this company prides itself on its transparency. But trust me: it was worthy of spot #2. Which places it right above...

1. This new milk frother

Working at the 'Bucks in high school got me the taste for lattes, and a stovetop espresso machine has been ever-present in my kitchen since. Frothed milk, however, has always been the challenge. Those Bodum hand-pump frothers never seemed to hold enough, and the wand-style spinny ones were terrible. Plus, microwaving the milk and skimming off the fat was always annoying, not to mention washing all the damn dishes.

As such, I've let my morning coffees get pretty sad over the last few years, often doing little more than adding a splash of cold milk to the espresso before I slam it back.

But my girlfriend noticed this severe life decifiency and got me an automatic frother appliance. I put milk in the jug, press a button, and it becomes frothed to my desired temperature. And the jug rinses out in seconds! My lattes are so good now, and it appears I can also make hot chocolates.



So, I'm sorry this ended up to be more of a "Best things I can remember from the last 3 days", but 2016 was long, and I didn't keep detailed notes. What, did you want an affiliate link for the milk frother? Fuck you.

Posted in: Summaries of Time


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