Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Magma Music

I couldn't find a music player for Android that did exactly what I want so I made one.  You can grab it from Google Play here

What I want:
0) Treat every directory under Android's "Music" as an album
1) Pick an album
2) Play the album
3) Goto 1

If you're looking for a music player with a lot of features, this is not the one for you.

Also, please note, this application is a work in progress.  It is rough around the edges and there are bound to be many bugs I am not aware of.

It already does 99% of what I want in a music player and I have been starting to lose the motivation to keep working on it so I thought I would just release what I have done.

What I plan to add next:
- Gapless playback.  The other "1%" of what I want in a music player.
- Interface overhaul.  The current layout was intended as a placeholder.
- Widgets with playback control for the lock screen/home screen/notification.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Brewing beer with steel cut oats

I eat steel cut oats every day for breakfast.  The combination of creaminess and chewy texture you get by slow cooking them is unbeatable as far as I am concerned.  Until today, however, I'd never tried making beer out of them.

I couldn't find much information out there on brewing with steel cut oats so I figured I'd post my findings.

I decided I would cook up the oats as if I was making porridge before brewing with them as my standard 60 minute mash didn't seem like it would be enough to break them down.  Here they are after cooking on low heat for an hour with a few liters of water.  The starch has gelatinised becoming thick and creamy.  Delicious. 

That's a big breakfast
I'm making a variation of the Chocolate Oatmeal Porter detailed here.

Unfortunately, I misread the recipe and didn't buy enough chocolate malt.  I decided to substitute the missing malt with more oats and a little extra cocoa.

The final grain bill looked like this:
  • 4kg Maris Otter
  • 750g Steel Cut Oats
  • 350g Medium Crystal Malt
  • 250g Chocolate Malt
  • 150g Black Malt
I have enough trouble sparging when using 100% barley so I'm using the "Brew-in-a-bag" technique this time.

Here is my setup with a glass of pale ale from my last batch, probably the most hoppy beer I have ever made.  It still has a little "raw" hop edge to it but I'm hopeful that will fade with more conditioning over the next couple of weeks.

My brewery 

I took some measurements 20 mins into the mash to see how the oats where doing.  9.5° Brix and the iodine test below seems to suggest there is already no starch remaining. 

It's not blue
After 60 mins, I had 25L of wort at 12° Brix, which BrewMate tells me is an efficiency of 82%.  Since my usual efficiency using this setup is around 70-80%, I think I can safely conclude the enzymes had no trouble with the oats.

I was curious to see how they looked afterward and discovered some pockets of oat amongst the grain.  I'm not sure if they coagulated together during the mash or I just didn't mix very well.  Either way, it resulted in an incredible combination of gooeyness and sweet, malty flavour.  I'd consider putting the oats and barely in separate bags next time so this can be recovered easily.
The miners have struck oat

There's not much else to report regarding the oats as the rest of the brew went smoothly.  So far, I'd say brewing with steel cut oats is a perfectly fine idea.

I'll post an update on flavour, mouthfeel and overall impression once it's ready and see if I can tell any difference from previous brews I have done using rolled and flaked oats.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Bug fix release for Hoplite

Hoplite 2.3.1 has been released for Android and will be available for iOS in about a week.

Just a few bug fixes this time.

  • Fixed a bug where you could be offered shield upgrades that had already been taken
  • Fixed a bug preventing incremental achievements syncing correctly (Google Play only)
  • Fixed a bug preventing achievements unlocked before v2.3 from syncing (iOS only)

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Leaderboards and balance changes for Hoplite

I'm happy to announce that Hoplite 2.3 is now available.

You can grab it for Android at Google Play or Amazon and for iOS at iTunes

Here is a mostly complete list of what has changed:

iOS only

  • Game Center integration: unlocks and achievements synced between devices.
  • Performance improvements, especially loading time.

Google Play only

  • Google Play Games integration: unlocks and achievements synced between devices.
  • Added missing xxxhdpi support (for some new devices like the LG G3)


  • Demons now die if they are knocked "through" magma instead of landing on the other side.  This does not affect the player (or bombs) so you can still fly over magma using Reaction & Might Bash.
  • Using recall on stairs will now trigger descending to the next depth
  • Shielding Bash split into two levels, each with a cost of 1.  Level one blocks a single attack and level two blocks all attacks.
  • Cooldowns are no longer decremented when Swift Leap is used.
  • Surge now restores 100 energy instead of all energy.
  • Protection removed from the game.  Flawless now unlocks Shielding Bash II
  • Demon cooldowns no longer decrease while they're stunned
  • Hephaestus now offers upgrades of your current prayers with higher priority - ie. if you have Shielding Bash, you'll be offered Shielding Bash II (if unlocked)
  • Patience has increased chance to be found
  • Winged Sandals increases Leap range by 1 (from 2) and cost reduced to 1 (from 2)
  • Leap Strike cost reduce to 1 (from 2)
  • Wizard Beam cost increase to 1 (from 0)
  • (Greater) Energy now costs 0/1/1/1 for 120/135/150/160 total energy and is capped at four levels.
  • (Greater) Bloodlust now costs 1/1/1/1 for 6/9/12/15 bonus energy and is capped at four levels.
  • Sacrifice cost reduced to 0 (from 1) for the following prayers:
    • Sweeping Bash
    • Greater Sweeping Bash
    • Spinning Bash
    • Recall
    • Follow
    • Plant Spear
    • Slashing Lunge
    • Sword Lunge
  • The number and type of demons has been adjusted in the lower depths to increase the difficulty beyond where it used to hit a plateau.


  • New Achievement "Hoplite Master" for consecutive wins with unique prayers.  You can check prayers made in the current streak under the "Prayers" menu.
  • Minor graphical changes to show when wizards and demolitionists are able to shoot and when player has Wizard Beam.
  • Fixes/improvements to animation/sfx timing
  • Lots of bug fixes