I’ve updated the look of my photo gallery and changed how the photos are stored. My goal is to make the gallery work better on mobile devices and modernize the look and feel. I also moved the hosting of all the photos from my website to Amazon S3. I’m planning to switch my web hosting to a private server and it will cost less if I don’t store my photos on that server.
Here’s a comparison of the look of the old gallery to the new:
I converted billandchad.com from a physical machine in my house to an online server at DigitalOcean. I’ve been wanting to try out Digital Ocean for hosting chadweisshaar.com, but haven’t made the switch because of the size of my photo galleries. billandchad.com hosts my NextCloud instance and the touch table game repository and it is less than 5GB. This means I can use the smallest Digital Ocean server which costs $5 per month. Running the server in my house was more expensive. I was paying $5 for a static IP (which probably wasn’t required, but did make it easier) and about $3 for electricity. Plus the cost of occasional hardware replacements.
Getting setup at Digital Ocean was easy. One of their preconfigured machine setups is a LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySql, PHP) server which is what NextCloud needs. I had to setup SSH keys, had to install a couple extra PHP packages, and make some apache configuration changes for NextCloud. Doing the NextCloud migration was a bit of a hassle, but that was a NextCloud issue.
Since setting up NextCloud, I’ve also built a stand-alone web app on this server. To do that I installed GIT and the SSH plugin for Visual Studio Code so that I could develop right on the Digital Ocean server, but also have source control and a backup on my home machine.
Everything has been pretty simple and convenient. Their monitoring tools are adequate for diagnosing performance issues and their billing is automatic. I do need to log in occasionally to do software updates, but I was having to do that for my local server anyway. Overall I’m pretty happy and will probably move chadweisshaar.com over to them eventually. I “just” need to re-write my gallery webpage to use AWS instead of storing the photos locally.
Not having a home linux server does have some downsides. For one, it was just cool to have part of the internet in my house. But I also used the server to run my own DHCP and DNS. I had an ad blocking DNS server for my phone and also allowed me to create some short urls (like tt.com) for friends to use to connect to the touch table. I miss both of these capabilities.
I’ve finished converting Space Base for the touch table. Space base is a fairly quick card drafting game where you buy cards to fill in 12 columns. Each turn two die are rolled and you can take rewards from either both die or the sum of the dice. Cards give money, income, victory points and some have more complex abilities that need to be charged before use.
The original Brass has always been one of my favorite games. It’s a complex economic and network building game that rewards both multi-step planning and quick adaptation to board conditions. Brass: Birmingham is a 2018 re-design of the original that slightly changes the theme, simplifies some rules and adds a third resource but leaves the feel of the game intact.
I’ve completed a touch table conversion for King Domino and Queen Domino. King Domino is a relatively simple tile placement game with the interesting mechanic where the player who chose the “best” tile goes last in the next round. Queen Domino takes the kingdom building and tile placement mechanics from King Domino and adds city tiles that can have buildings added to them.
I’ve been working on a touch table conversion of Galaxy Trucker since October. I’ve completed the base game and a few of the expansions (new tech tiles, five players, and side B ship hulls). I’m still planning to do at least some of the Rough Roads expansion.
I’ve completed a touch table version of Between Two Cities with the Capitals expansion. I had a hard time getting excited about this conversion and it took me two months to put in the 50 hours needed to write the game.
But I’m glad that I finished it. The conversion plays well and it adds another relatively easy 7 player game to the touch table.
I’ve made a touch table conversion of the board game Automobile. This is a board game that we don’t play much anymore, but that will be significantly nicer as a computer game. It is a fairly complex game where the players spend a lot of time counting their money and the number of cars on the board. In this touch version, the computer automates the piece and money manipulation and provides a lot of assistance to the player in counting the supply and demand of cars.
I made two small games for the touch table: Azul and the Medici Card Game. Azul is a tile placement game that was published recently and that I played at our last game day. The Medici card game is a variant of Medici that makes the game a bit simpler by removing the auction aspect. This does introduce a bit more luck, but Medici was already a bit random and the new version plays much faster.