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.








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): 32






January 16, 2017

4 Things The Song '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





August 26, 2016

Did not get the social media job

A while back, before I became a proper programmer, I thought freelance writing was my calling. And with freelance websites teeming with jobs, how could I fail?

All sorts of ways, it turned out!

First of all, I had to bid on the jobs. These were mostly content creation gigs -- churning out articles based around a given keyphrase to boost the website's SEO. The active bids were pretty depressing. At the high end, I could make about a cent a word, and most of them were closer to a half-cent. When I finally was selected for one, I wrote about 21,000 words and made $168.

But I kept at it. I did some reviews of guitar software which I happened to own, and those paid comparatively better. But one job in particular, for a men's fashion and lifestyle company, was to write 100 tweets for something like a dollar each about style and online dating.

No one is more stylish than me. I should make that clear right now. At clubs, which I frequent, this is my reputation. But to apply for the gig, I had to send in a bunch of sample tweets anwyay.

Long story short, I did not get the job. I'm sure they just used all the best ones from the samples they got and never paid anyone, but I don't hold a grudge.

Here were my submissions, and some commentary, with a few years' perspective:


Look good in stubble? Plan ahead to rock your perfect 5 o'clock shadow, exactly when you need it. #confidence #foresight #bothsexy

I still think this is pretty good men's advice. Plan a good stubble! Doesn't cost you anything.


Get one #watch you love that goes with everything and wear it all the time. If you have multiple watches, you're an asshole.

Probably didn't fit into the consumerist agenda the company was trying to push, but I stand by this menswear advice.


Invest an hour at the menswear store and figure out which kind of blazer you look best in. Use that information FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.

Probably should have told the reader to buy a blazer in every colour or something, but I'm still running off blazer knowledge from five years ago, and I'm doing fine. Blazers don't change that much.


Pay the barista in advance to draw a heart on your date's latte in caramel. Not a lot; like two dollars. #worth #it

These next few veer into heteronormative dating advice. Is it skeezy to engineer a date, or is it 'romantic'? Don't form an opinion just yet; we have yet to fully explore the topic.


Make her squeal with delight by producing a bouquet of flowers from under the table at the same time you say the word "blossom" (100 points)

This one would be pretty hard to pull off but I think it'd be a date this nameless female love interest would tell her friends about.


She doesn't want to hear about your phone. Unless she actually does want to hear about your phone. #redflag #escape

Why do people insist on talking about their phones? I don't care what plan you're on or how much you're spending every month. Do other people? Maybe if people had more caramel hearts on their drinks they'd actually try to connect on a personal level.


Is her online dating profile picture color-corrected? She's hiding something, but then again, so's everybody. Don't worry about it.

You're going to spend your whole relationship picking apart each others' flaws anyway, so why not start now? #mensfashion


Getting passed over for that job wasn't the end of the world, but it still makes me wonder: could I have transformed the world of men's fashion and dating culture? I guess we'll never know. Until then: don't wear cologne. Everybody'll hate you.

Posted in: Freelancing Stories


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