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Advent 2021 day 5

This was recorded at 4K/2160p on my new phone. It created a file ~1.6GB in size. YouTube would upload this directly from the app, but choked if trying to share it to YouTube via the Gallery.
The main problem, however, is that with a 0.75gbit uplink, YouTube simply gave up on attempting to estimate how long it would take to upload this. Suffice to say, it was noon when I started, and sunset would happen first.
Thankfully and usefully, the phone has an option in the Gallery to compress videos. I could choose from 720p, 1080p, or keep with 4K; however the resulting file size would be less than half of that of the original - around 760MB. I picked that, and on the screen (which is only 2400×1080) it didn't seem any different. Plus, one must remember that YouTube is going to mess with the video and further compress it.
So now we're down to an "about two hours" estimate (which means closer to three hours). Much better. ☺

Of course, Google's coders being what they are, it got to 99% more or less on time, and then jumped back to 47%. It took another hour and three quarters. So I went and tidied weeds out front (looks much tidier), washed and vacuumed the car (looks much tidier) and did some other bits and bobs.

Finally (within about twenty minutes of sunset, ho ho ho) we have the latest offering:

Weekday videos will remain 720p. I do them when I come home, and I'd like to get things done and uploaded as soon as possible.



I've been playing around on-line, and it looks like my pension (which will be in 15 years(ish)) will be around €645 a month. That's pretty poor, but is likely influenced by my not starting work in this country until the end of 2008. You're supposed to have at least 120 trimesters (30 years) for the basic pension.
I'll need to get in touch with the DWP to see if my time/credits in England can count towards this, though I rather suspect that Brexit has made the process a whole lot harder.

It's not the end of the world, however, as by that age I'll likely be exhonerated some or all of the land tax, I won't be driving to work every day, which means I won't be needing to buy ready meals for weekdays. Plus I'm not a big user of electricity. My heating is minimal (I'm used to it being cold in the winter, it is - after all - winter!). I buy bottled water for tea/cooking as it's a well here.

There are numerous places where I could economise. Internet/mobile/phone costs €70 a month. When I'm no longer working, I will have a lot less need to have mobile comms. So a cheaper solution could be found.
Plus, I can drop the newspaper (€32/month) and magazine (€7-15/month) subscriptions (I might drop the magazines soonish anyway). I can stop eating burgers. Or, at least, make my own. Buy in food and take some time cooking it. After all, as a retired person I'll have a heck of a lot of time that I don't currently have.
Whether or not I keep Netflix depends upon what it costs fifteen-twenty years down the line. But I may well drop Amazon Prime. It isn't that expensive, but the free postage and rapid delivery makes it all too tempting to "just get it from Amazon". Indeed, when I hit retirement, if I don't have a lot of money, the best idea would likely be to delete the Amazon app entirely.

My lottery expenditure is €10-15 a week. I can stand that as a waged employee (it's 40-60 a month) but again, there's probably little point in hoping to with 80 million as a seventy year old. What would I do with that, other than pay my way through the cardiac unit? ☺

The thing is, I've led a fairly simple life. I don't go to concerts, fancy restaurants, or on cruises. Even with money in the bank I probably wouldn't (well, it means interacting with people and I'm sort of okay doing it one to one but I don't cope with groups). I also don't have fancy tastes in food. Two of my favourite meals are beans on toast with some grated cheddar on top and fresh taglietelle tossed in butter and a sprinking of pepper.
Note the absence of meat. I'm not a vegetarian, I just don't eat much meat. It's not because meat is expensive, it's just a preference. I'm having chicken nuggets for dinner, possibly with farfalle though I've not decided. However, meat is expensive, so not eating much of it is economically useful.

The primary costs will be - phone/internet. This is essential as it's pretty much my primary form of communication with the outside world. Various insurances (house, car, me...). And, well, I'm probably fogetting something but I think that's about it.

So that sum is not good (especially for a country that sets the limit of 'poverty' about two hundred higher!) but it is not the end of the world. I won't need to cry over giving up my caviar soirées.

I'll just have to be sure to live long enough to make it economically in my favour. ☺
Plus, of course, to put some money aside. Even something small like a hundred a month adds up to €1,200 a year, which by the end of fifteen years is a much larger eighteen thousand. Two hundred a month? Thirty six thousand. Not to get carried away, but these are manageable amounts. I currently pay a shade under €90 a month for Felicity's loan, that ought to be finished in about a year. I'm already going to Big Town a lot less, so a combination of that, the end of Felcity's loan and some other minor tweaks (like dropping the magazines) ought to make savings of around €150-200 a month a viable proposition.

Then there's the equity of the property itself. I'm not going to dwell on this too much. I know that Brits tend to be obsessed with property prices, which in itself can artificially inflate the market values. Suffice to say, if I feel like the land and remoteness is too much of a problem, moving is also another possible option. I wouldn't want to, I like the fact that there's nothing and nobody around, but if I'm coming on seventy and hobbling around with a zimmer frame, it may be that attempting to drive a ride-on mower might be... somewhat inadvisable.

And in fifteen or so years time? I'll probably still be running XP on an ancient PC! 😂


Mamie Fletcher's House 5

Animating Lucy

I had originally planned on rotoscoping Lucy. That is to say, I would take videos of myself, and use that as an animation basis for creating the movements. However, the simple test of drawing the static Lucy that you saw yesterday reminded me of the rather large divide between my aspirations and my talents.

On the bright side, I didn't need to raid mom's wardrobe to act as a model for a game character. How would I explain that to the neighbours? ☺

Rotating sprites

This didn't really solve the problem of how to animate Lucy, mind you. One of the main things that was needed was the ability to rotate a sprite. RISC OS can do this, it has a call to plot sprites with rotation, however it uses a Draw style matrix, which is this gibberish:
A transformation matrix
A transformation matrix.

After scratching my head over this, I asked for some help, and Julie Stamp posted some BASIC code that made the process comprehensible to me. I still don't know how transformation matrices work, but at least I now know what values to plug into the thing to get desired results out.

Assembling Lucy

So I took the Lucy drawing apart and split it up. A left arm, a left arm with film, a right arm with camera, upper and lower legs (identical for left and right legs), a head, and three dresses (normal, short fall, and big fall).
Lucy's parts
Lucy's parts.

From these parts, and rotation, animation was created. Here is how Lucy was drawn (left) and the rotation parts (right):

Plotting Lucy   Lucy's rotation points
Plotting Lucy.
The sprite background is bright green, a colour not used in any of the designs, because the routine that 'saves' the sprites performs a chromakey operation where any green pixel has the mask bit set (so will appear transparent).

It required quite a bit of experimentation, but eventually I had a walking animation that looked "mostly" correct. The knee for when a leg is to the back isn't quite right, but it didn't seem that big an issue when in motion on screen.
Sure, it isn't up to the level of modern photo-realistic games, but on the other hand I grew up with protagonists that looked like Chuck?, plus I'm not aiming for realism. You kind of can't in a platform game as the format itself is unrealistic.


Putting all of this together, we have a walking animation.
Lucy walking
Lucy walking (black background as that's what the game uses).
The slight bounce is because this happens when people walk. It just looked a bit 'flat' without that.

One thing of note is that the sprite rotation does not provide any form of anti-aliasing whatsoever. So some of the rotated parts can look quite jaggy. This shows up mainly in the rotated arm, but given that this is the animation for either taking a photo and/or reloading the camera, I'd imagine that your concentration at that moment will not be on the quality of rendering the character's arms.

Something that you might not have noticed is that she 'swaps hands' for the film and/or camera depending on whether she's facing left or right. That is to say, the hand closest to the screen is always holding the camera, and the hand that swaps the film is the one furthest from the screen. This is because the left-facing sprites are simply mirror images of the right-facing ones.
Technically she is holding the camera with both hands, the only anomaly is the hand used to handle the film. But since her dress doesn't have visible pockets, that's not the only anomaly!


Tomorrow, we'll look at designs for the antagonist, the ghost.



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J.G.Harston, 6th December 2021, 04:14
I have a loan that I made the final payment on this month. I'm speculatively looking forward to next month so see the difference in my outgoings, plus when my car died in October I didn't replace it, so that's a significant chunk removed from my outgoings. Just a shame my income also vanished along with the car. :(
J.G.Harston, 6th December 2021, 04:16
As a contractor my agencies keep signing me up for different pensions even though I keep telling them not to. At some point I'm going to have to track them all down and close them as they have ridiculous amounts in them. The main one has £645 in it. Not £645 per month - £645 in total.
Rick, 6th December 2021, 07:36
I've sent a message to the international pension office (online form) to ask whether I claim any pension from the UK, or whether it can be added to my French pension duration. 
I suppose I'll also have to do a pension forecast as well. Can I even remember my NI number? 
I won't have enough qualifying years, far from it. But, my god, the basic state pension is £137.60 per week. 
That's pretty poor. 
So the C suite get final salary pensions, and the workers that make stuff happen...get shafted. 
J.G.Harston, 6th December 2021, 09:07
As long as you have at least ten years of contributions you qualify for UK state pension payments, at 1/35th per year of payments. See <a href="">link</a>. You can only qualify for the means-tested top-up if you're resident in the UK. 
I'm toying with equity release to keep me going until I can get my pension.
David Boddie, 6th December 2021, 17:49
Fortunately, I still have the plastic card I got when I was assigned a national insurance number many years ago. However, you might find this useful:
David Boddie, 6th December 2021, 17:50
"So the C suite get final salary pensions, and the workers that make stuff happen...get shafted." 
There's a reason why they call it the C-suite...

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