Reid's For Fun


My personal blog for what interests this computer guy. Web development, LEGO ray tracing, ZX81 retro computing, writing and photography.

Start the Year with LEGO Emoji, How I Lost and Gained Motivation

Lego Emoji Render by Steven Reid

It feels like 2017 is just kicking off, yet here we are at the end of January. Time sure seems to be getting away from me lately. I blame the the heater skelter of the holidays and uncomfortable weather. Well, and taking a not so great vacation didn’t improve my mood any. I got sick and all else fell to the side. Today is my opportunity to change that. Today is for LEGO!


Can you hack the computer and save the world?

Code IV Ready prompt ZX81 screen shot, Steven Reid 1985/2017“Agent 51, your goal is within reach, but there is a problem.”
"Understand,” you reply. Professional as always, you only allow a hint of annoyance in your voice. “Explain.”
“Well, the plans are in the room in front of you, but the floor is a trap. You need to deactivate it using the terminal to your right.”
You look down at the screen, a singular “READY” stares back at you.
“Sounds easy enough,” you reply.
“It isn’t. The interface is protected and, sadly, our operative died before he could tell us the code.”
“So what do I do?”
“You’re going to have to hack it. Our operative left a back door into the system, if you can find it. You can do it, Agent 51.”
You nod at the voice in your ear. You can do this.

Play begins with imagination.
Computers are great for role playing and Code IV was one of my programs that helped enable a story. As a kid, I often augmented my play using my ZX81. Although the narrative above isn’t exact, it embodies what I was thinking when I wrote this month’s ZX81 program. Fun, adventurous, and a unfair, can you crack the code and disable the floor?


How To Make And Break Big Bricks Using Little Ones

At the end of November, during some time off from work, I dabbled rendering a series of LEGO models I call Big Bricks. Starting out as a “can I do this?” effort, led to me building variations on that theme. To my surprise, the journey culminated with the blogging of Crime Scene on the Brothers Brick.


Can you guess the right code to win?

ZX Master Mind opening screen shot, Steven Reid 1985/1998I used to play Mastermind when I was a kid, a simple code breaking game. One player would set up a sequence of colored pegs and the other would have to guess it in a set number of turns. My version, called ZX Master Mind, has the computer creating the code. Can you guess the three numbers in sequence before your ten turns run out?


Can You Avoid Death in the ZX81 Game Stick Shift?

Stick Shift game play, ZX81 screen shot, Steven Reid 1985Dodging games were the rage back in the early ’80s. Wanting to add my own take on the genre, I created Stick Shift, November’s program of the month. The goal is simple. Dodge other cars, oil spills and spikes while not crashing into the wall. Mess up? Well, it’s game over for you. Don’t fret though, it isn't that hard—yet.


Lost on the Moon

Lost on the moon by Steven Reid, on Flickr

Inspiration flows from various sources. For some time I’ve wanted to create a messy model, one with greebles and imperfections. A space article about a moon—I don’t remember which—provided the push I needed. With Frank Sinatra’s In Other Words playing in my head, I headed over to Mecabricks and started building.


Bugers Will Kill You in October's ZX81 Program of the Month

Trail Blazer, ZX81 screen shot, Steven Reid 1984While working to improve the way I display my ZX81 programs, I ran across one that didn’t have a picture. Finding that odd, I did some research and found that I’d written a page for it back in 1999. To my surprise, I’d never uploaded it. To rectify that oversight, I made Bugers this month’s program.



Trail Blazer is my ZX81 Tribute to Tron’s Light Cycles

Trail Blazer, ZX81 screen shot, Steven Reid 1984One of the coolest movies when I was a young teenager was Disney’s Tron. What geeky kid didn’t want to watch a movie about computers and video games? Sprinkle in some computer animation and how could I not fall in love.

Needless to say, Tron was the inspiration for more than a few of my programs. Trail Blazer, September’s program of the month, is one of them. An homage to the light cycle segment, the goal is to crash your opponent first. But beware. All walls are deadly, including your own.