Saturday, 28 November 2009

iPhone - Screen Capture

iPhone Screen Capture

The iPhone includes a handy feature to take a photo of the current screen.

To take a screen shot you need to hold down the "Home" button (at the bottom of the screen) and then hit the "power/sleep" button (at the top right hand side of the phone).

Your screen shot will then be available in the camera roll section of your photo app.

The attached photo should illustrate the process.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

GeoDefense Swarm Strategy - Hard Level 10 (Crazy 88's)


GeoDefense Swarm Strategy

Hard Level 10 - Crazy 88's

Spoiler Warning!

My approach here is to split the screen into two regions and allow the creeps to channel between the two 8's.

I start with laying out the path near the exit. It takes a bit of trial and error to work out what the minimum number of towers work.

Interestingly my highest score is with 180 waves. Using another approach I got to over 215 but the score was lower.

Well that concludes the game! Hopefully Critical Thought Games will release some additional map packs. V3 of the iPhone OS has enabled in game purchases, more games should take advantage of this (IMHO).

GeoDefense Swarm Strategy - Hard Level 9 (Revenge of the Eye)


GeoDefense Swarm Strategy

Hard Level 9 - Revenge of the Eye

Spoiler Warning!

There are a couple of different ways to skin this cat. Start with the towers near the exit to maximise your score - you may leak a few creeps.

GeoDefense Swarm Strategy - Hard Level 8 (Slightly Buggy)


GeoDefense Swarm Strategy

Hard Level 8 - Slightly Buggy

Spoiler Warning!

Just lay the path at alternately upgrade the missiles and thumpers.

GeoDefense Swarm Strategy - Hard Level 7 (Looking Glass)


GeoDefense Swarm Strategy

Level 7 - Looking Glass

Spoiler Warning!!

OK this strategy allowed me to get a highscore which is number 14 in the world.

The secret is to allow an opening at the edges and don't build too many towers early.

By wave 5 you need to close the gap so you can get the creeps that are only effected by thumpers and lasers.

The pictures should be pretty self explanatory.

Of course this is probably going to destroy my top 14 ranking ...

Sunday, 15 November 2009

iPhone Application - Life Goals

iPhone Application - Life Goals

It looks like Apple has accepted me (or Kintarla Pty Ltd to be precise) as a new iPhone Developer - Hurrah!

As this is my first program written in Objective C and Cocoa Touch, I'm keeping things fairly simple. The plan is to release a goal setting application before the 1st Jan 2010.

I'm finding Objective C to be quite a bit different to C#. The way that methods are handled is doing my head in but after a week or so of concentrated effort it is starting to make sense.

The Icon in the title page screen shot is a west African symbol of life transformation called SESA WO SUBAN. It means to "change or transform your character." You can learn more about these symbols at

To get everyone in a goal setting mood for New Years, I'm collecting relevant quotes. Here are a few to get you started ...

Goal Setting Quotes

"Success is 99% failure." - Soichiro Honda

"You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream." - C.S. Lewis

Monday, 9 November 2009

GeoDefense Swarm Strategy - Hard Level 6 (Singularity)


GeoDefense Swarm Strategy

Hard Level 6 - Singularity

Spoiler Warning!

There are a few different ways to complete this level.

Start off by channelling the creeps by placing the rocket towers near the entries.

You can then start building towers around the singularity. You need to build fast but once you get here it is pretty much all over.

Happy Swarming...

GeoDefense Swarm Strategy - Hard Level 5 (Thump This!)


GeoDefense Swarm Strategy

Hard Level 5 - Thump This!

Spoiler Warning ...

Another fairly straight forward level, although difficult to get a high score.

Saturday, 31 October 2009

GeoDefense Swarm Strategy - Hard Level 4 (Crazy Ivan)


GeoDefense Swarm Strategy

Hard Level 4 - Crazy Ivan

Spoiler Warning...

I'm not sure why this level is named after a submarine tactic but what the heck.

This shouldn't be a hard level (in my opinion). The first solution I tried worked. It should be fairly obvious from the attached photo.

There is a new creep introduced in this level - a sort of sparkly dude. Lasers don't seem to do them much damage but the rockets knock them out.

GeoDefense Swarm Strategy - Hard Level 3 (The Race is On)


GeoDefense Swarm Strategy

Hard Level 3 - The Race is On.

Spoiler Warning...

Ok this level is tough! I tried a bunch of different strategies before hitting on the winning solution. Just getting past Wave 1 is tricky.

I finally settled on the formation shown in the attached photo. You can clear the 1st two waves using just this. I then added one of the top 3 laser towers. This will allow you to get past wave 4 which is the next tough spot. Add the remaining two laser towers in this formation and then start replacing the blasters with lasers. Replace the ones which line up with the creeps path first. Upgrade as you go. Wave 10 is tough to get past as is 14 and 15 but following this strategy should get you there. I'm not sure how sensitive this solution is to build order.

I have seen another strategy using juggling but I try to avoid those if possible. No juggling is required for this approach.

The game hints at using an upgraded blaster strategy but I couldn't get that to work. I would be interested in a solution using blasters - let me know if you managed this.

GeoDefense Swarm Strategy - Hard Level 2 (Lovely Flowers)


GeoDefense Swarm Strategy

Hard Level 2 - Lovely Flowers

Spoiler Warning...

Nothing fancy required, just block the gaps and hit them with missiles.

GeoDefense Swarm Strategy - Hard Level 1 (Middle Ground)


GeoDefense Swarm

Hard Level 1 - Middle Ground

Spoiler Warning....

I'm not sure how the difficulty levels are worked out but I didn't find Hard Levels 1 or 2 particularly difficult. Hard 3 is a nightmare but we will come to that.

Simply lay out the path using the blasters and then add in the missile towers as money allows. Upgrading the missiles towers working back from the exit will maximise your score but may leak a few creeps if you time it too fine.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

GeoDefense Swarm Strategy - Medium Level 10 (Minefield)

GeoDefense Swarm Strategy

Medium Level 10 (Minefield)

Spoiler Warning

The 2nd of the endless levels. I tried a few different approaches on this level but the best result (wave 169) resulted from the following strategy:

1. Start laying out the maze with blaster towers. Work from the exit back.
2. Use thumpers where you can weave creeps past them. You will need to add the thumpers early because this level has the creeps that cant be hit with Blasters below level 7.
3. Gradually replace the Blasters with Missiles and Lasers and upgrade as cash allows.

Eventually you will max out with spots to put towers and upgrades. I started to leak creeps around wave 155. You may be able to last longer if you replace all the missiles with lasers as well.

No juggling was used to get this result.

GeoDefense Swarm Strategy - Medium Level 9 (The Hatch)

GeoDefense Swarm

Medium Level 9 (The Hatch)

Spoiler Warning

Another one of my favourite levels. You need to get the tower balance right or you wont make it.

GeoDefense Swarm Strategy - Medium Level 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8

iPhone GeoDefense Swarm Strategies

Usual Spoiler Warning

Medium Level 4 (The Long Way) - The bottom photo. Start with blasters and then replace them with missiles and lasers as you get more cash.

Medium Level 5 (Inward Spiral) - one of my favourite levels. It is easy once you work out the pattern. Upgrade from the centre out to maximise your score.

Medium Level 6 (Infiniconda) - I have come to quite like the thumper tower.

Medium Level 7
(Nucleotide) - This is quite a tough level.

Medium Level 8 (A Bit of a Juggle) - The top photo. The blaster tower is the one that you alternately buy and sell to juggle the creeps.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

GeoDefense Swarm Strategy - Medium Level 2 (Home Base)


This is a relatively easy level. The build and upgrade order is not overly important. To maximise your score start from the exit and build backwards.

The first step is to block the entries to the non-healing areas (ie the area without all the + hexes) with guns.

Don't bother trying to attack the creeps while they are in the healing hexes.

iPhone GeoDefense Swarm

Medium Level 2 - Home Base


Some new quotes from CS Weekly...

EDIT - New Quotes Added!

"English usage is sometimes more than mere taste, judgment and education -- sometimes it's sheer luck, like getting across the street."
- E.B. White

"There are some books that refuse to be written. They stand their ground year after year and will not be persuaded. It isn't because the book is not there and worth being written -- it is only because the right form of the story does not present itself. There is only one right form for a story and if you fail to find that form the story will not tell itself."
- Mark Twain

"Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
- Cyril Connolly

"Writing gives you the illusion of control, and then you realize it's just an illusion, that people are going to bring their own stuff into it."
- David Sedaris

"In Hollywood, defining the content of a movie is like sex-- everyone thinks they can do it and do it well. And they're not inclined to give up the chance to do it just so someone else can do it."
- Terry Rossio

"Writing is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public."
- Winston Churchill

"I'm not a very good writer, but I'm an excellent rewriter."
– James Michener

"A writer is someone who can make a riddle out of an answer."
–Karl Kraus

"Physics gives you a craving for elegance that I think has a parallel in storytelling, where you understand that you can lard up a story with a lot of complications, but it has to have a single spine that you love."
Leverage co-creator John Rogers

"One of the obligations of the writer is to say or sing all that he or she can, to deal with as much of the world as becomes possible to him or her in language."
– Denise Levertov

"People at their best I don't really want to watch in entertainment. I don't really want to watch mature people or smart people or people who do the right thing. I like to meet them in life, but I don't find them entertaining. And certainly not funny."
Funny People's Judd Apatow

"Practice, practice, practice writing. Writing is a craft that requires both
talent and acquired skills. You learn by doing, by making mistakes and then seeing where you went wrong."
– Jeffrey A. Carver

"People want to put women in one box, and I'm interested in how women can be everything at once. She can be a slut who wants to fall in love, or she can party too much, but she's still very smart. I want to expand the vocabulary."
– Liz Meriwether, one of
Variety's "10 Screenwriters to Watch"

"I just write scenes that are funny to me, and think: How do I string these together in the structure of a movie? And making sure there's enough characters that I like that if I get bored with one -- which happens constantly, because I have a short attention span -- I can move on to another."
The Office's Mindy Kaling

"One thing about writing movies: It's different every time. When I finish a script and sit down to write a new one, I have to learn it all over again. Every single thing is completely different; there are no rules. As soon as you start to follow rules, your stuff becomes formulaic. Then you can forget about it."
– John Hughes, 1950 - 2009

"I'd like to be remembered as someone who used their ability as a novelist or as a dramatist to say the things he felt needed to be said about the society [while being] as entertaining as possible. Because if you don't entertain, nobody's listening."
– Budd Schulberg, 1914 - 2009

"You can't wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club."
– Jack London

"There are so many different kinds of writing and so many ways to work that the only rule is this: do what works. Almost everything has been tried and found to succeed for somebody. The methods, even the ideas of successful writers, contradict each other in a most heartening way, and the only element I find common to all successful writers is persistence -- an overwhelming determination to succeed."
– Sophy Burnham

"The story…must be a conflict, and specifically, a conflict between the forces of good and evil within a single person."
– Maxwell Anderson

"People do not deserve to have good writing, they are so pleased with bad."
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

"It's better to write about things you feel than about things you know about."
– L.P. Hartley

"Every writer is a narcissist. This does not mean that he is vain; it only means that he is hopelessly self-absorbed."
– Leo Rosten

"It is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by. How else, indeed, to clap the net over the butterfly of the moment? For the moment passes, it is forgotten; the mood is gone; life itself is gone. That is where the writer scores over his fellows: he catches the changes of his mind on the hop."
– Vita Sackville-West

"Words -- so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them."
– Nathaniel Hawthorne

"Anyone who believes you can't change history has never tried to write his memoirs."
– David Ben Gurion

"The test of literature is, I suppose, whether we ourselves live more intensely for the reading of it."
– Elizabeth Drew

"In science there is a dictum: don't add an experiment to an experiment. Don't make things unnecessarily complicated. In writing fiction, the more fantastic the tale, the plainer the prose should be. Don't ask your readers to admire your words when you want them to believe your story."
– Ben Bova

"The image that fiction presents is purged of the distractions, confusions and accidents of ordinary life."
– Robert Penn Warren

"If you're not failing every now and again, it's a sign you're not doing anything very innovative."
– Woody Allen

"The writer's only responsibility is to his art. He will be completely ruthless
if he is a good one... If a writer has to rob his mother, he will not hesitate; the "Ode on a Grecian Urn" is worth any number of old ladies."
– William Faulkner

"So often is the virgin sheet of paper more real than what one has to say, and so often one regrets having marred it."
– Harold Acton

"A word is not the same with one writer as with another. One tears it from his guts. The other pulls it out of his overcoat pocket."
– Charles Peguy

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

GeoDefense Swarm Strategy - Medium Level 1 (Swarm-a-licious)


There are a few different ways to solve this level. This version doesn't lose any lives but consequently wont maximise your score.

Start with the greens (left to right), then move down the screen adding the rockets and shock towers.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Kintarla - They're here!

Fruit Set...

I'm not sure what sort of enormous lizard this is but we had a bunch of them hanging around the vineyard (well at least two). Hopefully they don't eat grapes but enjoy feasting on the various critters which do. We are trialling an organic spray this season so maybe that is helping attract or at least not kill the local fauna. Once we get through the establishment phase the plan is to go totally organic and eventually get certified.

The 2nd photo shows the new seasons grapes (this particular shot is of the Verdelho). Following bud burst (when the dormant vines start to shoot) you get flowering and then fruit set.

The vineyard is showing vines which are in all three stages at the moment. This is ok for different varieties but it is a problem within the same type of vine. This is because you want all the grapes of a similar variety to become ripe at the same time (which never happens) but hopefully not at the same time as the other varieties because you then run out of labour, bins, barrels, etc.

So at this stage it looks like we should get at least a Shiraz and Verdelho crop this vintage. Still very early days. The high winds have caused some shoot damage but the dust storms doesn't seem to have caused any issues (except everything in the shed is covered with it).

Our primary irrigation dam is down to about 75% already. Hopefully we will get some more rain before the end of the month.

The next stage in the vine life cycle is verasion. This is when the grapes start to change colour.

In anticipation of having something to sell early next year I am trying to get a liquor licence - blimey what a trial by bureaucracy!!

GeoDefense Swarm - Easy Level 10 (Ouroboros)

GeoDefense Swarm - Easy Level 10 (Ouroboros)

Easy Level 10 is the first endless level. I was interested to see what the maximum level is if you don't use juggling (ie alternately opening and closing a path to force the creeps to keep cycling past the turrets).

Using just missiles I was able to get to level 105 without losing a life. You need to initially lay out the path using gun turrets. Once the path is complete, upgrade the guns as quickly as possible to level 6, then start progressively replacing them with missiles. Eventually the map will be chockers with missiles upgraded to level 7. Much past level 105 you will start to leak creeps so I switched to lasers on the straights. This allowed me to reach 127. I would be interested if anyone can do better than that without juggling.

GeoDefense Swarm - Easy Level 6, 7, 8 & 9

Here are Easy Levels 6, 7, 8 and 9.

If you need help with the build and upgrade order then just leave a comment.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

GeoDefense Swarm - Easy Level 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5


GeoDefense Swarm

Easy Levels

Level 1 - Beginner Swarm

Level 2 - Diamond One

Level 3 - Dual Channel

Level 4 - Line Up

Level 5 - Down the Chute

Interestingly my hit counter has gone bananas since I posted the solution to GeoDefense Medium Level 3.

Obviously people are more interested in finding out how to beat this game than what I usually blather about.


The latest version of the iPhone firmware (3.1.2) crashed my phone and I had to do a restore, thereby losing all my saved games (the horror!).


Having to start again, I took screenshots of Easy levels 1-5.

I will post the other levels as I go along.

I make no claims to these being the optimum solutions. In fact looking at the leaderboards I can pretty much guarantee that they aren't. But posting these is more about showing folks that there is a solution. If you have any questions about a level, leave a comment here.

Happy Gaming!

Monday, 5 October 2009

iPhone - GeoDefense Swarm Medium Level 3 (Y Me?)


Totally unrelated to anything else on this blog, but anyway...

Have I said how brilliant the iPhone is? What a top bit of kit. It even isn't too bad as a phone, just don't try to SMS or dial while you are driving - lethal!

I'm a bit of a fan of the tower defence game genre, and the iPhone has a couple of rippers. The original GeoDefense was insanely difficult and the new update Swarm isn't any easier. In fact I think it may be tougher. Get the build or upgrade order wrong and you are a goner.

So to save some poor soul from gouging their intestines out with a spoon because they just had to redo this level for the 300th time - here is the answer to Medium Level 3 - Y Me?

The answer (as is often the case when you get stuck in these games) is the laser tower.
  1. Start with the bottom right hand laser and gun turret. The gun is required to channel the creeps down the orange kill zone.
  2. After the first wave you can build the bottom left laser and gun.
  3. When you have enough cash build the right hand laser which is on the same diagonal as the >> tiles.
  4. Then build the laser on the left hand diagonal.
  5. Finally build the top two lasers.
  6. Upgrade the lasers as cash permit. To survive the 13th wave you need to have the right hand lasers upgraded more than the left. The bottom right needs to be level 7 by this wave.
I suspect that there is also a solution using the shock towers but I didn't find it!

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Kintarla - Spring has Sprung

Desuckering and Fruiting Wires

We spent all of yesterday fertigating (adding fertiliser via the irrigation system through the dripper lines), dropping the fruiting wires (which you lift about halfway through the season to allow more air in the canopy and to maximise rays), and desuckering.

Desuckering is tough on the back. You have to run you hand up down the trunk of each vine to remove the shoots you don't want. It aint hard work exactly but after the first kilometre it starts to get old. If you walk along all our rows the total length is 7km's. Needless to say we didn't finish - We had to get back to watch the kiwis kick our arse again in the rugby.

We are trialling a new organic spray which doesn't kill anything or prevent disease but instead works on improving the health of the vine, thereby making it strong enough to fight off the various things that want to eat it. Lisa is keen on us ultimately getting certified organic.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Google Forms - the easy way to do surveys and mailing lists!

So check it out.

I had read a bit about Google forms and needed a way for people to sign up to the Kintarla Mailing List (so folks can reserve their bottles of our limited release first vintage).

The process couldn't be simpler. You rock over to Google Docs, design your form and then embed it in your website or send people the link. When people fill out the form and press submit, the results are automatically collated in a spreadsheet. Brilliant!!

You can see the final product here.