A Development Team’s Review of Oil Barons by EPYX (1983)

Wikipedia page reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_Barons
I’ve had my Commodore 64 at work for around two years now, and recently I decided to bring in an old (1983) and rare game to test out with my development team during our lunch breaks.

I’ll dispense with the details of the game other than it’s a business strategy multiplayer board/computer game that uses the Commodore 64 to perform calculations of profits, losses, costs, etc. of running your oil companies and keeps track of things related to the board pieces and activities.

This review will be different than other ones online in that we reviewed things from a development team standpoint.

As per other reviews, yes… the game is way too slow on the Commodore 64 side. It’s like the C64 software was being showcased more than it should have with animations, ticker tape reports and summaries that went on and on. They took a tangent away from the overall game play when they designed and built this game.OilBarons2

Originally I tried playing it using my Blackberry Playbook with a VICE emulator installed on it and the game disk images. It was slow, and running it in turbo mode made the game unplayable. I did this because I wanted to use the LCD TV we had in our work area and not have to bring my C64 to our work area.

That failed, so back to using original hardware. We quickly discovered that the game accessed the disk WAY too much and that slowed everything down. I invoked JiffyDOS and that did help some, but not enough.

Quick Summary: The game crashed badly at turn 6, and we gave up playing the game

Bug Reports:
– 30,000 turns? We didn’t make 6 turns, how would this actually work and how long would that take?
– Jungle terrain – We hit oil! It was blue like water
– Desert terrain – We struck a septic tank in the middle of the desert?
– Survey Detonation – Wipes out trees, swap vegetation, anything not in the background (graphics)… which returns during drilling
– I entered an incorrect coordinate in to survey, went back to change coordinates, crashed to an ‘Out of Data?’ error. Typed in RUN and continued the game, but I lost my turn
– End of turn ‘event’ where a well went dry. It was actually player 3’s well, but the game reported player 1
– Calculations during end of turn caused a crash to ‘Out of Data?’. RUN allowed the game to continue
– End of turn 6, massive crash requiring a computer reboot. To be fair, old C64, old disk images… there may have been some computer, drive and media age degradation involved with these crashes. Normally the C64 and drive work perfectly fine for all other games, but I also used JiffyDOS, which usually is fine, but sometimes there are incompatibilities.

If we were to try this game today, what would we change to make it more playable?

– No animations or minimal to cut down time of play
– Multiple survey / drilling capability per turn (add some more strategy to the game)
– Possibly remove the board part of the game all together and put it on the computer
– If using a board, smaller marker pieces that actually fit in the squares (and don’t make them look like Smarties for safety sake)
– Tracking ownership of plots
– No extra computer bidders. In other words, if there are 3 players in the game, that’s all who should be allowed to bid on things. We aren’t tracking computer player locations anyways.
– If using a board, markers for tracking areas surveyed
– Less drive access!!!
– Saving a game should not end a game
– Ability to overwrite saved games
– Option to buy plots of land in addition to auctions and private deals

Overall player ratings of the game (removing buggy software from the equation)
4/10, 1/10, 4/10

A revision of the game with changes proposed could be quite fun, and we did like the concept of the game. I’m curious to see what other Oil Baron type games are out there today.

Lately I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed with social media. Too many sites! I’m really not sure how people find the time in the day to visit 4+ sites and peruse the latest and greatest posts from everyone they’e connected with.

I’m having less urge to post on social media these days, and I’m being more selective of what I do post.

Sharing other stories? BAH! That’s easy!

One thing that had occurred to me was that I should start putting all my posts, photos, music, etc. on my own website and broadcast my posts out from here and keep less on the social media sites. Fortunately there is a plugin for that! Voila, my first broadcast post! Nothing exciting, but here it is! Go WordPress Plugins! 🙂

Hello World!

My 2011 Trek Allant bike

September 2015, my wife Corinne and I had a wonderful gift arrive – Alexandra, our daughter. Around the same time, we realized that being a two car family would probably not be necessary due to my living close to my job and Corinne being at home with Alexandra for the foreseeable future.

We debated over which car should go. We had a Nissan Cube and a Honda Element SC. Yes, two square and highly useful ‘boxes’. In the end, the Nissan Cube won out because of the suicide doors on the Element not being great in parking lots, especially for a baby car seat. I’m still sad about having to give up the Element, but I digress…

It was decided. I was to walk and bike to work. When you’re working a computer desk job, maintaining your health can be a challenge if you’re also not a particularly athletic person outside of work. My hobby is music, not sports. I figured daily exercise to and from work would be an automatic insertion of activity into my day. One year later, I don’t think I ever want to go back to car commuting unless I really need to.

The Experience:
I live in Kitchener, Ontario close to the downtown core. I live around 1.6 kms away from work. I really enjoy biking and pushing myself every day to go faster or maintain a quicker pace. Last year this time, biking averaged about 10+ minutes to work, walking 17-20 minutes. This year? Biking is down to 5-7 minutes, walking is roughly the same.

I couldn’t have chosen a better time to change my commuting method, as downtown Kitchener became a mess of construction and car commuter congestion with the new LRT tracks being laid down right beside my workplace building, and the new underpass on King Street being constructed along with the new transportation hub. This will continue for another couple years around the city.

How long did the car take to commute to work before? Around 10-15 minutes depending on which city parking lot I was parked in. With all the construction over the last year, I’m thinking walking would even have been faster.

When walking and biking, you become more aware of the neighbourhood around you, and interact with people along the way. I also value the exercise I get on a daily basis, and it also allows me to decompress and reset for work or home.

At times, I thought it’d be cool to have an old 1960’s to 80’s wagon at my disposal, but my bicycle ODOMETER was still under 300 kms since I started the daily commutes. That doesn’t warrant having another expense in the driveway for occasional fun.

I have mostly biked, because I suffered multiple foot injuries a couple of years ago that are permanent. Even with orthopedic shoes, walking can be painful at times. Winter months I just have to deal with it.

I’ve used two bikes since starting my commuting:
– 2011 Trek Allant
– 2016 Trek Verve 3

My 2016 Trek Verve3 bike

The reason for the two is because our shed was broken into this summer and both of our bicycles were stolen.  Thinking we’d never see them again, I purchased the Verve 3. Two weeks later my Allant was found, and now that has become my wife’s bike for when she gets back into biking.

For commuting, always have a storage back / panniers for hauling your stuff and/or groceries when needed. Also, have the required bell and lighting. Finally fenders! You really appreciate having those in the rain and muddy streets. They make really ingenious ones now that are flexible and pop off if whacked or caught against something. Less possibility or being ruined!

I also love the fact that I can go faster than an E-Bike on the roads with a pedal bike. Granted, I have yet to pass an E-Bike on the road yet. When I do, I have a feeling I will chuckle to myself.

The Pros:

  • Health and exercise!
  • More connection to my neighbourhood
  • De-stressor
  • No expense of a second car that would sit and rot most of its life (more money for the family!)
  • Quicker commuting time to work than using a car (my scenario)
  • Best way to combat construction commute hell

The Cons:

  • Theft concerns
  • Having to deal with rain and snowy conditions
  • Cold weather
  • Windy day bicycling
  • Bad car drivers not paying attention or not caring (biking OR walking)
  • People who don’t shovel/clean their sidewalks in the winter in a timely manner

Solutions to The Cons:

  • Theft is an on going problem. Current solutions are working. Hope to get a better shed and locking system so I don’t need to store the bikes in the basement anymore
  • Rain
    • Purchased a packable rain jacket and pants from Marks Work Warehouse to combat rainy bike rides
    • Always get fenders for a commuter bike! No skunk marks up your back from rain and mud!
    • Always have an umbrella with you if walking. Again the suit is still better for full body protection
    • Bontrager bicycle accessory – the rear storage bag has built in rain cover you can pull out to protect your stowed stuff.
  • Snow and Cold
    • Long johns are fabulous! Either that or fleece lined pants
    • What I call ‘Russian’ hats – they look dumb, but your head appreciates a proper hat for the cold
    • Proper winter jacket / layering to combat coldness
    • Strap on ‘cramp ons’ for boots during icy days prevents a lot of slipping and falling
    • Light hiking boots with proper cold weather lining in them. Make sure they are comfy as well!
  • Bad Car Drivers
    • Knowing your place helps. A car will always win. Be paranoid.
    • Being respectful of pedestrians as well. You’re now the car.
    • Lights and helmet are a must. Stupid not to have either.
    • Bicycle bell – again, it’s your ‘car horn’. Use it.
    • As a pedestrian, always be mindful of where a driver is NOT looking. Don’t think you can teach someone something either by walking in front of them. I almost was run over by a woman who panicked after hitting me once with her car, and then hitting the gas for a split second in panic and hitting me again. Be paranoid.

Tomorrow I go to say good-bye to a friend and musician buddy Gabe DaSilva.

My story started with Gabe via his SOS Portuguese Band in the 1988-1990 time period. We met via our fathers, who worked together at the Ford plant in Oakville. I played keyboards and sang back up vocals for the band. We had a lot of fun gigs with that band, and I grew a fondness for Portuguese food and culture as a result.

During this time we also recorded a lot of original songs in the band’s studio in the basement of ABC Variety on Kerr St. in Oakville, ON. Gabe was always a great friend, mentor and overall great person. We always knew he was into whatever music we were playing when he started bopping his head and tapping his feet.

Recordings in my archive are mostly Gabe playing guitar, but there was another recording that I love where he wasn’t playing guitar, and I wanted to share this one because they captured some wicked musical intensity when they recorded the song. Gabe was an awesome guitar player, but I didn’t know he played other instruments until I heard this track.

Gabe and my other friend and long time musician buddy David Kruger recorded a song that David wrote in the basement of ABC studios using an old 8 track analog recorder. The recording has suffered over the years because of tape age, and the recording was a little rough. Hey, we worked with what we had!

With permission from David, I present to you “I Know You Know”. In this song, Gabe played the drums and bass for the song. David is playing the guitar parts. I wish I had been there during the recording…

Crank it. Loud. Seriously.

Missing you Gabe. Thank you for being a friend and an inspiration. Rest In Peace.

I’m not missing or dead… really I’m not!


I’ve actually had some progress musically wise in the last month or so working with Jeremy Braden Day on his upcoming album.
Some REALLY nice material has come together since the EP was published. I’m very much looking forward to the album when it is released.

I’ve been having the creative juices flowing again, and I’m itchy to start recording. I finally installed OS X Yosemite along with Logic PRO X. Nice update Apple, I have to say. However, now I’m contemplating getting a terabyte drive for the iMac and doing up a dual boot of OS X 10.6 and OS X 10.10 with Logic PRO 8.0 / X on both OS versions.

One thing I’m going to do is tidy up my Auralplane VS Rob Adlers music pages out there. A little confusing if I do say so myself. That’s to come.


Nothing posted yet, but the idea has been formed. I have to story board my plan of execution and just start doing it.


Alexandra is growing and I’m really a proud papa. She’s a happy kid that sleeps well. Corinne and I are very lucky.

That’s all for now!



I’ve had a very busy year! Corinne and I married October 4th, 2014, and fairly soon after, we found out we were expecting! Since that time, I’ve been busy with house renovations and preparations for the arrival of our child.

October 15th, 2015, Alexandra Sophia Isabelle Adlers arrived! Mom and Alex are doing just fine. Now it’s a matter of learning how to function with less sleep. 🙂

As to the house renovations, I’ve learned so much in the last year, and our house is looking much nicer as a result. They never end, but at least where we are now is such an advancement over where we were at. Most of the work concentrated on the main floor interior.  The music studio got some new lighting that has made it much nicer to work in.


Jeremy Brendan Day & The Resistance EP has been printed, and I’m excited! Jeremy, Ron and Wayne really did a great job with this album, and I can hardly wait for the full album release. Very proud to be a part of that project. It has taken some time, but I love the results. See my May post for the tunes on Soundcloud.com.

Because of personal priorities, music has taken a temporary break while I readjust to all the changes and enjoy my new family. However, as things settle in, I’ll be back on the creative wagon starting on new projects and continuing existing ones. My mind has been racing with ideas that need some exercising.

One other hurdle I am still working through is taking my 2007 iMac to Yosemite and upgrading from Logic Pro 8 to X. I’m looking forward to some of the new features I’ve read up on, as it will fill a couple of holes in my studio gear.  The Yosemite upgrade went much better than some other upgrade stories I’ve read up on. My MOTU 8PRE had some driver complaints initially, but those have been worked out. Logic Pro X, you’re next.

I’m rated in the Top 10 for Electronic for Kitchener-Waterloo on Reverbnation.com! Well, in the bigger scheme of things, I don’t know how relevant is this? But it’s somewhat cool to hear that anyways. Perhaps I should put up newer tracks.


I have an awesome idea that I will be working on soon for my YouTube channel. I had to get some approvals done first, but that is clear, and I can go ahead. Stay tuned!

I have checked out stats from Google for my channel, and one of the key pieces of data I found interesting was the time people spent watching my videos (avg). 2 min 30 seconds! Beetle music territory! As an experiment, some of my future videos will be conforming to this timeframe to see if that helps with viewership stats and overall viewer happiness. Obviously content has to be of some value. I stay committed to the edutainment around synthesizers form for my RADLERS channel. My Auralplane channel has been sadly neglected due to life, but hopefully a couple of the project ideas I have for that will come to fruition.

That’s all for now until next post.

Well, if you’ve been visiting my website in the last while, it doesn’t look like I’ve been up to much. Not true!

One of the projects I’ve been working on has been with Jeremy Brendan Day’s new album!

Here are some of the pre-release listens to tracks on his Soundcloud page!
I’m playing on all but Silly Little Love Song.

Jeremy Brendan Day on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/jeremy-brendan-day

Beautiful Lie – https://soundcloud.com/jeremy-brendan-day/beautiful-lie

Stupid Town – https://soundcloud.com/jeremy-brendan-day/stupid-town-ep-version

Better Days – https://soundcloud.com/jeremy-brendan-day/better-days-ep-version

Silly Little Love Song – https://soundcloud.com/jeremy-brendan-day/silly-little-love-song

Chapters Of My Life – https://soundcloud.com/jeremy-brendan-day/chapters-of-my-life

This is my follow up to asking questions to the Region of Waterloo and Waste management for Waterloo region.
WR Waste Management (Twitter @WasteWR) has posted an FAQ regarding the changes coming.
I went through their list compared to my questions. Since it’s best to visit their website, I’ll just post their FAQ website link here, and you can visit their site for the answers.

FAQ Link: http://www.regionofwaterloo.ca/en/aboutTheEnvironment/Possible-Curbside-Changes-FAQs.asp
Green Bin FAQ Link: http://www.regionofwaterloo.ca/en/aboutTheEnvironment/Green_Bin_Organics.asp

1. What size of bag? Weight limit per bag?
– Answered in FAQ
2. Trash can allowed size changed in the last while (smaller). What about can usage?
– Answered in FAQ
3. Is the region going to provide larger blue boxes if asked for? They recommend using two already.
– One Blue Box free to new home owners only. Blue Boxes available for purchase at many stores.
4. For items that can not be put in recycling but still stink, who will pay for potential rodent population increase?
– Covered indirectly (solutions to the stink) in FAQ
5. Have they budgeted for road side dumping? I’ve seen this happen in other regions and it’s a problem. Nothing like beautiful woodlands littered with garbage because disposal fees were expensive.
– Covered in FAQ
6. Tags for extra bags – is the price going to on parity with driving the stuff to the dump yourself, or should we expect additional surcharges? $2 dump fee plus garbage surplus? See Q5 as a result.
– Not entirely answered. Sure, tags for bags, but this is still unclear if you visit the dump and pay your minimum $2 fee + whatever weight fee. Not sure how this will work with mixed garbage. Something to add to the FAQ
7. Paper bags – region to subsidize the cost? Newsprint is not useful nor available in all situations. Pet waste needs to be contained in paper bags to reduce/eliminate yuck factor.
– Not covered. I have some additional info below on this topic though.
8. So, I have two garbage cans to account for putting bags for one week into them. Four bags? I’ll need to buy more cans to keep all critters out.
– Not answered in FAQ, but there are options for acceptable containers which may answer this question
9. Yeah, the smell!!!! Wrapping styrofoam containers and plastic that were used for meat (even if rinsed, currently has to be put in the garbage) in paper and using lysol adds costs to the homeowner and is a patch to the actual problem of it sitting around for two weeks! When are we able to recycle at least the styrofoam? We can bring it to the dump, just not at the curbside.
– Covered in FAQ. I’d still prefer that styrofoam be recyclable as it appears to be at the dump

Additional question:

1. Truck fleet strategy:
– Going from one week to two weeks
– four bag limit per two weeks = two bag limit per week
– current garbage trucks hold about 1/3 organic waste, 2/3 garbage (one vehicle)
– current recycling truck handles all recyclables
– currently 86% of residents use 2 bags or less per week (so mostly compliant) of garbage, but out of that, 53% are compliant with green bin strategy. Goal of bag reduction is to adopt green bin strategy. I think the 86% using two bags or less per week may still need some prodding. Clear bags maybe it, but now we’re putting garbage collectors on the front line, which isn’t fun for them.
– We’re getting a new fleet – going from 2 trucks per route per week to alternating 2 trucks / 3 trucks (based off of Record article: http://www.therecord.com/opinion-story/5645822-d-amato-on-diapers-drive-by-garbage-tossing-and-other-waste-management-fun/)
– If we’re going to single use trucks, how is this greener when two trucks will be required per route every week, and a third being added every other week? I can see route sizes changing as a result of this change, but how often will they need to visit the dump each day to complete their work and how many fewer trucks/staff will there be?
I guess this can be viewed as nitpicking, but it was mentioned that one of the reasons was to reduce carbon footprint. I’m wondering by how much.
I was thinking it’d be easier if you just limit to 2 bags per week. However, if there is indeed a big cost savings and noticeable carbon foot print reduction, please show us by how much!

My own investigation on Green Bin (GB), Kitchen, and Dog Waste bag options:

The FAQs available from the region are awesome, especially around the green bin and blue box usage.
I decided to look into costs of buying certified compostable plastic bags or paper bags. I currently use the paper bags for kitchen and pet waste (large and small size).
I visited some of the prominent department, home supply, pet and food stores around KW tonight to locate the following bags:
– certified GB, Kitchen and pet plastic compostable bags
– Kitchen and GB paper bags

I didn’t visit as many pet stores as I wanted to, but none of the ones I visited (or other stores with pet products) had certified (as outlined by the region) dog waste bags. They have their own type of environmentally friendly options, but nothing that meets with what the Region wants. If any pet stores out there have any, please let me know!
Sizes may vary a little for Kitchen and Green Bin bags, which may reflect the price ranges. Quantity plays a factor, as always. Prices are per bag including tax. I’m not giving away any details around where / what, so don’t ask. I just wanted to post ranges to people could see what is out there.


Price ranges:
– Kitchen paper bags: $0.30 – $0.68 per bag
– Kitchen certified plastic bags: $0.12 – $0.47 per bag
– Green Bin paper bags: $0.28 – $0.82 per bag
– Green Bin certified plastic bags: $0.30 – $0.79 per bag
– Dog waste certified plastic bags: (N/A)

Hope this information is helpful. I do thank the Region and the Waste Management folks for the information they have provided. For the additional questions I have… hoping there maybe some more information available to us at some point. It maybe more than most people would care to know about, but I figure if these are public services, transparency isn’t a bad thing. It also helps me get behind the decision more.

Voted last night at Region of Waterloo meeting: Garbage in Waterloo region every two weeks, 4 bag limit, recycling and green bins every week.

Twitter is too short for this reply.

I am a two garbage can, two blue box, one green bin per week resident of Kitchener. According to the new rules, it seems like I’m in line with what they want to change to save 1.5 Million dollars in cost for the region. That doesn’t seem like a lot in the bigger scheme of things. I heard that they want to force people to adopt using green bin (I get that), and reduce waste going into the land fill to save environment, prolong life of the dump (I get that too). So…. to me there are unanswered questions. Maybe they’re not from the Region’s eyes, but here are my questions….

From people I’ve talked to, the issues with the green bin were:

1) Yuck factor – disposal, cleaning of the container, smell
2) Cost of paper bags $$$
3) Was it actually being composted or just dumped?
4) Not every building can participate in the program, so why bother?
With that in mind, here are my questions:
1. What size of bag? Weight limit per bag?
2. Trash can allowed size changed in the last while (smaller). What about can usage?
3. Is the region going to provide larger blue boxes if asked for? They recommend using two already.
4. For items that can not be put in recycling but still stink, who will pay for potential rodent population increase?
5. Have they budgeted for road side dumping? I’ve seen this happen in other regions and it’s a problem. Nothing like beautiful woodlands littered with garbage because disposal fees were expensive.
6. Tags for extra bags – is the price going to on parity with driving the stuff to the dump yourself, or should we expect additional surcharges? $2 dump fee plus garbage surplus? See Q5 as a result.
7. Paper bags – region to subsidize the cost? Newsprint is not useful nor available in all situations. Pet waste needs to be contained in paper bags to reduce/eliminate yuck factor.
8. So, I have two garbage cans to account for putting bags for one week into them. Four bags? I’ll need to buy more cans to keep all critters out.
9. Yeah, the smell!!!! Wrapping styrofoam containers and plastic that were used for meat (even if rinsed, currently has to be put in the garbage) in paper and using lysol adds costs to the homeowner and is a patch to the actual problem of it sitting around for two weeks! When are we able to recycle at least the styrofoam? We can bring it to the dump, just not at the curbside.

So I get wanting to reduce waste going into the dump to prolong it’s life and do better by our environment. I’m a BIG user of our recycling programs. All I see this change doing is taking costs away from one area and adding to another, and upsetting home owners and the trash collectors.
Too this, adoption for buildings that can’t conform to our region rules will just upset other taxpayers who have to conform. Parity first!!!! The money being saved doesn’t sound like a lot, and I wonder what other costs will go up as a result.


For anyone checking in on what’s new, here’s been the latest since the last post in 2013.

1. I left the Flannwood Mac project for logistical reasons and will be focusing on other projects that I will describe below. It was a blast. Very talented group of musicians to work with.
2. I had a great show at the Latvian Song Festival in July 2014 at Hamilton Place. Debess Manna was a cabaret show during the festival to pay tribute to popular Latvian music created by Latvian ex-pats. It was a full production show where I did up sequencing and played live. I had some technical fun getting the show in order technically, but in the end, we pulled the show off and people were happy. Some additional smaller versions of the show have been performed by the group since. More information on that later.
3. I got married in October to Corinne! That took up a lot of our time this year. We had a great wedding day, thanks to everyone involved and especially our friends and families for their support and love.
4. Allistor Bradley and I participated in a local Family Hackday event where we worked with kids to create ring tones for phones that they could take home with them. All software and content was public domain / open source too (part of the goal). The kids had a blast, and so did we. Some really creative stuff… and silly stuff… came out of that day.

Added musical bucket list items:
1. Working with Dave Kruger (The League of Kruger) on a new project album, bringing our writing efforts together for a new album under a new name. Dave and I have written music together since high school, and the bug that got us originally writing music has not died. Music is not just for the youth! With this project will come music videos for YouTube and live performances.
2. Auralplane is to fly this year with a first proper release. Overdue… No really… Really overdue. Again, I have plans for videos to be posted on YouTube once the music is complete.
3. Dave and I will be working with Anda Vitols on animated short films that she has in the works, doing music for them. Dave and I have always wanted to do this, and this is an awesome bucket list item to do.

Enjoy the holidays and new posts in 2015!