Friday, 11 April 2014

NHL Minecraft Skins: Round 2

Studying for exams, decided to make a few skins again. Six more, in the fashion of my last post:

Vancouver Canucks away jersey: Download
Vancouver Canucks home jersey: Download 

Washington Capitals away jersey: Download

Washington Capitals home jersey: Download

Philadelphia Flyers away jersey: Download

Philadelphia Flyers home jersey: Download

Buffalo Sabres away jersey: Download

Buffalo Sabres home jersey: Download

Ottawa Senators away jersey: Download

Ottawa Senators home jersey: Download

Dallas Stars away jersey: Download

Dallas Stars home jersey: Download
Enjoy! Look forward to more posts as summer rolls around.

Monday, 23 December 2013

NHL Minecraft Skins: The Original Six

It's been a long time since I lasted posted! School got busy, and I got tied up with other projects unfortunately.

I made a few NHL Minecraft skins months ago though, and I thought I would share them. I've only made them for the Original Six teams, I might do more if there is any interest. Anyways, here they are:

Chicago Blackhawks away jersey: Download
Chicago Blackhawks home jersey: Download 

Boston Bruins away jersey: Download

Boston Bruins home jersey: Download

Montreal Canadiens away jersey: Download

Montreal Canadiens home jersey: Download

Toronto Maple Leafs away jersey: Download

Toronto Maple Leafs home jersey: Download

New York Rangers away jersey: Download

New York Rangers home jersey: Download

Detroit Red Wings away jersey: Download

Detroit Red Wings home jersey: Download
I'm not too happy with how the Toronto and Boston logos look, but it's the best I could do with so few pixels. Anyways, I hope you enjoy the skins! Hopefully I can post more often in the coming year/semester.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Europa Universalis III Simulation: The Orient (China, Japan, and Korea)

For the next segment of my series of Europa Universalis III simulations (the other parts can be seen here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3), I have decided to take a look at the much requested East Asian nations: the Chinese dynasties and Mongol hordes, the Japanese daimyos, and Korea.

The Orient

In 1399, Europa Universalis III's start date, much like Eastern Europe covered in Part 3, the East Asian mainland was just emerging from centuries of Mongol rule under the Yuan dynasty. The Red Turban Rebellion would put an end to this in 1368, establishing the Ming dynasty ruled out of Nanjing. China would see a golden age under the Ming, building works such as the Great Wall and the Forbidden City.

Across the Yellow Sea, the Koreans, having also just gained their independence, would seek to push the Ming out of the peninsula. However, their armies sent to fight the Chinese would revolt at the border and establish the Joseon dynasty in a coup in 1392.

The Far East in the game's start date, 1399.

On the other side of the Strait of Korea, Japan remained relatively unscathed from the Mongols thanks to the famous kamikaze, or "divine wind" (the Europa Universalis expansion's namesake), two typhoons which would destroy the Mongol ships attempting invasion in both 1274 and 1281. Japan at the time was under the Ashikaga shogunate, which lacked much real power. As a result, the archipelago was divided among the daimyo, rival Japanese clans.

The mainland immediately descends into war in most games, with the Ming trying to incorporate Tibet into their empire (sound familiar?) and the Manchu trying to subjugate the remnants of the Yuan dynasty: the Oriat Horde and the Mongol Khanate. The Mongol Khanate are typically defeated by around 1460, but the Oriat Horde and the Tibetans are surprisingly capable in the face of a much larger enemy. Their frontiers tend to oscillate in and out of their control. These sporadic wars, which are typically never quite won, continue the entire game.

The Ming begin to encroach upon the smaller Southeast Asian kingdoms by 1500, however they never obtain complete dominance here either. The Koreans, much more adventurous than their historical counterparts, would also venture into Southeast Asia only to meet the same fate.

Starting in the early 17th century, the Koreans begin to slowly encroach upon their northern border with the Manchu, taking some of the adjacent provinces. Historically the opposite happens: The Manchu would force the Koreans into submission after an invasion in 1636.

By 1700, the Wu begin to show up in southern China in the majority of games. The Wu are actually a hypothetical dynasty, based on the Wu kingdom, one of the Ten Kingdoms. The Xia and Qin, the other hypothetical dynasties, do sometimes appear, but not nearly as often as the Wu (and not enough to show up on this map).

Interestingly, the Manchu never manage to cross the Great Wall in the majority of games as they do historically, with the Ming dynasty typically surviving until the end date.

In the Land of the Rising Sun to the east, things move at a slower pace but follow the same inconclusive nature. Very little happens until the last half of the 14th century, when the Taira clan begins to be dismantled as the Minamoto and Fujiwara make gains in the north and south. These two clans appear to be the most dominant.

By 1600, the Minamoto begin to advance upon the Tachibana lands to the south. From this point onwards however, no statistical outcome appears to have any sort of advantage over the other as there is very little change or movement.

Historically, not much can be said about Japan. The way Europa Universalis III models the daimyo is far from the truth, as there were many more than four clans vying for the shogunate. For a more accurate depiction (although much more limited in scope) check out Paradox Interactive's Sengoku.

Looking at the map at the game's end date, it is quite easy to see that not much changes (at least definitively) in the Orient, things look very similar to how they did in 1399. In reality, the dynasties of East Asia were much more fragile; hopefully this is modeled more accurately in Europa Universalis IV.

Whats next?

Please leave a comment on what you would like to see next! There are many locations yet to be covered: Germany, the Middle East, India, Italy, Southeast Asia, etc.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Europa Universalis III Simulation: The Eastern European Plain (Russia, Lithuania, Poland, and the Golden Horde)

After a one week hiatus (additional code and processing had to be done for this post), here is the next part in my series of Europa Universalis III simulations.

It was much suggested that I show more than just one nation in a video, so this is what I've done this time around. There was a lot of interest in Russia and the Russian principalities, so I've decided to picture the whole region: Muscowy, Novgorod, Tver, Ryazan, Yaroslavl, Pskov, Poland, Lithuania, and the Golden Horde.

Colour represents which country controlled the region the most.
Intensity represents how often this country controlled the region.

This works like an electoral map, a given region is coloured the same as the nation that controlled it in the most games. The intensity of this colour represents in how many games the region was controlled.

The Eastern European Plain

From the Mongol invasion of Russia in 1223 up until the Battle of Kulikovo in 1380, Eastern Europe existed largely under the dominance of the Golden Horde. The Battle of Kulikovo in 1380 would change this. Under the leadership of the emerging Muscovites, they along with Tver, Yaroslavl, Pskov, and other principalities, managed to defeat a much larger Mongol army. 

The fragmented Eastern European Plain in 1399.

A Ryazan-Lithuanian force, allied with the Golden Horde, arrived late to the battle, would return home upon hearing of the Mongol defeat. The Lithuanians would depart from their alliance with the Golden Horde entirely in 1386, their leader Jogaila converting to Catholicism and marrying Queen Jadwiga of Poland, forming a personal union between the two nations.

This would leave Eastern Europe in a shaky balance of power between the Muscovites, Polish-Lithuanians, Novgorodians, and Mongols.

However, in 1395 the Timurids would invade the Golden Horde, ravaging the nation. Their trade routes, which the Golden Horde depended on, would never recover. This leaves us at the year 1399, Europa Universalis III's start date, with a vacuum of power and Eastern Europe threatening to explode.

The expected explosion begins slowly in Europa Universalis III. The game typically begins with a modest expansion by the Golden Horde into the Caucasus, Balkans, and Central Asia. Judging from the quick recession of the Lithuanian eastern frontier, it is also not uncommon for the Golden Horde to expand into Lithuania. Historically, this does not happen; the Golden Horde would stagnate until around 1420, then begin to disintegrate.

By the mid-1400s, Poland begins to crumble. This is mostly the fault of Bohemia. Again, historically, Poland would retain its core territories up until its final partition in 1795.

Muscowy begins to breakout in the 1490's, asserting its control over its neighbouring principalities. This is reasonably in line with history: the Muscovites would annex Yaroslavl in 1463, Tver in 1485, and Ryazan in 1521.

Novgorod is never subdued in the majority of games however, something Muscowy would historically accomplish in 1478, following Ivan III's massacre of the city. This would frequently prevent Muscowy from forming Russia in the game.

Starting in the early 1500's, Muscowy typically begins their systematic conquest of the Golden Horde, which is completed by around 1575. It is difficult to gauge the historical accuracy of this, as the Golden Horde ceases to exist in 1502, however Russia had acquired the territories of the Golden Horde by approximately this time.

By the early 1700's, it is common for the Muscovites to have reached the Pacific Ocean, painting a fairly accurate picture of the Russian Empire at the time, minus Muscowy's tendency to conquer Mongolia.

Whats next?

With regional analysis now possible, there are many options for my next post. Please leave a comment and let me know what you would like to see!

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Europa Universalis III Simulation: The Sick Man of Europe and Friends (the Ottomans, Austria, and Bohemia)

Continuing my 50 game simulation of Europa Universalis III from last week, I've decided to process videos for some of the big players in Central Europe and the Balkans: the Ottomans, Austria, and Bohemia.

The Ottomans:

The Ottoman Empire has largely replaced the Byzantine hegemony in the Balkans and Near East by the 1399 start date, and looks poised to capture the last Greek holdings, namely Constantinople (later Istanbul).

While the Ottomans are riding on the momentum of many successful campaigns against the Byzantines, historically they are actually on the eve of Timurid invasion in 1402 which would lead to the capture of the Sultan and a decade long civil war.

Very rarely does Europa Universalis take that course of action however. In the first years of the game, the Ottomans normally consolidate their position in Asia Minor by incorporating the Turkish minors into their realm.

By the late 1400's, the Ottomans begin expanding northeast in most games, into the Caucasus and around the Black Sea, around the same time as the historical Ottoman Empire was preparing to go to war with Persia. Constantinople is rarely conquered by 1453, but rather closer to the turn of the century, if conquered at all. In fact, close to 50% of the time, another Turkish minor or Austria strikes first.

By 1600, the Ottomans have typically reached their peak, looking a little ridiculous, resembling the western half of the Mongol Empire. This I think highlights a flaw in the Europa Universalis AI; typically they conquer what is easiest, not what is most beneficial to them.

From 1600 onwards the Ottomans normally begin to collapse into themselves, having greatly overextended themselves. This collapse is most often precipitated by Austria, who themselves often collapse in a similar manner. Still, in the minority of games, the Ottomans manage to fulfill their weird dream of setting foot in the Pacific Ocean. Maybe they envisioned a Turkish Alaska?


The famous House of Habsburg takes the helm of Austria in 1399, which historically was a house divided at the time, with much bickering and dispute between family members. As you'll find out, this isn't the case in Europa Universalis III; Austria quickly becomes a great power, if not a superpower.

Most games begin with the absorption of Hungary, which historically doesn't happen until after the Battle of Mohács in 1526, when it was inherited along with Bohemia by Ferdinand I. 

You will find that the Europa Universalis Habsburgs are much more bloodthirsty and impatient than the historical Habsburgs, as by the late 1400's they often begin to push into the Ottoman Empire. The is completely reversed from history, with the Ottomans very nearly conquering Austria during the Siege of Vienna in 1529.

By the mid-1500's, one can forget entirely about history as the Austrians begin to form a nice blob in the Balkans. Their holdings, depending on the game, will stretch anywhere from France, to Persia, to Siberia. It is not uncommon for the outer reaches of the Austrian Empire to fall into rebellion, then be reconquered, and cycle through these two states many times during the game.

Significant colonisation in most games begins by the mid-1600's along the Brazilian shore. By the early 1700's the Austrians begin moving into North America, normally focusing on New England and later the American South and Mexico. It is important to to note that all historical Austrian colonial efforts were insignificant and limited to just a few islands, all of which eventually failed.

By the game's end date, 1820, much of the globe is apparently speaking German. I would argue that, in Europa Universalis III, Austria most often becomes the world's strongest nation. That being said, they are typically also the most unwieldy and unpredictable nation, making for many interesting games.


The King of Bohemia, Václav "the Idle" (who is historically deposed in 1400), begins the game as the Holy Roman Emperor. Things are looking up for Bohemia, a land of Czechs and Germans.

Bohemia's first moves are typically expansion into Poland, after which they continue slowly making their way east. Bohemia, compared to their eastern neighbours, is much more technologically advanced in 1399, making expansion an easy prospect.

Historically, Bohemia would become embroiled in many regional conflicts due to their position in the Holy Roman Empire, but their borders were relatively stagnant. Despite this, in many games, Bohemia continues their expansion into northern Hungary in 1500.

Historically, as mentioned previously, Ferdinand I of Austria would inherit Bohemia in 1526 after the Battle of Mohács, and Bohemia would remain Habsburg up until the conclusion of the First World War. In by far the majority of games Bohemia will defy this course of history, and would expand even further, often reaching Lithuania and the Golden Horde by the year 1550.

From the 17th century onwards, Bohemia's borders would remain relatively unchanged. They appear to make frequent eastern excursions, most of which eventually fail. Bohemia very rarely undertakes any colonial endeavours, and effectively stays put until the game's end, content with their little empire spanning the plains of Eastern Europe.

What's next?

With many of the major European powers already covered, I think I will focus on a particular region, or perhaps the East Asian or Indian nations next week. Please leave a comment and let me know what you would like to see!

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Europa Universalis III Simulation: The Big Three (France, England, and Castille)

One of my favourite video games is Europa Universalis III, a strategy game spanning the Renaissance to the Napoleonic wars. Its creator, Paradox Interactive, intends to simulate world politics, economy, warfare, religion, and culture, among other things, from the year 1399 to 1820.
Europe and the Near East at the game's start date: 1399.
The course of world events is gently guided through events in the game such as the appearance of the Christian reformation or the discovery of foreign lands, but the game largely takes a hands-off approach and allows for countless alternate histories to develop. I've always wondered, if left to itself, how often would Europa Universalis III reproduce history? What trends would develop? What countries would colonise what?

To satisfy my curiosity, I decided to simulate 50 games of Europa Universalis III. The game does not have an observer mode per se, but by creating a nation in the middle of a "Wasteland", an impassable land (the Northwest Territories to be specific), I created a permanently isolated nation. This allowed me to sit back and watch history unfold.
Spain's probability map in the year 1661.
Processing this data, I then isolated and overlayed the results for each nation, giving a map depicting the probability that that nation will occupy a province at a given time. This yields one video per country. Darker regions on the map indicate that the nation of interest occupied that province in a large number of games, and in contrast, light regions mean that this province was occupied only in a small number of games.

I've decided to start with the "Big Three" in any game of Europa Universalis, and in history in general: France, England (later Great Britain), and Castille (later Spain).


You will notice a legend to the left of the map indicating what colour corresponds to what probability, and a year in the bottom left corner of the video. This shows how the map changes over time.

France starts the game as a patchwork of vassals in a peaceful period of the Hundred Years War with England. In most games the English are forced out early on, and France is united by around 1500.

After this, it is not uncommon for France to focus their attention on Aragon, pushing France down an alternate history and putting them at odds with Castille.

Large scale colonisation doesn't get going until around 1600, agreeing well with history as France historically founded Port Royal, their first colony, in 1605. French colonies tend to dot the east coast of the Americas and West Africa.

France is interesting in that around 25% of the time it is reduced to nothing but Paris by the end of the game. Observing the course of events in each game, I have found that this is mostly the fault of Burgundy or Austria. France will often dominate all of Europe, and then a coalition of nations led by one of these two will bring France to a halt. It is a bit reminiscent of Napoleon's bid for Europe!

England/Great Britain:

England has the opportunity to form Great Britain if it fulfills certain requirements (own London, Edinburgh, be of British culture, etc...). So, both England and Great Britain (if it was formed by England) are tracked in the following video. If Great Britain was formed by a country other than England however (such as Scotland), it is not tracked. The same concept applies to Castille, which may form Spain.

England begins the game with the coronation of Henry IV. It is on the brink of war with France over its provinces across the channel, and will frequently lose this war very early on in the game.

Ireland is conquered in most games by the mid-1400's, about a century before the Tudors historically completed their conquest. Likewise, Scotland is typically brought under English rule by the late 1400's, over two centuries before the Treaty of Union. This allows Great Britain to form very early in most games.

England normally begins colonisation in the late 1500's which is right on par with Roanoke colony, historically founded in 1585. English colonisation is focused along the east coast of what would become the United States and Canada, with a few areas of intense colonisation dotting Africa and South America. Australia and New Zealand are often settled by the late 1700's, which paints a very historical British Empire on the map with one major exception: India, which is largely untouched.


Because Spain is yellow in game, I decided to change the colour scheme a bit to produce better contrast. This is the reason for blue water and darker grey land.

Castille moves quickly in most games to establish a presence in North Africa; no one nation along the southern Mediterranean is entirely safe from their conquest.

They begin early colonisation, most prominently during the early 16th century, as they did historically (Christopher Columbus "discovering" America in 1492). Castille has a tendency to colonise everything, but the focus of their colonies tends to be the southern United States, Mexico, Central America, and South America.

Castille, unlike England, often deviates from history however. It is not uncommon for the Levant and the Ottomans to be conquered by the 1550's, with Castille's borders often stretching into the Caucasus and surrounding the Black Sea.

Castille does not always form Spain either. This is likely because France often ends up taking Aragon for themselves, barring Castille from becoming Spain.

What's next?

I'll probably continue with more nations next week. Please leave a comment and let me know which ones you are interested in seeing!

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

NHL Stanley Cup Final (Blackhawks vs. Bruins) - Goal Probability Map

With the Stanley Cup Final beginning tomorrow, I thought it might be topical to make a quick post about it.

Using data provided by the NHL website, I have collected shot data from the regular season up until the conference finals for both play-off finalists: the Boston Bruins and the Chicago Blackhawks. From this, I constructed a map of each teams percentage of scoring from a given spot in the offensive zone:

The differences are interesting. Boston is quite clearly a more defensive team than Chicago, with a lower probability of scoring all around, and many of their chances coming from behind the hash marks (likely from defencemen). This fits in with their style of play though; the Bruins frequently win games not from scoring a large quantity of goals, but rather from a solid defence.

Chicago on the other hand resides on the other side of the spectrum with very high probabilities of scoring near the crease. An interesting feature of the Chicago map is its asymmetry: when looking at shots taken behind the hash-marks, the Blackhawks have a higher probability of scoring from shots taken on the right side of the ice. This skew is caused by their first and third best scorers in the regular season, Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa, both right wingers. It's amazing that these two players can make such a huge difference when this sort of data is viewed at a high level.

All that said, we will see if this data holds true come tomorrow.