Posted in average, busy, gaming and technology, happyness, journal, life, updates

A Busy Couple of Weeks


Hey guys,
Steve here.

Unfortunately, I did not complete my 1 week challenge to make a game, though I still believe it is within my abilities to do so. It was more so the timing I chose, which turned out to be pretty bad, something that the post title clearly suggests.
There is a lot that has happened in the last 2 weeks. I’ll go ahead and rewind back to week 1, which was the week following my last post, and when I was originally supposed to have completed the game creation challenge. I actually managed to squeeze in 3 or 4 days of work on the game that week, though I was majorly hindered by the need to purchase sound affects from a source I’d never used, and thus didn’t trust yet. Furthermore, this mistrust was enhanced when my friend spent $85 on their sound affects, and didn’t receive his sounds for several days. As a result, I didn’t get the necessary sounds until Thursday of that week, so I decided to give myself an extra few days to work on it, and thus decided to delay the blog post a few days as well.
Well guess what? After getting a few more consecutive days of work done on the game challenge, I found out I had a summer reading assignment to complete for school, and that my family vacation to Maine would indeed be happening, — on Friday! of that week. And while I only considered the former to be a bad thing, both meant that coding a game would be quite hard, if not impossible for a little bit.
That said, vacation was great. There’s not too much to say about it, except for that it was relaxing, I didn’t have to put up with 110 degree Texas heat, and I did not work on my summer reading assignment or coding games or anything that required the use of my intelligence. But even though I got home on Wednesday of last week, I had a camping trip with my church youth group in Oklahoma on Friday and Saturday, then spent all of Sunday at church.
Today has been a day of rest for me. I didn’t really do anything productive, as I’ve basically been non stop the past several days. But for those wondering about the status of the game challenge, I’ve decided not to finish it, because honestly my timing was bad, it was meant to be only a week thing, and once I get back to coding I really need to start porting my main projects over to Python. That will have to wait a bit though, so that I can get this school reading assignment done before it’s too late. And believe me, I want to code games this week, but I’ve already had 2 dreams that involved me walking in on the first day of school and realizing that I didn’t complete the summer reading assignment because it totally slipped my mind, and that I’d be starting off the school year by failing English. I’d much rather leave that in my dreams.

Still, in the free time I did have during that time, I managed to create a little recording, that I would like to share with followers of this blog. I hardly ever post audio on the blog itself, so you know this is going to be good.
I had one of the text-to-speech voices from my computer commentate a recording I made of myself playing Red Spot, an audio first person shooter. This voice is named Microsoft Sam, and has been used to create funny skits and recordings all over YouTube. Anyway, though I didn’t think it would, this recording received quite a bit of approval from those I showed it to. It’s about 10 minutes long, and is bound to make you chuckle at some point.

In case the comments seemed untimely or out of place at certain points, this was basically my process for creating this recording, literally:
1. I recorded a segment of myself playing and owning on Red Spot.
2. I played it back, paying attention to key events in the game.
3. Once I came upon a turning point, major event, or just felt like Sam should say something, I paused the playback, recorded a piece of Sam’s speech, and inserted it into the recording. This was kind of hard because I had to focus on timing.
4. I listened to it, made sure there were no errors, and saved it.
I should note that none of Sam’s speech was scripted. These were all responses I thought appropriate to the occasion.

Thanks for reading,
type you later,
Steve.
P.S. that file received quite a bit of positive reaction, and I hope to create more. But like Sam’s speech in that recording, the decision will likely be made two seconds before its execution, so don’t count on counting on or not counting on it.

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Posted in busy, gaming and technology, happyness, journal, life, programming, projects, updates

Hi, It’s me…


Hey guys,
Steve here.
So… where to start? I’ve been absent from blogging for over 2 months, and though it’s not the first time I went away for an extended period of time, it’s certainly the longest. But now that your genius friend who writes long technical posts that few people understand fully, while still managing to make most of you laugh at least once, is officially done learning a new programming language and going to camps that work him out all day every day, it’s safe to say that the blogging games can resume.
Because the last time I blogged was so long ago, I’m not even going to try to detail those last couple months. That’s alright in a way, since it was basically just school, with the only interesting and new experience being city travel. And though that was really fun, even to the point that I would gladly go back, it’s not much to go on a several paragraph rant about because it was mainly about learning how to use the public transportation system and going a few places I wanted to visit.
To those wondering why I went so-o-o-o long without so much as a post, I’m glad to say that it wasn’t just pure laziness and/or distractions keeping me away from the old Word Press this time. I spent the last month of school learning a programming language called Python. That doesn’t seem special at first, since I’d been learning languages all semester in my web class, however, this one was a bit different for me. For the past several months, Danny has been using Python to create his audio games, and occasionally telling me various advantages it had over Pure Basic. Plus, as long and hard as I tried to continue using Pure Basic for my projects, eventually I decided I had to move on not only due to performance errors in my programs, but because I gradually grew dissatisfied with both the syntax and code organization structure to the point that when I finally switched to Python, it produced the same affect as stepping out into fresh Autumn air after being trapped in a jam packed conference room with faulty air conditioning for about 4 hours.
Because Python’s way of doing things is quite different from Pure Basic, I didn’t get to game making level with it until the week after my first camp, thus haven’t done much as far as rewriting S Quad Racing. However, though I’ll refrain from going into too much detail about this as I have no intentions relating to completely frying the brains of people who probably just wanted to see what has been going on with me, I’ll admit that my first real practice with Python involved me taking full advantage of it’s Tangent, Cosine, Sine, and Arc Tangent functions so that I could write functions for 2 and 3d movement, turning, and audio positioning.
All that said, I’ll take a break from technology talk to finally, describe the camps I keep mentioning. After being off of school for just a week, one which I spent part of visiting my grandparents, I traveled to the Texas School for the Blind to finish off my high school PE credit. For those who have kept up with me for the last year, this was the same one I went to last summer. But for those who don’t know, it was a 3 week program where we got introduced to various sports, as well as their blind adaptations if they had any. In addition, there was a bit of exercising, as well as a couple of field trips.
After a week of relaxation following that camp, I had yet another one. Again, this was another fitness camp, though I’d say it was more intense than the PE class at TSB. Throughout the week, my main conflict was trying to decide if I was being tortured, or having fun. We were going all day, doing things like running, biking, goal ball, beep base ball which is a blind adaptation of base ball, swimming, fitness classes, and rock climbing. There wasn’t a day of camp that I didn’t wake up in the morning with at least a moderate level of soreness, though I’d still say that was quite literally the most enjoyable summer camp I’ve attended.
So, here we are now. I’m done with camps for the rest of the summer. I’m not quite sure what my plans are, though my family could possibly be going to Maine at the end of this month for vacation. In the mean time, this week I decided to do something just for fun, something that I’ve never done before. I gave myself a 1 week game challenge, where I would try to compose a game within just a week. The idea of the game is something I would enjoy playing, however it’s not too complex for me to create in a short amount of time. Plus, this should familiarize me with creating games in Python, so I can begin rewriting my main projects in it.
Well, that wraps up today’s post. On Saturday, I’ll be back, and hopefully by then I’ll be done with my 1 week game challenge, and will have some demo audio. Because it’s just a 1 week project, the sounds and music for it will not be of the highest quality. Provided I can get this done, I’ll also post the steps I took to make it, as well as maybe the game itself. Not sure about the latter though.

Thanks for reading,
type you later,
Steve.
PS. I will, be back soon. The more I do this whole not blogging for 10s of days thing, I discover that it’s harder and harder to get back into it. Not necessarily because of lack of motivation, but because I have no idea where to start. I’ve been trying to formulate this blog post alone for 2 and a half weeks, so that alone should tell you something.

Posted in average, busy, gaming and technology, happyness, information, journal, life, programming, projects, updates

Return to Normalcy


Hey guys,
Steve here.

I really need to stop doing this. Over the last 50 days or however long it has been, this blog acquired 10 new followers. I’m guessing they followed me in hopes that they’d see future posts from me, which I have not done a good job of producing.

I remember a time when I’d blog every 4 to 10 days, because I didn’t try to stick to a certain topic. Recently, though, I’ve found myself unintentionally gearing towards one subject, game development. While I enjoy game development, quite fervently might I add, it was not my intention for this blog to become solely based on that. This does not
mean the end of my technical rants and detailed game idea postings; those will still occur, but it’s time
this blog return to the way it was before, when I didn’t attempt to bind myself to one particular
subject.

Because it’s been so long since my last post, I have a lot to say, but I’ll try to separate it into
multiple posts so I’m not talking about five different things in one. But as a general, perhaps five word
summary, the last month and 1/whatever was good… well… great.

My seventeenth birthday has already passed. Unfortunately, due to my attempt at binding myself
to one blogging subject, I didn’t post anything then; and when I don’t post something on such a grand
holiday, you know something’s not right. That said, it was one of the greatest birthdays I’ve had. I
didn’t have a party, but I will say this. The people I spent it with made it better for me than any party
idea I could’ve come up with myself, and to be honest I didn’t want one.

Aside from that, there hasn’t been much going on worth mentioning. This Friday, though, I am
traveling out of state for a goal ball tournament for the first time, something I’m both excited and
nervous about. I am not traveling with a specific team; I’m not sure whether or not I’ve been assigned
one. But here in Texas, our goal ball practices are small, so we don’t have a fully developed team of
men. I guess this one is going to be quite an adventure though.

In other news, I’ve been alternating in between my 3 projects. I actually did pull out Matt the Terrorist’s source code again, making some significant changes which I’ll discuss in a later post. I’ve also been working on Breakout, and at the moment I’m attempting to integrate a bonus level which requires the user to control multiple balls at once. I’ll let you all know how that turns out in the next post as well. But for now, I’m wrapping it up. I’ll be back after
the tournament.

Thanks for reading,
Type you later,
Steve.

Posted in gaming and technology, journal, life, programming, projects, Uncategorized

So you thought I was gone…


Hey guys,
Steve here.

Let me compare myself to the Texas weather for a moment. Readers of my blog who don’t actually live here may not understand this, but there’s a pretty good chance you will.

Okay so it’s an El Nino winter here. That tends to mean higher precipitation amounts and cooler than normal temperatures. That’s what we were all expecting anyway. Some took it to mean lots of snow and arctic weather, others thought it would be cool and rainy. But due to the absense of cloud cover, it has been, hot for lack of a better word. And for a reason that I’m not quite sure of, it has hardly precipitated, in any form.

I might be somewhat of a weather geek/enthusiast, but that’s not why I shared that weird bit of Texan climatology. But I’ve noticed something as well. I’ve kept saying, [in my once-a-month blog postings], that I would get back to it, I’d be blogging “next week” or “more routinely”. I haven’t been doing this for too many years but even I know that for whatever reason, I tend to post more at the beginning of the year. On the contrary, I’m posting every 40 days give or take, and sticking to only one subject when I do. Sounds a bit like the dry and hot “El Nino” winter has come to reign over this blog, doesn’t it?

Moving on from that, 2016 has been a success so far, for me at least. Due to complications I may or may not have posted about here, I had to drop my BIM2 class. In its place, I switched to a Web Technology class, where you basically learn to program on the web, at least that’s what I can gather from my experience so far. Despite it being a full year class, (you have to be in there all school year to get credit for taking it), I was somehow able to switch into it for the second semester, and my guess is that I’ll have to finish the class in the first semester of next year.

Despite this not technically being an ideal change, I feel I’ve bennefitted much more from it than the class from which I was pulled. In just 5 weeks of being in that class, I’ve learned HTML, (though I already knew about 75% of it it seems), CSS, though that nearly bored me to tears due to its visually orientedness, PHP, and now I’m working on Java Script, which I find to be the most interesting of them all, due to it’s rather simplistic nature and from what I’ve heard it can do quite a bit.

Aside from school, I’m doing alright. On the coding side, because it’s been so long since my last post, I cannot remember everything, but I did work on S Quad Racing, releasing a semi-major update to my testers on Monday. One amusing bit, however, was the set of bugs that appeared in my crashing code. Firstly, due to a glitch with collision detection, once I crashed into my opponent, the sound played like 50 times. Secondly, when I fixed that and went to go another lap, I apparently spawned at the same spot as an opponent some how, so crashed and burned before driving even commenced.

And to make things even funnier, when crashing finally did work, instead of coming to a stop at the end of the race, for some reason the opponent kept going. I guess I rendered his breaks useless when I smashed into him? No seriously that’s actually never supposed to happen.

I still haven’t fixed the 3rd bug I mentioned, and here’s why. It’s been quite a long time since I played the breakout game I created, and Danny suggested I play it again on Monday night. I did so. And I regretted doing so. The ball movement was all kinds of messed up, so I realized after 3 months of playing other breakout games. So since last Monday, I’ve basically been rewriting the whole entire game. Firstly, it now has missions, and creating new ones is not in the least bit difficult. Secondly, it has paddles and balls which have multiple properties, giving me the opportunity to implement variety when it comes to different balls and paddles sold in the shop. And thirdly, it has forms of currency. Tradepoints, which can be obtained by doing almost anything, and Useless Balls (UB), which can be obtained by completing special bonuses, or with 1000 tradepoints from the shop. And, finally, the ball movement system is fixed. All the above mentioned have already been implemented into the game, and we’re going on 7 days now.

Yes, I know. I’ve gone on ramblings about games before and none have been released thus far. I also know that I have 2 other games in the works. But you’d be surprised how many game projects you can take on when you have no deadlines. Firstly you don’t have to stress about time, and secondly you can stay motivated to work on all three of them because you aren’t working for anyone. (S Quad Racing’s rewrite was a special case, that was mainly due to the entire code base being mangled).

That wraps up tonight’s post. I can’t tell you what to look forward to on next week’s post because I simply don’t know.

Thanks for reading,
type you later,
Steve.

Posted in average, busy, gaming and technology, happyness, information, journal, life, programming, projects, updates

Rewrites and an Audio Demo


Hey guys,
Steve here.

There I go again, with the whole not blogging for over a month thing. The problem is, I have been wanting to blog for at least the last week and a half… but then again it might be better that I waited this long to because some important things have happened recently that I would prefer to have gone in this post.

As I’m sure you could tell by the steady decline of enthusiasm I displayed towards S Quad Racing, and the increasing lack of work being done on it, I was definitely becoming unhappy with it. Since I’d started working on it so early, I didn’t know much about the language I started coding it in, causing me to do numerous things the wrong way, something I wouldn’t find out until the game really started taking off. By November, when I was trying to really ramp up the features, I realized that my code was pretty much just patched together, close-ended, buggy, and virtually unusable.

So, the last week of Christmas break, I finally decided to rewrite the entire game. There were still parts I copied from the old version, such as ambiance, playlist, checkpoint, and obstacle support, but everything else was completely scrapped.

After just a week of coding, I had a fully functional game. And when I gave it to my testing team, the bugs they found were only minor, easy to fix ones that usually resulted from forgotten or wrongly written lines of code. I’ve spent the last week fixing those, leaving only some minor bugs I just found out today. But thankfully, those that are occurring now are not the irreparable ones found in the old version, as I am more able to fix them now that I have a workable code base.

In other news, S Quad Racing is not the only project receiving a rewrite. Matt the Terrorist’s engine is receiving a rewrite as well, going from a 2d side scrolling game to 3d. The code base for this was not mangled like the old S Quad Racing, however it didn’t really have much in the way of flexibility, I.E. Implementing 3d support into it would have been next to impossible due to the y coordinate being used for up and down movement among other things.

Plus, since this game is not completely user friendly due to the keyboard layout, –we have keys for movement for forward, backward, left, right, up, and down, there are two keys (one for the left arm and one for the right), plus whatever keys will need to be added in future, I thought to add a keyboard configuration option. The way the keys will work in this new version are w a s and d for directional movement, r and f for up and down, (climbing ladders and controlling your jet pack), left and right shift being held down for the respective arms, enter to throw items, i to deposit them into inventory, and space to place. However, due to the complaints that will likely come about due to this rather odd key configuration, I’m working on a way for all aforementioned keys to be customized.

Aside from that, I’m really interested to see how three dimensional building will turn out in an audio only game. I don’t suspect it will be different from other audio games in terms of navigation, but we’ll just have to see, since the player will actually be constructing 3d structures without being able to feel or have them described to them.

That concludes tonight’s post, mostly anyway. Since I promised audio demos, I’ll provide this one for S Quad Racing since the Matt the Terrorist engine test is not in much of a playable state at the moment. Enjoy.

Play

Thanks for reading,
type you later,
Steve.