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.

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Posted in busy, happyness, journal, life, projects, school, updates

A Successful Tournament


Hey guys,
Steve here.

I went through with it this time. I told you guys I’d be back to this blogging thing and… here I am 5 days later. Five long days, might I add, which were filled with stressful travel, painful but fun Goal Ball, and now school, I guess.

My first ever out of state Goal Ball tournament was a thrilling experience to say the least. As you may recall, last week I was both excited and nervous about it; the excitement was justified, the nervousness not so much. Out of all four games my team and I played, we won four.

Of course, there were nerves involved, two of the games we won by only three points, and most nerve racking of them all, the last game in which we played for Gold, we won by only one point. The game that I neglected to mention, we won twelve to four.

Despite Goal Ball being a bit of a pain in the butt… and the chest and the arms and the legs and the stomach… you get the picture, I really enjoy playing it and hope to go to another one of those tournaments again soon. But please, for the sake of my sanity, can we just get there without the airports? I think those were more stressful than the tournament itself.

That aside, life has resumed as normal. We returned to Texas yesterday afternoon, welcomed by dreary skies and the pattering of a dismal rainfall, a perfect match for the feelings provoked by the prospect of another daunting set of consecutive school days. Lucky for me, my week will only last three days. On Thursday, I’m traveling to the Texas School for the Blind for a weekend long program that familiarizes the blind with city travel. That’s right, city travel, no airports this time. Anyways, I’ll be there from Thursday until Sunday. I’m pretty excited about this one, because with it being based on city travel, I’ll basically be exploring the city of Austin for a few days, and from what I can gather it’s quite large, and there are numerous things to do there.

In the mean time, while I’m living the good old normal life for a few short days, I’ll get some work done on my projects. Also, if Danny and I can get some technical issues sorted out, we might be able to record a podcast. I know it’s been a long time since I’ve done one of those, but just as I have this blog I plan to go back to that at some point; if not this week, then perhaps when I’m not so busy.

That concludes tonight’s post. Depending on how much I get done code wise, I’ll give a progress update on my games when I blog next week. I probably won’t be posting until Sunday or Monday, because not much is likely to happen in the next three days.

Thanks for reading,
Type you later,
Steve.

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.