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

Spring Break?


Hey guys,
Steve here.

I’m really confused. Here I am, a citizen of Texas, on the Thursday before spring break, out of school for a snow day. A quite large winter storm blasted us with around 5 inches of snow and ice last night, making this the 4th episode of winter weather in northern Texas since last Monday.
This time, however, I was not so unlucky as to be trapped in the house all day. In fact, despite the cancelation of school, my day started at 6 this morning, with a trip into the back yard to check out the left overs from last night’s storm. Against the common unwritten rules of being a teenager, I was neither tired or grumpy even though I went to bed just after two in the morning: these days, oh the few rare days when snow blankets the ground, are when “getting efficient rest” is the last thing on my to-do list. However, as I type this post, I reap the outcome of such a fun filled day of snow ball fights, sledding attempts, and no sleep.

Since the sun was out pretty much all day, most of that snow melted away, tipical for Texas. So, we’ll be going back to school tomorrow, but thankfully it’s only one day; next week is spring break, if you can call it that in light of recent weather patterns. 🙂

Moving on, I’ve officially entered week three of audio game development. Though it was very late last night, around midnight I think, I posted the audio demo for this week on the S Quad Racing Page. This reflects most of the changes I’ve talked about in the change log and blog post from the last week; the sound of the player’s car is noticeably quieter, the turning system far less flawed, and there are now opponents that can drive on the track as well, though that’s about all they can do.
As of yet I’ve not completed a fully functioning opponent intelligence. This is still being worked on, though, one step at a time. As I said in my last post, I began working on opponents on Sunday, and have only been making minor changes and additions since.

Moving on, my week has been relatively pieceful for the most part save the winter weather and asociated impacts. On a more negative note, amidst my normal routine of school, relaxing, gaming, programming, and reading, I was involved in a pressing matter that had to do with Reality Software, Danny’s game development company, for the first half of the week. Thankfully, it was finally resolved yesterday evening.
Aside from all of what’s been said, there’s not much to report, except that I’m really looking forward to this Spring break, regardless of what season and/or weather it happens to proceed.

Thanks for reading,
type you later,
Steve.
PS. The following are pictures from the snow day.

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

An Update


Hey guys,
Steve here.

I found this really cool, blind accessible Solitaire game for the IPhone. It’s $2.99 for the full version, but you will definitely get what you paid for. Here’s a very well done review of the game that I listened to, and if what I’ve already said about it won’t convince you to buy it, this surely will: http://applevis.com/podcast/episodes/blindfold-solitaire-audio-version-classic-card-game.

Speaking of games, I’m happy to say that I’m making a lot of progress on the racing game that I’ve been developing. It’s only been 10 days, and the player interface is complete. I performed several rounds of testing earlier to day and can’t seem to detect any bugs so far, so if any do exist they’ll likely be found once I create some opponents to race against.
Speaking of which, I’ve coded the structure for the opponents thus far, but as of yet haven’t done anything with it, and don’t think I will until tomorrow. The reason for this is that coding them will be far more complex than it was to program the player interface. The reasons for this are as follows:

  1. Unlike the player, the opponent can’t think about what decision it will make; if an obstacle appears in its path, it can’t decide it wants to move out of the way. While I could easily program it to automatically turn to avoid the obstacle, this would give it an unfair advantage over the player: one would be hard-pressed to win if the opponents that they raced against avoided every single obstacle while they hit at least one.
    Fortunately, I have an idea of how I could code the opponents’ intelligence in such a way that it’s not always perfect, though I’ll not say what it is until I’ve proven that it works.
  2. Player Interaction.
    In this game, I’d like it to be possible to slow ones opponents down temporarily by coming up behind them and bumping them. Of course, if an opponent were to intentionally bump into the player, I’d like it to have the same affect on him. In theory, coding this should be a piece of cake, but previous attempts to do similar things proved this to be falsehood. Nonetheless, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this can be accomplished.
  3. It will likely take a good chunk of time to program all necessary opponent actions. Despite the fact that I knew what I was doing and had very little trouble when coding the player interface, it still took a significant amount of experimentation and testing to get it fully operational. And now that I’m coding players that are out of my control during game play, it will be harder to notice smaller less significant bugs that occur.

Despite the challenges outlined above, I’m optimistic about this game. As I stated on the audiogames.net forum, I’m programming it because that is something I love to do, and I enjoy playing audio games very much.
For those of you who want to stay informed of how the development process is going, I recommend that you visit the S Quad Racing Game Page. It is where I post the daily change log, and weekly audio progress demos.

Off the topic of game creation, I had a great rest of my week. The snow storm that came in early Wednesday morning didn’t give us another day off of school, though I hardly expected it to. In fact, all of what actually fell as snow melted right after the event was finished; much of the precipitation was sleet and rain anyway.
Yesterday, though, was a completely different story. Temperatures, as they did on Monday, didn’t rise above freezing, and it snowed all day. I still had to go to school because the snow didn’t even start to fall until around 9 in the morning though. Today, while I’m sure the roads were quite treacherous, it didn’t affect me at all, that is to say, none of my plans were affected. I don’t think we’re done with winter weather yet; we could get some sleet on Wednesday. I wonder, will it actually happen?

Aside from what’s already been written here, there hasn’t been much else to talk about, though I got my 6-weeks report card and discovered that I made all A’s except for algebra, but I still made a B in that class.
Well, I’m signing off now. Have a good rest of your weekend, I’ll blog again some time next week.

Thanks for reading,
Type you later,
Steve.

Posted in average, busy, gaming and technology, journal, life, programming, projects, updates, weather for today, winter weather

Programming and Winter Storms


Hey guys,
Steve here.

Wow. A lot has happened in the last 4 days, as you can tell by reading the title of this post.
Yes, we got a direct hit from an ice storm. I’d known about this possible storm since about Thursday, but didn’t think it worth posting about as all other winter events that were possible this season missed us. This one, however, did the exact opposite.
As a result of the 1 and a half inch sleet accumulations we received this morning and a sustained temperature in the middle 20s, school was canceled today and will be tomorrow as well.
Though temperatures are expected to rise above freezing tomorrow afternoon, a second winter storm is possible tomorrow night, which could bring up to 3 inches of snow to the area. This one depends on some key factors, however, unlike the ice storm that just hit. for 1, the storm system that will be the catalyst for this second bout of precipitation must move directly over us in order for the precipitation to fall as wet snow. If it doesn’t, we could end up with just rain, or no precipitation at all. Secondly, the high temperatures on Wednesday will exceed 40, turning what accumulates in the morning into slush by the afternoon. Knowing Texas and it’s erratic weather patterns, though, this could very well change for better or worse.

In other news, I’ve once again had an active programming week. For now, I’ve set aside the word pad application that I was working on, as it is very low priority and has most of the features I was planning to implement. However, I have an actual audio game in the works now, something I’ve only attempted once before and discontinued due to lack of new ideas.
The current game I’m working on is a racing game. There’s nothing too special about it: turns, obstacles to make the game more challenging… that’s basically it. I’ve been building it for about 4 days now, and was only able to compile a half-working version tonight. Even still, this has a significant number of bugs, and lacks several features that are to be included in the actual release.
Since I’ve never worked on such a project before, the hardest part has been fine-tuning it: the opponents have to have just the right amount of speed, because we don’t want them to fall too far behind, but then again we don’t want them to go as fast as the player, as that could cause some problems, especially if obstacles are present on the map. In addition, I’m still experimenting with other things such as sound (panning, volume), initial placement of opponents, and track size.
At any rate, I’m making considerable progress on this game. It will definitely be addicting once I finish coding it.

That concludes this post. I’ll blog some time this weekend.

Thanks for reading,
type you later,
Steve.

Posted in average, busy, journal, life, school, updates, weather for today

A slightly depressing week


Hey guys,
Steve here.

Well yes. It was a pretty miserable week, at least last week it was. Well remember last Monday’s post, how I said I was no longer sick? Turns out I still was. I didn’t actually start feeling better until this most recent Sunday… so yes. last week was quite miserable.
This week, although by far a better week than last, wasn’t the happiest I’ve seen either. Some personal matters made this week sort of a bit of a downer if you will.
The recent times haven’t been all that bad, however, in fact I’d say I profited some. Because of the lengthy stretch of days I was stressed out or bummed out, I’ve done a lot of praying, of course–because that’s what people do in hard times. Also, I’ve been looking forward to church a lot recently, because every time I went the message was always something I needed to hear. On Sunday, for instance, on the umpteenth day that I felt sick, the message was this: be faithful and patient; it’s only temporary. God didn’t forget about me. It was so weird, because my preacher had inadvertently told me exactly what I needed to hear! So as you can imagine, that put me in a great mood.
And just yesterday, I was feeling upset about something else that had happened, but after going to church I was filled with joy and piece, exactly what I’d been praying for.
Needless to say, mainly due to church, this week has definitely been on the up. It’s already almost Friday, and tomorrow will be a not-too-stressful B Day. And, with that sickness completely gone, I think life is returning to normal. What a blessing!

Moving on, you’ll notice I haven’t done the podcast. Here’s why: I tried to record it, heck I even saved the file and opened my feed to update, and that was when I realized that a good 35 minutes of the podcast were gone! Due to that recording trouble, I’ll wait until tomorrow to do the episode. But since it’s over Alter Aeon, a fantasy game that’s been around since before my time but is still being updated, you are going to enjoy it.

As for books, I’m not finished with the Ender Wiggin series yet, I’m only on book 3, in fact, which I just recently learned is over 500 pages long. I’m serious, this author doesn’t cease to amaze me. His level of creativity and amount of thought he puts into these books is astounding.
Looking at an introduction he wrote for this installment I’m reading, this book wasn’t even planned! Isn’t it weird that the only reason he went ahead and wrote this in the first place, was that the publisher he’d been working with had published the Ender Wiggin series as a 3 book series, rather than just 2 books, which it was originally supposed to be, but our clever author was still able to produce such a great 3rd book?

Aside from my rambling rants about my recent readings, the weather here has well and truly gone crazy on us. Last weekend was very cold, with temps in the lower 50s and upper 40s… and Monday it was in the lower 40s. Tuesday, however, it began to warm up–and kept that up for all of two days! By Wednesday, the high temperatures reached 60 degrees, but guess what the high was today? 37! To top it off, it is expected to be nearly 80 on Saturday!
As for rain, the last time we had that was Sunday, and I don’t know when we’ll get more. I’m thinking we could get some next Wednesday, but not too sure about that yet.

Well, I guess that wraps up tonight’s post. I’ll blog you all later.

Thanks for reading,
type you later,
Steve.

PS. Goal ball started up again, and I’m really enjoying it!

Posted in average, busy, happyness, journal, life, school, updates, weather for today

a good but slightly tiring week


Hey Guys,
Steve here.

For the most part, it’s been a good week, the exception to that being school, of course. Though it’s not been too stressful, I could gladly take another break. I was pretty tired last week, though I can’t really complain because that’s mostly my fault. Despite the three day weekend we had, I’ve been tired all day, and my head’s been hurrting a little.
With the exception of those minor obstacles, my last week went by fast, and was quite enjoyable. To start off, I’ve read some pretty awesome books. As I said I would in my last post, I read Cress, the 3rd book in the Lunor Chronicals by Marisa Meyer. Since it was so long, and I’m a bit of a slow reader, I just finished it yesterday, and have now began the Ender Wiggin series. For some reason, this is the 3rd consecutive science fiction book I’ve read, and they’ve all had the same theme–outer space. I’m not speciffically looking for this type of book to read, though the ones I’ve so happened to stumble upon have immediately got my attention. When I finish this one, I’ll check out the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, because Danny has been quoting it, and told me that I would love it. And from some of the quotes he’s shared with me, I think I will. I don’t think this one’s a book, but an audio drama and/or a movie. Either way, I’ll subject myself to that story, whatever form of media it’s in.

Moving on, my friend from church came over this weekend, which is precisely the reason why I was unable to record my podcast, for those of you who follow that.
On a sort of related note, I’ve been learning Bach’s Minuet in G Major, and for the most part have the song memorised. There are still a few parts I need to work out, but I think that I might be able to let you hear me play it in Sunday’s podcast.
As for weather, it’s not really been too harsh on us lately. Tuesday and Wednesday of last week were cold and rainy, but after the sun came out on Thursday, it improved. Today, in fact, it got up to 70, something it hasn’t done since… well I can’t remember. But tomorrow it will be 10 degrees cooler, and another 10 degrees cooler on Thursday with rain. So much for pleasant weather…

On the technical side of things, I haven’t done much in the way of programming, except a small text to speech application. This application has actually enspired me to create some audio productions with the all to famous microsoft Sam, that good old low quality text to speech voice that came with the long discontinued windows XP. Perhaps I’ll air a few of them in future podcast episodes.
Speaking of the podcast, I know it’s been 2 days since Sunday, when I was supposed to record, but I wasn’t about to podcast while I had a friend over. Though he went home late yesterday afternoon, I hadn’t yet downloaded the game I was going to demonstrate, so I had to download and familiarise myself with it. I’ll record the episode and have it up tonight, though.

That concludes tonight post. I’ll blog you later.

Thanks for reading,
Type you later,
Steve.