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, happyness, journal, life, programming, school, updates, weather for today, winter weather

A great week


Hey guys,
Steve here.

So far, that is for the last 12 days, 2015 has been quite a good year. I’ve been pretty good about sticking to my goals for this year–consistent podcast schedule, a good blogging routine, piano practice ETC.
There have also been several other factors that made the last week and a half such a good time for me. Firstly, I received a report card last week, where I learned that my lowest grade (that includes 3rd six weeks, semester averages, and semester exams that I wasn’t exempt from) was a, 90. Not that I was really worried; I try to be responsible with my school work most of the time, but I still wasn’t expecting that.
Also, last week wasn’t very stressful. Contrary to what I previously thought, the first week back at school did not come as a harsh slap in the face; waking up bright and early once again wasn’t all that difficult, though I was pretty tired the first few days I had to do so. The work wasn’t too hard, though I suspect it’s because it was the first week of a new semester. And between practicing my piano, doing some here-and-there programming, talking to my friends, reading, and recording pod cast episodes, I haven’t had much time for boredom.

Speaking of reading, I’ve started a new book. Recently I’ve been reading later installments of book series, because either the service I use to get audiobooks doesn’t have the title I want to read in their listing, or I procrastinate too much to read it when it comes out. But anyways, after finishing the final installment to the heroes of Olympus series, I read Day 21, the sequel to the 100 by Kass Morgan. Now, I’m reading Cress, the third installment in the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. As good as these books are, I kind of wish I’d read them sooner, because even now I’m still remembering details from previous books in the series.

Moving on, as you might have noticed, I never again mentioned the winter weather event that was possible for New Years Eve and New Years Day. For one, I forgot to mention that, and secondly it wasn’t worth talking about, because it all ended up being just rain. Even on New Years Eve, there was still a 70% chance of winter precipitation in the forecast, and a winter weather advisory had been issued. However, by midnight, the forecast had changed, and only a slight chance of freezing rain remained, and even that never came to pass, making the whole event just a couple days of cold rain. So as you can see, definitely nothing to get excited about.

On the technical side of things, I’ve done quite a bit in the way of coding and gaming over the past 10 days. To start off, Paladin of the sky (found at http://www.vgstorm.com), was the center of my gaming world for 3 days, before I finally reached the end of the demo. Whether or not I will buy the game is still under heavy consideration–as much as I like the game, and the story, there are some parts (namely the combat system and room sizes) that I don’t like. But I really, really like the story, so who knows; that actually might inspire me to purchase it.
Also, park boss has been another recent favorite of mine, though after playing that a lot for a week or so, I kind of lost interest in it. I haven’t even opened the game in a week now.
Speaking of games, Danny has released another installment to the death match series. it’s called Death Match: a new beginning. I’m not sure of all the features it has thus far, though I know that the last time I played it, you could fly ships, and explore planets. Danny told me of another feature he’d added, but I cannot remember what it was.
Also, if you haven’t played death match: project alpha yet, you definitely should. great story, awesome style of game play. Both of these games can be found at his website: http://realitygaming.usa.cc
or the audio games.net forum.
And Finally, I’ve been dabbling a bit in pure basic again, as was briefly mentioned earlier in this post. Though I haven’t produced anything useful, resourceful, or even enjoyable, I’ve been messing around with things such as text to speech support and the basics of game creation. Just today, in fact, I learned that for some reason, the Pure Text to Speech library does not like the idea of compiling Unicode executable files; every time I’d try to run an Unicode executable that used text to speech, I was greeted by an application crash and invalid memory access error. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, don’t worry, because I don’t know what that error means either). Luckily, with the configuration of some compiler options, I was able to finally resolve the issue. This means I can actually move forward and begin to bring a game idea I have into reality. We’ll just have to see though.

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

Thanks for reading,
type you later,
Steve.

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

Holiday updates


Hey guys,
Steve here.

Wow. It’s been nearly two months since anything, and that includes blog posts, pod casts, audio files… etc was posted here. One might think that I’ve settled into a once-a-month blogging routine, which, in a way, I have. However, with the coming of the new year, I plan to change that. In fact, I have the next two episodes of the podcast planned out, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy the games I plan to demonstrate, as they were picked by listeners of the podcast.

Since my last post, life has gone on, for the most part, as it always does–school, concerts, breaks and the like. But as you know, Christmas was yesterday, and that brought about a couple of interesting things:
for one, I got a piano. I’ve actually been wanting to learn piano for a while, and have recently found a visually impaired teacher who is pretty good. That being said, if I stay dedicated, which will more than likely be the case, I am pretty much set up to learn. I’m really looking forward to it.
also, at long last, Aprone has released version 3.4 of swamp, something I’ve been excited about for quite some time now. To my satisfaction, the new update comes with an extensive list of bug fixes and new features such as fully customizable crate missions and the fixing of some incredibly annoying sound bugs, among other things. Unfortunately, the new version is in upwards of 660 megabytes, and downloading it will be a real pain.
In other news, it is expected to get bitterly cold next week. Tomorrow, in fact, the temperature will likely fail to exceed 50, and Sunday will come without change. After it warms into the low to middle 50s on Monday, the temperatures will plunge into the 30s Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, with the possibility of some wintery precipitation. As winter weather events, especially those that occur in Texas are so unpredictable, I’ll keep you up to date on the situation.

That concludes tonight’s post, but expect another one in a few days. Also, if you have the time, be sure to check out Episode 26 of the Steven D podcast, which is scheduled for Sunday, December 28. And finally, happy holidays to you all.

Thanks for reading,
type you later,
Steve.
P.S. Happy national Pajama day… hopefully you celebrated accordingly. 😀

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

I’m back, at long last


Hey guys,
Steve here.

At long last, I have returned from my extended break from this blog, and it is definitely good to be back. Though I’m sure you agree with the preceding statement, You are undoubtedly wondering why I was gone for so long.

This time, the main reason I was gone for such an extensive amount of time wasn’t “lack of motivation,” which seams to be the primary excuse most bloggers use for inconsistent writing. Instead, the primary factor in this most recent absence was my highly addictive gaming habits. Just recently, in fact it was around the time of my last post, I got really addicted to Quentin C’s game room, that social platform featuring a wide variety of card and board games that I demonstrated in an episode of my podcast. Since Quentin C’s game room has so many games, as soon as I would lose interest in one game, another would take it’s place. That being said, I had no inclination to sit down and write a post, as it would’ve given me less time to play games. On the bright side, however, I posted the Road to Rage podcast, and it turned out to be quite awesome, as Danny and I played while talking over Skype resulting in a near half hour of constant joking, laughter, and battle; 3 things that normally don’t go together.

aside from that, though I still find Quentin C’s playroom quite addictive, I’ve remembered the truth–my blog is much more important than my games.

Besides spending a lot of time on Quentin C’s game room, my life over the past month has been dotted with the occasional significant event. First of all, there was sports extravaganza, which took place the week after my last post. Since I have attended this event every year since I had this blog, I will not go into an in-depth explanation. But to summarize it, for those who don’t know, there was a goal ball tournament on Friday night, then on Saturday there were track and field events all day such as races and other competitions.

Besides Sports Extravaganza, my church also had its annual fall festival last week. Not much to say about that–it was quite fun, and I spent the day with someone significant to me. On a related note, I also got to spend this past Sunday with the previously mentioned individual.

As life would have it, unfortunately not every day was as good as those I just talked about. There was still that struggle called school, but on the bright side today was an early release day. There was also another early release day last month, after my last blog post, and I must say that was a lot funner than today. While there were still only 4 hours of school today like the last time, and there wasn’t too much work to do in my classes, it was still unlike last month when I had the extremely rare luxury of sitting in one classroom all day long, having absolutely no work to do, and spending the whole time reading and playing cards.

On a completely unrelated note, the weather the past couple days has been unseasonably cold, thanks to an arctic blast that is affecting a lot of the United States. Fortunately, though the high temperatures here in Texas are not in the single digits, as they were in places such as Denver, and our lo temperatures aren’t -21 degrees below 0 as they were in places such as Casper, Wyoming, our high temperatures didn’t even hit 40, and the lo this morning was in the 20s.
In addition, there is also a, slight, chance of snow Sunday night. Since that is far away, it’s impossible to determine if we will get any accumulating snowfall yet. However, I will closely monitor that situation, however since it is so early in the season I’m not very optimistic.

Well, I guess this wraps up tonight’s post. Thank you for reading, and as I previously said, I am very glad to be back.

Thanks for reading,
type you later,
Steve.
PS. My cat turned 10 today. I cannot believe he is already that old!

Posted in average, busy, Extreme weirdness, happyness, information, journal, life, projects, updates, winter weather

An exciting end to a long blogging break


Hey guys,
Steve here.

Woe! It’s already been almost 3 weeks since my last blog update. I mean the only evidence that I still exist (to you guys anyway) is my Monday’s Musings posts, but even those get scheduled sometimes if something bugs me enough on another week day. Don’t worry, this will not be an often occurance–even I need a break from the blog for a while. I think my break is over, so expect more life updates in the future.
As is with all way overdue life updates, I have a lot of stufff to tell you about. First, let’s start with d now, since it was the first thing that happened after my blog post.
As all d nows are, this one was quite enjoyable. On Friday afternoon (valentines day), I only had time to go home, pack, eat some candy, before leaving to go to the host home (the home I would be staying at for the weekend). Basically, the host homes were divided by gender and grade level, so the 6th grade boys would be in one, the 6th grade girls in another, and it would be that way for all the grade levels from 6 to 12. Anyways, shortly after arriving at the host home, getting to know the people I would be staying with, we all went to the church, where we had fajitas for dinner, and then played a getting to know game.
The rest of our Friday night consisted of worship and church service, going back to the host home, small groups discussion (a time to discuss what we learned from the service, but that ended up being small groups comity because I kept telling jokes and making people laugh), snack, and then just chill time until it was time to go to bed.
On Saturday morning, we awoke to a breakfast of breakfast tacos, before having quiet time (a time to study the bible). Then, we headed to the church where we had another worship service, lunch, and finally our mission project. A mission project is when we go out and do work, and it’s separated into host homes as well. Our group had to go and pick up trash (I forget where we went).
After the mission project, instead of a scavenger hunt, we did random acts of kindness. In that game, each group would drive around doing random acts of kindness for people, and taking pictures of it. I believe that the winner would be the group with the most pictures.
Finally, it was time for dinner, and then my friend Joseph and I spent the free time after dinner reading the bible.
After another church service Saturday night, we had small groups discussion once again, but I was more serious this time. Then, Joseph and I read the bible some more until bed.
On Sunday morning, we had another quiet time, before going to the church to have breakfast, a Sunday school service which ended up being people telling about their experiences from the weekend, and then a final worship service. After that it was time to go home.
Although I didn’t want to go home, I had a wonderful time at D Now. It was a great time for me to connect with friends, and get closer to god. I really look forward to going next year.

Now that you know about d Now, let me tell you about sQuad word. On Sunday, I found out that my friend Mason was also making a word pad. He had some stuff in his word pad that I didn’t know how to do, and I had stuff in my notepad that he didn’t know how to do. So, we decided to colaborate, combining our word pads to create ultrapad. Thus, sQuad word is now known as ultrapad, and is just about ready for release, except one small bug that is easily fixable. I don’t have a definant release date at this time.

As for my last 3 weeks, not much has happened, that being one of the reasons I haven’t blogged in a while. This weekend though, my family and I went up to my papa and nana’s lake house, and spent yesterday and last night there, because my dad had to help Papa with something.
Also, there is a winter storm warning in affect. It’s in the 20’s right now, sleeting, and the temperatures are still falling. This is really hard to believe considering it was in the upper 70’ss 24 hours ago.

On a final note, I have a few events to tell you about.
For one, it’s Steven D awareness month. Yes, I’m so awesome, I named this month after myself, so everyone could be aware of my awesomeness. 🙂
Also, Steve eve, and my birthday are coming up. Steve eve is the day before my birthday. Steve eve is on March 25, and my birthday is March 26.
And finally, on April 21, this blog will turn 3 years old, thus meaning I will have been blogging for 3 years!
On a last note, this blog is almost up to 10000 views (9,755 at the moment). Pretty cool… huh?

Thanks for reading,
type you later,
Steve.

P.s. Glad to be blogging again. 🙂