Steven D Podcast Episode 19: Rage Inducing Monkies

In this episode, I play through Awesome Homer, an older, but still very enjoyable title created by Jim Kitchen. Though I originally figured I knew exactly what I was doing, given I’ve played through the game twice already, my confident attitude transitioned to rage and confusion by the end of the game. (Yes, this is one of the rare episodes of the podcast where you get to see me rage at least once, so if that’s entertaining to you you should definitely check this one out!)

Although we discover that it has some issues running on Windows 10, this legacy title is definitely fun to play, and I’m hoping this episode brings it back into the spotlight, if only for a bit. Even though stripping out my horrible direction challenges and less-than-optimal driving skills would make this game a speedy play, its unique selection of level designs make up for that in my opinion.

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Ep 19

In this episode, I play through Awesome Homer, an older, but still very enjoyable title created by Jim Kitchen. Though I originally figured I knew exactly what I was doing, given I’ve played through the game twice already, my confident attitude transitioned to rage and confusion by the end of the game. (Yes, this is one of the rare episodes of the podcast where you get to see me rage at least once, so if that’s entertaining to you you should definitely check this one out!)

Although we discover that it has some issues running on Windows 10, this legacy title is definitely fun to play, and I’m hoping this episode brings it back into the spotlight, if only for a bit. Even though stripping out my horrible direction challenges and less-than-optimal driving skills would make this game a speedy play, its unique selection of level designs make up for that in my opinion.

Steven D Podcast Episode 17: Struck em Down to the Ground

They came at me – and one by one, with one hit, I punched ’em to the ground!

They flew all around me with their shining, false glory. They shot at me, did their best to take me down… but nah. I shot ’em to the ground.

In this episode, I played two more Japanese audio games, both of which with titles ending in “Strike”, and each boasting pissed-off protagonists tasked with the satisfying job of destroying things.

The first game, quick and competition driven, was called Screaming Strike, and I had to punch things to the ground before they came up and punched me and took away a life. The second game, entitled Audio Strike, was a space invasion game similar to Villains from Beyond (episode 7), but quite different given its increasingly complex leveling system, noteworthy set of unlockables, and story line (though as of now… with an English translation that’s more mangled than the ships I shot down). Each one features unique, addicting, and immersive game play!

See the show notes for more details and updates. Here.


Ep 17

They came at me – and one by one, with one hit, I punched ’em to the ground!

They flew all around me with their shining, false glory. They shot at me, did their best to take me down… but nah. I shot ’em to the ground.

In this episode, I played two more Japanese audio games, both of which with titles ending in “Strike”, and each boasting pissed-off protagonists tasked with the satisfying job of destroying things.

The first game, quick and competition driven, was called Screaming Strike, and I had to punch things to the ground before they came up and punched me and took away a life. The second game, entitled Audio Strike, was a space invasion game similar to Villains from Beyond (episode 7), but quite different given its increasingly complex leveling system, noteworthy set of unlockables, and story line (though as of now… with an English translation that’s more mangled than the ships I shot down). Each one features unique, addicting, and immersive game play!

That was a great podcast, and I can’t wait for the next one! If you haven’t already, please follow StevenDPodcast on Twitter for updates. It’s brand new, so thought I’d put it here.

A highlights section is also coming very soon. If you have suggestions for funny moments from any episode that should go in there, Don’t hesitate to fill out the form

On this page.

That is the primary form for podcast-related communications.

Steven D Podcast Episode 15: Bob the Blind Man Gets a Taste of the Real World

Meet Blind Bob. Well, he prefers Bob, but we just won’t tell him that I called him that. 😀

In today’s episode, I play two games wherein our little friend Bob tries some rather interesting ways of getting around. First he takes a nice, not so peaceful little stroll through the world of Blinded Guide, a funny little game made by L-Works. Without so much as a cane or a guide dog, Blind Bob decides to first walk, then gradually speed up to a full on run, through a sidewalk littered with lethal obstacles. And I, equally blind, get the pleasure of guiding our adventurous little friend!

And then as if that wasn’t enough, Bobby decided to go and drive a car for whatever reason, and use it to plow down some cones. I’m sure you can guess that this is not the careless joyride he was looking for, but I doubt you can guess why. Let’s just say that the people in Oriol Gomez’s Danger on the wheel, *really* value their traffic cones – and knocking them down can and will have dire consequences.

Yeah. I bet you can already see what’s coming before even checking this episode out. Too bad Bob didn’t.


Meet Blind Bob. Well, he prefers Bob, but we just won’t tell him that I called him that. 😀

In today’s episode, I play two games wherein our little friend Bob tries some rather interesting ways of getting around. First he takes a nice, not so peaceful little stroll through the world of Blinded Guide, a funny little game made by L-Works. Without so much as a cane or a guide dog, Blind Bob decides to first walk, then gradually speed up to a full on run, through a sidewalk littered with lethal obstacles. And I, equally blind, get the pleasure of guiding our adventurous little friend!

And then as if that wasn’t enough, Bobby decided to go and drive a car for whatever reason, and use it to plow down some cones. I’m sure you can guess that this is not the careless joyride he was looking for, but I doubt you can guess why. Let’s just say that the people in Oriol Gomez’s Danger on the wheel, really value their traffic cones – and knocking them down can and will have dire consequences.

Yeah. I bet you can already see what’s coming before even checking this episode out. Too bad Bob didn’t.

Matt the Terrorist Game Engine: Introducing New and Interesting Game Mechanics


Hey guys,
Steve here.

Twelve days ago, I told you all that the first step of Matt the Terrorist, the adventure game, had been completed. It was just a game with the ability to walk, nothing more, really. But apparently, a lot can happen in twelve days, and the following list should clearly point out my reasoning for proclaiming the preceding statement.
Because I got pumped at having started on this game that had been nothing but ideas for months, and was curious as to whether or not coding some of these radical game mechanics I’d been dreaming up could actually be done, I pretty much got carried away. The following is a list of what I managed to achieve, in about 910 lines, and probably 6 or 7 hours of accumulated coding time.
-Platform like structures, building material, and walls, all of which have length and thickness properties.
-leveling. In the current game I’m building with the engine, Matt the Terrorist: Engine Test, levels don’t mean much, as this game has no real objective, it’s just a test of the game engine after all. Still, levels affect things, as you will see below.
-Items that can spawn or be spawned on the map. These could be building materials, stat upgrades, money, etc. The stat upgrades, such as money, increase as you level up.
-A shop. Only two items in there so far, but again there’s not really too much to work with in terms of objects. Prices of all the items increase as your level does.
-Some… uh… I wouldn’t really call them physics, but items can break if dropped too hard, players and items can fall, and walls can actually be kicked in, (that excludes the edges of the map).
-And finally, I’ve been working on a complex system for arms. These really aren’t the “realistic” idea of arms, but they work like this.
You hold down the left or right shift key, to control the respective arm. (Non realistic element coming)… the right arm can only extend to the right side of your character, the left arm only to the left. Both can move up and down (up as high as they can reach, down to the surface you are standing on).
In addition, the arms can be used to “feel” things, if that’s really what you want to call it. If you move your arm over to the edges of the map, you will be told, “border.” If you reach up to a surface, or are standing on one and move your arm down to it, the length and thickness of the surface segment will be announced. If you are standing on a platform, it’s name will be spoken as well.
In addition to the feeling aspect, the arms can do the basic things, such as dropping and throwing items, as well as exchanging them with your inventory.
It’s not a whole lot, but I’ve been slowly creating functions as I go, such as location and collision detectors, that have helped me a lot. I’d say that the hardest part so far is defining the physics for items, as it requires me to type a bunch of unproven code that I am only about 33% sure will work. I guess I’ll let you all know whether or not it does, once I have a chance to fully test it.
As for developing S Quad Racing, that has gone slower, because of course with my new burst of coding energy I’ve been focusing on Matt the Terrorist’s engine, and unfortunately I have a one track mind. Well, I guess one and a quarter, because I worked a little bit on it, — a few bugs I previously didn’t even know about due to me not racing multi lap races were fixed, and crashing was implemented.
I hope to have audio demos of both games I’m working on in my next post. Also, for those curious as to why there haven’t been updates on the S Quad Racing page, I forgot about them when I started my alpha testing folder, that’s why I haven’t posted many of them recently. This does not mean a lack of work on that project for the last couple of months, — the two audio demos I’ve posted since then should prove that.

Thanks for reading,
type you later,
Steve.

Flee, Flee


Hey guys,
Steve here.

I wrote this up for a number of reasons. I hope you enjoy it. It may not make sense to any of you, but if it does, awesome. If not, I hope you enjoy it anyway.

Flee, flee,
hiding in a tree.
Flee, flee,
what is it you see?
Flee, Flee,
What will it be?
Will you show your face, or will you hide from me?
Flee, Flee,
coming down the tree.
The bark is rough, beneath your feet.
But Flee, Flee,
don’t you see?
The feast that awaits is yours to be!
But flee, Flee,
no longer in the tree,
won’t get your boon, cowering before the beast.
Flee, flee,
the food you seak,
Can be yours, if you will just come and eat.

A Lot of Coding and A Lost Friend


Hey guys,
Steve here.

Tonight, I bring to you all some very sad news. Unfortunately, me and Nevaeh are not, friends. I tried to talk to her again the other day, but instead of replying, all she did was look at Danny’s I Pad, which he was using to Skype with me. Oh well, so be it. For all she knows, my name is Meow, I’m from the great state of Meow, I’m meow years old, and my ultimate goal in life is to meow. You can’t really blame her for never wanting to talk to me again, because judging by that conversation I’m quite a big loser. (LOL)

On the contrary, I actually have quite a bit to talk about, all of that being productive, well not really if my ultimate goal in life is actually to meow. But as it turns out, school is going along well this year, especially my Digital Interactive Media class, which is surprising since I was really scared at the beginning of the school year when I found out what the class actually was. I’m not talking about Business Information Management, the class I’m referring to is a massively visual class, where it’s barely the fourth week of school and Adobe Photo Shop is being used already. Fortunately, the teacher is allowing me to use that time to work on S Quad Racing, and setting deadlines for things, a plus since I now have another person motivating me to get things done. Anyway, he asked that I finish the regular racing mode, and I’ll be pretty well darned if I don’t. Maybe opponents won’t be perfectly matched with players, but he asked me to complete the racing mode, and he’s the only person pushing me to go forward, and I’m not letting him down. I have a lot of people who are proud, but he’s the first that is pressing me to get things done in a certain amount of time, and that’s what I’ll have to deal with in the professional workforce. And when telling him about the game, he especially got pumped about the Aggressive mode, and I will provide that to him by the time I leave his class in 8 months if it means halting progress on all the other aspects of the game until it’s complete.

Aside from that, the day after my last post, I finally broke down and employed a beta team for S Quad Racing, due to frustration at having to find and fix bugs on my own, bugs I thought were fixed already. I felt bad for them for having to test such a primitive product with so many bugs, but thanks to them I’ve been doing all the coding and fixing, and letting them test for the bugs for me to fix. This has definitely been a great help to me, because it lifts one of the most annoying jobs of being a developer off my shoulders, and results in me not having to sweep over sections of the game I thought I’d already tested through and through.
For one thing, today I solved all the crashing issues known to S Quad Racing, and also made it impossible for anyone working on a track to lose their work due to closing the application or it crashing. When I say I solved them all, I don’t literally mean I came up with a magic formula that made everything work 100% as I envisioned, however, rather than crashing, the program will simply log the error, notify the player, and save their progress. So, while I’m off coding a new feature, or doing something else entirely, the program will be logging vital errors, allowing me to pop over to that section of the code and fix what needs fixing, though my testers will still need to report bugs that don’t halt program execution to me.
Another plus side to this, is that now I’ll definitely be able to record the audio demo, without having to worry about the program hanging on me like it did in my last attempts. So, and I say this with the finality of a slamming solid stone door, there will be an audio demo by Saturday!

On a final note, I once again decided to revisit BGT, and am surprisingly grasping the subject matter fast, and more completely than ever. My main reason for doing so is a complex game idea I have, one that I’ll save for another post. For now, though, I am signing off, and will more than likely going to bed here shortly.

Thanks for reading,
type you later,
Steve.

Back To School


Hey Guys,
Steve here.

Well I found out something very interesting yesterday! Apparently, it’s actually possible to carry out a Skype conversation with a… cat!
I was in a Skype call with Danny, trying to record an episode of my Podcast. However, Danny had to take a break in the middle to eat dinner. While he was gone, his cat started meowing for no apparent reason, so I meowed back at her to see if she’d answer. Guess what? She did! And since I still had the recording configuration used for my podcast set up, I was able to record a little ten second clip of it.

Maybe, just maybe, she was meowing for a totally different reason, but I’m humorous. So I say she was chatting with me. And it’s not like she can deny that… or can she?

Anyways, besides chatting with cats, life has been pretty good over the last month, even though school started back up last week. Most of my classes this year aren’t bad, well not really, although some of them are a real pain to get to, which is why I got lost twice so far.
Besides getting lost, I’m already getting homework. In fact, that started the second freaking day I attended geometry! However, the teacher seems nice and helpful, so I don’t think there will be any trouble there.
In addition to the homework, I’ve been having some technological issues in a few of my classes, and am afraid I’ll have to leave one of them for that reason. I don’t know what it is with Microsoft Office products, but they just keep going down hill in terms of accessibility. Worse still, they are practically a necessity in college and the work force these days, so I’m not really sure what I’m going to do once I get to that stage of my life unless something can be done.
That said, Microsoft Office is practically the back bone of the class in which I’m struggling. So unless they manage to fix their accessibility issues, I’m not quite sure how I’m going to pass that class.

On a more positive note, development with S Quad Racing, sluggish as it is, is going quite well. I had to fix some annoying bugs this evening, bugs that of course didn’t pop up until I tried to record the audio demo (figures). But rather than make sure all current bugs are patched up, I’ll just go ahead and throw together a demo recording, because in the next couple days I want to code in surfaces, but before I make such a big change to game play I really think I should get a recording of the game in its current state. Besides, that demo is pretty much 2 months over due, so yeah.

That concludes the posting for tonight. Be sure to stop by and listen to podcast episode 38, which demonstrates RS Games, and is as usual packed with mine and Danny’s twisted sense of humor. Please, listen to it. It took us 3 attempts to record that thing!

Thanks for reading,
type you later,
Steve.

Monday’s Musings 9: Accessible technoligy: Why must it cost extra?


Hey guys,
Steve here.

When a sited person gets a computer, they automatically get to use it. There’s no extra software or hardware required for them, just a screen, and they are ready to go. It works the same for programs–every program can work well for sited users, but is that true for the blind?
For us blind people, we need extra software to operate our computers. Unfortunately, quite a bit of that software costs money. For example: did you know that for windows, NVDA is the only free screen reader? I believe that has changed in windows 8, with Microsoft’s narrator becoming a lot more usable. But that’s not my point–things such as Jaws, and window eyes, two screen readers on the market, cost anywhere from $800 to $1300. Sounds like a lot, huh?
I am thankful that I have NVDA, and I guess that settles the expensive screen readers issue, however I wouldn’t be writing this post if screen readers were the only expensive thing out there for blind users. Let’s take braille displays and braille notes (a type of computer meant for blind users) for example. A Braille display, or small device that prints whatever is written on screen into braille so a blind user can read it, costs upwards of $3000! And the screen of a computer comes built in? No one pays extra for that… now do they? And look at the braille note! That costs I think like $5000 or something! Why so much? Why must blind people pay to have technology life easier for them?
I’m not done. This Skype client that I use, the main thing that got me musing about this topic, proves my point exactly. So you know how Skype is free? Well this blind friendly Skype client is free to use, but gives you ads every 30 minutes, which I must say are very obtrusive and annoying. How can you stop the ads? by purchasing and using the screen reader, window eyes, which was made by that same company. How ridiculous is that?
With all that being said, I know how hard these people work to make things easier and more accessible for us blind folks… but why must it cost so much money for us users to purchase that software and hardware? my motto is “Blindness is not a disability, but a characteristic, and it should be treated that way.” So if a sited person gets a screen for their computer or other devices, and a program that is easy to use for them at no extra cost, Then for goodness sake, shouldn’t a blind person get the same thing, and at no extra cost?

Thanks for reading,
type you later,
Steve.