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.

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

A Long Awaited Update


Hey guys,
Steve here.

So, it’s been nearly two months since I last posted here? Seriously? There’s no way I can believe that. Time has flown by these last couple of months. And when I said it would be one or two weeks, instead of four, before I posted again, only the last part of that statement was true. Unless, of course, I meant one or two months, not weeks.

Over the last month and a half, I did some work on S Quad Racing, though not as much as, perhaps, I should have. Nonetheless, I completed a few things, such as adding proper menu sounds, improving the artificial intelligence’s, well… intelligence, Creating an achievements system complete with the possibility to earn experience points, and completely fixing all bugs that could be found in the game thus far, but that’s about it. I sat down and wrote an outline for Arcade Mode, and will try to compose a sort of to-do list, so I can at least try to structure my coding into priorities, something I have failed at doing in the past. This is not to say I’ll end up sticking to that, but it’s worth trying.

On a loosely related note, the very basics of Matt the Terrorist have been established, in the form of a primitive, and I mean extremely primitive, game where all you can do is walk around. There’s a platform that spawns, but you can’t even interact with that, yet. But I guess every game has it’s starting point. To my credit, even though you can only walk around, tiles have a property called thickness. And for platforms, depending on the thickness, a different footstep sound will play. For example, if the thickness is 10.0, it will play the sound of walking on stable wooden boards. However, by the time it gets to 2.0 or lower, you will hear yourself walking on very unstable wood. So even though the game seems primitive, I’m still a bit proud of myself for what I did manage to code in under an hour.

In other news, part of the reason I haven’t been coding and writing as much, is my recent spike in gaming. Recently, Danny and I have been playing a two player pong game, created by Dragon Apps. I must say, I kind of feel bad for Danny. Because out of all the matches we’ve played, and I’d say that’s about four or five, he hasn’t won a single one. We’ve played one “long” game, where the winner was the one to reach a score of 21, and the rest were “short” games, in which 11 was the winning score. The closest he came to winning was the long game, where he managed to achieve a score of 16 give or take, due to a streak of complete failures on my part. That’s okay. Because even after several months of frequently playing, he still owns me on Audio Quake most of the time, so I think we’re even.

That wraps up this post. I’m not necessarily done catching up, but I’ll save the rest for a later post. Do not worry, this is not, my last post of 2015. I’m not sure what happened that got me out of blogging in October, causing that lengthy silence (besides that poem), but it won’t happen. I’ll blog again next week, I mean it this time.

Thanks for reading,
type you later,
Steve.

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

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.

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

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.

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

S Quad Racing: Gears, Track Building, and A Bit of Rewriting


Hey guys,
Steve here.

Despite what the absence of an audio demo that “should’ve” been released nearly a month ago might seem to imply, I have not neglected, or in fact been lying, about the current status of S Quad Racing. While there has been days when I haven’t worked on the game, (maybe even too many), I’m happy to report that development is still underway.

First of all, I’ve begun to rewrite and organize parts of my code. While the initial reason for doing such was to make the code a bit more readable, upon further inspection of what I previously had and after a bit of brainstorming on the gears system I discovered that my code was unintentionally designed so that any major changes, I.E. the implementation of things such as vehicles, gears, surface types, and other structured objects was out of the question, due to the way I’d programmed most of the game in its early stages in an effort to create a simple environment in which I could get a little taste of what I wanted S Quad Racing to ultimately be.
Now, though, the game has become more complex, grounds for a bit of a rewrite.
The following is a list of reasons I couldn’t possibly produce that audio demo, at least not tonight and maybe not even tomorrow:

  • I ended up organizing the code into separate files, and if I compile now I am bound to get some errors due to procedures not being declared and such and will likely have to make adjustments accordingly.
  • I’ve added a lot of new code that hasn’t been tested yet due to my not having finished making adjustments to the code.
  • I found a new bug. If you add a turn, and then strengthen or weaken it by adding another turn with greater or lesser severity right after it without first having a straight section, the game will not announce the name of the turn due to a bit of code I added without thinking, again, about the future. However, this one should be easy to fix.

    With all that said, there is good news to report. The above mentioned new code deals a lot with the gearing system, and I’m happy to report that I found and coded a solution that will work for this!
    In addition, I came up with a new idea to manage speed, and have implemented it as a result. This new way is not only future proof, but way more practical in terms of balance, as it basically tells the game how to handle each and every individual speed that a car can travel, without me ever having to touch it again. While you are unlikely to notice much of a difference when the new demo is released, the gears and ability to select different vehicles are bound to catch your attention.

    That concludes tonight’s post. Once all the code is sorted out I’ll likely be releasing two audio demos; one being on the track builder only, the second demonstrating the new gears system and ability to race with different vehicles.

    Thanks for reading,
    type you later,
    Steve.

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

    Interesting Game Development Updates


    Hey Guys,
    Steve here.

    So I’ve had an idea for a rather unique track building system for S Quad Racing, and it is quickly becoming reality. In this track builder, which is nearly complete as far as current game functionality goes, users are offered two ways of building tracks.

    When a user first begins editing a track, they are placed at the starting line, and the builder is in driving mode. In driving mode, the builder works exactly how the game portion works, minus opponents. There is one difference, however. While driving in the builder, a user can hit the P key at any time to enter pause mode. When in pause mode, the car, and all obstacles, are frozen in place on the track. In addition, the turning keys are not used to move the car; instead, they are used to add turns to the track. The idea, is that a user can add either a left turn or right turn of any severity to the track, by pressing the corresponding arrow keys. For example: pressing left arrow once will set the turn type to easy, twice will make it moderate, a third press of the key will start a hard left turn, and the fourth and final press of the key will begin a hairpin left, the sharpest turn possible in S Quad Racing.
    When the user has selected the type of turn they want to insert, they would press P to enter back into driving mode, and their car would enter the turn, just as if they were encountering it in the race portion. When the user felt the turn was long enough, they could end it by first entering pause mode, and then pressing the opposite arrow key (if they were working on a left turn, for example, they would press right arrow), until they heard the words “go straight.” Upon entering back into driving mode, they would find that their car was no longer in a turn.

    While I’m sure my explanation confused some of you to no end, an audio demonstration of the system will be released within the next week, which should help to clear up some of the confusion.

    The second way to add turns to tracks, (the less confusing, more familiar way), is to use the built in track edit menu. This menu can be accessed only within pause mode, by pressing m. Using this menu, players can add or remove turns, change track settings, as well as build structures. The way turns are added in this menu is that the user keys in the start and end position the turn is to be placed on the track, and then the type of turn it is they are adding. As this is the more familiar approach in most other racing games, I figured I’d add this as an option.

    Still, even if the user chooses not to use the build-as-you-go method, they can still use driving mode to test and make sure their turns are placed exactly how they want them, making this a unique, flexible, easy to use system.

    Besides the track builder, I took out obstacle functionality for the moment. Obstacles are still in the game, but nothing happens if you or an opponent runs over them, as I have new ideas that are, in my opinion, far better than the systems I’d previously implemented. In addition, I finally encrypted all character data, to prevent people from going in and setting their stats to cheat their way through the game.
    As it currently stands, S Quad Racing will soon be ready for early testing, which comes as a relief to me, because after 5 months I’m about ready for people to at least try out my work.

    Coding aside, I’ve had quite a good couple of weeks. Besides it being Summer of course, I spent the first half of the week hanging out with my friend, and the rest of the time I’ve been doing a lot of sleeping in, working out, and, of course, GAMING!

    Thanks for reading,
    type you later,
    Steve.

    Posted in busy, happyness, journal, life, updates

    I’ve Returned


    Hey guys,
    Steve here.

    The last three to four weeks have been packed full of camp. The camp I was at when I posted my most recent blog entry, which lasted three weeks, was an outdoor adventures/PE class that I attended at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, which got half of my required high school PE credit out of the way. The second camp, which I went to only three days after returning home from PE, was Texas Lions Camp. Despite getting home sick A Lot, I had a good time, and was a bit sad when I graduated on Friday.

    All that being said, my busy schedule has prevented me from doing much in the way of technology, that being the reason I haven’t posted to this blog in nearly a month. However, though it was nearly a month after it was recorded, I finally uploaded the Audio Quake podcast yesterday. The next episode will be over the game Beatstar, and will be scheduled for next Sunday. Stay tuned!

    Now that I’m back home, I can once again resume coding, and my focus will primarily be on S Quad Racing. Today, though, I released the set of audio game developer tools released in my last post to the audio games community, so depending on whether or not they have any further suggestions there could be updates to that as well.

    Well, that about wraps up this short update. Though both camps I went to were fun, I’m certainly glad to be back to the blog, and all things geek related!

    Thanks for reading,
    type you later,
    Steve.