Posted in information, projects, updates

Some Interesting News


Hey guys,
Hey guys,
Steve here.

Several of you don’t know this, but a few years ago I used to have this podcast going. It was very informal, and not too well put together – I had a podcast feed, and a page, and I think a feedback form but that’s about it. The topic of the podcast, as well as its schedule, changed quite often. I eventually stopped doing that podcast, because I got burnt out on it. I also think I was younger, busier, less sure, etc, so I never really planned episodes and ended up making commitments I couldn’t really keep up with.
However, I am trying the podcast thing again. Over these last couple years, I’ve been watching lets plays of games on Youtube, and listening to fellow more professional blind peoples’ streams. While I will not pretend to be professional, (I want a laid back and chill but still somewhat structured cast), I will have it a lot more put together than its predecessor.
The first Episode will be on November 1. I will attempt to do an audio stream of it, combined with a live chat room, but this may or may not be possible. If not, I’ll still record and post it as normal.
I invite you to visit the podcast page, linked below. There I have posted the description of the podcast/my goal with it, as well as a “next planned episode” section which will detail what I will be doing in the next episode and when it will be created. There is also a feedback form which I encourage anyone interested in the podcast to use to suggest, comment, criticize, or just chat about an episode or the podcast in general. I intend this podcast to be as listener-driven and communicative as it is controlled by me. My listeners are what will keep this thing going, so I believe they deserve excellent treatment. I can say I do all the work but in truth, it’ll be you guys taking 30 minutes or more out of your day to listen and interact with the cast that’ll keep it going for real.
Finally, you guys who read the blog know I never ask for money on this site. I blog because I love to blog (okay I’ve been slipping, but still). I don’t believe that the content I put here, stories or otherwise, is worth asking that people fork over money to view it. However, I have added a donate button to the podcast page. Whatever is paid here will go to the cost of this site or the streaming server, or will give me, a college student, less of a likelihood to see a two-digit bank balance. My policy still stands though: I don’t expect to be paid or donated to. If I did, the button would be to buy episodes, not to voluntarily donate. This podcast is not money driven – so while I’ll mention the donate button briefly to remind people of its existence once or twice in an episode, I will not pressure anyone to use it. You donate to me if you feel like it, found the blog or a podcast good enough to warrant it, think I deserve it, whatever. If you don’t though, we’re still cool. You’re no less of a person. 🙂
That out of the way, This is the podcast page. I’m optimistic about this podcast, and generally just can’t wait to chat with people and have fun!
Thanks for reading,
Type you later,
Steve.
Ps. Life related blog post in a few days.

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Posted in gaming and technology, programming, projects, updates

A Horrid Mess of Code


Hey Guys,
Steve here.

Some of you might be wondering what is with the strange title of this post. Perhaps, if I was to inform you that I had a hard time coming up with a way to write this post in common English, not to mention the many attempts to write this post that were deleted because they appeared way too technical and over the heads of the majority of my blog’s readers.
Anyways, I’ve decided to organize this one by level of complexity. That said, I have some news regarding the Steven D Podcast.
I recorded it last week, on Audio Quake as I previously said I wood. Unfortunately, I was unable to post it on Sunday because I was traveling to camp. However, I’ll try and get it posted at some point this week, so stay tuned.
Also, due to the above mentioned camp, there will be no podcast episodes next week or the week after. But when I do record another podcast, I think I’m going to start a series on the game Awesome Homer, found at Jim Kitchen’s website.

In other news, I have a little release for today’s blog post. Unlike the games I released over the last two months or so, this will not be of much use to anyone, except programmers of audio games in pure basic. However, since it is my blog and I know of a few said programmers, I’ll go ahead and release it here.
download this small set of includes that make some audio game tasks a bit easier
This includes a way to create audio game menus, as well as audio forms. Included are documentation, examples, and the Tolk library which enables screen reader output.

Moving on, though the change log doesn’t say it yet, I’ve made some significant changes to S Quad Racing. For now, I’ve deleted out all of the menus, and have begun replacing them with menus generated with my dynamic_menu class. This might seem like more of a waste of time than anything, but it helps me as the developer because it shortens my code and takes about 5 or 6 minutes out of the time it takes to code a full menu. That being said, I now have some awesome main-menu music, and cannot wait to show it to you in my next audio demo, which won’t be for a while since currently the “regular race” option doesn’t go where it’s supposed to go. Perhaps, though, I’ll be able to scrap something together next Wednesday.
More importantly, I’m slowly realizing a gear system for this game. And before I end up forgetting it, I’ll go ahead and explain my ideas here:
There will be a minimum and maximum speed for each gear, as is the normal. If one exceeds the maximum speed for the gear they are on, the car will explode after 10 to 15 seconds. Each time the driver shifts one gear up, their speed will stay the same as before. However, gearing down will not work unless the user slows to a speed that is less than the maximum speed of the gear they are switching to.
As for acceleration, and that good old gear switching affect we’re always used to hearing in most racing games, I have a complicated system for that, but I’ll not go into detail until I try it out since it hasn’t been proven to work. However, if this all goes well, I guess you’ll have something else to look forward to in the audio demo. And, I’ll be looking into getting that dreaded bug preventing multi-lap races. Stay in tuned to the s quad racing updates page.

Well, that about wraps up this post. I’ll blog you later.

Thanks for reading,
type you later,
Steve.

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

Another Small Release and a Few Updates


Hey guys,
Steve here.

I said I’d have a surprise for you all, and that was not an empty promise.
Over the last week, I’ve been sporadically coding on a little game, one which is similar to the classic Pong, but with quite a few twists. And not only did I create this game, but I included the source code, which is heavily commented, so that anyone interested could have a look at how games are actually coded in Pure Basic.
Similar to flamity flame, you are placed upon a side scrolling grid that is twenty squares wide. Your goal in this game, however, is to run after the ball and hit it to prevent it from hitting the ground.
To accomplish this task, you are given a paddle, which you will swing once you are beneath the ball and it is low enough to hit because, after all, you can only reach so far.
Since the ball can go just about anywhere when you hit it, it is impossible to develop much of a strategy. Plus, the game gets difficult, rather quickly. So quickly, in fact, that the likelihood of you lasting over two minutes is nearly zero.
Fortunately, though, there is help. Firstly, you don’t really have to worry about centering yourself exactly beneath the ball; you will hear a beep when you are centered. Secondly, there are platforms. If you are not near the ball when it is coming down, and it happens to be above a platform, it will bounce off of it rather than making the journey to the ground.
Initially, you start out with three platforms, spaced out evenly in intervals of five. However, as you play, additional platforms will spawn, though considering the level of difficulty in the game it’s likely you’ll only get one, if any, platform spawns before the end of the game.
While the fact that more platforms will spawn might enspire you to work your hardest, there is one thing to bear in mind about platforms–they are not the nutral, happy-to-help objects you might think of them to be. When the ball bounces off of a platform, it will rebound faster, and you must work a lot faster to get to, and hit the ball. This affect is called catapult, and only lasts 3 to 10 seconds after the ball bounces off of a platform. So while it is true that platforms can be a life saver, you might want to avoid letting the ball hit them as much as possible, otherwise you’re going to lose more than you gain.
Well, if you’re interested, you can Click here to download it.
Also, I have recorded an audio demonstration, which you can listen to below.

There are a few things I might change, such as how quickly the game gets hard, and the interval between platform spawns.

In other news, I haven’t worked much on S Quad racing, in fact I’ll confess I didn’t work on it at all this week. I was mainly focused on coding the game released in this post, which I named “Bouncy Ball” because I was too bored to name it anything else, to code something as complex as S Quad Racing. I probably won’t open it up tonight either, as I’m rather tired, but hopefully tomorroww I’ll get back to work. I think that before I implement dynamic weather, ambiance, and cheering into the creation of tracks, I’ll go ahead and see what I can do about implementing gears, as that is a task that I’ve put off for several weeks now but needs to be done.

Well, that’s about all I have to report. I’ll blog again later this week. As far as pod casting goes, I’m not quite sure. I want to do an episode tomorrow, but we all know me. So who actually knows–but hopefully tomorrow.

Thanks for reading,
type you later,
Steve.

Posted in average, information, journal, life, updates

updates and some devastating news


Hey guys,
Steve here.

For the first time in… well I don’t know how long, I have some bad news. This isn’t just bad news that will affect me; it will affect a lot of you guys, and bring some great disappointment.
For some reason, my computer has broken. It’s not the average virus or blue screen; nope, my hard drive stopped spinning. It turns on, makes some weird noises, and then just stops all together. I’m thinking that the hard drive is stuck… and if that’s the case, and my dad has the time, knowledge, tools, and is willing to, he might be able to open up the computer and adjust the drive if that’s the issue. If not, I will have to use the netbook, another smaller and slower computer but one that I can use. Fortunately, that problem will be easy to fix for me.
You might not think this affects you, but it does. For one, I will definitely not be doing the podcast episode on Saturday. I am using my school computer, and this does not have the game I was going to do, and nor does it have administrative privileges for my account. In addition, I can’t download dropbox, so the file would not be uploaded. Fortunately, due to dropbox uploading everything you put in the folder, if my computer’s hard drive were to be beyond repair, the site files would still be safe and uploaded.
Also, due to my computer being broken, you and I can forget stranded for now anyway. It will definitely not be released in seven days, unless a miracle just so happened to occur. If my hard drive can’t be restored, the release of stranded will be pushed back way further because I’ll have to restart.
As for me, I cannot play swamp any longer… so that is also disappointing.

On a better note, today was the last full day of school before winter break. I’m not sure why, and definitely not complaining, but we have two early release days (tomorrow and Friday). In addition, I won’t have to go to all my classes each day either. Tomorrow I have to go to choir, math, social studies, and English, while on Friday I go to Spanish, orchestra, science, and then back to English. I don’t think we’ll be doing much work, so I guess I’d better charge up my book reader and download some nice interesting thrillers.
Even though the schedules are flipped around tomorrow and Friday, I really don’t care. I just want those two days of school to be done and out of the way–because once school is over with, the wait until Christmas will be a lot less agonizing.
On other news, my parents have started Christmas shopping. It’s not bad now… but once there are gifts under the tree that I bump into, it will be very tempting, I’m sure of it. On the bright side, that will only last a few days.
As a final note, I hope you all liked my Monday’s Musings post. I know that quite a few of you liked the part about the “messed up fur advisories.” That was something I added just to put some humor in that post.

Thanks for reading,
Type you later,
Steve.
P.S.
I’m glad I got the broken computer news out on this blog post, because even though it was important, it also helped with some of the frustration and anger that I had because the computer broke. And now don’t you see why I love writing so much?