Thank God. I voted which doesn’t matter since it’s Jersey. But I’m so relieved that America didn’t screw this up. Hopefully our country can heal the wounds of the last 8 years. Sorry, I’ll stop the politics stuff now. Apparently I missed October on here. If everyone hasn’t checked it out, take a look at the XNA Game Studio games that are coming out in a few weeks. I’m pretty excited about that in general, and am still getting comfortable in the Suites.

End of September

So the end of September means a few things. FIrst, that it’s dark by the time I get home. This kinda sucks as I had been biking of late after work, and I won’t really be able to do that anymore. Second, baseball playoffs. I don’t care about them, but the sports shows I like do. Ho-hum. Maybe the Mets will make the playoffs after all? Hhahahah. Third, NFL is a few weeks in. Yes, I love me some football. The NFC Beast is 8-0 in non-divisional games. I wonder how impossible it is to have a division be undefeated against other divisions.

And lastly, I’ve been working on one of my several projects. This is the XNA (Game Studio) one. It has pretty basic game logic, a few twists. The plan is to force fast games for several reasons. I don’t want my xna game to drag out (I have deeper games for that) and possibly target XNA with it. (Since the game is 2 players, you would be able to wirelessly connect and smash away for a few minutes.) I haven’t upgraded to XNA 3.0 so I haven’t looked at any of the capabilities, but I can imagine that should work. I have to get the normal networking stuff into the PC version, and finish tweaking the rules, but with a good few hours of work this will be a finished proving ground.

After I’m convinced of my proving ground, I’ll move onto either Global Skirmish in XNA or Dictatorship (which I’ll hold under the covers for now except for the name).

Well that’s all I have folks, maybe I’ll have some time to code all these projects I have running around.

Labor Day

Well, Labor Day is a great placement for a holiday. Right at the end of the summer, you can regenerate all your juices and enjoy the nice weather before it starts cooling off. I didn’t do anything fancy this weekend, but I did enjoy the weather. Now that the summer is fading away, I’m taking a peak back and thinking I did pretty well in the casual coding department. Unfortunately, you all aren’t seeing that here, but I did make some hefty progress in other places, that I can use as a foundation for Global Skirmish. Using lighter projects in the issue at hand (php/sql) to get me familiar with coding in that style is great, and should be able to make things smoother as I get ready to implement saved games/multiplayer.

I also have actually been fiddling around with XNA Game Studio, which really has a nice feel to it. I would recommend the toolset to any young developer who wants to create his own games. Because you can really get a good start on the meat and potatoes part of game programming, without having to deal too much with the sleep under your desk part of game programming.

Now that I’m done looking behind Labor Day it’s time to look forward, and that focuses on one thing for a few months. NFL. Yes yes, I’m quite the huge Football fan. I’m not going to deny it. I’m really pumped up for Thursday nights game, and hopefully it will live up to my hype. Of course, when it comes to rivalries, it’ll be a bit devastating for a loss, because it’s hard to look on the bright side. Not only does your team start off with a loss, it starts off with a division loss, which in the NFC East may be the difference between a wild card spot, and sitting home in January.

The teams know each other well, they’ve both been hampered by a few injuries. I think the wild card is the new coach for the Redskins. We’ll see how that West Coast Offense turns out.

Indie Games

So part of my revival into gaming is the idea of indie development. I’d sorta just barely consider myself an indie developer, but not so much as I doubt I’ll have an outpouring of recognition once I decide GSkirm should try to get some attention. But I’m talking about the guys that are out there and actually get published. Whether it be on small digital distribution, or a handful of guys in France distributing on the DS.

The two games I want to talk about right now are Braid and Soul Bubbles. Firstly is Braid, which has already gotten a fair amount of fanfare. Now he deserves everything he’s gotten, I’m almost done with getting all the puzzle pieces, I only need to get two more. And I’m happy with the amount of time I’ve been able to get out of it. Especially since I think I can get my girlfriend into platformers because of it. She loves puzzle games. And this bridges the gap nicely. I convinced her to play after I had gotten to the third stage, and after an hour or two of playing I had to kick her off cause I didn’t want to see any spoilers. She’s still a bit behind me since I was able to figure out a few things that I hadn’t thought of while she played, but I’m still quite excited about it.

The next is Soul Bubbles. You probably haven’t heard about this since it’s not your normal game. Basically you have to move these spirits from bubbles through a move to a safe zone. You collect coins (or rings or whatever this game calls it) along the way, and there are also three secrets every level. If you want to get crazy go looking for all the secrets. My girlfriend spent all of Saturday glued to her DS just playing Soul Bubbles, and she wants to talk to me about it but I said I wasn’t going to talk about it until I caught up with her. I should probably take her cart away so she doesn’t go beating it while I’m coding. Oh well, but kudos to both of these games, I hope that a few guys in a garage can more easily publish, and with XNA it seems like this will be the case. Well, I’m still working on my side project but it’s coming along smoothly and really gotten me into the habit of coding for an hour at night.

Hope everyone is enjoying the Olympics. It’s amazing seeing all countries get together and put their histories aside for some crazy activities. I’m glad the Americans have gotten a few good breaks, especially in the pool, as it makes for exciting evenings.

Dear Scrabulous

(Some reading if you aren’t up to date on what Scrabulous is)

I’d like to welcome you to the club. Almost three years ago I went through the exact same thing that you did. Anguish that all your hard work and coding could crumble down to a sledgehammer of the system. I’d like to commend you for holding out past the threats of legal action until there was actually a lawsuit against you. That is quite gutsy. At the time, I was poor and didn’t have any means, or even a quality job to be able to manage the threat. That’s right. Their lawyers scared me off with the C&D.

I’d like to say, from my view as a developer, that I know plenty of people who played Scrabulous like it was WoW and it only grew in strength and popularity. You guys did one hell of a job. I don’t know if your reasonings were the same. I was merely trying to keep my mind active, and spread my enthusiasm for a game I liked, as well as learn the new APIs that was google maps. I’m sure it’s a bit easier for you guys to not be harrassed by the legal teams here in the US, and I request that you fight as hard as you are able for those of us who are unable.

I’d like to say, if you are able, push them to buy you out. You may not want to, but it’s better than being worried about your code and everything. It’s about time they start spending their own resources on producing things about classic titles, instead of trying to shut anything down that looks remotely like it.

Good luck to you both, and anyone else not on the team that lends a hand. Maybe the public outcry will be greater as you have had more time in the limelight than I had. In any event, keep the products coming. I know I’ve been lax with the things being produced here at ASoOJ, but I do have two products that are on the back burner, that get some time here and then. But keep at it. My clash with Hasbro may have ended one project, but it was able to catapult my career.

Maybe with enough force from projects like yours and mine, old companies like Hasbro will have to wake up and enter the age where the rest of us are.

–TehDiplomat, www.ashotoforangejuice.com


Now.. as I’ve suggested, July is a month just packed full of stuff somehow. I’m glad we were able to move from our old place early, cause it really allowed us not to worry too much this month since it’s so busy.

But this post is about Vermont. We’ll (me and my crew)be going up on Friday for the Brewers Festival. We went last year and it was simply amazing, and I’m expecting the same amount of amazitude this time. I will be bringing my passport cause the last time I got bitched at by one of the bars because of my expired ID that I use at bars. But that’s not going to happen this time. So the guide was released today and so I can even plan exactly what beers I want to try (which you should really do on your first day) and will be attempting to do all these plans quite drunkenly. We’ll return at the end of the week, and I’ll be rejuvenated for the second half of the summer.

So Vermont (and Yerv, if you are out there) we’re coming back. With a Vengeance. (And I get to be Sam Jackson)

Progress Progress

Well, I got all of my computers up and running and in a location that works. My laptop is a card table in the living room. My desktop is on my newly purchased Ikea desk. I also just ordered a second monitor for it to improve productivity. And my media center (awaiting a QAM tuner) is hooked up to my hdtv. So things are finally progressing in a way that me, as a programmer can appreciate. Empty boxes and freed up floor space is great and all, but my machines being in good positions is really where it’s at. July looks to be a busy month to me, hopefully next week I’ll be back working on my own projects and soon I’ll be pounding away on finishing up Skirmish. It’d be nice to get it in a state that I can put it aside, and look onto the next project.

Finished Moving

Well, here are some more related news to my site. I just finished moving all of my stuff from my old Apartment in Hoboken, a few miles inland in Jersey. It’s a bit sad since I’ve been in Hoboken for a good 7 years and will have to meet new friends here, and all those social things that I was never very good at. It’s nice to be moving on from Hoboken and we’ll see how the real world is from a living perspective that doesn’t feel like college.

For now I may leave all the references on the site to Hoboken, since that’s where ASoOJ started and it is a nice little town. I might tweak them to say something about originating or some such.  Well, I as I unpack boxes and organize my living space, my main computer is on top of three boxes full of “clothes to be donated” and my keyboard rests in my lap. Not optimal programming conditions. I decided to get rid of my old desk since I didn’t like it very much, and so when I get a new one and am able to put away have the crap that’s on my floor, I may be up to proggin a bit more. Until then, expect the twice a month posting I’ve been sorta keeping up with, maybe I’ll get in enough habits to post once a week. Maybe.

Update: Oh shit I forgot to mention Diablo 3. That game will put a whole into my time-time continuum. Oh yes Blizzard, let me play it now.

Moving and Side Project

Well, moving is going fairly smoothly for the most part. We were planning on having a few more things moved then actually got moved, but the minivan my girlfriend’s father was driving stalled out the day we were going to move a few larger things. But we do have a lot of stuffed packed and already moved, and we have a fair amount left. I’m still hoping to be done by this coming weekend so I won’t have to worry about it, but we’ll see how the weather is.

Friday I have to be around the new place to let the FIOS guys in. Supposedly it takes 4 hours to setup everything, hopefully they don’t need me for any of that. Or at least much of that. I’ll have a laptop and a tv, but no internet/cable setup yet (obviously) so we’ll see if I can leech off anyone else.

While i know those of you here for board games on the internet don’t care about my side project, and I’m sure you won’t be affected by it in any way (except for my reduced resources) it’s nice to be able to move quickly with this project. I’m doing lots of php work which is what I plan on doing for gskirm’s multiplayer, so hopefully once my side project is done, I’d have helped out the gaming community I’m doing the project for, and gained the right skills and workings with php to efficiently do multiplayer.  Well, halfway through the month isn’t a bad time to post, I’m sure I could have done it sooner, but yknow I would have said basically the same thing as I did here, except I’d be less far along with both of these things.

Oh and I think I’m giving up on most professional sports. The NBA is rigged (according to the refs) and who knows how many other ones.


Well, some activities going on over here. While April and May have been good blogging months (note the 2 posts in the month, instead of the normal monthly apologetic “sorry haven’t really posted, nor worked on the game”) and I’ve actually been productive in the last week or so on the game. While I haven’t worked on any of the features that I plan on being in the 1.0 version of late, I have gotten back into looking at all the code, and refactoring a bit for different reasons.

One of my biggest problems when trying to get back into this project as it ages, is remembering what I was doing, do to my lacking documentation. It might be a bit too late for this project, but for the next one it’s definitely something that will be an early priority. The stuff that was refactored wasn’t just for clarity for my sake, it also enabled me to decouple the game code from the UI code, allowing me to more easily port the game to another maps program or something neat and new like XNA.

Hopefully I’ll be able to code for an hour each day and hammer out all of the base gameplay stuff, and then I can worry about multicomputer work.

I’m moving to a new abode during June, so I’ll probably have a productivity drop as weekends turn into, cleaning, packing, moving instead of lazing, gaming, and possibly coding. Hopefully all that goes well.