More photos of the ice jam can be found here.
In my never-ending quest to rid myself of all possible loafing time, I have decided to dive back into the world of game programming. This time I will attempt to make a generic text adventure engine, for the purpose of re-creating great games like Zork, Adventure, and Leather Goddesses of Phobos in a Flash environment.
This is the core of creating a consistent game: figuring out how all the pieces and parts fit together. Making things react differently in different environments. Defining those environments. Setting up the localized laws of cause-and-effect.
Probably the simplest type of text adventure is the choose-your-own adventure, which is essentially a mostly linear, occasionally branching, multiple choice quiz:
You are clinging to a vine halfway down the side of a cliff. At the top of the cliff a tiger is waiting to eat you. At the bottom of the cliff another tiger is waiting to eat you. Two mice are chewing through your vine. You notice a strawberry plant bearing a single, perfect, ripe strawberry growing out of the cliff next to your head.
Do you want to:
A) Climb up
B) Climb down
C) Eat the mice
D) Eat the strawberry
Quite simple, and with a predetermined path to the outcome. These adventures tend also to go in one direction. Once you pick something up, you cannot put it back down.
The text adventures a la Zork use simple language parsing which allows the player to state, in simple, precise sentences, exactly what he/she wants to do at any particular moment:
Unlock Door With Key
…and so forth. Suddenly we are not just moving through the environment, we are interacting with it on a significant (if limited) level When I picked up the key, I removed it from one environment (a room) and made it a part of another (me).
So now I am in an environment. In a one-person game this is a useless statement, since there is not another autonomous thing which will act within that environment in a way that will affect me. I can change my surroundings, but they cannot change me. Sure, a troll may kill me, or a thief may steal steal the key before I get a chance to use it to open a door. These are triggered, programmed events. They are part of a solvable system. The only way to make the system non-solvable is to introduce another outside agent: Another player.
This takes us into the realm of the MUD, or Multi-User Dungeon; essentially a text adventure with 1 or more players interacting with each other and the environment… and here we get far beyond the scope of what I can hope to accomplish in any reasonable amount of free time.
By the by, this genre of games is commonly referred to as
Interactive Fiction . Here are a few helpful websites:
…from Annie Dillard. From the article:
Einstein likened the generation of a new idea to a chicken’s laying an egg: «Kieks – auf einmal ist es da.» Cheep – and all at once there it is.
40 hours without sleep. Something’s got to change.
This is a Google search for “cruel tutelage” . Look at the second link. That page is one of the entries in the Kendall Class section of this site.
Ranked second in cruelty? I am a professor! I WANT TO BE NUMBER ONE!!1!!!one!!1.
Today, on a whim, I did a Google search for the ISBN of a book I picked up in Russia back in the summer of 1994. I figured that the number would be the one attribute of the book which would not need to be translated.
Lo and behold, I got a hit: Master and Margarita, written by Michael Bulgakov and illustrated by Andrey Kharshak.
So now I was curious: you can’t swing a cat on the internet without hitting a Bulgakov reference, but how about Mr. Kharshak? His illustrations are good enough that SOMEBODY must have heard of him… And here he is! Apparently Mr Kharshak is well known everywhere in the world except The United States and the Internet. I should do something about that…
Manuscripts Don’t Burn
These are prints of works by Mr. Kharshak which I picked up while in Russia. They are reproduced in Master and Margarita, along with at least two dozen other illustrations.
And for your convenience here is a link to the English version of Master and Margarita (translated by Pevear and Volokhonsky). It is, as they say, a Ripping Good Yarn.
So. 2005 A.D. 2005 is an interesting number, in that it is the product of two primes: 401 x 5. Each of the digits in 2005 is a prime. And the sum of all of the digits (2 + 0 + 0 + 5) is itself a prime (7).
I will turn 36 this year. 36 is a perfect square, 6 x 6. Or if you want to break it down further, 2 x 2 x 3 x 3. Or, 2^² x 3^². A perfect square which is the product of two perfect squares.
Right now, according to the Chinese calendar, the Year of the Monkey is winding down. According to Master Lee, Monkey years are always chaotic and rough on everyone stuck in them. This past year was no exception. And there is the obvious joke about a Chimp being re-elected in the year of the Monkey.
The upcoming year, the Year of the Rooster (chicken, cock, etc) can be seen as the year of recovering from the year of the Monkey. Since the Rooster is my birth sign, I am filled with optimism.