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Horror Stories of RanBlade

In a time for math!

Posted by , in Non Development 21 August 2015 - - - - - - · 176 views
Khan Academy, Math, Learning and 1 more...
In a time for math! I have probably brought this up before. But I feel the need to share my updates on it. First a little background. I have been trying to get better at math, especially math that pertains to video games and 3D. I kept getting snagged and it was always at the beginning before anything really complex happened. Something was missing, I didn't have something I needed to grasp this. So I decided to backwards on Khan Academy. I started all the way back on his early math section.

I went through early math like a breeze. Got it to 100%. and got it in my head "maybe this is too far back". So I tried a more advanced subject again. Again I was stumped. Then I went through his arithmetic track to 100%. I knew most of it but I also found my major flaws in a lot of my fundamentals of math. HUGE gaps. So I was flying through arithmetic and gaining knowledge now. Then something crazy happened that I wasn't aware that his site would do. It stopped letting me do mastery challenges when I got more then a couple problems wrong. It made me practice. Which at the time I thought was dumb. But then I did I practiced since I had nothing to do for the rest of the day and I didn't want to jump forward again. I learned a lot of concepts about even multiplication and division I wasn't aware of. I learned how to deal with fractions properly. But I felt this was all superficial. I thought ya sure I "knew" this and was just not getting into it. Soon later I mastered this section.

I then started on Pre-Algebra (this was a subject I always loved in school). It was going well and I got to the part on exponents and radicals. Then I started getting scared so I watched a video on negative exponents(a video i had watch awhile ago and it was baffling to me). I watched it and boom it clicked I knew what was going on I could solve this. And I worked through it and it was going well. Same thing with square roots, cube roots, lcm, GCD. They all seem fairly trivial now. I kept wondering "Why does this seem so tirvial now?"

So I sat and thought about this. All that practice on the fundamentals I had done recently had really taught me what I was missing. My roof wasn't leaking, my foundation was cracked and the ground water was coming through. I am not saying I am a master but I am saying that I have a lot more confidence in myself now and I am glad I swallowed my pride and went backwards to even lower math then my kids were doing.

So my TL:DR is go don't be afraid of looking stupid for going back to your foundation skills and fundamentals. If your having problems be honest with yourself and go back as far as you need to it will only help you in the long run.

I am having a ton of fun now and am looking forward to geometry, algebra, trig, calc, linear algebra. And I owe it all to Khan Academy. The way he structures it really forces you to learn even if you feel like maybe it is just letting you blow past. When I was doing early math. I could master 6 subjects from not practiced in one mastery challenge. Now at pre-algebra I am only able to go from "needs practice" to "level one" in a single mastery challenge. It is forcing me to go back and learn and take time. and missing a mastery challenge question really means something if I can't burn through it while also having my challenge locked out. It really does make it feel like a game. I hope anyone who is struggling with math will check out Khan Academy

A "finished" game!

Posted by , in Finished Project 17 August 2015 - - - - - - · 200 views
Kids game, Learning, Indie
  • wordgameWin
  • wordgamePlaying
  • wordgameMain
  • wordgameHighScore
  • wordgameEnterhighscore

So I finally finished a game on my own. It is a very simple concept of hang man modified to be more kid friendly. The game is called Word Game for now. The game starts off showing you a plane game with a couple UI buttons. And unfolds through a UI driven interface to play the game.

I really learned a lot on this project. Mostly on staying focused and having a plan. Before I even started i setup a very simple "Design document". Something I have only played around with in the past. I followed this document the best I could. The idea of having a plan really helped me to stay focused on the goal of completing a game. It also helped me know where or what I needed to go to next. It is a step I doubt I will skip again.

I gave myself 2 weeks to make this game. The first time I have EVER done that. I didn't meet my goal of 2 weeks. It did take me almost 2 months because of normal life issues and some slacking off. Thanks to not hitting my timeline though I learned a lot of lessons on time management. Also a few lessons on not getting discouraged.

I know this game is extremely simple but I had a lot of fun doing it and watching my kids laugh while playing it has been awesome!

I struggled with a few things.
  • UI - I had never really done UI before so I struggled with getting it working right at first. Also I still don't quite have the scaling down for multiple resolutions.
  • File I/O - Having a high score screen was a must for me. The topic of File I/O has always been sketchy for me(maybe because I don't do it enough). So it took some google but I got it to work but I feel I don't have a deep enough knowledge of the topic and I don't like that.
  • WWW/PHP requests - Even though I didn't learn any theory on how it works, especially the WWW stuff in C#. I was able to get it working to save/load the high score for the web player version of the game
  • Texture tiling - I have never really done much with graphics that was not super trivial and the concept is odd to me. So it took me quite awhile to figure out how to tile one image across 4 blocks without having to create separate texture files for each block. I didn't want to have 4x textures saved for every word in the game.
This project has re inspired me to brush up on my math and get to the level I need to be in order to understand the more in depth concepts that I am interested in. I am hoping that my next project won't be as trivial and that I can work towards a simple 2D RPG.

I have the code on github and would love if anyone with time on there hands would like to give me some pointers on the code. I don't have many programmer friends and so I don't get code reviewed often. I feel like it is a huge learning tool though to be able to get the input of someone with more knowledge then you. Here is the link to Word Game Github

You can try the game out on the WebGL version I have setup: Word Game WebPlayer
-WebGL is in a preview phase on Unity and has a lot of quirks. It may take a long time to load. It also will not work on IE.

You can also download the game from my webpage: Word Game Download

I hope to have another game up soon. I plan to to post development journal entries now that I am more comfortable with what I can do.

Any and all feedback is encouraged!

Moving forward

  Posted by , 09 April 2013 - - - - - - · 639 views

Well I had a opportunity to program a game server for a small start up. It was a simple prototype to prove that the concept could work. It was great working full time being home with my family. We got it done a couple week late but it was done. It WORKED and it worked good after a [...]


Did I just get played?

Posted by , 30 October 2012 - - - - - - · 1,378 views

So I have been working on a server system for a couple of guys. I wrote a backend game server, a node.js/socket.io middleman client agent server. And then I wrote all the socket.io network message code in the browser to make life easier on the client/webpage guy. It took about 2 months and I worked my ass off. We did our first test and the server kept crashing, I fixed those problems. second test again (UGH!)... third test no crashes but they didn't like the flow. So the client guy and I reworked the flow and did one last test.. game worked perfectly and the guys backing the idea LOVED it.

They were all about the project. But I get a call today saying they want to redesign a lot of things and are going to put development on hold and that they will call me back when they are done with there design phase and they didn't see a need to renew a programmer's contract during this phase.

I have this odd feelign they are going to take my tech demo I made for them and go somewhere else with it. I know it was good experience and all but I was just looking forward to taking this to the next level with them. Oh well life moves on I guess.

Pay attention to your math!

Posted by , in Debugging 20 September 2012 - - - - - - · 1,030 views

So this week I have been working on a JavaScript node.js server for a project I am working on. In our project we use socket.io to handle the connection to the web browser(So far best cross compadabilty) and then use a node.js tcp socket to talk to the back-end server. This server acts as a middle man message director between the two. Well I was working on some messaging and I could not get the node.js socket to send a second message for the life of me(or so I thought). I spent hours looking around the web and found nothing similar to my problem.

Eventually the next day on random chance I tried to copy paste my first message(that worked) to the code block I was trying to send my message at. It worked. so I looked, the ONLY diffrence was the len variable the first message used a variable that had a sizeof(message param) summed for all the parameters being sent for that message. The next one had the len hard-coded. So I did the same with second message. IT WORKED!. I had no idea why to me the two should have been identical. I thought it had to be something in the buffer.writeUInt() function provided by node.js.

Being happy I finally fixed my issues I called my wife in(no one else around to talk too about my code). And showed her the issue... my code was as follows.
[source lang="jscript"]message.writeUInt16LE(8, 0); //this was the bad code[/source]
[source lang="jscript"]var len = 2+4;message.writeUInt16LE(len, 0); // this code worked.... [/source]
And my wife replies. "In what world does 2+4 = 8"... DOH! I spent all that time because I was trying to pass 8 instead of 6 as length for the variable. I did the math in my head and was just flying through stuff I thought I was a no brainer. It snagged me for far too long. This problem produced no errors or crashes, and everything reported success in sending/recevivng... I thought it HAD to be something buggy in node.js.

So a little annoyed at myself. But happy I fixed it. I figured I could help others remember that sometimes you need to slow down and check EVERYTHING you did even if you don't think it could possibly be the problem.

Thanks guys,

Eric R.

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