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Progress reports for Week of Awesome V

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Yeah...this week was just too crazy.  I got a certain amount of time in, but it was all 20 minutes here and 40 minutes there and was just too fragmented for an idea this math heavy. On Friday I sat down and re-evaluated and sketched some level designs and progression on paper. I still think the idea has merit, and I still think I could have accomplished it in a more normal week. But family and work come first, so that's OK.  I'll keep working on the idea.  And maybe next year I'll try again and actually finish something.

It has been a lot of fun skimming through everyone's progress, though I haven't made the time to comment.  Best of luck to you all!

I'm going for Castles and Chain Reaction, with a game where you solve Slitherlink puzzles on free-form graphs indirectly by making big-picture deductions (this corner is even; this one is odd; here's a loop for the Jordan Curve rule) to let your robot bulldozer sidekick build sand-castle walls by chaining local deductions together. This isn't quite as simple as I wanted, so I may be slightly over-scoping.  But slitherlink has been my favorite logic puzzle for years and I've always wanted to do something with it.  And I *think* I have a pretty good handle on how to structure the graph data.  So I'm going to try it.

I haven't had a good first day: I came up with the idea, and have spent a bunch of time mulling over implementation strategies while doing the more repetitive farm work. But then we spent a whole chunk of the afternoon chasing down and catching a stubborn young steer, and now I'm beat.  I put in about an hour and got some of the basic code structure in place, but I'm half falling asleep at the keyboard.  So I'm going to bed now and I'll get up early and do some work first thing in the morning while my brain is fresh.

There are about 64 hours remaining until the fifth Week of Awesome starts! I'm excited. I'm new to this jam (and gamedev.net in general), but I've done other small quick games.  My folks run a small farm and Saturday/Sunday/Monday are our busiest three days with weekend retail sales and harvesting for the Monday wholesale deliveries.  So while I've made four or five attempts at things like Ludum Dare, I just don't have the time on weekends and I've never completed one. A 7-day jam seems like more my kind of thing, even though we're shorthanded with most of the family away on vacation and this week is going to be crazy.

As a programmer and mathematician I tend to get distracted by implementing interesting algorithms (e.g. Starling Burst for Daniel Pearce's new flocking model) and then never get around to making an actual game around them.  But recently I have done a few little 1-hour toy/game things: Catching Flies, RGB Jet Avalanche (Windows, love file), Gas Buffer (4 hours), so I feel like I've gotten the hang of making a very small working prototype. For this jam I want to try and stick with simple mechanics and try to focus more on content, since that's where I usually stop.

I'll be using the LÖVE engine, which has become my tool of choice for quick 2D prototypes. It's a code-based engine, so it doesn't have an editor and doesn't have a lot of stuff built in. It's more like SDL or SFML, but with Lua.  It does have Box2D built in, and there are other collision libraries available, plus I've written continuous collision for circles, and I have a demo with the Minkowski sum thing for configuration-space obstacles using convex polygons. So I have options there. And Lua is quite a nice little language once you get past the no-operator-assignment thing (It doesn't have +=, -=, etc) and learn to stop making fencepost errors due to its 1-based indexing. And the whole thing is nicely cross-platform. So...yeah. Probably not a great tool for everyone, but I'm comfortable with it.

Hmm, what else? Maybe a bit about me? I've been a pretty serious hobby programmer since I was 13 when we got our first computer (a hand-me-down from my grandfather) in September of 1993, so almost 24 years now. Messed around with all sorts of languages from Basic to C/C++ to five or six different assembly languages to things like Prolog and Haskell, and of course most of the scripting languages.  Spent a bunch of time playing with Forth and implementing toy Forth systems. Studied math at university, did a couple of years of web development after I got out of school. Wasn't a big fan of the desk job thing, and am now farming full-time on a small market-garden and family homestead on a lake in Maine with a couple of acres of vegetables, a couple hundred chickens, family pigs and cows.

So...yeah. Best of luck to everyone!

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