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No Ferrari for me

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To confirm John Munsch's assertion. I don't drive a Ferrari, despite being a game developer in D/FW. There are three main reasons why. . .

  • Ferraris are exceedingly expensive
  • I'm 6' 7" tall, and those things are barely knee-height for me
  • I never learned to drive a stick

Until I overcome these obstacles, I'm gonna keep the 9-year-old minivan. Anyway, I never was one of those guys who got hung up on cars. I still remember when my old boss bought a new BMW that cost as much as my house! To each his own, I guess.

Well, I'm a tad ahead of schedule, so I'm gonna give a little time to fixing a couple of old bugs in my new high-score stuff. My old high-score code worked, but it had a couple of flaws. The biggest flaw was that it stored the score info as text in the registry (or in INI files under Win 3.1 or Mac). Any kid with regedit or a text editor could mess with the high score tables if he wanted to. With the new games, however, I wanted the games to support global high-scores via the internet, so I needed a bit more security. I developed this neat class called Coder that would do all kinds of cool stuff to buffers. It would do any combination of compression (huffman), encryption (simple, but probably adequate), checksum-verifying, and 7-bit ASCII conversion (for INI files). It stored what it did in the first byte of the buffer, so you just had to hand an encoded buffer to the decoder, and it could figure out how it was encoded.

Well, it all worked nicely except for the checksum business. It just never seemed to match up, and I never got around to fixing that, so that's my objective for today.

BTW, if anyone's interested in such an object, I could probably release it. It'd certainly be useful elsewhere. If anyone's interested in a handy-dandy buffer-crunching class, lemme know.

John Buys a commercial strategy computer game!

Yes folks, it's true. Given that one of my all-time-favorite computer games is "Slay", a loveable little shareware Windows strategy game, Shelly encouraged me to buy one of those large-scope tactical simulation things. Since the screen-shots looked cool, and my local comic retailer seems to be obsessed with the concept, I bought Warhammer 40K Final Liberation. It's apparently a tad different from the WarCraft-type games in that it's turn-based instead of real-time, but I figured it'd be a good start into the large-scale computer-wargame genre which was passing me by.

The demo scenario is fun, and I can beat it, but the big campaign is overwhelming. I started clobbering some heavily-armed Orcs, but we just ended up at a big standoff in the center of the screen. It reminded me of the shootout in that episode of Police Squad in which the hero and villain are exchanging gunfire. There's lots of shooting, but when the camera pulls back, it turns out that they're about 4 feet apart, firing away and not hitting each other.

Well, despite having beaten most of the orcs, the game suddenly declared me the loser, and I was treated to a video of some giant Orc muppets taunting me.

Maybe "Slay" is my limit. . .
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