Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Game Jam #2

It's been way too long since my last post. I gotta make a schedule for myself. Maybe a weekly alert... Anywho, I'm currently recovering from my second game jam. This one went a lot differently, but it was still a lot of fun. It's pretty crazy how many free events for developers there are around here. And not only are the events free, they often have free food and beer too. I feel like if I went to enough meet ups I'd never have to pay for food again. But I digress. The game jam I attended was BeMyApp. The only theme was the game had to be mobile.  Which I feel is a bit too broad.  Ironically, without some sort of direction, it's a lot harder to be truly creative. 

The game I worked on was called drawbeyond.  The idea was to make a giant, shared, virtual whiteboard that anyone could contribute to.  I was somewhat skeptical of the gaming aspects, but it seemed like a fun technical challenge.  We decided to go with node.js because of it's easy integration with web sockets.  My task was the rasterizer.  All the drawing was done with vectors on an html5 canvas, and those vectors were stored in memory on the server.  The task of the rasterizer was to take the history of vectors from the server periodically and draw them onto png files which could be used as backgrounds.  This was to alleviate the server (and client) from having to store every vector ever in memory.  It was an interesting problem, and it required more math than I had used in a long time.  Especially when I got to the the summary images (since we wanted to be able to zoom out like in google maps).  I ended up going with imagemagick to do most of the heavy lifting with files, since I heard it was pretty fast and efficient.  I ended up getting my part done, but the team kinda fell apart getting the interface together.  Still a great group to work with.  It'd been a while since I actually worked side by side with other developers on the same project.

In terms of my other projects, getting closed to finished with the iphone app I've been working on, KidStar.  I don't think it will be huge, but I hope it will be useful to parents.  And it will be cool to have an app out in the app store.  

I'm also working on a minimalist game I soldered together myself.  It's got a 5x5 led "screen" and a single button.  So I'm gonna try to make a frogger type of game.  A couple of weeks ago I soldered the microcontroller programmer I needed.  So now all that's left is programming the thing.  I'll probably be putting that code up on github.

Then there's the dating site I'm building.  But I don't really want to get into that now...