Learning Map – Spring 2017

A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge. – A Game Of Thrones (George R. R. Martin)

I want to spend a little bit of time covering what I’ve been learning about in the past several months.

C#

One of my current goals is to become a C# “expert”. A Programmer’s Guide to C# 5.0 is the first step in a long series of steps aimed at making this a reality.

I had to think long and hard to decide between C++ (which was my main area of expertise as a student) and C#. In the end, I opted for C# since it’s more aligned with several of my projects (e.g. Unity).

I’ve studied (I’ll cover how in a later post) about 70% of the material in this book and I’m eager to learn more!

Core Computer Science

But why become a C# expert if my fundamentals do not keep up? Another of my goals is to take my CS fundamentals and make them world-level. That is a humongous goal in and of itself, so The Algorithm Design Manual is only my first step.

I’m about 40% done with this one.

Math

“Why didn’t I go with a more traditional book like Introduction to Algorithms for my fundamentals goal?” you might be wondering about.Well, I discovered that my mathematical foundations were weak. The last time a did SERIOUS math was when I took calculus back in my home country university (circa 2006…).

Weak mathematical foundations were unacceptable. After all…what is computer science if not applied math?. I decided to re-start from the beginning of the road (Arithmetic) with Khan Academy and re-build my knowledge without any holes. More importantly, this time I won’t let my math rust away.

I started with Arithmetics. I’m currently on Algebra one, and I’m planning on going to calculus and beyond…so I would say I’m barely scratching 10% on this one (probably less).

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A Game Of Thrones

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.”
― George R.R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons

Over the years, I’ve spent more and more time reading novels. To such an extent that it has been my primary entertainment venue for the last 2-3 years. I love it immensely.

At any given moment, I have several splinters in my mind regarding projects and side-projects I want to tackle. One of these was some sort of registry with all the quotes I’ve liked over the years. Something I can look back a few years from now and smile. (Ah! The introvert life! What a life!)

I’ve decided to create a series of posts curating my kindle highlights. I could attempt to do the same with paper books, but it would be too much work for the scope of this small project.

Let’s start with one book from one my favorite series (if not my favorite): A song of Ice and Fire, A Game Of Thrones

Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armor yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.

Would you rather be called the Imp? Let them see that their words can cut you, and you’ll never be free of the mockery. If they want to give you a name, take it, make it your own. Then they can’t hurt you with it anymore.

I like these quotes from Tyrion Lannister so much they are one of the main inspirations behind a game I’ve been planning for quite some time.

Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?” “That is the only time a man can be brave,” his father told him

Ah!…I love this quote. It has been my loyal companion since 2015, and it’s always in my mind whenever I’m stretching outside my comfort zone.

Speaking for the grotesques,” he said, “I beg to differ. Death is so terribly final, while life is full of possibilities.

Another quote from Tyrion Lannister. This one will be covered more in-depth some other time.

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Let’s Play Remnants of Isolation : COMPLETED!

I recently finished my first let’s play ever on Ursus Plays and I wanted to write a small post detailing what I learned in the process:

  1. Playing with audio settings was harder than expected. I had to adjust the mic vs game audio levels several times to be able to hear my voice over the gameplay. I think the last videos of the let’s play had a decent balance, but the first ones were TERRIBLE!
  2. At first, it was incredibly odd to hear my voice on the videos. I’m used to it now, but I still can’t get over the amount of accent I hear!. I could have sworn my English sounded closer to a native accent, but that’s not the case at all!
  3. Being able to talk while I play gets easier with time, but I think it’s funny how most of the things I talk about gravitate around describing my actions and combat strategies.
  4. I died (as in..I lost the game. I still can’t say “I died” in reference to a game without hearing my mom’s complaints about disliking that terminology) more than I’m used to in an RPG. I’m not sure if it’s the game’s fault or the fact that I was trying to play while speaking.
  5. I got a clearer sense of the kind of games that can be made with RPG Maker.

Overall: It was a lot of fun, and I’m happy to finally learn more about RPGs. I’ll let you know how this side-project continues when I finish my second game.

Oh yeah! I almost forgot. I made a WHOLE cent with my youtube channel. Fame and fortune..here we go!

Doki Games 1.0 is ready! [Archive]

This post was originally published on 2012-02-20. Unfortunately, Doki Games was one of the projects I had to cancel in order to study in the US.

You may remember that I decided to start my own flash game portal in order to complement my flash games :)….well the site us up and running as we speak (and by speak I mean…you read). The portal’s name is Doki Games, and  I have a few thoughts that I want to share about the development of the site…let’s start!

About the games on Doki Games

Since the “conception” of the site I wanted to have quality over quantity,  I had to play hundreds of games to pick the +-50 that I have right now.  I  think that I forgot just how many bad flash games are out there :S. Just that experience will help me a lot when taking criticism for my own games :p.

Anyway, most of the games are from mochi media, that is mainly because the parser that I made only works with mochi games (right now…more sources to come). I also added some other games “by hand” that I know are great 🙂 like Bubble Tanks Tower  Defense  O__O I REALLY LOVE that GAME!.

I noticed that the update rate of the mochi streams is kind of slow…so I’ll be adding lot’s of “custom” games in the near future 🙂 and I’ll try to add some more sources to my parser too.

About the development process

I’m using Server Groove to host the portal, and I think that it’s the best hosting for my current needs 🙂 THE BEST. If anyone needs quality PHP web hosting I would recommend Server Groove.  Besides the hosting, I think that I managed to make the site very fast.

The website was done in less that a month, that in itself is a proof that I’m not the same developer…I might be a little better now. The small development time also could be explained by my launching approach….right now instead of launching a “complete” site, I’m just launching a minimum viable product.

The current Doki Games has just enough  features to be launched and NO MORE. It doesn’t even have game pagination…but it doesn’t need all that right now :). In a few weeks I’ll be launching Doki Games 1.1 with some features to improve this current version.

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Introducing : Ursus Plays

The channel has been up for several weeks now, but I haven’t had the chance to talk about it until now.

Continuing with my side-goal of becoming an indie game developer, I’ve started a “Let’s play” youtube channel named “Ursus Plays”.

I’m painfully aware of how little gaming I do on a constant basis, and this seems like a powerful way to keep me accountable and encourage me to play more games. Here is the first video I even uploaded on the channel (I have about 9 at the moment); please excuse all the audio problems…I think I’m getting better on that front

 

Honestly, I’m not expecting the channel to ever become even remotely popular; that is not what my aim is either. My main goal is to learn more about game design and to have some fun in the process n_n. Having said that…I will try to improve the production values as much as feasibly possible as time goes on.

I’m currently in the middle of a Remnants of Isolation playthrough, and I’m planning on continuing with Magic Knight Rayearth; which incidentally it is the first RPG I ever finished.

I hope to write more about my experiences with the channel in the future, but for now, I’ll leave the link on my sidebar, and I’ll embed videos here from time to time. I hope somebody out there enjoys my ramblings!

Keen (and not so keen) observers will notice the name “Ursus”…more on that…later…