A distinct lack of updates

11.02.2014

This coming Friday I have the interview I've been hopeful for since starting my 2014 job search. As such, I've been studying since the interview was scheduled, hence part of the lack of updates for you two people who read this to check in on me :)

With any luck, both the interview will go well and I'll have something of interest to post about. As it is, the rest of the week will probably be pretty silent here.

In the meantime, feel free to enjoy a little Sam Smith.


rambling

Thought of the Day

10.20.2014

It's an odd feeling when you're sitting in a job interview and hear through the phone "I'm looking at russellmania.com now..." without suddenly feeling very paranoid of what random trains of thought have made it here since 1999.

Granted, the site's been redone a few times so whatever content existed 15 years ago is gone, but since 2008 the content has been fairly consistent.

If nothing else interviewers will get a sense of my true self by reading here. Wrestling-watching board-game-playing gastric-sleeved-walking movie-collecting nerd. I think that sums me up pretty well. None of that has anything to do with prospective work, though. I'm still sticking to that summation regardless.


random

I Could Be a Proclaimer

10.15.2014

Monday was a milestone day for me. Literally. On Dec. 16, 2013 I started using the Nike+ running app to track my walks. 11 months and 136 walks later, I passed 500 miles.

That first walk at the end of 2013 was 2.5 miles. 2 months after gastric sleeve surgery I was still getting in "walking shape" and shooting for 20 minute miles, and 2.5 miles was a nice little challenge. After I would walk, I would pretty much be worn out and ready for bed. Monday morning, I walked for almost 2 hours and traveled over 6 miles. The best part is that except for some leg muscle soreness that kicked in about 3 hours later, it felt like a normal day.

Jerry sent me a text to warn me of upcoming storms later in the day (he's my designated weather alert system) and that if I wanted to go walk I should get a move on. We were on the same page, as I was on the tail end of my walk and heading back toward the car around Mile 4, where the Athens greenway hits the track behind the baseball fields of Athens High School.

The track intersects a 2nd greenway, which I've always hated as it's a 1.206 mile stretch where I have a hard time making out details and can't quite figure out how far I've got left. Most of the trail looks like this:

Nice, but nondescript. Eventually I made it out of the greenway and came out along Highway 72.

I still have a quarter mile left on my walk as I've started to park in the Lowe's parking lot. The greenway has a grassy area to park in, but I kept timing my walks with mowing schedules. Jsut to make life easier, and to add a consistent length to my walks, I picked a designated parking spot at Lowes.

It seems to work. Every once in a while I get a call from Gina asking "Are you walking? I think I saw your car."

So now I have walked 500 hundred miles. I guess I'll walk 500 more. I bet that song's still going to be stuck in my head for a while.


gastric sleeve

Unity Asteroids Pt 2

10.08.2014

After about 2 weeks I'm at the point I'm ready to call my little Unity Asteroid Shooter done, or at least 90% done. It's got laser particle effects, explosions, sound effects, and some begin/end screens. For a 7+ hour tutorial I played with for a month, there's a lot that it does along with a lot that's missing.

The one thing I skipped that's in the tutorial is keeping up with high scores. The tutorial uses the UserPrefs object, which stores values in the registry. Simple enough to use and implement, but I'd much rather use a plain text file for now than messing around with registry entries. Registry entries are a pain to track and debug. In addition, I haven't messed with any file functions in C#, and this boils down to some C# functionality versus Unity coding so it's a good excuse to learn.

I would like to better tweak the GUI of this game. I've got a couple of ideas to play around with, and it's more fun to tweak a working game than to experiment with something from scratch. If it starts out working and I break it, I can always back track. Phase 1 will be to change out the space ship model and associated effects. I think I've got a BSG Viper sitting in a directory somewhere...

I haven't posted the actual game to play, mainly because there are some licenses involved since I paid for the tutorial and associated assets. Plus I've never built a Unity project for "public" use and would feel really bad if I corrupted a computer with a memory leak or some such. When I leave the number of asteroids at the default set in the tutorial my monitors turn off after a minute or so and I'm forced to reboot. So I'm just looking out for you, the general internet public.

Plus, it's a fairly boring game unless you've spent a month getting it to work.


game dev video games

For Want of a Widgey

10.06.2014

My board game playing has been lax the past few months. My gaming with Jer & Keith has dwindled to where the last time all 3 of us played was back in March. Keith and I have played a few games since, even joining some of the Dealnews gang for some game nights. Overall though, my gaming interest has waned this year.

Maybe it's cyclical? In 2005 Jerry and I started playing games again after a 10 year hiatus. That 10 year hiatus followed a 10 year run of game playing. Granted, the last few years of that run were sparse in playing. Now we're closing in on the end of another 10 year run of playing.

I know part of my problem is due to the type of game I enjoy. I'm very much an Ameritrash gamer. Games that ooze theme and lots of pretty pieces appeal to me. The drawback for these is that generally the rules are thick and take a while to learn, plus the time and effort to set up all of those pretty pieces for a game. When you want to play a quick game of something for the first time, the games I like take longer to set up and learn than to play. There have been many times where we've learned partway through that first game that the game in question just isn't for us, which leads it all to feel like a wast of time.

The games we've played lately have been quick, semi-abstract (to me) games like Splendor, Quantum, and Smash Up (which was completely over my head). All are good games and enjoyable in their own right, except for Smash Up - it's going to take me a while to get the hang of that one as there's a lot more going on that I originally thought there would be. These games play more as a classically thought board game in that you, as the player, don't immerse yourself into the game via an avatar.

Immersion into the game is more fun more me. It tends to lead toward more social interaction, which is the real reason I play board games. Ticket To Ride is a lot easier to play on a computer or iPad and let the software take care of all the bookkeeping, but it lacks the fun of taunting and goading other players as well as cursing them to their face when a route you want is taken. While I don't feel like I'm the train in Ticket to Ride, I feel more ownership of the routes I'm placing which puts me in the game. Maybe it's because pieces aren't picked up and moved, but placed and forever stay? I hadn't really thought of that before now....

The games I've most enjoyed of late have been those in which I immerse myself. Star Wars X-Wing has been the game I've been playing the most, and each time I feel like I'm in a dogfight inside a Star Wars movie. The X-Wing game has led me to find that I'm a fan boy of the publisher, Fantasy Flight Games, which I've come to think of as the President of Ameritrash as all of their games reek of theme, have lots of pretty pieces, and even better - most of them have expansions which pile on even more theme, pieces, and rules.

It's those expansions which may be burning me out on the games I enjoy. As with Car Wars in the 80's, enough content can be added on to a game as to make it encompass so much that it gets bogged down to where it's almost unplayable. But, I don't want to get behind in the rules or miss some cool new thing, so I have to keep up with the expansions. Expansions I end up not caring about or using, but my completest gene of acquisition forces me to collect.

With all of the above, I still like board games. I don't want to get rid of the closet full of games I've still yet to play. I feel a little guilty for not playing as much as I think I should, but forcing myself to play isn't really fun, and shouldn't playing games be fun?


boardgames rambling

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