Monday, November 07, 2005

Super Secret Project Backlog

You know why everyone uses their blog to complain that they don't have enough time to do everything? Not me. That's why my entries are irregular. There is a limited about of evil ingeniousness to go around.

Updates on the following Super Secret Projects:

1) Robots: Tamiya makes lots of interesting kits for toys/robots. They're well constructed and not ridiculously expensive, but what makes them cool is they have lots of kits that are just components, like gear motors, chassis and drives, etc. So you can do what you want with them. Here's their "Tracked Vehicle Chassis Kit". It just cries out for some sensors and such. I also have another chassis (a walker) that needs a some electronics and the green guy in the back is a solarbotics Scoutwalker kit. Insert Harry Conick Jr's awesome rendition of If I only had a brain here.

2) Probably Un-licensable Game Software (PUGS): The architecture is finished. It's time to do the nuts and bolts. To keep this from being a mostly pointless excercise I'm going to use built-in tests from the start. I've been reading up on NUnit and Test-Driven Development and I want to see how it works for me. The problem with card games like this is that nearly every card invokes some kind of exception to the rules, so the trick is to not have a base line set of rules that you modify for every card. You build the rule set from the cards in play; every time a card is played, you reconstruct the current context.

3) Girl game (for lack of a working title): This is way on the back burner. I have a list of nebulous ideas that need some focus and structure. I've long been interested in the elements that can make a computer game fun for girls, besides things like tediously collecting the right combination of shoes and make-up so your princess/avatar can snag her may-uhn... There's a real niche here, once people figure it out. The Sims, basically an electronic dollhouse, is on the right track. You can build, solve problems, and watch the environment evolve. Even though I found it tedious in the extreme, it is a monster hit. They sell it at Office Depot for heaven's sakes, and I don't think teenage boys are the ones buying it.

4) Solar Cooker: I need to build the insulated oven-box, and figure out a good way to mount the reflectors so I can easily take it apart for storage. We have 6 ways to cook food in my house: Gas Stove, Electric Oven, Microwave, Crock Pot, Charcoal Grill and Solar Oven. Not to mention the bread machine and hot air popcorn popper. Whoops! I just mentioned them.

5) NaNoWriMo, which isn't really a secret at all.

6) Many others that have yet to be promoted to Super Secret Project status.

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