Inspiration is coming few and far between with these projects, but when I do get the urge to work on them I make pretty good strides towards my end goal.
I worked on the game a little bit yesterday, I got the main game structure working, with statuses to tell you what part of the game you are in, which is all part of the games flow. The next step is to import all of the question and answer data into the game itself. I already have code written that takes the HTML files from J! Archive and parses the data. Right now i’d say I’m about 40% complete.
Ideas for the game:
Have a random game load or choose one yourself, maybe by number, maybe by a menu with a list of all of the games?
Ken Jennings challenge mode: Play all of the games that Ken Jennings did, see if you can beat his dollar or game record.
Well, it’s lunch time at work, more to come later!
Worked on the game a little bit tonight. Spent all of my time writing a function that prints out a question in a neat and readable manner, below is an example of what a question will look like (this one is very easy!). Feels good to get that function wrote, small steps on my way to a big product.
I also thought of a way to manage the game play while riding to work this morning. I wrote it down and plan to implement it soon. I also need to do some more graphics and get all of the question data loaded into the game.
I’ve made a bit of progress since last posting about a month ago. I have all of the data downloaded from the J! archive website and wrote some code to do text parsing on the html pages so that I can get only the data I need, which is the question, the answer, the category, and the dollar amount. I have ran it on a few of the games and have fixed a few minor errors with the script, but I have yet to run it on all of the data.
I started programming some of the graphics using a graphics engine developed by some U of M students called zenilib. It was a pain to get it set up using windows 7, but once I got it running I started studying the code and have a little bit of a grasp on it. I currently have some of the structure done, I have to work on that a little bit more and work on integrating the structure of the game with the question data.
Just wanted to write these ideas down so that I don’t forget them.
Handheld N64 emulator using Raspberry Pi
Simple Idea, nothing revolutionary. It would be a fun project to work on while delivering a cool result. Details would have to be hammered out when I start.
Facebook memory App
The other day on a routine trip to the grocery store I was having a conversation with one of my roommates. I got to telling a story about homecoming that happened Junior year of high school. After I told the story I was hit with an emotion of a mix of sadness and joy. Joy in the fact that I had this great memory and was able to recall it and share it with someone else. Sadness in the fact that there might not be a point in my life where I will remember it, either by the action of forgetting or not being reminded of the memory. This gave me the idea of writing things down, almost like in a diary, but just short little blurbs that would remind you of this thing that you had done in the past. After watching “the social network” movie, I realized that facebook would be a good platform for this type of thing. You could write your ideas in almost a twitter style format, while tagging your friends that were there and documenting the date that it happened. It would be everything that facebook timeline isn’t. It would give the user the ability to add anything to the timeline. I would have to make it so that it is different from a normal status update and would have to learn how to write apps/extensions for facebook.
I haven’t posted on this in awhile, been busy with school and sports trips that come with being a part of the band that I had to stop working on these for awhile. But alas with summer coming up I am back and ready to get started up again.
At the moment I am currently downloading the entire J-archive.com website. At first I was trying to write my own perl script to do this, but after watching this video, I learned the method that Roger Craig used to download the same website. He downloaded it so that he could study all of the questions and see where he needed to study the most. He currently holds the single game money record for a Jeopardy! game, so obviously his method worked. I am not downloading it to study for Jeopardy!, but rather to make my game to play against my roommates for fun.
Using graphics and the Wii mote for control are some ideas that I’ve been thinking about and that I don’t think would be that hard to implement and would make the game much better.
I’ve decided to start working on the Jeopardy project that I mentioned in my previous post. It is the easiest for me to get started because it the only one that does not require me spending some money to get the necessary materials.
First step in the project is to get questions and answers (or answers and questions) from the J-Archive website. I’ve already began work on a few perl scripts that will comb through the site. Just a few minor adjustments are needed and I might be able to get all the data in the next few days. My biggest challenge for this was learning perl, as I have never used it before. I used a lot of internet resources like these:
Introduction to Perl for Mac
Simple Perl String and Numeric Manipulation Handling
Parsing Text Files
Parsing HTML with HTML:Parser
Perl – StringsPerl – If Statement Syntax
Perl – For Loop Syntax
So far I have gotten my scripts to parse through the HTML to correctly retrieve 99% of the correct answers. Tomorrow I will begin work on the other 1% of those answers and matching them up by dollar value and category. After I do that and I have all the data it’s time to learn how to program games in C++ with graphics.
Here are some ideas that I have for new projects and the motivation behind them.
Launching a weather balloon into space to take pictures and possibly gather data.
I recently applied to an astronautics company for an internship, and while I didn’t get the job it still re-sparked my interest in space. I remember reading about Project Icarus awhile ago and thought it might be something cool to replicate.
Jeopardy style computer game.
I got a Wii for Christmas, and being the nerd that I am I fell in love with the Jeopardy! game that was made for it. Because me and my roommate play it so much we started running into repeat categories and the game starts to get pointless when we’ve had 50% of the questions already. My idea is to data mine on the J! Archive website and use that data to make a computer game, possibly using the Wii-motes.
Tactile programming for the iPad.
My idea for this is to make an interactive tool to easily teach the basics of a programming language using a touchscreen interface that would make it easy for beginners to understand the concepts.