Monday, November 21, 2016

Research on Javascript Game libraries

My kids are getting to be the age I was when I started programming.

Because one of them has looked in to Javascript programming on Khan Academy in the past, I've decided to do some research on Javascript game libraries.

As a fan of Roguelike games, rot.js needs to be mentioned. It's also pure Javascript and BSD-licensed, so it may be possible to integrate some of it with something else.

So... GitHub makes it really easy to see the popular Javascript Game Frameworks.

There's also a site dedicated to HTML5 game engines, which lists popular frameworks not present on GitHub.

And, lastly, but probably the most generally useful, the Mozilla Developer Network has a considerable section devoted to games, game frameworks/engines, as well as referenced to various tools to support publishing your JS/HTML5 game as an app that can be installed/played on phones/tablets.

It is important to note that in both the two lists of game engines/frameworks the Phaser came out on top or very near the top. Also, the Mozilla page has three game examples: one written in pure Javascript, and the other two written with Phaser.

If I were to pick a framework off-hand, I'd probably pick Phaser.

Since the project is primarily for my kids, I wound up searching for "game creators for kids" and wound up looking at a post on Common Sense Media about game design and kids. That pointed me at Roblox, which -- honestly -- may be about the limits of their interest for now. The MMO with paid membership thing maps directly to what one of my kids has been obsessed with for some time.

Gamefroot looks potentially interesting, but Roblox claims to support Amazon devices, while Gamefroot only supports iPhones. Considering my kids have Amazon devices and not iPhones, that definitely tips things in favor of Roblox. (And Gamefroot, honestly, seems to have some load issues which would be frustrating for them.)

Monday, August 29, 2016

On a Gender-Neutral "Mister"

I don't understand something.

The feminine form of Doctor is Doctress. It's not used anymore and spellcheck in my browser doesn't even recognize it. It's kind of sexist and implies that a female Doctor is somehow different from a male Doctor.

And yet, the feminine form of Mister is Mistress. It is still used, but is so over-sexualized that you don't find it as an option of official forms and such. It is, however, equivalent, as a Mistress is independent and can make her own mind up about anything and everything. She is neither dependent upon her father -- like a Miss -- nor her husband -- like a Mrs.

Why have we not moved toward a gender-neutral Mister? If it were gender-neutral, it would also meet the needs of the folks who would otherwise like a non-gendered title. (A group that is frequently subject to push-back and prejudice.)

Making it gender-neutral also bypasses all the old-farts who would refuse to add a new title to their official forms by using a title they already have.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Ten Years Ago: Where would I like to see myself in 10 years?

It feels like fairly recently that I was complaining that I couldn't clearly see what the future held in store for me. Well, this is something I wrote 10 years ago, thinking about the future and how I could achieve what I wanted.

Where would I like to see myself in 10 years?

I would like to be a contract programmer. I'd work 3 months to a year at various locations in the area. There would be two weeks to a month between contracts in which I didn't need to worry about money or jobs. Most jobs would require a commute of at least 30 minutes, while some would require an hour. There may be some smaller jobs (3 month) requiring a commute of up to 1 hour 30 minutes. I would do some independent work on the side.

[Note: This was written before I got my job at my current employer -- 10 years ago this August.]

Career skills: [redacted]


I would like to continue to be happily married. Within 10 years, I expect to have children, or have decided to either not have children or to adopt. I would like to have the time to spend with my family and wife. I would also like to have time to share some of my projects with my kin.

I would like to reconnect with my spirituality. I would like to find a group of people also interested in my particular varient of polytheism. I would like to comfortably grow in to my spiritual path, and in so doing grow further as a person. 

Option 1.

I can see myself reaching a [redacted] position and then stagnating. My skills will slowly lose value with relationship to what is in demand, and then if I lose my job, I won't be able to find further work in the field. This could happen within 10 years, and if so, I will wind up back as a cashier in a department store. 

Career skills: [redacted] 

Projects: None

I see myself getting stupider and meaner. There is a chance I'll develop a dependency problem on alcohol in an effort to make life more livable. I will hate the person I've become, and that self-hatred will be reflected in my relationships. If I am still married, it will be an unhappy marriage. If I am unmarried I will have so thoroughly lost sight of who I once was, that I will continue to follow in the established downward spiral. If I have children, they will hate me almost as much as I hate myself.

My desire for spiritual growth will have devolved in to a vague loathing of all religions. I will be able to remember that I was once a polytheist, but I will be unable to reconnect spiritually.

Option 2.

I can see myself reaching a [redacted] position and then stagnating. As my skills slowly lose value, my personal relationships continue to deteriorate. Eventually, I can't take living with the person I'm becoming. I pick up some hobbies, and I enhance my skill set. I never reach a point where I telecommute, but I find steady contented employment until I retire.

Career skills: [redacted]

Projects: STEW: Python, X11 UIs, Ncurses

[STEW was my last big project before I switched to writing and music.]


I feel that this is more likely to happen after divorce. It is equally possible that both the divorce and the loss of a job could happen concurrently. This would be a call to re-prioritize my life, to reevaluate where I am headed, and to reconnect with who I am as a person. If I have children, I will be lucky if the divorce happens before my relationship with them is irreparably harmed, as I will be significantly better at being a father afterwards. I will have friends, and spend time with them, though I will explicitly avoid romantic relationships. 

I will fearlessly pursue my spirituality, knowing that it doesn't matter if I become too divergent from the culture at large to find another relationship. It will be primarily a personal path, as I will be uncomfortable with spiritual intimacy with another person. I may write a book and speak at various pagan conferences, either of which would allow my beliefs a wider audience. 

And that's it. No other options listed.

So, ten years ago, I predicted that without personal projects I would wither away in to a shallow husk that hated the world.

I also saw a future with personal projects and happiness post-divorce. 

Sure, my projects have changed, and I'm happily employed full-time (though I have recently re-considered contract work as a way to supplement my income) but there's some real truth in this.