Sunday, November 23, 2008

IncrediBots: Physics Sim or Toy?

I've been playing the free online sandbox physics game IncrediBots and I'm enjoying it. I'm tired right now but I wanted to post a simulation of a bot I created, which I'm calling "Multi-Extend Schrang." It has four pistons, with a motorized wheel on the end of each. It can handle a number of terrains. I'll be putting up a video soon of how it handles some of the obsticles I've tried to cross with it.

Controls: QWER to extend pistions (left to right respectively) and ASDF to withdraw pistons (left to right, again). Use the Left and Right arrows to spin the wheels (they all move at once). Notice that the bot can stand on only two or three pistons and still move.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Weird Programming Languages

As if programming wasn't weird enough already, some people have taken it into their hands to design programming languages for humor value, or just to show it can be done. A great place to start is BF, a language designed to be extremely minimalistic while still Turing Complete (able to do certain calculations). It works in terms of a long "tape" of cells, in order from cell zero on to (theoretically) infinity. The program controls a "pointer" which moves from cell to cell to preform operations on the number stored in each cell.
The following program inputs two numbers, multiplies them, and outputs the answer.
Multiplication is repeated addition. The program is no more efficient than counting on your fingers, but it's automated. There is also a brilliant ZZT engine that simulates it and lets you see exactly what the program is doing. (This doubles as a proof-by-simulation that ZZT is turing complete).

BFZZT multiplication in progress
Here's my multiplication program, mid-way between multiplying 2 by 3 (I use small numbers because of how long the program takes to run when I slow it down to a speed I can watch!).

Other weird programming languages I have recently read about include LOLCODE ( a work in progress, not finished yet) that goes something like this:


This would be so much fun to program in.

Friday, September 12, 2008

lightBot, a programming puzzle game.


So, you have to get the robot to light up all the panels. And you have to do it in a limited number of moves. And you have to re-use code to save space, because you can only make two functions and their length is also limited. Great programming challenge.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Nanogame 24HOZZT finished!

The contest is over, start submitting those ballots! Voting stops tomorrow at midnight GMT. All the games are zipped together here.

Nanogame 24HOZZT ballot

The themes for this contest were: Sandwiches and Elections. The following games were submitted by the deadline.

=- Pancake's Election Game -= by Pancake
The Ultimate Sandwich by Quantum P.
Sandwich Quest by Schrödinger's Cat
Royal Sandwich by qrleon

The voting categories are:
A. Relevance to Theme (how well the game stays on topic)
B. Most Visually Appealing (how good the graphics are, relatively speaking.)
C. Best Use of Space (how much the game makes of the one board permitted)
and the bonus category is:
*. Funniest Dialogue (a reward for humor)

EDIT: and Best in Show, of course. Sorry for forgetting earlier.

Please select the first, second, and third best games for each category (not counting your own) and send me your ballot in the following format:

Relevance to Theme:
Most Visually Appealing:
Best Use of Space:
Funniest Dialogue:
Best in Show:

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Nanogame contest

EDIT: The contest has begun! The themes are: Elections and Sandwiches. You don't have to use both. The judging will be based on Relevance to Theme, Most Visually Appealing, Best use of Space, and a "bonus" category I will reveal when the judging starts.

Email me your finished game (as a zipped .zzt file, please, even if it IS only one board) when you are done. Resubmissions are allowed, but use common sense and don't send me hourly updates or I'll have to dig through all of them at the end and I might not get the right file into the judging.


Okay, I'm choosing a list of possible themes and judging categories for the Nanogame Contest. It starts when there is one day left on this countdown clock.

Rules: Anonymity available upon request, but not required. Email me your submissions when you are done. Late submissions will not be graded. KevEdit and ZZTAE are allowed. Games must be one board in length (including the title screen). Questions may be asked on the z2 thread or in the Meebo Box in my last post (I will have to sleep, however).

EDIT: I registered #nupanick on, you can go there too.

Monday, August 11, 2008

My Meebo Room

Guess what? I can embed things in HTML here, too. Here's my Meebo room, in case I need to host a chat someday. Meebo is an awesome chat website that works with a number of chat protocols, including AIM, MSN, ICQ, and Google Chat (but not IRC). You can log onto all your IM accounts at once using the Meebo interface, and you can host your own chatrooms on Meebo's own chat protocol. Here it is.

Create a Meebo Chat Room

Saturday, August 9, 2008

What is ZZT?

Now I'll use this space to explain something I've gotten all too tired of explaining: What is this ZZT thing I talk about? Well, since if you're reading this you're probably connected to the internet, you can look it up on Wikipedia but for those of you who want to hear my personal opinion I'll give it in full here.
ZZT is a dos game with a level editor. That's the gist of it. Now into the interesting stuff. ZZT doesn't stand for anything, the title was chosen to be arbitrarily late in the alphabet and is unrelated to any band or song. The level editor was originally subscription-based but is now freeware and is in fact built into the game, allowing anyone to make their own level. The game itself tends to consist of running around, shooting monsters, and grabbing items (but if you make your own levels you can change this, of course). The levels are saved as separate files and can be easily distributed (which is allowed now that the game is freeware) and can be found on a number of websites, although the biggest archive of games I've found so far is on z2. z2 is cool but the forums are extremely violent and sarcastic so if you don't want to have to wade through the sarcasm I'd suggest Belsambar. Belsambar has much less activity (I post there, and there's some spammers, and maybe some random people who show up, feel like they're in a giant empty room, and leave), but at least you won't have to carry a metaphorical marker and posterboard to tell people when you're not being sarcastic.
Oh, did I mention? ZZT has practically no graphics. That is, where you might expect graphics, even a pixelated animation, there is ascii. That is, you have mostly letters and numbers and stuff, but also a decent-sized set of lines, rectangles, and smiley faces (not the sideways kind, real smiley faces!). To get an idea of what I mean, here's a screenshot:
New Player's Guide to ZZT menu 1_01
This screenshot is from a game I'm making for the sole purpose of teaching new players how the built-in tools in ZZT work, because some people starting with the new games take time to learn the basics of shooting monsters, pushing blocks, and navigating mazes.
There are even ZZT games about ZZT games, like Syndrome, a game listing all the Syndromes shown by first-time ZZTers when they make their first games. These include "big empty room syndrome," "not enough ammo syndrome," and "I-gotta-fill-up-the-screen syndrome." Playing this game should help you figure out what not to do, if you want to make a game.
There are external editors that let you use a few more colors, copy and paste large chunks of a room, or import object code from text files. Oh, yeah, you can program your own objects to make the game more customized. You can do most of what you need from the built-in editor, though, and there's all sorts of games inspired by ZZT in some way, like MegaZeux, Plastic, Zig, Bang, and others. Choose whichever suits your style best, but ZZT is a good place to start because it's simpler than most of those.

I started a group for ZZTers on Steam but that gets less activity than Belsambar. There are IRC chatrooms where ZZTers sometimes meet but thet's only a community hub, if you actually want to talk about ZZT your best bet is Belsambar or z2.

Maybe I'll give a tutorial next time, please leave your comment if you want to see more like this.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Whirled World?

So, there's this cool online game called Whirled where you can play games to get coins, spend coins to buy furniture for your room, and make your own furniture so other people can buy it to add it to their rooms. And, it's all in flash, so you can embed your room in a webpage like this.

Whirled is by the same awesome folks at Three Rings who made Puzzle Pirates, but my link today is to Whirled's home page. Open Beta at the time of this writing but it's improved a lot already.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

New name

Well, I decided that there's really only one thing I'm likely to do with a blog, and that's to list my rants and links where people who actually want to see them can, as opposed to every random person I meet on the street. Actually, is anyone here? Does anyone know I exist? Aw, why do I care. Maybe someone will read the archives someday, maybe I'll just end up using this as a journal so I don't forget my rants or whatever.

Anyway, I'm changing the name to "I Saw This Thing Online" because that's what many of my rants start with when I give them in person.

I should probably actually post a link while I'm at it. Well, if you've read the archives you know I'm into ZZT, and there's a wiki for it and everything, so here you go:

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Great Computer Animated music videos and Portal

I saw this thing online, an album of rock music or whatever with computer animated videos, but here's the thing: the videos are of robots and machines playing music! It's awesome and I hope I can embed a playlist in a blog:

My favorite so far is track 05: pipe dream.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Portal ZZT

So, I was watching videos of Valve's great game "Portal," And I decided to try to make a ZZT game with the same theme. I would post it here but like the LUser I am I can't seem to upload a non-image file. Oh well, I'll figure it out. And when I do PortalZZT will be here.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

First Post! Oh, wait...

Ok, so for all those who care, this is my first blog of any kind. As far as I can tell, it's like a street corner that you can ramble from to anyone who'll listen, but without leaving your house or risking getting arrested. I might say something worthwhile eventually, but until then feel no obligation to come back. If I do end up doing something worthwhile here, you now have the bragging rights to say that you read it when it first started.