Posts Tagged 'adventure'

Across the US: Our Great Adventure: Conclusion

We finally have some new photos to show you. There is a new album we may add to in the future called Washington DC. It will be a collection of photos we take while visiting the Capitol. There aren’t many photos for the moment, but below you can see one of a few we uploaded.

From Washington DC

Most of you probably didn’t see the last photos we added to our Across the US album. Make sure you go look through the album (you also may have missed some of the captions we wrote).

From Across the US

Oh, and I didn’t tell everyone when I made a special Google Map to show off all the places we spent the night on our trip across the US. That map can be found here.

There is a lot to tell, and there is also a lot to do still. There is and has been plenty of work around the house ever since we arrived. I wish I could have had more time to write in the last few weeks so I could have told you about when Sophie started saying “no” to everything, or to post a video of her walking backward for the first time. If I had more time now to write I would tell you all about what we’ve been up to and who we’ve seen and visited since we arrived.

I wish there weren’t any more boxes to unpack, so I could sit here and detail all of the fun that we’ve had and all of the plans that we’ve made. It has been an adventure, it really has. Oh well, maybe another time. Quickly though, here are a few things about each of us.

Wacom Graphire3 USB Tablet

Wacom Graphire3 USB Tablet

As for me, I’m still working on transitioning to my new workplace and getting problems with my pay resolved. I’ve loved using Ubuntu on my laptop (for any of you who remember when I installed it) and we recently picked up a used Wacom Graphire 3 Tablet that will be fun to play with. The image at left shows a mouse on it that works with the tablet, but mine is used and the mouse was missing. It’s OK though, I already had a mouse for my computer. ūüėČ The tablet works pretty well (already got it doing awesome pressure sensitive brush strokes in Photoshop) and I look forward to having more time soon to play with it.

Rochelle also has some neat things going on. She has found a friend in one of my old High School aquaintences that happened to be living in the area when we moved here. They go occasionally to a book club and other girly things, and they can even hang out during the day while I’m at work from time to time.

Not that she’s terribly excited about it, but we finally got a vacuum to keep our floor from looking like the ground in the Amazon rain forrest. In more exciting news, she’s geting a new phone (a nicer one than mine). Her old phone was so crummy that she only had around ten minutes worth of talk time when the battery was full, so she’s really looking forward to the new phone coming at the end of the week.

Rochelles New Phone

Rochelle's New Phone

Micah has been a Pok√©mon fanatic lately. We got a couple of used Gameboy Advance systems for cheap and found two old Pok√©mon¬†game cartridges (the ones I played when I was little) on eBay and Micah has been working hard on raising a team of Pok√©mon that can defeat mine. I let him win once, and ever since then he’s been determined to do it again. He has been playing Pok√©mon Yellow version (see the article for the first generation Pok√©mon games) and I’ve been reliving my first time through the game playing Pok√©mon Red version (the very first one I got when it came out in the US). My brother and I created many fond memories playing Pok√©mon, a game that completely surprised me (I honestly thought it was going to be lame until my brother talked me into it and I started playing).

There is just too much to tell about Sophie. She is proving every day that she is smart, cute, funny and completely independant of her parents. She walks, she runs (swinging just one of her stubby little arms violently off to the side) and she tries to jump (though she never gets both feet off the ground at the same time).

Her speaking skills are accellerating. Just the other day she said, “up, please” super clearly, and has been using it to be held ever since. She started saying “No” a few weeks ago and that has become her most frequently used word. Also a couple of weeks ago she was starving and watching her mom make a sandwich for her. In a fit of hunger pains she pleaded, “pleeeeeeease, sand-wich.” The “sandwich” part was ultra clear and deliberate.

While we were figuring out the cell phone thing for Rochelle at the Verizon store, Sophie decided to pretend to be a dog. She had never done it before, and nobody had ever shown her how to do it (that I’ve seen). There she was, though, crawling around in circles on the floor making barking noises. It was pretty cute.

Sophie’s main obsession is bothering her brother. Micah used to pick on her a lot when she was a helpless little infant, but lately he’s been leaving her alone (for the most part). We warned him that if he picked on her when she was little she might pick on him back when she got big, but he just scoffed at us. Now, though, she won’t leave him alone. He likes to sit out in the family room to read on the couch, and she is pretty good about playing with toys on her own. I’ll leave them like that for two minutes to use the restroom, and when I get back I find that Sophie has climbed up on the couch and is whacking Micah on the head (sometimes with her hands, sometimes with a turkey baster or other random implement).

He tackles him when he’s on the floor, she pushes and hits him the rest of the time. I always make sure to tell Sophie to be nice and leave Micah alone when he asks her nicely to stop, but I also like reminding Micah that he had it coming.

I think that’s pretty much the best stuff I can remember right now. There really is just too much to tell. I’ll have to force myself to make time to sit and write this stuff more often. I really do have to go get some things done now though. Thank you all for your love and support (if you’re a friend or family member – otherwise, thanks for reading).

Game Project

RPG Maker once brought simple game creation to the masses. Back then, from my perspective, it was the first and only one of its kind. I recently discovered other, similar ideas (some dating back before my first experiences with RPG Maker), but my first love was RPG Maker 95 (which, to my squealing delight, I was able to find cached online and I downloaded it!).

I bring this up because I have recently been feeling a desire to make some games with and for my son as a way to educate, engage and entertain him.

It all started when I was playing (and rather enjoying) a very simple game on my cell phone. Unfortunately, the game required no longer than fifteen minutes to complete, but it called to mind hundreds of ideas for similar, longer games that I could create on the computer and would be simple enough for a child to play.

I know some limited Visual Basic, so when I see something like a simple point-and-click cell phone game I often think to myself, “I could do that.” I am wrong sometimes, but if I can’t do it I find a way to do it or I find someone else who can.

The sad thing is, if I had set out a month ago when I had the idea, and just started making the game, it’d be done by now. Unfortunately, this is not possible with me, as I outlined in a previous post. In fact, I specifically brought this idea up in that post when I mentioned that I had an idea for a game that has since evolved into an idea for a game creator and editor.

Uncharacteristically, I was able to restrain my ambitious tendencies and keep the game type specific. My game/game maker was to be for a simple scene based game where the user can click on and interact with items in a static environment, changing scenes with simple navigation buttons. In my technical write-ups I was often tempted to add in functionality for scrolling or 3D, but I kept things as simple as I could within my already exploding idea.

Today I was working out a few of the technical aspects of my idea when it occurred to me that the project had grown larger than my plate. I was either going to need to enlist outside help, or find someone else who has already done what I wanted to do.

So, I came up with a plan. I was going to outsource the programming. I found a site online that offers programmers for hire. Unfortunately, I have no money or budget for this project, so I set that idea aside and decided to look for communities of programmers that do programming work for free (yes, they actually do exsist, but they are difficult to enlist). In order to pitch my idea I needed to write up a very detailed description of what I wanted to accomplish.

I planned on creating a main page with Google Sites, then drafting up more specific, technical documents in Google Docs with schematic drawings and images. I would advertise it by linking to the project homepage with a quick plug at several developer community sites and forums. In thinking of what I could write for the project’s introduction, I had an idea.

That’s when I remembered RPG Maker. In a sense, RPG Maker was a lot like my idea. Rather than just make an RPG, the creator of RPG Maker made a program to assist anyone and everyone who wanted to make an RPG. I wanted to do the same thing for a much more lame type of game. The boring, static, simple games. So, just for the heck of it, I decided to research RPG Maker in preparation for writing this entry, and that led to something else, and one thing kept leading to another thing…

What I’ve discovered is that the game maker programs are out there, they’ve just been hiding (there is even one called “Game Maker“). I found dozens of free tools that offer all of the functionality I had planned for my big project (I think) plus a whole lot more. Obviously, I downloaded a bunch of them. Now I just have to install and evaluate each of them to find one that I can use for my purposes.

I’ll be sure to let you know which one I like the best and I’ll share whatever I create with you (many of them will be targeted at or designed by children, but there might be a little something for you too!). If I were a little better organized I would have been saving links to the sites I found while doing all that research so I could list them here. In fact, if I were less lazy I could just go to my browsing history and pull it all back up.

Just because I’m nice, here are two that I found that look promising. The first is called Game Maker by YoYo Games and the second is called Adventure Game Studio. I’m pretty sure I downloaded at least one more, but I really can’t remember which one(s). Oh, and I downloaded RPG Maker 95 too, of course!

Stay tuned for updates on this exciting new adventure!

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