But Can I Make Pong?

I’ve been reading quite a few articles on game development – something I hope to do eventually – and came across one article titled “But Can You Make Pong?” After making a handful of 1% finished project, I decided to create Pong and actually finish it. So far, it’s going well.

To create Pong, I chose the LÖVE 2D game engine. I used the very scientific method of googling “open source 2d game engine” and it looked easy enough to use. It uses the Lua language, which is also new to me but seems to be a popular one for games and there’s certainly no harm in knowing more programming languages.

This past weekend I actually started it, and made a decent dent in its progress. So far I have a start screen, the main game screen, and the game over screen. The game itself consists of the player -controlled by the up and down arrow keys – and the ball that starts in the middle and shoots off in a random direction, bouncing off the top and bottom walls as well as the wall opposite the player.

Much of my time was spent on collision detection, and making sure it occurred at the correct place. Reflecting the ball off of walls was surprisingly easy – I used two variables to track the velocity, dX and dY. When it hit, say, the top wall, its dY gets multiplied by -1 and it continues on its way.

Next up is to improve the title screen, add a timer to use for scoring and make the ball speed up over time. Maybe for added difficulty I could make the ball go from larger to smaller as well.


Pong as of 1/28/13

Elian Script Introduction

Elian (pronounced ELL-ee-enn) script is a lesser-known way of writing the letters of the English alphabet. To learn how to write and read this script, I suggest starting out by reading (or at least skimming) the PDF document provided by ccelian.com, the official website of the script

Because of the loose rules with how you write the letters, you have a lot of freedom to write in different styles. This would be one of my eventual goals, to come up with my own preferred style (maybe even an “everyday” version and a fancy version). However for now I’ll just work on memorizing the alphabet and some extremely common words like “the”, “and”, and “you”. Heck, let’s go one better and consult the Most Common Words in English list! Hopefully studying these and recognizing them as “just another way that [word] is written” will get my brain thinking the right way.

In addition, I will try to at least write the word of the day in /r/elianscript to keep in practice. I also now have a notebook to practice writing. An eventual bonus goal is to write the Elian-related blog posts in Elian, but I think that will wait for now.


The Start of a Productive Year

With the start of the new site 13Skills.com, I am attempting to not only learn at least 13 skills in 2013, but document the process on this blog. I’ve never really blogged steadily before, so it’s a test of my dedication to it as well. So in the year 2013 I plan on developing skills in at least the following ways:

  • Alternative Energy – Learn to Learn how to put together and maintain a battery backup system.
  • Coding – Learn basic concepts behind 2D game making and FINISH an original game.
  • Cooking – Learn to cook meals on a regular basis.
  • Fitness – Work out at least two times a week. Work up to being able to run at least 5km. Also try the Paleo diet for at least one month.
  • Meditation – To meditate regularly, at least two times a week, to improve mental health and concentration.
  • Money Management – To keep track of money going in and out, and pay at least 40% of expenses with cash.

Some are much larger than others, but all will improve some facet of my life. You can view my 13Skills profile to get an overview of my progress, or just keep tabs on this blog. I will tag each post with which skill(s) it’s related to.

Thanks for reading!