Thursday, July 19, 2012

So, I Decided To Create A Superpopular Videogame: Part Two: I did a little reading...

I bet you thought about my plan to create a superpopular videogame and become a multibillionaire in doing so, and possibly also help humanity or something, I haven't thought that far ahead yet, but the reality is I did not forget about it, I have just been working on all sorts of stuff and in the bizarrely oblique schedule I use for when I write, when I work on other projects, when I create t-shirts, and when I spend time running to Target at 7:30 at night in a driving thunderstorm so that we can get Mr F some new hangers to play with, Superpopular Videogame doesn't come around all that often.

We really did have to go last night to Target to get hangers; Mr F likes tapping things, things like spatulas or wooden spoons or these little pink-twisty-things that you get at the Dollar Store, but his favorite thing to tap is hangers, and his favorite kind of hanger to tap is the plastic kind that you get only at Target.

When I got home from work yesterday, Sweetie told me that we had to hurry up and eat pizza (YAY!) because we had to then go out to Target (Huh?) to get hangers for Mr F because he's broken the two he had and had been disconsolate and upset for the past two hours.  (Ohhhhhh!).

So we did those things, and ended up with me carrying Mr F and Mr Bunches across the parking lot because it was covered in an inch of water from the deluge that poured down on us as we drove there, and we went into Target where we bought:

-- A spaceship-and-trucks Matchbox cars set for Mr Bunches.
-- A book about Peek-A-Boo Elmo for Mr F
-- Two shirts, one a Spongebob shirt and one a Chicago Cubs shirt.

I am not a Chicago Cubs fan as I don't care for baseball or Cubs, but the shirt was on sale.

We also got three of the hangers Mr F likes, so he's very happy, and that prompted a discussion between Sweetie and I, as the reason we bought the shirts is that I say it is morally wrong to go into Target and just take hangers without buying the clothes the hangers were on.

Sweetie says the opposite: she says you don't have to buy the clothes because the store doesn't care about the hangers and backs that up with testimony from one of the boys' therapists who used to work at Target and says that's true, but here's how I vanquished Sweetie:

Me:  Would you just walk into Target and take hangers, without buying anything?

Sweetie: No...
And so I proved my point.   I think.

I'm typing this up as I'm waiting for something called Eclipse to download.  This is not the Eclipse science-fiction book I wrote that probably would have been shortlisted for the Pulitzer last year except the Pulitzer people didn't know it existed, and which you should definitely click that link and buy because it's pretty much the best story ever written and it's only $0.99.

No, this is the Eclipse that Java For Dummies, the book I am using to learn to program the Superpopular Videogame, said I should download because I have finished chapter one of the book (I told you: I have lots of other things I do. See, e.g., Target coat hanger-y things, about which I forgot to mention that Mr F got three hangers last night and we only bought two shirts so I hope that stealing hangers is only a venial sin) and having finished Chapter One of the book, I am now apparently going to begin actually programming a video game and so I need a program to do that with.

I am learning a lot.

In fact, I see that it has finished downloading, and so I am going to go try to open it up and see if I have correctly downloaded it.

That is not the only thing that I have done, though, to learn programming.  I also downloaded a game on the boys' Ipad called "CargoBot," which is supposed to teach me to learn to think like a computer programmer, and which is kind of fun. The game itself involved a robotic arm, and a bunch of boxes that have to be moved from one place to the other, and you have to program the robotic arm to pick up and move the boxes.

It sounds simple, but it's not, because what I remember hearing about computers turns out to be true of CargoBot: computers take you literally and do nothing that you don't tell them to do... while they continue to do everything you ever told them to do until you tell them to stop.

In that way, computers are pretty much the exact opposite of children, but far far less expensive and when you stick them in a drawer because you're done with them, nobody gets all upset.

CargoBot is supposed to be the first game created entirely on the Ipad, and when I read about it and how it used a program made just for that purpose, I thought to myself "Hmmm... shortcut and I maybe don't have to read this book and download that program..." but then I thought to myself what I always told the kids, which is this:

In everything you do, the easiest option is almost certainly not the best option.

And so I'm reading the book anyway, and downloading the program anyway, and I'm going to kick myself if it turned out this Codea program really is the best option, but if that turns out to be the case, I'll say something like "It's the journey, not the destination," even though that's true only about 40% of the time.

Off to try to figure out how to open up that Eclipse program!

UPDATE:  Can't figure it out.  When I click on it nothing happens.  I have to do more reading.  Or more playing CargoBot. 

1 comment:

Andrew Leon said...

I have to disagree with you about Eclipse. I'm only about half through the After, but it's better than Eclipse.

Do you keep your kids in drawers when you're not using them?