Mission Statement

Perhaps I should define the purpose of this web site lest I forget what I’m doing here …

I want to program games and other sophisticated software and set these up for other people to enjoy. As well, I’d like to give back to the greater programming community by providing articles helping others who are facing the same learning curves to new technologies that I had to climb. I’ll be posting my code insights on my development site (Alan’s Dev Site)

My current interests are learning how to and building games and other Android apps that might be useful or fun for myself or others. This leads me along many different paths of learning. So instead of battling to learn these new things and then forgetting them or hiding them away in my personal notes I thought I’d like to publish them so others could have an easier time as many others have helped me along the way. My games, so far, are developed with Cocos2d-x in Android Studio and NCurses in C++ on a Ubuntu linux box.

Many more projects wait in the background. I’ve had lots of fun building software for projects that I’m interested in developing. Here is a quick but incomplete list:

  • Basic to C translator – Way back when I bought my first personal computer (Atari ST 1040) I thought it would be fun to type in the numerous Basic programs that I had access to. However, I quickly outgrew an interest in the Basic language so I decided to take some of my compiler writing skills and build a Basic-to-C compiler. It works but I wanted to make it more sophisticated. I wanted to change it from a line-by-line translator to a program that would dis-entangle the icky GOTO code of the past and automatically make it clean and structured.
  • Empire (Game) – I enjoyed this game on old Unix systems and spent many hours playing it. It was a NCurses game (character graphics) of war with incomplete information (everything was hidden). You had to explore the world that you inhabited with armies, fighters and a variety of naval vessels. Eventually you would bump into one or more of your enemies … sometimes with a big surprise if they had amassed a big force. The game would turn out fairly complex as you wouldn’t know where your enemy had expanded. To top things off your knowledge of your enemy would grow stale. So that unit you were keeping an eye on might have moved elsewhere and left an “after-image”. I’ve recreated the game but it is currently in NCurses and C++ and I’d like to move it to the Android world now that I have some chops there.
  • Strategic Forces Battle Calculator (SFBC)– I’ve been a long term fan of Star Fleet Battles (SFB) and Strategy&Tactics (S&T) games and now that I’m able to program the Android platform I thought a battle calculator would be a good idea. This SFBC would keep track of my pieces and basically allow me to make battle decisions without worrying about all the fiddly stuff that goes along with those games. One of my old friends, also named Alan, years ago built a Damage Allocation program for SFB … and since he wasn’t a programmer by trade I couldn’t let that slight go unanswered ;-). By this time I had a son that was also interested in playing SFB. However, the project bogged down because entering the SSDs (the ship plans) into the computer was a major impediment. But now, many years later, I’ve got a graduate degree saying I know something about vision software and I’m learning Android so I thought … . Yep, my idea is to have Android with it’s camera take a picture of a SSD (for SFB or a more general version for player designed games) and automatically convert it to a in-memory data structure that can be used in my battle calculator. I’ve actually built the test programs with OpenCV that demonstrate most of what I need to do. All I have to do is put it all together… that should be easy! Right?!?
  • I’ve got a bunch more projects on the go and actually speaking their names here on this site might provide the impetus to complete them. So keep watching …