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Building a Text Based Game with React.JS

 

This month or last month rather I began working on some of our projects and researching alternatives to PHP Games and SQL in order to make some of my text-based games. Let’s break the journeys down.

Blockchains

The first part of the journey began researching “Blockchains”. One of our games “The Guardians of Life” was designed to utilize a Blockchain to create a tangible asset for our pay-it-forward a game in the real world (ex. perhaps something like Pokemon Go, Ingress, but safer). The idea was to create an ecosystem (soon to be revealed) between Writers/Authors, Users, and Activists. At some point when I finish editing our blockchain “Guardians of Life” document I’ll post it here to describe how it would have worked; and how our ARG played into a system we hoped would help eliminate if not reduce poverty for some people and to promote non-violent, peaceful activism, while also creating a system to segregate Bad Actors.

For this project we looked to: Synereo Amp, Steem & Ethereum (our first real encounter with an alternative blockchain). We also looked at types of governance models for our companies and trust. This led us to “The Dao”. For those who don’t know “The Dao” was a decentralized autonomous organization, a company without leaders, fully democratic. Everything was voted on. It was promoted by the Ethereum developers who also ‘distanced’ themselves from it, while helping hype it. It was created by the Slock.It team and its creation revealed badly written Smart Contract code; and the idea that (1) Smart Contracts can replace lawyers and people, that the Code is the law, and (2) That if you can’t read Code then you shouldn’t use it. (3) That badly written code designed to be taken advantage of combined with a badly written language, means blockchains or Ethereum at least weren’t ready for this.

It also revealed to us that not anyone as Ethereum touted ‘could’ become a blockchain developer. That there was real security involved, and people had to really know and understand what they’re doing.

Since then some of my concerns have been:

  1. Do we need the Blockchain to create assets and implement our goals?
  2. How secure is “The Blockchain” and what can make it secure?
  3. How much will it cost to maintain the Blockchain?
  4. How can we remove Trustless and add “Trust” to our Blockchain and Service?
  5. How do we build a community with an economy around it?
  6. Which blockchain should we use?
  7. Should we focus on Blockchain as Services and Platforms coming out (There are blockchains as services and platforms (Microsoft Azure, Stratis, etc.))
  8. Is a Blockchain built on Javascript reliable enough? Should we look to something other than Javascript?
  9. How do we deal with Hackers and Security – just like we hire beta testers do we have to hire Hackers to test our security?
  10. What is a dAPP? What is a Web Application?
  11. How does a Web Application differ from a Computer Application?
  12. What is Meteor? (P.S. It’s a framework for Node.JS)
  13. What is Node.JS!!! (P.S. It’s a Javascript alternative to PHP)
  14. Why would I switch from PHP to Node.Js???
  15. And so on.

This is a big topic and its implementation requires some money initially. We plan to post our vision for our company and the Guardians of Life at some point, but for right now our focus has been building and developing tools, writing and creating games to add to our companies portfolio and to raise money.

Raising Money = Building Skillset

I have not been as focused on socializing and putting myself out there; this is because we’re not ready as a company. There are a lot of things I want to do before I go completely public. I want to have some tangible products out there so when people come to visit we’re not just showing them a dream but showing what we’re capable of building and how we’d like to build onto that.

My main priority is to build and strengthen my skillset, so that as the leader I am not just promoting an idea. I would like to hire people to delegate tasks like this ‘blog’, ‘posting on twitter’, etc. to them. All of this costs money. I feel that gaining skills and building some initial products and websites can help us with that. But since I can’t afford to ‘hire’ people, I’ve looked to other outlets.

Investments in Forex in the Cryptocommunity. This has been fun, but slow. I love it and using a combination of tools I’ve made some profits, but because I have not been paying attention it’s more like a long-term hold. It could be years until I see anything from those investments and that’s IF things don’t collapse. So there’s that.

My other focus has been simply building my skillset. I am an HTML5 Game Developer and Writer. I am not a very strong Programmer, but the one thing I love to do is creating and building up worlds, timelines, universes, and then making them real. I have a degree in Game Development & Simulation and I have programmed on and off for the past 10 years. I’ve been building websites on and off since Tables were used to build websites. I remember when the things I wanted to do on the web with just CSS and HTML couldn’t be done, and Jquery was the only Javascript library. Now in 2016 there are tons of tools open to me, and I’ve given in to the idea that the language I once hated Javascript is now the only language of the web, with its many libraries.

I’ve gone from wanting to create games one at a time for certain platforms: Android, Windows, etc. To shifting focus to Web Development. I always wanted to do that, to make my work as widely available to as many people as possible. But I can’t just have an idea, I have to have the skills to at least build the foundation if I don’t have the money. Or at least having a foundation in place so that the people I hire have something to look to as an example.

My current skillset projects: Web Applications

  1. Learning and building my Developer’s environment or Stack, the tools I will use to build this company on.
  2. Learning Node.JS and how to use it as an alternative to PHP Games
  3. Picking the right Text-Editor and work-flow: (We chose Brackets)
  4. Learning frameworks for Node.JS: Pure Node.Js, Meteor.js, Sails.js, Horizon
  5. Learning the database that is right for me: RethinkDB, etc.
  6. Learning a Javascript library that is the right tool for the job: React.js with Redux
  7. Learning how to use Handlebars for our work.
  8. Learning & Using the Game Engine we’d like to use: Unity 2D, Phaser-Engine w/Typescript
  9. Building a Framework or Template for our text-based games.
  10. Finding an affordable place such as Heroku or Microsoft Azure to host my applications
  11. Learning and getting comfortable programming in our language of choice
  12. Building company specific assets and tools for our Games.
  13. And more (like picking up SASS and the preprocess Myth so that we can use ‘variables’ in our CSS and make our work clean and DRY (don’t repeat yourself))

Learning the hard stuff now, and building off of it. Starting where we are and building on top of it.

If I could invest time into something that could guarantee the success of this company, what I would invest would be in myself. Acquiring the skillset and tools necessarily to lay down a foundation before bringing in extra workers to help build on top of that flow.

Text-Based Game “Books you can Play” Built with React.js

We are currently developing a text-based game with React.Js (and possibly Redux). I think I spent the past few years trying to settle on an Engine, and felt limited by the framework and engines I worked with. Inform 7 was a great tool, but learning how to add pictures and animations to create atmosphere and affect was a problem; figuring out how to put it online another problem; but the biggest problem was that you couldn’t separate larger works into separate files, an entire game had to be contained in a single page and that drove me crazy.

I switched to Tads 3, but my problem with Tads 3 was that in order to remove the ‘command’ line and focus on keywords and menu systems I had to greatly rewrite or hack into it. I didn’t want to do that. So I looked into Ren’Py which was art heavy, Choice of Script, Twine, Undum, Squiffy, Quest, all of these were great…but somewhere in all of that I just decided that I wanted to use and build my own tool that was designed specifically for me and what I wanted to do for it and with it.

I wanted a pure HTML5/CSS3 Text-Based game or “Book you could experience and play”.

  1. I wanted to add atmosphere to it similar to the Lost Odyssey “dreams” that you read with Kaim. Subtle, little leaves falling across the page when you pick up an old book, gentle music, fog. Interactive and engaging with what you’re reading.
  2. I wanted a big world you could explore like Mass Effect, but text-based in Blue Lacuna style.
  3. I wanted an Oregon Trail style ‘learning’ adventure with a menu system, while having a deep world you can explore and learn about like Sid Meier’s Pirates.
  4. I needed it to not only be friendly to people who were new to Interactive Fiction but also to attract people who enjoy interactive fiction in general.
  5. Most importantly I needed the flexibility to use that template to create other games and to build upon it.
  6. It also needed to be KISS (Keep it simple), Reusable components and programming code, DRY (don’t repeat yourself), Simple, Small.

The idea is that create LESS code to output more work. To do this I am learning skills that are initially hard and new, but the learning of them will create LESS work overall. This means React.Js and Redux will be what we use to build our User Interface for the game, we want a tiny bit of code to go a really long way. Zen. Simple. And that’s the type of engine I am working on creating in the background which will be the foundation for all future books you can play that we put out on our website.

I am excited to be working on this project, and that the skills we are using are being used to build ‘this’. We have other games on the work; but for the most part this is where all our attention and resources are at right now. Occasionally we focus on writing, but building this template is where it is at.

 

Parenting & Spirituality

Juggling parenthood, meditating daily, growing as a person and integrating that into my lifestyle is a process, it is my work. For the most part I know that my work is part of my lifestyle, and will always

When we say spirituality though we are often referring to Emotional and Mental Health and well-being, but also concepts like meditation, mind-body, Zen, love and compassion, and sometimes energy or the universe. Not everyone will be attracted to this mindset or like that, but that’s what fuels our work. My life is constantly balancing my thirst for maintaining Wu-Wei, effortless effort, Zen, compassion, love, growing, learning not to analyze and judge, to just be with people. Translating those experiences. Parenting while also building a dream or a vision. The best way I know to do that is to integrate everything together into a single lifestyle as a whole. And this is the product/output of that.

Naturally this blog gets neglected at times, but behind the scenes we are busy, busy, busy.