Jan. 20th, 2014

terriko: (Default)
This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

I’ve been brushing up on my android skills for work, since I’ll be helping do security reviews on Android apps. Since I hadn’t written an app in ages, I thought it would be fun to take an Android 101 course on coursera just to force myself to do a couple of assignments and learn some of the things that come from actually writing the code and not just reading about it.


Some of these things-you-only-really-learn-by-doing kind of suck, like where I hit a bug in the hardware acceleration that caused me to lock up my entire computer requiring a hard reboot. Or discovering that making screenshots from the Nexus 7 emulator is apparently a Sisyphean task.


Frustrations about the fiddly bits of development aside, the assignment was ridiculously easy (although given that I used to *teach* a mostly equivalent Java course, that’s not a surprise — I’m really only in this for the deadlines, although the prof’s forays into computer history are pretty fun too.) The first part was an explicitly-defined app that I didn’t find interesting, but the second was “make an app of your choosing!”


So here’s what I chose:


Screenshot for "Mystery Munch" -- my very simple android game Screenshot for “Mystery Munch” — my very simple android game


Mystery Munch is half a battleship game: you click around to find the “food” hidden in the grid. It has no graphics, but it’s smart enough to make random layouts and notice when you won.


I always liked marking the game assignments best, back when I was a teaching assistant, so I figured I’d make a very simple game to amuse my peer reviewers.


The apk is here, if you actually want to play. I’ll get the source code up later once I figure out how I want to share it. Additions to the game will be welcome if anyone wants to make something from it!


This is the product of a Sunday afternoon of coding (I’ve been doing the course on work time, but I figured to save questions about releasing this code, I’d do it entirely on my own time), so it’s not amazing, but it’s mine and I’m amused by it! I’m thinking I might make some silly little pixel art to make it prettier and do some iterative improvement just because I can, if I don’t get sidetracked by another game I’ve been wanting to make for a while…


Incidentally, in case anyone’s wondering: I totally aced the assignment, and it seems I amused my peer reviewers. Mission accomplished!

terriko: (Default)
The game I finished today is Nelson Tethers: Puzzle Agent. Despite the similarity in names, it's not very much like Puzzle Quest, the last game I mentioned.

Telltale games presents / Nelson Tethers: Puzzle Agent / A dark and twisted puzzler

"When White House inquiries to the Scoggins Eraser Co. are answered only with curious puzzles, Nelson Tethers from the U.S. Department of Puzzle Research is sent on the case."

If you've ever played Professor Layton and thought "you know what this needs? more inexplicable gnomes. and also screaming" then this is the game for you!

For those who haven't played the Layton games, this is similar in that it's a mystery where you wander around the game world gathering clues and solving brainteaser-type puzzles to get more clues. It's got a neat sketchy art style, entertaining voice acting and music, and a creepy little storyline. (Spooky, but not so much scary as surreal.) I found the puzzles clearly explained, and there's a hint system if you get stuck. (much to my surprise, the game told me at the end that I'd never used hints, so I can't tell you how good it is.)

I'm a pretty big fan of Telltale thanks to Monkey Island, and this fits a similar but not identical adventure game niche in my life. Less snark, more weird, but still enough clever to be fun.

According to Steam, I put in about 3h of play, which makes it a pretty short game, but it's fun and currently only $5 (plus, you know, steam sales & game bundles). If you're into brain teasers but don't have a huge amount of time for a game, it's worth checking out!
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Dragonskin Slippers by Jessica Day GeorgeDragon Flight by Jessica Day GeorgeDragon Spear (Dragon Slippers) by Jessica…

Dragon Slippers, Dragon Flight and Dragon Spear by Jessica Day George

Creel's aunt tries to sacrifice her to a dragon in an attempt to attract a knight who will marry Creel and raise the status of her whole family (and most importantly, her aunt), but it goes awry when Creel decides that she doesn't want anyone to get hurt and decides she's going to make a deal with the dragon instead. But who'd have thought dealing with dragons could have such far-reaching consequences?

Fun! Adventure! Girls and dragons as friends! A smart and resourceful heroine! Politics, culture, embroidery, annoying little dogs and monkeys! For all that it definitely plays into archetypes, it's still clever enough in the details to warrant a read. My inner 10 year old is very pleased with this trilogy.

Note: I came at this one having read the first two of the author's Twelve Dancing Princesses books, one of which I previously reviewed.

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