My Secret Life as a Spaghetti Coder
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Like many programmers, I started doing this because of my interest in video games. I was 6 years old when I first touched a computer. It was an Apple IIe and I would play a game involving Donald Duck, his nephews, and a playground (I forget the name of the game). I was hooked, and took every available chance to play that I could.

Subsequently, I got a Nintendo and played all sorts of games. Super Mario Bros. was my favorite, of course, and it greatly inspired me. After a while, I was spending more time planning and drawing levels in my notebook for two-dimensional side-scrolling video games than I was playing them. It wasn't long before I envisioned my own game console.

Fast forward a few years to when I had a computer of my own. As I recall, it had a blazing fast 80368 processor running at 33 MHz. With 4 MB of RAM and a 20MB hard drive. I was set.

Nibbles Screenshot I spent a lot of time rummaging through the QBasic source code of Nibbles, attempting to figure out how it worked, and modifying it in places to see what happened. Eventually, I got sick of looking at other people's code and decided to write my own. Once I figured out how to PRINT and INPUT, I was ready to program my first text-based adventure game (I think I was 12 or 13 at the time).

Since then (in the last 15 years or so), I've kept the dream alive, but haven't done much to pursue it. Some friends and I spent a night trying to figure out how to program a MUD, I spent some time working with OpenGL (but found it too tedious for what I wanted to do), and started a couple of web based games that never got far off the ground except for fleshing out concepts and plots for the games.

Anyway, recently on Ruby-Talk there was a question about programming a game and a couple of good responses that gave me some resources I'd like to share (and record for my future inspection). Here they go:
  • Gosu - a "2D game development library for the Ruby and C++ programming languages."

  • RRobots - a "simulation environment for robots" whose source code I'd like to peruse.

  • Game Programming Wiki

  • Novashell - a "high-level 2D game maker that tries to handle all the hard work behind the scenes" from Seth Robinson, creator of one of my all-time favorite games, Legend Of the Red Dragon. (Incidentally, one of my friends and fellow ANSI artists from the BBS days, Zippy, did some art for Part II. Unfortunately, I couldn't find him online.)

    Seth also has some source code available for several games he created. By happenstance, I stumbled across him while searching for domain names for the UH Code Dojo.

  • RPG Maker XP - A graphical game engine that "is equipped with the Ruby Game Scripting System (RGSS), based on the Ruby language and customized especially for this program."

  • Gamebryo - the granddaddy of them all, this engine has been used by Civilization IV and The Elder Scrolls IV. No telling how much it costs though.
Do you have any others to share?

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Fun. I've been goofing around with SmartFox server (it's a raw socket server) lately. I think I'm going to try and make an extension to smartfox for ColdFusion. Have you tried playing with a socket server yet?

Posted by Steve Nelson on Jul 29, 2007 at 09:25 PM UTC - 5 hrs

I can't say that I have. Something like that may have come up in our few nights of looking into writing a MUD, but that was so long ago I'm not willing to say I ever worked with it. If I did, I probably didn't understand a bit of it, being the young, dumb programmer (or so I thought) I was.

Java looks like it makes it easy though:

So integrating that into CF might not be so hard. I'm not sure how it'd work though -- I'm interested though.

What are your plans?

Posted by Sam on Jul 30, 2007 at 09:07 AM UTC - 5 hrs


Supermario has been also my favorite game almost 15 years.
I just foun parody version of mario. i don know what to think about it.

Posted by ana garrido on Jan 13, 2008 at 11:07 AM UTC - 5 hrs

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