Diary 2018-12-14

By Max Woerner Chase

Ugh, I messed up my right arm somehow. So I'm writing this while contorting in order to hopefully stretch out the tendons.

Anyway, I got Pijul working. I'd like to find the source for the Pijul book, because I think it needs some updates. Also, now that I've heard of e30e/e98e, I kind of wonder what the Nest's policy is on that kind of boundary-pushing/art.

All that aside, I got a Pijul repo going, and since I have PICO-8 right here on my machine, I stuck an empty PICO-8 project in the repo, and committed it. This was slightly tricky, since I don't know how to navigate outside of PICO-8's save location from within PICO-8, so I made a softlink in the save location, into the repo, and this seems to work. Once I established that this works, I stopped touching the repo, and did some sketches yesterday. It turns out that, even though it's easy to describe tic-tac-toe and set it up on paper, doing so relies a lot on human intuition and the physical properties of paper itself, so I need to formalize that. I feel like the various people online saying "do tic-tac-toe to start with" are missing emphasizing that point: when making a video game, you need to, somehow or other, get the internal state of the game to show up on the screen in a way that the player can interact with; without this, there kind of isn't a game; thus, you might as well start with a ruleset that is relatively simple, and has a completely canonical form. Once I've got the display working, I could look into making 4 by 4 by 4 by 4 draft misère version, or trying to implement other simple turn-based games on a grid. Alternatively, look into things besides PICO-8 because I assume it's still hard to make big games on it, so I'd like experience with other systems.

Before any of that, I need to get the stuff I sketched off paper and into documentation. That's something that I need to work on: making systems that actually work is about doing the paperwork needed to make sure I'm not breaking them, or creating a broken design.

That being said, I also got back into trying to solve Cryptopals challenges. (Huh, no ssl. That feels ironic.) I'd been away from them for apparently almost a year, because I'd hit a mental block on how to express the prerequisites they wanted me to write for one challenge. See, I've been writing the solutions to different challenges as command-line tools, and that ceases to make sense in challenge 12, so I've been kind of stalled out for a while. But, I changed up the interface, and now it's just a question of how to consume it. For all that I was implying that I'm just doing whatever here, I think I'm going to need to sketch stuff out for this, as well, because the logic involved is complicated.

I've got nothing more for now, time to get back to getting through life, in this case by going to sleep.