Blog


The Mystery of Tim Hortons

March 15, 2017, 11:21pm

Despite crossing through Winter Storm Stella, Lutetia and I made it back from Toronto in one piece! It was too cold in Canada to walk around much but we ate a ton of amazing food. There was one restaurant that has me totally baffled, and that is the ever present Tim Hortons.

What makes this donut chain so mysterious? First of all, it’s named after a hockey player named Tim Horton so where’s the apostrophe? According to Quora:

The company had removed the apostrophe after signs using the apostrophe were considered to be breaking the language sign laws of the Province of Quebec in 1993. The removal of the apostrophe allowed the company to have one common sign image across Canada.

Weird, right? That’s not all. Why does the Canadian Maple donut with a hole contain 10 more calories than the Maple Dip with no hole?

Hmmmm...

Canada, you were cold and mysterious but I had a great time visiting you.


Cold and Logan

March 13, 2017, 1:33am

Having lived in California my entire life, I’d never experienced a real Winter until this year. I was pretty nervous about it, fearing my blood would freeze or something crazy like that. It turns out, the cold is actually great! Aside from driving in the snow, which I don’t have to do much, I love it. Toronto is even colder than Cleveland, but it’s also quite beautiful.

Lutetia and I spent a good amount of time walking around today, stopping periodically to warm ourselves indoors. At night, we watched Hugh Jackman's final stint as Wolverine in Logan, appropriately in Wolverine's motherland of Canada. It was a great movie, even if it was a total ripoff of The Last of Us.


Oh, Canada!

March 11, 2017, 10:36pm

Whew, it’s been a long time since the last post. The last few months have been quite busy but I’ll soon be back to blogging and making games. But first, a short trip to Canada! More to come soon!

Lutetia at Niagara Falls


Week 31

November 21, 2016, 10:06am

Starting with a short trip to the Bay, followed by Tony joining me in Cleveland for the weekend, this has been a whirlwind week.

This week’s game is posted a couple of hours late but it sums up Tony’s tour of Cleveland: From the inspiring Lake View Cemetery, Cleveland Museum of Art, and Cleveland Orchestra to the rather uninspiring Cleveland Browns, to the whimsical Christmas Story House, Cleveland’s got it all.


Making a Block Game

November 12, 2016, 12:32am

To my many, many followers, you may be wondering, what have I been up to lately?

To start with, I recently celebrated my 31st birthday. I feel great, and am excited to enter this prime year of my life. (hey, math pun!)

Since then, I’ve written hardly any Equatia code. Fear not, for I have not forsaken my duties to the aforementioned arithmetic adventure; however, there are other obligations that require attending as well. Many new opportunities are arising, and I’m extremely excited for the months ahead!

One project that I can share is a game I’ve been working on lately. Out of the 29 games I’ve built over 29 weeks, this one is by far the most fun and addictive. Like, extremely addictive. I haven’t been able to stop playing it, and the music I slapped together in garage band late one night haunts my dreams. Download the game here for Mac or Windows.

I’m really proud of this game mechanic and wish I could say it was conceived in a burst of creative inspiration. The truth is that it came together quite by accident.

Sometime last month, I had an epiphany about Equatia: Instead of mapping the four basic arithmetic operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division) to weapon types (hammer/smash, whip/pull, sword/cut, flame/burn/melt) like in the original design, they could be mapped to the four classical elements (earth/smash, air/blow, water/cut, flame/burn/melt), which would open up a lot of design space. I spent much of week 26 working on elemental particle effects.

During this week, I was also studying up on computer science algorithms and data structures. In particular, I had been diving deep into graph theory, so there were crazy graph traversals and Big-O computations racing through my mind.

I intended to make a puzzle game where you combine blocks to generate different elemental effects that destroy the blocks. It was very complicated and confusing. Halfway through development, I stumbled upon the 2x2-adjacent-destroy function and it was so fun, I kept playing it over and over. It was clear that this was a superior mechanic, so I quickly pivoted and the rest is history.

Most of the game was built in one day, but I spent the following two weeks adding features and refactoring block destruction to allow for a more robust scoring algorithm. I’ll save that for another post.