• Jason

The Three Words Project

As long as I can remember I've always wanted to make games. For the last 20 years or so I've been learning to code so I could do just that.

Really, my first foray into the world of coding and scripting was a program called Hypercard by Claris Works (for anyone who remembers it, you'll be conjuring up memories of "virtual stacks of 3x5 cards for digitally storing recipes and grandma's address for Christmas thank you cards."). Hypercard used an internal scripting language called Hypertalk. It was not a powerful language by any means, but it was an easy entry point into how computers process basic logical statements and a good way to learn about the power of other basic coding structures like the why-is-my-computer-crashing-while loop and the why-is-the-fan-running-so-loudly-and-my-compuer-just-crashed-again for loop.

My very first project was built using Hypercard and ResEdit. As I recall, ResEdit was literally shorthand for Resource Editor. This amazing beast would let you drag any program onto it where it would then digest and regurgitate a directory showing all the program's constituent resources.

At this point in my life I was a fledgling musician and wanted nothing more than to record the stuff I was writing - but I wanted to add drums, keyboards, bass lines... you know, all the cool stuff that makes songs sound like actual songs. At the time though DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations for you uninitiated heathens) weren't really available to the general public. Not unless you had thousands of dollars lying around. I think the largest reason for this was most computers people could afford at the time wouldn't have had the processing power to run them anyway.

I found another program called Soundeffects. This little cutie was a freeware program that let you record several seconds of audio data from an analog source. When I say several seconds I mean, maybe a couple minutes tops and even then your computer would start to choke a bit. The really important thing here was it would let you add several channels to a single file and copy and paste audio data from one file to another. This meant I could manually play all the parts I wanted and mix them into a single loop in Soundeffects, then use ResEdit to make these loops audio resources for a Hypercard stack, AND THEN use Hypertalk to create a program that would play these loops in a specific order. Voila! I had my first "sequencer" and called it "Pattern Füzer." I'm still not sure how umlauts work or if that's how you even spell umlaut.

I have not finished a single project that required coding since - not in my personal life anyway.

Back here in the present I realized this seeming inability to finish projects wasn't and isn't just about coding. It's about a lot of things, probably, according to friends and cruise ship filled with drunk therapists. In an effort to mitigate the issue, at least in the realm of making games I hatched a devious plan: The Three Words Project.

This project would have five simple rules: 1) Obtain a random adjective, noun, and verb from a bunch of people. 2) Make simple games using these three words as inspiration.



My hope is that getting into the habit of finishing these projects will enable me to finish a more complicated idea later. Whether these games are considered fun, stupid, fun and stupid, idiotic, terrible, terribly idiotic, or just plain dumb is not really my concern at this point. I just need to get in the habit of finishing projects.

The first one is up there, in the Current Projects section and it's called Sparkly Nacho Prance. I hope you'll give it a shot and let me know what you think.

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