Day: January 4, 2007

Five Things You Don’t Know About Me

Okay…everybody else is doing it. I guess I will too.

1. My cousin is my sister. Okay, please pay very close attention as I explain this. The tortuous intricacies of my family history have driven more than one man mad.

Hmm…given that, maybe I shouldn’t post this…

Oh, what the heck. What’s the worst that could happen?

All right. Once upon a time, I was born. When I was four years old, my birth mother gave me up for adoption and I was adopted by my birth mother’s brother and his wife. They already had a girl just about my age. So my cousin became my sister, my uncle became my father and my aunt became my mother.

My mother then had one more son by my father before finally leaving him, since he had long proven himself to be completely unfit as a husband, father, and human being. (He made an excellent example of what not to do, and to this day I cannot help but grudgingly admit that it was watching him make my mother cry over and over that instilled in me a deep desire to never ever do that to my wife ever.)

So my mother was now unattached with three kids. This did not bode well for future marriage prospects. Fortunately she met a man at her job who was everything her previous husband was not – he was and is a fantastic human being and provided me with a very nice counter-example to my previous father. They married and eventually had another son.

So my family consists of six people – me, my mom, my stepdad, my sister and my two brothers – three of whom are really my aunt and two cousins, and three of whom I share no blood with at all.

2. I have a buck tooth. This is not anything special; what’s special is how I got it. See, when I was about five or six, I started feeling a hard lump in the roof of my mouth. Having never lived before I was unaware that this was anything abnormal. Then one day my mother was dressing me and suddenly forced my mouth open. After looking inside and ascertaining that I indeed had a misplaced tooth growing out of the center of the roof of my mouth, she took me straight to the dentist, who pulled it out. No worries. Except that it had grown out far enough to push one of my front teeth out of place and as I got older it just got worse. So no acting career for me!

I placed second in a state-wide programming competition when I was in High School. This was probably in 1988 or so, back when I was living in Georgia where I grew up. The competition consisted of writing several programs that exhibited certain behaviors (including one that, now that I look back on it, was very much like a linked list) in a certain amount of time. The machines were all Apple IIs and the language was Integer BASIC. While I was disappointed with second, I observed that the guy who placed first was the trademark “brilliant programmer with zero social skills and no hope of ever getting any more”, so I figured that placing second and still being able to carry on a conversation with another human being was probably more desirable.

I once lived in a crack house. This was pretty soon after I got to Austin. I had been living in a rented house with another roommate. I got suspicious when I started seeing him less and less and then finally I got a note from him saying we had to be out of the house. Turns out he’d taken my last month’s rent money and kept it for himself. He was a real bastard – he had an absolutely gorgeous girlfriend (and I’m not exaggerating here – she was on a local fitness program on TV) but he cheated on her every weekend.

So, anyway. Me, no place to stay. A friend of mine at work tells me he has a friend with a room. I’m desperate so I go. Now, I could tell right away what kind of place this was, but there I was, suitcase in hand, nowhere else to go and the guy tells me that $50 a week will be fine. So, I figure what the heck.

Thus started several months of gunshots outside, wild partying and screams of “He won’t give me my junk!” I can quote an entire Body Count album to you; I certainly did not learn those lyrics of my own volition. I never felt like I was in any real danger – the guy who owned the house really liked getting $50 a week for basically doing nothing and I didn’t make any trouble so I was pretty much untouchable. And I learned how to play dominoes really well.

In my senior year in high school, I tried out for the school’s production of The Wizard of Oz. I really wanted to be the Cowardly Lion since he was my favorite character from the movie. So I went in and read for the Lion.

Then the director had me read for the Scarecrow. Then she had me read for the Tin Woodsman.

Then she cast me as the Wizard because I could do a bunch of different voices and the play used the concept from the book that the Wizard appears in a different form for each character.

The play was a hit, making more money for the school than any other in its history. This peeved my sister who had been in the previous record-breaker just a year earlier.

Planitia Update 3

Unit Drop.

I’m using a better grass texture (although it still looks weird since that’s the only texture) and I’m now using a plasma I generated for my heightfield data. And I finally have units.

The unit is a simple billboarded quad. He moves autonomously across the terrain and his height is being constantly adjusted to match that of the terrain below him. I can’t pick him yet, but I can drop as many of them on the heightfield as I want…and now that I think about it, a horde of them would have made a much better-looking screenshot. Ah, well.

Next up, unit and terrain picking. Oooh, that’s going to be a pain. You may say, “Just grab some existing code!” and yeah, that would work, but the whole point of this is to understand all this stuff.

Once I get picking, I will probably go ahead and implement a very simple, fairly standard RTS using the classic three types (barbarian, warrior and archer) just so I can get the interface right.

Or I might just put in a god power or two. Picking a unit would make it possible to zap said unit with the lightning of Zeus! Which would be fun.