For those of you who may not have read any of my previous posts about it, I made a silly game in Java several years ago. It is called Lightz Out. I ripped off everything about the game directly from a handheld toy called Lights Out, which was manufactured by Tiger toys. When I say that I ripped everything off I mean it quite literally. I copied all fifty of the boards (which was quite a challenge, as it required that I solve them all), the audio on the applet was recorded directly from the game, I even programmed the same first two moves for help.
I did that all just to see if I could. I am not a programmer by any stretch of the imagination. In fact I knew so little about how to do it that everything that happens in the game is handled in the paint method. That meant that I actually programmed probably at least a thousand lines of code that would not have been necessary had I actually known what I was doing. But, I did make it work, and people are still playing it, and emailing me about it. I doubt that will happen for very much longer though, as even on my PC it is no longer playable, since everything is happening in the paint method, and since this computer is so much faster than the one I used to program it, the lines all blur when I try to screen it into the picture, and they never come back. I guess if I was viewing it in larger resolution that wouldn’t happen, but even at that I would probably go blind from the incessant flickering.
Usually when people email me about the applet it is because they have to program something for a computer science course in college and want to see the source code. I am almost embarrassed to send it to them, even when I do it is with a huge caveat. They still probably just look at it and wonder what in the hell I was thinking when I tried to do it the way I did, that is what I think when I look at it most of the time.
The most recent email I got about the game was yesterday. This one was unique in that the person enjoyed the game, but thought that I had made it far too easy. He was wanting to know if I had plans to add more difficult boards. I sent him a lengthy email that basically said no. The entire point of the applet was to see if I could make an exact online copy of the handheld game. I succeeded in that (well to a point, as it doesn’t seem to work all that well with faster computers) and have no intentions to ever look at the source code again, it depresses me.
The next thing that I decided to program in java was a cribbage game. I got as far getting images for all of the cards into it and the initial deal. It was at precisely that point that I realized I would have to program AI for it so that you could play it alone. This meant two things, first the computer would only be as good as I am at cribbage, as I would be programming his choices based on the cards he was holding. Second, there are 14,658,134,400 different ways the six cards can be dealt to the computer, that is a lot of possible hands to program. Even after assigning numbers to the cards based on suit, possible 15s, possible flush and possible run, then making it line up the cards based on the highest possible point value, I was still left with millions of possible combinations to program. Not that I am a quitter or anything, I didn’t actually give up on it, no, no, I have just put it on the back burner for the last five years… I wonder if I actually even have a copy of the source to that one anywhere, the unfinished code for that one was at least five times the size of the finished code for lightz out.
Let this be a lesson to me you; never decide to become a programmer if you have never had a day of training in your life. It will save you a lot of headaches and wasted time.