Tom Ortega II

Archive for the ‘Video Games’ Category

Jack of All Trades, Master of None

In Kids, Programming, Tech Writing, Video Games on November 2, 2010 at 8:00 am

I just figured it out. That stupid saying was probably introduced to me early on in life.  It’s a very teacher and parental thing to tell a kid. Most adults have a hard time finding that one thing they’re great at. It would be unfair to plant the notion that there’s more than one thing.

Here’s the thing though. I’ve lived what…35 years of my life in misery, literally, misery and agony trying to find that *one* thing I’m supposed to be master of.

Self doubt sucks

“Is it art?” I wondered until my portfolio quite literally blew away in the wind one day in high school. “Is it writing?” Fiction or non didn’t really matter to me. I wrote a novel, poems, short stories, news articles, technical articles, etc. “Is it programming?” I was good at it in the eighth grade and it’s paid the bills quite steadily since December of 1997. “Is it conferences?” A short stint proved that while fun, that certainly was *not* it. LOL

“Why can’t I figure this out? What’s wrong me?” Every other day, I find myself alone somewhere (my bed, the shower, in the car, heck, even the toilet) and I ponder that. I wonder why I’m broken. “35 years and you still don’t know what you want to be when you grow up.”

See, that’s the thing. I figured you had to be *something*. You had to be a Master of *something*, else you’d be a useless Jack of All Trades. I wanted a sign, from God, from my parents, from my peers, anywhere. “Let me know what it is and I’ll be there. I’ll dedicate my life to it.”

It’s all a Lie

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Thoughts on Adobe vs Apple from a guy standing between them both

In Adobe, AIR, Apple, Business, C++, Flash*Flex*AS, Kindle, Mobile Platforms, Playstation3, Programming, Technology and Software, Video Games on April 29, 2010 at 12:02 pm

I’m a developer.  I’m an entrepreneur. No company is responsible for my success or my downfall.  I am responsible for seeing the industry and (re)acting accordingly. As a developer, I know the pains of learning new technologies. As an entrepreneur, I know the pains of someone trying to tell me how to run my business.

Apple won the RIA War without ever joining the battle

Just about a year ago, I was chatting on the phone with Steve Weiss of O’Reilly Media.  I made a statement to him then and, sadly, never made any noise about it.  I think I held back the noise because I have a long relationship of working with Adobe and their products. I didn’t want to admit that I was probably right, so I said the statement, felt the pain of its truthfulness and tried to forget it.  The statement was simple:

“Adobe and Microsoft are trying to push this RIA term.  They’re trying to convince the world that this is a technology they want and need. They’re each trying to instill their own vision of that world: Adobe with Flash/AIR and Microsoft with Silverlight. The one thing that everyone’s missing is this: Apple has already won. iPhone apps are THE most widely used Rich Internet Apps.  Apple has silently won the war and no one’s even noticed. All they have to do is enable iPhone apps to run via Safari (for cross-platform support) and they’ll have crushed both Adobe and Microsoft’s dreams.” That last bit I was off.  Rather than upgrading the iPhone apps to the Mac, they upgraded the size of iPhone OS device and created the iPad.

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Staying Happy During Tough Times

In Business, Kids, Video Games on March 30, 2009 at 6:54 am

I know articles like this are bad news.  People losing jobs is not good for their psyche or for the economy.  Or is it?

I’m an odd egg, I get that.  I see life in a slightly skewed way.  The result of this is that I love experiencing everything: the good, the bad and the ugly.  I have contigency plans.  Should I ever get to the point where I have no job or any leads at all in the tech field, I’m looking forward to trying my hand at selling cars and flipping burgers.

In regards to selling cars, I have a list of ideas I’d use to help me be a great salesman.  I even went to 3 dealerships one day to do research.  The experience was so bad at all 3 (low end, mid and high) that I wrote down all the things that I would do to make the experience better.

For burger flipping, I’ve always wanted to work at In-N-Out.  I realize that I’d be the oldest employee, but I’d have a blast.  Last I checked, working your way up through the ranks was the only way to open up your own In-N-Out.  Plus, managers make a hefty salary and have wonderful benefits. Read the rest of this entry »

Flex code (read: my Tic-Tac-Toe game) on my Playstation 3!

In Flash*Flex*AS, Playstation3, Programming, Technology and Software, Uncategorized, Video Games on December 3, 2008 at 10:08 am

You fair readers of my blog may remember a post from waaaaaay back in the day entitled Playstation 3.  In it, I talk about being excited to run Flex Apps on my PS3.  Sadly, my pretty HD console only ran Flash Player 7, so Flex was not an option.  At MAX, I saw a big fat PS3 image and was hoping that Kevin Lynch would say, “Flash Player 9 is now on the Playstation 3!”  He didn’t so I assumed it wasn’t yet.  Then Renaun posted this!  Adobe has issues about making noise sometimes.  How did the blogosphere not light up on this news?  Well, maybe it did, but I somehow missed it.

Naturally, I went and did what the PS3 was meant to do: Play a game!  In this case, it was my very own Tic-Tac-Toe game.  Check it out!

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Building Games with Flex: Tic-Tac-Toe V1 Code Explained Pt 2

In Flash*Flex*AS, Game Programming, Programming, Technology and Software, Video Games on October 3, 2008 at 8:24 am

In my last post, I explained my logic/thinking behind 2 of the 3 files that make up Tic-Tac-Toe V1: Main.mxml and GamePiece.mxmlClick here to play the game (right click to view/download the source).  In this post, I’ll breakdown the remaining piece.

This piece is the real workhorse of the game.  It houses not only the board where the pieces are laid out, but also the game logic itself.

Was that the best decision?

Probably not.  If I wanted to swap out the game rules but keep the same pieces, I couldn’t do that.  It’s not so common with Tic-Tac-Toe, but think of a card game.  One deck of 52 cards can play an almost infinite number of games.  Would it make much sense to put the Solitaire logic right inside the CardDeck class file?  Nope, it surely wouldn’t.  I was in a hurry though so I did. Read the rest of this entry »

Building Games with Flex: Tic-Tac-Toe V1 Code Explained Pt 1

In Flash*Flex*AS, Game Programming, Programming, Technology and Software, Video Games on September 30, 2008 at 8:37 am

Part of my goals with these posts is teaching Flex for those just getting started.  What better way to learn Flex than by building a game of Tic-Tac-Toe.  Code is code and lessons can be learned/shared despite the final output.  You’ll (hopefully) learn tricks and methodologies for helping you code non-game projects via the code that I share and explain in this series.

There are  3 files that make up the complete game (right click to view/download the source) :

  1. Main.mxml – This has the Application tag
  2. GamePiece.mxml – This is the X/O game piece
  3. GameBoard.mxml – This is the tic-tac-toe gameboard

I’ll go over the 3 files, explaining logic on why/what from both the Flex and gaming perspective. Read the rest of this entry »

Building Games with Flex: Tic-Tac-Toe Version 1

In Flash*Flex*AS, Game Programming, Programming, Technology and Software, Video Games on September 25, 2008 at 9:16 am

Getting Started

Note,  while this isn’t anything like PlayCrafter, it is my small step into the huge world that is game making.  To get into gaming, I figured it would be best to start with the language I use day in and out: Adobe Flex.  To be honest, I can’t remember the last time I coded just for fun with Flex.  Most non-Workday Flex code I’ve built on my own time has been for 360Conferences, for some technical training/presentation or for my articles on Adobe’s sites.  I forgot just how fun programming can be.

I set out late Friday night/early Saturday morning with one goal:  Exit the weekend with a working version of a game.  I didn’t want to put much game theory in.  I didn’t want to OOP the heck out of the code.  I just wanted to build something that I could play and post on the net to share. Read the rest of this entry »

Gaming: Playing both sides

In Business, Cell, Flash*Flex*AS, Playstation3, Programming, Technology and Software, Video Games on September 24, 2008 at 6:37 am

Being an OG – Original Gamer

For as long as I can remember, I’ve gamed (specifically the video kind).  Before I got married, I spent almost every birthday I can remember at Chuck E. Cheese’s (even my 21st!)  To me, birthday equated to gaming.  In addition to those special days, I have a lot of memories in life associated with gaming:

  • When I was 6 or 7,  I remember me and my dad going to our frequent hangout, an arcade down the street.  It was actually a miniature golf course, but we never did anything but game.  We’d play Vanguard together.  As you can see by this image, it had this unique setup.  It was one of the first games I can remember that had multiple buttons.  My dad would drive (use the control stick) while I sat shotgun (took control of the 4 direction shoot buttons).  Oddly, I think this contributed to my sense of it being okay to take the back seat for the greater good.  As long as the team wins, it doesn’t matter which position you play.
  • Read the rest of this entry »