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Working on: Day 1001 (33) - Fall 2011 in Pics (59 / 110) - Zuma Blitz - Fall 2012 in Concepts (64 links)
Team: Americana Dawn (as Lead Programmer, Game Engine Development)

Monday, June 15, 2015

Cadillac Ranch

Previously, landmarks in the Midwest was something only to be looked up and seen online. Now that I have an assignment over there in Missouri and passing by, I might as well see this monument up close.

I was aware of the pictures and the changing grafitti, but it didn't look as clean as I would've expected.

On the barbed wire fence surrounding the entrance, there are several pairs of shoes that were tied on it; I didn't read about this anywhere so I'm not sure if it was becoming a new thing to do that.

A storm that passed by a few days ago caused a majority of the monument area to become flooded, meaning that I was unable to get real closeup shots; it didn't dry up like everything else. There were also hundreds of empty spray paint cans lying around on the ground, no trash can nor any shop in sight; perhaps someone could make a profit by selling spray cans nearby.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Discounted mSATA SSD

While looking to buy a new SD card at Roseville Fry's, I stumble upon this deal that I could not refuse. A mSATA 500GB (840 EVO) for 100 bucks, well below the normal price of a SSD drive of that size. Without looking at the fine print, I got the invoice, but was not informed by the associate that it was used, only that it was a discontinued item.

Upon going to the register to buy, it was actually returned. Twice. I decided to back out, since I do not have much trust in returned items when they are used for critical systems.

They said that it has been tested and it works fine, and I doubt that they were returned for any reason other than not being the right SSD type for their laptops or as an expansion (mSATA SSD uses different plus than a standard SSD, and you cannot plug in SATA connectors). They still come with a 30 day return policy, so you have a good deal if it's being used as part of a redundant backup and/or you don't mind losing the stuff on it any time.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Yahtzee, Dave and Buster's

91 is less tickets than from a large straight...

I only heard about Dave and Buster's only recently around four years ago after reading a post about how someone was raking in hundreds of thousands of tickets from the place, and now I've gotten a chance to experience some of it firsthand. Lots of tickets from a full game that required five swipes, and a bit over 600 tickets total. I'll return again as I haven't completely used up all the chips on my card yet.

Prices: Overall when converted to money per game, the price is significantly more than what you would normally find at Boomer's, John's, etc. (which is 33c / 50c a coin respectively), but the ticket rewards (in most games) scale up appropriately. Of course the ticket price for prizes go up as well, but not by too much. (The ratio for coupons to chips is around 10:1 if you play decently and consistently get at least 40 tickets on certain machines during 1/2 price days).

Food: I also went here to try out some of the food, and they were better than some other places I've been to. Got some mac and cheese, was not disappointed.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

WIP: Americana Engine Beta

Project page styled with a (modified) legacy AD template

With a growing amount of software development jobs favoring a portfolio of prior work over just a resume, I have proceeded to showcase a few pieces of work of my own.


The Americana Engine is a ongoing game engine project started in 2013 running under Windows. It was originally developed for Americana Dawn to get past a lot of the limitations that RPGMaker had (which the game was originally developed in), adding a higher resolution, finer sprite control (not having to rely on parallax mapping), map portability, and adding native functionality for the large-scale battle system.

The Lead Programmer's version of the game engine (including the editor used to make maps) is now available to the general public, adding a number of enhancements and fixes complete with development notes and custom maps, and is being actively maintained. More information on this can be found on its project page.

Brief Notes: (at the time of writing)

  • The engine is currently in active development, and may contain bugs or unfinished features. You are free to discuss it or report any problems, questions, feature requests, etc. at for now. If you want to directly contribute to the codebase, send a email to me directly.
  • Scripting documentation and tutorials will be provided in the near future.
  • No assets will be included except for those used for in-game GUIs.
  • The engine can run maps from Americana Dawn with limited support, however you will need to provide those maps. Maps previously available to beta testers are included in this zip file (for demonstrating the engine as a portfolio piece), with a number of improvements.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Snow on the Stateline

What I expected to go on this trip for: to see the new Hard Rock Casino, collect the appropriate chips, etc. It's new and has a large collection that is worth seeing.

What I didn't expect: Heavy snow during the trip. It just came up and wasn't thought of when it was planned around a month ago, which changes a few things. I managed to leave just before chains were being enforced (going eastbound).

Note on Big Pines Wi-fi: I stayed there and used their free wifi in 2013. Apparently their wi-fi has exceptional range, as my laptop automatically connects to it from a Harrah's Premium room on the 7th floor. It's usable, but it's not like it's necessary to have as Harrah's provides wifi anyways.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Chinese New Year Parade, San Francisco

Not liking the way Stockton's parade went out, I proceeded to go over to San Francisco for their Chinese New Year Parade, and it had everything I expected to see out of one, and then some. I greatly underestimated the amount of time the parade lasted (from watching youtube videos of past years I expected it to be more like an hour and a half).

Noting the following:

  • On Grant Street, there were a number of booths (Graton, Thunder Valley) that requires your ID and also records it as well, even though the latter only has booth prizes. I don't know why they require it but I decided to avoid participating in them.
  • Finding a spot 40-60 minutes before the actual parade starts is ideal.
  • Get a seat if you can. If not, it is more of a test of endurance when standing up, and even more so when trying to get pictures of everything. Many cameras do not have the capability to get pictures through 1/3 of the parade if you're regularly taking them. SLRs might fare better. I was standing for well over three hours.
  • Don't park at Portsmouth Square, you will get stuck there until the very end.
  • Position is important: Near the beginning if you plan to eat at the SF Westfield Mall, near the end if you want to see more performances. They close at 9pm, less than 30 minutes after the last float comes out.
  • I think I heard the song "Happy" played from at least three floats.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Battle Simulator, Beta 2

Four months have passed since the Battle Simulator in Americana Dawn was made open to beta testers, and a number of modifications and special rulesets were added to simulate a variety of real-world scenarios.

The initial wave of feedback shaped what GUI elements to include or optimize. In Beta 2, there are a number of visual and game mechanic changes, one of them including 'circles' underneath enemy units, which give a representation as to how soon they will strike and makes it easier to indicate where they are on the timeline as well.

A full list of changes made in Beta 2 is available here.