Game for getting your child to dress themselves in the morning

Here’s a game we used to get Geek to get himself dressed and moving in the morning.

I’d lay his clothes out flat on the floor to make a path of clothing from his bed to the door of his room. Then tell him that the game was to see if he could make it to the door getting dressed as he went without touching the floor. When he picks up a piece of clothing he has to put it on.

The first day they were in a mostly reasonable order – one that matched the order you’d put your clothes on. When he completed that successfully I congratulated him and said that tomorrow would be more tricky (build anticipation for getting out of bed and getting dressed! ūüėČ ).

The second day the order was such that he had to hop past some pieces and then jump back and then jump forward in order to get the underwear on under the pants, for example.

And you can increase the difficulty to get it interesting. One day I made it essentially impossible and we laughed a lot and then I asked him what two items of clothing could switch with each other to make it possible (teaching programming/algorithms/puzzle solving) and then did the one he picked so that he could get out the door.

Didn’t take long before he was in the habit of getting dressed and moving in the morning and was fun instead of a struggle.


7DRL Challenge 2015: Deathdealer

My entry into the 2015 Seven-Day Roguelike Challenge is complete! Deathdealer, an arena combat roguelike with trading card game mechanics, is finished and available for you to play.

Screen Shot 2015-03-15 at 1.43.42 PM


  • Survive as long as possible against endless waves of¬†fiendishly difficult enemies
  • Mix and match three schools of magic
  • Customize your character’s deck from 69 different cards
  • Vanquish 32 types of enemies, including 6 absurdly lethal boss monsters
  • Unlock new cards every 5 waves to expand your capabilities
  • Simple controls make the game easy to play
  • Advanced¬†ASCII graphics technology¬†for a modern user experience


  • WASD, arrow keys, or vi-keys to move or use menus
  • 1-7 to cast spells from your hand
  • Tab to view enemy information
  • Spacebar or period to wait one turn, to make selections in menus, or to exit the deck builder
  • + and – to add or remove cards from your deck
  • Escape to quit

Known Bugs:

  • Enemy pathfinding is¬†rather weak.
  • Minimum deck size of 20 cards is not enforced, and issues may occur with decks of 7 or fewer cards; please make your decks contain at least 20 cards.
  • No in-game help is available.
  • Completely untested on any platforms other than Mac OS X.

Download Deathdealer for Mac OS X here, or the python source (for any platform with Python) here.

7DRL 2014 – Day 7: In which everything is complete

Trinkets – the roguelike game I’ve spent the past week creating for the 7DRL competition – is finished, about 20 hours before the deadline! It’s a game about wandering an extra dimensional vault, acquiring trinkets and trying to get back home.

A build for mac is available here. Unfortunately, there’s no windows/linux build, but if you’re on one of those operating systems and want to play, the source is available here.

Screen Shot 2014-03-15 at 2.38.31 PM

… which turns out to be entirely justified.

My high score is 59 – can you beat it? If so, let me know in the comments below!

7DRL 2014 – Day 6: In which victory approaches at high velocity

One day remains, and I’m actually almost done. It would be nice to redo the map generator, and game balance can always be tweaked some more, but the plot and endgame are implemented, the boss-fights are done with basic AI, and there’s even a score feature. Shown below is the second of four boss fights:

You have a bad feeling about this level...
You have a bad feeling about this level…
… which turns out to be entirely justified.
… which turns out to be entirely justified.

7DRL 2014 – Day 5: In which parkour is performed in fancy shoes

Today was very productive; I finished the procedural generation of trinkets (for now, at least), improved the magic system, procedurally generated strangely worded descriptions of said trinkets, added new effects including knock-back and circular slide, and added all of the non-boss enemies, including the Abberant visible below:

Parkour shoes acquired!

Shown above is the non-procedurally-generated description of one of the coolest shoe types in the game (thus far, at least). These shoes allow you to run along walls, moving faster than enemies or even jumping over them.

I still have two more days left to go, and quite a bit still to do, including:

  • Plot
  • Victory conditions
  • Boss fights + Boss AI
  • Game balance
  • Prettier maps

7DRL 2014 – Days 3 and 4: In which trinkets are created

So, I’m about halfway through the week, but days 2-4 were all mostly occupied by other things, so the real productivity is just beginning. I’ve reworked the combat system to use the same generalized targeting/effect model as the spells. I’ve also changed trinket abilities to work on that model, divided trinkets into six types (hats, orbs, wands, cloaks, weapons, and shoes), which can be equipped and used for various nefarious purposes. I’ve started work on the procedural generation of trinkets, but there’s still a lot to do on that front, which will occupy the next day and a half, leaving me with a day and a half for enemies, plot, game balance, and a dungeon generator that isn’t stolen from the libtcod tutorial. That’s plenty of time, right?

Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 11.36.07 PM
Weapons can now replace your bump attack with one or two spell casts. This one replaces your attack with two fire bolts, but they can also sunder defenses or daze and freeze enemies, among other things.
Screen Shot 2014-03-11 at 9.38.44 PM
Death Star? Death Star! DEATH STAR!
This is what happens when you procedurally generate names by picking two words from a list and concatenating them…


7DRL Competition 2014 – Day 2: In which the art of sorcery is practiced

Screenshot of Trinkets
Magic system: Activate!

There are now six spells, and status effects, and some of the ‘everything goes horribly wrong’.

The spells have all been divided into ‘targeting’ and ‘effect’ components – except for teleportation, which still consists of duct tape and hacks and probably will remain that way.

There’s also a bit more user interface than before, and the trinkets are actually worth using sometimes (even if they are all still exactly identical).

Melee combat has also been re-written to allow for spells like the Ethereal Axe, which replaces your melee attack with a high-damage Arcane attack.

Tomorrow, I’ll be working on equipment. I won’t have much time though – classes and whatnot – so there probably won’t be a blog post.

The day after, procedural trinkets, more enemies, and everything going even more horribly wrong!

7DRL Competition 2014 – Day 1: In which a roguelike is begun

This year I’m participating in the Seven Day Roguelike Competition, a contest to make a game in the roguelike genre in a week. (For those not familiar with it, roguelikes tend to be dungeon-crawlers with procedurally generated words, permanent character death, and often old-school graphics. There are frequently some variations from this rough description.)

I’m making a game known as ‘Trinkets’ until I think of a better name. It is a game in which¬†a wizard strapped for cash loots a pocket dimension, and everything goes horribly wrong. It will experiment with a nontraditional power progression; you become weaker, then strong again, rather than a constant power level or steady increase. There will be a plot and randomly generated Trinkets.

My time will be somewhat limited, as I am currently a college student, but after spending most of today programming I produced the following:

Screenshot of Trinkets
Taste the power, troll scum!

I’ve used some code from some past projects, specifically most of the data structures and UI code. I’m using python, with the libtcod library.

Current features:

  • Move around…
  • ‚Ķon a procedurally generated map…
  • ‚Ķand hit things…
  • ‚Ķwhich hit you back, and can kill you if you’re not careful.
  • Look for trinkets…
  • ‚Ķwhich have magic powers…
  • ‚Ķwhich are simply not as powerful (at least for now) as your spells.
  • Speaking of spells, you have five (and will have six), which in combination make you nearly unstoppable…
  • ‚Ķat least until I implement the ‘everything goes horribly wrong’ part.

Update: Kickstarter Canceled; so, what’s next?

So the kickstarter that would have funded continued development of the game 1879 for which Geek & Dad was  writing the iPad/computer version has been canceled by FASA due to lack of interest (or inability to get the word out, hard to know):

KS Cancellation and Thank You

Update #3 · Dec. 06, 2012

Our project of 1879 iPad App, RPG, miniature game and figures has been live for over a week now. Based on the number of project backers, pledges and trends it looks like meeting our goal will be very challenging. Considering all of the factors, we have decided to suspend our project as described.

First of all I would like to thank all of you who backed our project. Your commitment is what Kickstarter is all about.

We had hoped that the combination of miniatures, RPG and software would appeal to a large number of backers. Unfortunately, this has not been the case. So while work on the core miniatures game and rpg will continue, albeit at a slower pace, work on the iPad application will be halted.

Look for a revamped Kickstarter project early in the New Year. This streamlined project, focused on the new 1879 game system and miniatures, will hopefully be more successful.

To all those who backed this project, once again thank you.

Thank you,

Ross Babcock

That means we’ll be stepping back and figuring out what to do next. ¬†Geek has 11th grade in high school to finish, a part in a local seasonal performance,¬†track team and¬†working towards his 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do in spring, and running lights and/or sound for the local children’s theater’s winter production, so I think he’ll avoid getting bored (!).

As the Dad, on the other hand, I will be footloose and fancy-free! ¬†Well‚Ķ, not exactly – those pesky bills keep showing up so I imagine I’ll have to find some paying work to fend them off! ūüôā ¬†I’m actually looking forward to diving back into iOS and OS X native coding – I’ve missed Objective C, Xcode, and the Cocoa frameworks quite a bit while we’ve been in Unity3d using JavaScript, C# and .Net. ¬†I have a copy of @bdudney’s iOS 6 SDK book¬†(which looks quite good for intro/intermediate programmers so far), and have also been asked to review another upcoming iOS 6 book by the publisher. ¬†So between those I ought to be getting up to speed on iOS 6 quite quickly!

Of course Geek is dreaming up game ideas a-mile-a-minute and some of them sound pretty cool! ¬†So we might just have to spend winter break building a prototype of one (or more!) of those‚Ķ ¬†Sounds like fun! ūüėÄ

In any case, thanks to those of you who helped spread the word about the kickstarter project and who have offered your friendship, encouragement, and advice as we learned Unity3d and built the prototype.  We had a great summer and learned a ton.


– Dad

Unity3d v4 released! Also a tip from the release notes

Unity3d version 4 was officially released yesterday and it has a lot of nice enhancements. ¬†Release notes are here and are well worth reading. ¬†In fact, one thing that didn’t feel better was the new Project Browser which is nice on a desktop with a large screen, but not so great on the 13″ MacBook Air where screen space is at a premium. ¬†Luckily they’ve left a way to get the old single column UI back for that situation, as I found in the release notes:

You can switch Project Browser to old-style one column layout in the context menu of the window (upper right corner).

The release notes above also contain an “Upgrade Guide” that’s a must-read for anyone upgrading a 3.5.x project to 4.0 as there are a few differences that need to be accommodated.

One thing to note: If you got Unity3d v3.5 with the free Unity3d v3.5.x iOS module license when Unity3d so graciously offered that great deal, upgrading to 4.0 removes your ability to build for iOS without buying the Unity3d 4.0 iOS module upgrade. ¬†Since you cannot open a project upgraded to 4.0 in 3.5.x, once you’ve installed 4.0 and upgraded your project you can’t build for an iOS device any more until you pay to upgrade to the Unity3d v4.0 iOS module. ¬† As I noted in the last post, supposedly you can install 3.5.6 and 4.0 side-by-side by renaming the folder of the first install before installing the second, but I haven’t tried this yet because we’re just going to upgrade the iOS module to 4.0 instead.