Halloween 06, Puzzlequest, etc.
(31 Oct 2006 at 21:34)
This weekend we (Team "Eating Buildings" = Myself, Jason Reed, Adam Goode, and William Lovas) achieved our highest official ranking yet in Puzzlequest: 2nd place. This was something like our 8th time doing it. It was a really good contest this time, with some aspects similar to the ICFP contest we designed this summer (it was built around a text adventure game in which you had to discover "scrolls" that contained the puzzles). It is always nice to play something really polished and filled with lovely in-jokes.
We were done three hours before the end of the contest so I even had time to go to a halloween party. I dressed as a member of Devo, thanks mostly to an excellent Energy Dome that Cortney made for me (see right). I was pretty disappointed in many of the whippersnappers at the party for not even knowing who Devo is, seeing as how they had like a top 20 hit and everything. But I guess it is less embarrassing for them than when I went as Mikhail Gorbachev and people didn't know who he is. And we're talking a CMU grad school party, not some remedial pig roast. Ah, well.
The other news is that today I finished the proof I had been struggling with for a few weeks (I thought it would be easy but it grew into a 2500-line monster) so I am SERVER OK on that and ready to go back to actual implementation work for my thesis project...
Ten years ago in August 1996 I released the (final) "1.0" version of my DOS game Escape. As radar regulars know, I've been working on a modernization of the game for several years now. As a sort of late birthday present I posted the DOS version on the Escape page (I think it wasn't available anywhere since the old AOL page is not working). If you like clunky old QuickBasic programs, PC-speaker sound effects, and low-res graphics, it is now enshrined there forever. Take a look at the screenshots:
The title screen let you choose between 5 different characters to play with, like the "knight", the "office guy", the "redhead lady", "pac man" and "hoodie guy". There were about 100 levels made by me, my family and friends, and a few by students in a class I taught at Eli Whitney Museum about programming. In retrospect most of the levels were pretty crummy; I've learned since then that there are a lot of incredibly smart puzzle makers out there.
The Portland Race for the Cure finally posted their results and I came in 49th out of 3022 (8th in my age group). Not bad. I still yearn to run an official sub-20:00 time.
I was a semifinalist in the (admittedly tiny) 2006 Underhanded C Contest. The purpose is to write innocent-looking code that fails at its apparent purpose: in this case, it must be code that runs mysteriously slowly on one platform but not another. My code (README and tom7.c) is available if you want to try to figure it out, it's a fun little puzzle. I encourage you to look a little. (Or maybe you think you can find bugs in code just by looking!) If you give up or want to confirm your answer, check out the annotated version of the code. The underhanded c contest page has a spoiler-laden summary of the other semifinalists and the winner.
Also, Kansas was fun! Pictures from that trip soon.