I’ve been thinking about various computer programing projects for years. One is a railroading game that focuses on realistic track building and realistic operations or a small (shortline) railroad. Another is an evolution simulation. There is also the mechanism simulator that I have working fairly well. The thing about these projects that makes them come to mind at the moment is the information I’ve seen on the web about other peoples projects.

Twenty years ago, the internet was fairly useless to me. Now, I can look up “mechanical linkage simulation” and find, or not find, programs written by other people. I found a great evolution simulation program and the guy even shared the source code. I’m not sure if finding lots of information about other peoples projects is good or bad. It certainly get’s me motivated at first. then it makes me wonder why I should bother with something that so many other people have done.

Art is the same way. It’s hard to make a sculpture in my garage or in welding class that looks at all like someone else’s work. Seeing their work makes me want to do my own project but the end result is that uniqueness is a motivating factor to me and a lack of being unique makes a project very unappealing.

I’d have to say that I’m proud of the projects that I’ve finished. I say thins because it is hard to finish projects started and finished at home in the midst of all of the other things that need to get done.

Railroading Game

I’m working on the railroading game at the moment. This is tough because it would be a big project if I were to take it seriously. I’m stuck because I don’t know how to proceed on writing a game of this scale. Just the geometry of laying track was tricky and it’s not even 100% working. It’s also not 3D or even good 2D. it’s just a simple drawing program that keeps track of the lines and curves in a data structure that can be used as a pathway for any sort of traveling objects.

What to do next? I’m torn between getting the track laying (really drawing/surveying) working with all of the features needed for a game and just skipping a lot of that work and writing code to manage trains and movement. I think that I’ll start writing more blog entries about it as a way to get it sorted out in my mind. No one reads this stuff so thinking out loud like this might be the best approach. We’ll see what happens.