Lance Laughlin

I'm a graduating New Media Interactive Development student from the Rochester Institute of Technology. I blog about open source software and web development

Month: November, 2013

Lit Review #2

Coming soon…


HFOSS Team Project Update

So we are now a few weeks into our team projects (I think?) For those of you how don’t know about the project check this link out:

We spent the first couple of weeks mostly planning, this involved our artists creating some sketch mockups as well as planning out our development cycle, including creating tickets on our Github repo. The first week or two was probably the most challenging thus far. We all had different visions for what the project should look like and it took a little bit for us all to get behind one idea but we finally landed on Fractionauts.

So far I’ve been tasked with creating a questions class for the game. This is basically a class which will be instantiated and will result in a question object that holds, the goal fraction for the player, all the possible choices, as well as a reference to the correct choices. I wanted to incorporate some randomness into the game so I did so here by creating a random goal based on a subset of the possible answers.

Overall, this process went fairly smoothly. I was initially having trouble finding a way to randomly generate some decimals without going over 1.0 total. Mike Nolan (Nolski) and I brainstormed a bit and he had a really good idea of breaking 1 down into groups based on how many correct answers there would be. So if there were going to be 4 correct answers I would break 1 into 4 pieces of .25 and then generate a random decimal between 0 and .25 for each section; therefore, preventing it from ever exceeding 1.0 total.

I’m mostly done with this class so far. I still need to implement the other operations besides addition. Subtraction should be pretty straight forward aswell as multiplication. May run into a bit of trouble with division but we’ll see about that tonight when I try to tackle it.

Another issue I was having is converting the decimals into fractions. Python has this pretty cool Fractions module that you can import: while it does return a fraction when you pass it a decimal, it’s not reduced. So we will need to find a solution for that before too long. Most of the math under the hood will probably use decimals anyway…so it’s mostly for presentation.

We are moving along nicely and I think we should be good hitting our first milestone.

Happy coding!

Rochester Barcamp Fall 2013

This past Saturday was the the Rochester Barcamp unconference. It’s an event that takes place at RIT in which a number of people (we had about 135 people this year) come together and share ideas with each other through 20-minute talks and lightening talks. I was on the student team involved in the planning and running of Barcamp. I arrived bright and early at 8:30am and began setting up tables, putting out signs and creating the grid which help the schedule of talks. At 10:30am we had the opening talk by Chris Horn and then everyone started signing up for events.

My classmate Mike Nolan (Nolski) and I planned on giving a lightening talk on the HTML5 Canvas Javascript library we’ve been working on:

Unfortunately, I spent a lot of time doing working type stuff, primarily checking people in and selling t-shirts. So I only had a chance to catch a few talks: 10 steps in improving your UX, Homemade weapons (it was as awesome as it sounds), and one about setting up a motherboard or something that went completely over my head. I also saw all of the lightening talks as well as gave ours.

My favorite 20-minute talk I went to was the homemade weapons one. It was a couple of young kids, I’m guessing around 12 or 13 years old that showed us how to create a mini-crossbow with Popsicle sticks, clothes pins and rubber bands. They brought all the materials for people to use (their parents were very encouraging, great job on their part).

Nolski and I gave our lightening talk toward the end of the event. It went pretty smoothly, especially for not having much time to put a presentation together. A lot of people had cleared out before we gave our talk so we only presented to probably about 30 people…which made me a bit less nervous since I’m not a great public speaker for the most part.

I’m definitely looking forward to the next Barcamp and I’m hoping I can catch some more talks next time out.