Robert Raymond Alpizar

Announcing: Stop Being Logical Software

Tuesday January 1, 2019 12:00am EST

My last post was about my professional programming experience. When it comes to hobby programming, I really don't have any. I've had ideas for some games here and there over the years, along with some personal versions of productivity tools, but I never got around to actually sitting down and looking at things. Well, over the past week that has changed in a major way.

I recently picked up a new Thinkpad, originally to have a couch computer and something portable I could use to work on my writing projects. I settled on a Thinkpad because of my need for a decent keyboard to appease my snobbish fingers. I tossed Linux on it and I haven't been happier with a computer purchase in a long time. The inherent development environment inspired me to look into turning those ideas into a reality.

My original goals were to write games for some kind of 8-bit retro computer system of some kind. This is a leftover of my previous retro collecting hobby. I don't really collect any longer, but I have kept around a few old machines just in case I ever get the time or patience to get back into it. I suck at drawing and graphics are hard so the games I have in mind are all to be text-based, for now. I'll eventually evolve my skills to graphics but for now text will do.

Since I want to do text only, naturally machines with a native 80 column mode are the targets. This pretty much leaves me with the Commodore 128, Apple IIe and above, and DOS. The plan was to jump right in and start writing directly on or for the old machines with modern tools, but my complete lack of programming skills and lack of experience led me to consider prototyping on a modern system with modern tools first, and then backporting to the older targets.

I always had the idea of releasing physical copies of whatever I come up with, so for the last few years I held onto a domain name I could release these things as. With that in mind, Stop Being Logical Software will be the dev name I'll be doing these things as. The first game is going to be a space themed hybrid 4X/Business Sim that I'm creatively calling "Space Tycoon" for now.

To teach myself how to do a project like that from start to finish, I'm writing it in pure C and targeting the Linux console and possibly MacOS terminal since I can easily compile and test on my wife's Macbook Air. The first prototype version of this game will be open sources and is currently hosted on github at Space Tycoon at GitHub. Just to prove (to myself mostly) that this is a real thing, here's a screenshot of me actually working on it:

The initial version will be the complete game, just with only about 20% of the content as planned. Again, this version will be open source and out there for free if anyone wants to waste time on a person's first project. The ports for the retro systems will be intended for sale as physical copies, though I'll likely release the disk image files as freeware to the community.

So, I've got an idea, a name, a name for the dev "company" I'll be working under, a public repository for the code, and a blog post announcing this all so that I can't hide behind the fact that I didn't tell anyone about it. I hope I'll have the discipline to see this through. Wish me luck!