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Names like Nintendo, SEGA, Playstation, and Steam warm the heart (and inspire the keys) of hackers all around the world.
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Go Time Go Time #182

Go Battlesnake Go!

In the past decade a variety of games have emerged where players need to create an AI to play the game rather than play the game directly. In this episode we speak with the creator of one of those games - Battlesnake. Brad Van Vugt joins us to talk about building a game engine using Go, making programming games easier for beginners to get started with, the long term vision for games like Battlesnake, and more.

Command line interface

rpg-cli —your filesystem as a dungeon!

rpg-cli is a bare-bones JRPG-inspired terminal game written in Rust. It can work as an alternative to cd where you randomly encounter enemies as you change directories.

You’ll want to practice a bit first, then once you get good at it go ahead and override the builtin cd by adding this function to your bash profile.

cd () {
   rpg-cli "$@"
   builtin cd "$(rpg-cli --pwd)"
rpg-cli —your filesystem as a dungeon!

Kottke Icon Kottke

Reprogramming a game by playing it (an unbelievable Super Mario 3 speedrun)

Here’s a fun rabbit hole to go down if you have some free time to spend.

After a fellow named Zikubi beat the speedrun record for Super Mario Bros 3 by about 8 minutes with a time of just over three minutes, speedrun analyst Bismuth made the video above to explain how he did it…by changing the game with the gameplay itself.

The first couple minutes go exactly as you’d expect, but the speedrun takes a weird turn when, instead of using the second warp whistle to go to level 8, he uses it to go to level 7. And once in level 7, Mario races around randomly, letting opportunity slip away like a blindfolded birthday boy unwittingly steering himself away from the piñata. It’s only later, during the explanation of how he got from level 7 to the final screen so quickly, that you realize Mario’s panicky idiot behavior is actually the player actively reprogramming the game to open up a wormhole to the ending.

Practical AI Practical AI #102

Hidden Door and so much more

Hilary Mason is building a new way for kids and families to create stories with AI. It’s called Hidden Door, and in her first interview since founding it, Hilary reveals to Chris and Daniel what the experience will be like for kids. It’s the first Practical AI episode in which some of the questions came from Chris’s 8yo daughter Athena.

Hilary also shares her insights into various topics, like how to build data science communities during the COVID-19 Pandemic, reasons why data science goes wrong, and how to build great data-based products. Don’t miss this episode packed with hard-won wisdom!


A "refreshingly simple" data-driven game engine built in Rust

Bevy has the following design goals:

  • Capable: Offer a complete 2D and 3D feature set
  • Simple: Easy for newbies to pick up, but infinitely flexible for power users
  • Data Focused: Data-oriented architecture using the Entity Component System paradigm
  • Modular: Use only what you need. Replace what you don’t like
  • Fast: App logic should run quickly, and when possible, in parallel
  • Productive: Changes should compile quickly … waiting isn’t fun

Before you get too excited, a word of warning 🚨

Bevy is still in the very early stages of development. APIs can and will change (now is the time to make suggestions!). Important features are missing. Documentation is sparse. Please don’t build any serious projects in Bevy unless you are prepared to be broken by api changes constantly.

Nabeel Qureshi

Video games are the future of education

Nabeel shares some great insights about using games/simulations for learning in this post — I recommend reading it if the topic piques your interest (always be learning, amirite?).

Learning is just the act of engaging with an external thing and performing many conjecture/criticism loops, forming conclusions, and building on them to form a body of knowledge.

So it makes sense that video games would be the primary educational environment of the future: they are the best way we have of (a) creating simulations of reality (b) with fast feedback loops (c) accessible at low cost.

Video games are the future of education


The NES you left outside in the rain but let dry and still kind of works

This is an NES emulator and a work in progress. The CPU, PPU, and APU mostly work, though there are still at least a couple bugs. I’ve mostly tested on Donkey Kong and Super Mario Bros. so far. There are plenty of full-featured emulators out there; this is primarily an educational project but I do want it to run well.

If you’re interested in learning about Rust and/or emulators, this is for you.

The NES you left outside in the rain but let dry and still kind of works


You cannot cURL under pressure 😰

The scope creep of cURL is also something to behold, the program can do tons of stuff! Just look at the home page! With cURL having this many features (with the general mass of them being totally unknown to me, let alone how you use them) got me thinking… What if you could do a game show style challenge for them?

I couldn’t make it past the DELETE request (stage 3) without consulting Manuel. How far can you get?

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