Inzignia

Social artifacts and digital curiosities

My 2018 in review: Udacity and beyond!

We’re almost another revolution around the sun and a lot has changed for me this year. I won a Google scholarship, got a promotion, completed a Udacity Nanodegree, lost some weight, and worked on lots of cool side projects. Now as we slide through December, I’m looking back on this year and what it’s meant to me.

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Carthaginian Empire in Spain: the Barcid Chessboard

This article will analyze the tragic Barca family and the accomplishments, flaws, defeats, and aspirations of this powerful Carthaginian clan. After Carthage was defeated by the Romans in the First Punic War, Carthaginian noble Hamilcar Barca conquered the Numidians and moved north into Spain in 237 BCE. He hoped to conquer new lands, subjugate the Celtiberian natives, and excavate the rich mines of the mountainous peninsula. All of these efforts were fueled by the empire’s recent defeat, with the newly-empowered Phoenician city-state requiring new territories and income to offset the costs of war.

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What small towns and niche internet communities have in common

In the last month, I’ve made continued progress on Pinwheel, my MUD game engine. In fact, there are only a few remaining elements of the core source code remaining before I feel ready to start building my developmental game world. In the course of refactoring and building this engine, I’ve cycled through many different themes for a game I could potentially build with it. I’ve tried not to let those themes steer my designs too heavily, with the goal of making a universal engine that can be molded easily to fit different themes. Some MUD engines come with stock content to showcase how the code could be adapted, but often times this content feels prescriptive and can get in the way of other ideas.

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MUD Cookbook: design meets implementation

Lately, I’ve had a laser focus that’s consumed me in my latest project, Pinwheel: a fork of Ranvier, a MUD engine in JavaScript. This fork started as a question: can I add a web server to a MUD engine? The answer—which I found out pretty quickly—is yes. With that done, I turned my attention to the rest of the code. I started to rip things out and move them around. Even after weeks of tinkering with it, I’m genuinely fascinated by how this stranger’s software works. Reorganizing the blocks bit by bit, rewriting some parts entirely… all of it is rewarding. The silent reflection of teaching yourself another person’s code is oddly zen-inducing.

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Like minds that like MUDs

In a recent post, I made the case for MUDs in modern times which explored the niche that MUDs occupy on the internet. As a longtime player of MUDs, I started learning to code in order to tinker with downloaded codebases, trying endlessly to run ancient makefiles and compile spaghetti code hobbled together by lots of strangers on SourceForge. It was fun, but hardly effective!

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