Guy Royse

Work. Life. Code. Game. Later. Rinse. Repeat.

Let Him Who Hath Wisdom Reckon the Number of the Beast

My latest project is something that I have written three times: The Antichrist Detector.

The Antichrist Detector was conceived about 10 years ago when I stumbled upon the entertaining idea that Bill Gates was the Antichrist. The idea was simple and ludicrous. If you take the ASCII values of the name Bill Gates (uppercase only please as any good numerologist will tell you) they add up the 663.

“But wait!”, you’re saying, “That doesn’t add up to 666?”

Correct. But Bill Gates full name is William Henry Gates III. So, Bill Gates plus three does equal 666. It’s so obvious. How could you have not seen it?

Anyhow, this whole idea gave me a slightly twisted thought. You could automate this. Write a simple program and feed it the phone book and out pops a list of potential Antichrist. Not having a digitized phonebook handy I had another more practical (in as much as any of this is practical) idea. Why don’t I put up a website any let people enter their own names.

So, in 2000, I did. It was very successful and a lot of fun. It didn’t do much but it generated a healthy amount of traffic and a lot of logs. In fact, reading the logs was probably the best part about it. The emails I got, however, were also very interesting. The vast majority of them were from crackpots who thought I was serious. This greatly surprised but in hindsight, it probably shouldn’t have.

My initial attempt was written in C++ and invoked via CGI. When I started learning C# and .NET I decided to replatform it. So, version 2.0 was born. Later, I moved to new hosting and no longer had .NET so I replatformed it again and used it as an excuse to learn jQuery and PHP. 3.0 was born. In each incarnation I added new features. 2.0 gained statistics. 3.0 gained an RSS feed.

So, I am now staring down the barrel of The Antichrist Detector 4.0. This time, I am using it to learn Ruby, Google Appengine, and more advanced JavaScript techniques. I plan to also add features to this one as well. Most notably, you will now be able to issue Antichrist Detections via Twitter!

Obviously, the Antichrist Detector has turned into a bit of a “Hello World” application for me that I use to learn new technology. But, it’s also fun and I hope that you can enjoy it as well.

I’ll post the link to the new version once it is somewhat available.

— February 23, 2010

Site Update

When I initially launched GuyRoyse.com I vacillated about the content I was creating and writing about. Was this to be a blog about writing and games or writing, games, and coding?

Initially I decided to have it just be about writing and games. I wanted to focus on my creative endeavors and frankly, figured most people wouldn’t care too much about the programming stuff. But, as it turns out, a lot of my creative activity is focused around code and programming. This sort of leaked in a posting I made a couple of months back updating everyone on the status of Corporate Raiders.

So, I’ve decided to cave to my urges and put my code projects on here as well. But, not only will I be including some of my coding project but I will also be sharing some of my thoughts on technology and software engineering. So, if you’re a programmer or other geeky tech person, hopefully you’ll find the additional content enjoyable. And if your not, I won’t be offended if you skip over my more technical posts.

— February 23, 2010

Pairs of Ants Wager on Red and Black at AnCon

Saw this update a while ago from Super Dave, a fellow gamer and geek from my college days, and thought I would share.

Super Dave runs a regional gaming convention in North Eastern Ohio called AnCon. It is with great shame that I share with you that I have never attended. But, word on the street is that it’s a lot of fun. I’d like to try to get up there in 2010. It runs from May 21 through May 23 next year. That’s a Friday, Saturday, Sunday so getting off of work should be easy for all of us corporate wage slaves. The price is only $25 for the entire weekend if you pre-register and apparently if you recruit others to come you’ll get $5 for every person you recruit. So, I would encourage you to check it out (and tell me about it so I can claim my $5).

But the really interesting thing–at least to me right now–is that he has released some PDF games. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Well, looking at his release dates, I think he might have stolen my idea! But, since PDF boards games like Zombie Stomp! at part of what I do here, I thought you might be interested even if he leap-frogged me. Curse you and you’re free time Super Dave!

The games are a dice game called Pairs and Wagers which looks like it would be a lot of fun with the family and Ants: Red vs. Black, a board game which looks a little more involved than what might interest my wife. Which means it’s right up my alley! I haven’t play either of them yet–hell, I’ve hardly had time to update the blog–but I plan to.

— October 16, 2009

A Belated Corporate Raiders Update

So I haven’t provided an update for y’all in quite some time but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy working to build games and stories for your consumption. It also doesn’t mean that I have been busy working on games and stories for your consumption. But I have.

So, it’s a Corporate Raiders update today. I went on a bit of a code binge for a while and made a lot of changes to get the application to be mash-up friendly. I also added lots of JavaScript stuff to it as well. These sort of went hand in hand. The significant update that you can actually see–an API.

I’ve added APIs to lot you access the actual data of the game so that you can code against it and extend it in ways that I don’t foresee. Of course I also plan to use this API to support other clients for the game. In fact, I am already using it on the main page of Corporate Raiders.

If you want to check out the API for yourself you can access it using the following URLs:

http://corporateraiders.hardboiledgeek.com/api/stock/{symbol}/{format}
http://corporateraiders.hardboiledgeek.com/api/market/{format}

Just replace {symbol} with the stock symbol you care about. For {format} enter either xml or json. If you don’t specify {format}, it will default to json. For example…

http://corporateraiders.hardboiledgeek.com/api/stock/chch/xml

…will show you the info for Chthonic Chemicals Corporation in XML. Either of these urls…

http://corporateraiders.hardboiledgeek.com/api/stock/chch/json
http://corporateraiders.hardboiledgeek.com/api/stock/chch

…would show you that same info in JSON.

This API is ripe for consumption by fat client and portal device applications. Got an Android Phone or an iPhone and some spare time? How about an Adobe Air client? This would be a good place for you to play. And if you do something cool, tell me about it either via email or by leaving a comment.

Also, and perhaps more significantly, the market now moves. Right now the algorithm is completely random day by day and the incrementals are very predictable over the course of a given day. Nonetheless, it move. Next, the plan is to swap out the core engine with something a little more random so we can start letting people actually buy and sell stocks. Then, we’ll add a more event-based model so that we can have news items, rumors, and the like to affect the stock price. Insider trading here we come!

In the short term I plan to add users to the model as well as put some tasty JavaScript stuff on the screen. Tabs and accordions are probably where I’ll start.

So stay tuned. I’ll post updates as I go so that you can watch the sausage being made.

— October 12, 2009

The Price of Admission

Part of the point of my efforts to make games and stories online is to prove what one can do with very little. And by very little I mean a computer, the Internet, and time.

The stuff I am doing on this site is done with free software. I am using GIMP to create the board for Zombie Stomp! I will use Open Office to write the rules and generate the PDF for Zombie Stomp! Corporate Raiders is being developed using Eclipse and Java–both of which are free. The writing I am doing for Big Time is with Open Office–again free. When I get around to podcasting I plan to record with Audacity which is also free.

While I have a domain name and a hosting account, these items are not strictly necessary. I could be at guyroyse.blogspot.com instead of guyroyse.com and I could host my images and PDFs on free sites if I looked around. I choose to have a domain name and hosting because I have the resources to do so. I have a day job that pays for it. It is a luxury.

The application hosting for Corporate Raiders and the other games that I will create, either through Hard Boiled Geek with Benjamin or on my own, are hosted with Google App Engine which is also free up until a certain point. A point which we will be well below for some time.

This hardest part of doing this is the time. Many folks have lots of that. Many don’t. I fall into the latter category so I have chosen to sacrifice television so that I can make these cool things and provide them to you. That frees up more time than anything else I could possibly do.

Folks, the point here is this–the price of admission is free. There are no barriers to entry. Poor college students can do this. Retired folks on fixed incomes can do this. My mom can do this. Anybody can do this. And I would know because I am anybody.

You should do it too.

— September 05, 2009