Trav's Games

  1. History
  2. Games

1. History

I was always interested in making games, just like I was interested in making music and stories. Dreams of making computer games are what got me into programming, which is my current job. I started learning BASIC in 5th grade on a ZX-81 (which stored programs on audio cassettes). I used BASIC to finished my first computer game, Goust (loosely based on Joust) in high school. Soon afterwards I taught myself C.

It wasn't just computer games that I enjoyed making. In middle school, I created a board game called Easy Eagles (which my teacher helped playtest). I also created my own rules for miniatures, which I collected for a couple years. Basketball too - I didn't have anyone to play with, so I made my own solitaire rules.

Yeah, I know: yawn, snore, where's the back button! Okay, okay... You have my permission to stop reading now! :)

On with the boring story. During college, I dabbled some more in game writing. This time, I was focused on card games (Magic has just hit it big) and multiplayer computer games (MUDs were cool back then). However, since I was majoring in computer science, I ended up programming for fun less and less. I started working on a card game called TTG (Trav's Travel Game or Time To Go).

In grad school, I got into adaptive programming. I liked the idea of adding evolutionary aspects to different part of game play and design. I don't just want computer players to evolve - I want actual game constructs such as creatures and vegitation and economies to evolve as well. Imagine CIV or DOOM with evolving populations. I starting looking into how to use genetic algorithms to actually create games. My one accomplishment was using fuzzy logic to teach a computer to play Tic-Tac-Toe: see my Neural Network page for more info.

My semi-serious last attempt at a game was 2000 or so; I started working on a WWII tactical game called Radioman but lost interest once I realized that I'd have to work with other people's audio APIs. Miro and I then started trying to make a computer version of Ambush. After a couple days we gave up. I think both of us realized that we'd rather play games than make them.

Bottom line: I haven't finished a game since Goust. And I don't care! My interest in game writing is at an all time low. And you don't care! No one cares.

There's so many computer games out there that there's little point in trying to create one of my own. I don't like learning new games anymore (and so stick to my old favorites like Civilization, Flight Simulator, and Railroad Tycoon). Ditto for music: I find myself following my favorite bands and genres, but that's about it. So why would I want to learn my own game? I wouldn't! At least, not right now. My interest might return in a few years. Who knows?

In the meantime, my creative energy is going to music (Tripecac) and web pages. For now, I'm content leaving the game writing to the masters (e.g., Sid Meier).

2. Games

Here's a rough list of the games I started. I'll add details and downloads when I can find them.

Wizards and Warriors (1985) listen download
I wanted to make my own "choose your own adventure" game and decided to do an audio version.
Easy Eagles (198?)
I developed this board game for a class in middle school. It simulates aerial dog-fights, with a command queue. You play an action card face down but it doesn't take effect until a couple turns later.
Dino-wars (198?)
Dinosaurs battling it out. The rules were scribbled on paper; I don't know if I have them anymore.
Goust (1990)
ASCII-based joust-inspired platform game. Not nearly as addictive as SCAM (Jon's game from the same time period), but fast-paced and fun for a few minutes. This runs on XP but is too fast. I can't get it to run on Windows 7, and since I no longer have the source code, I'm not sure what I can do about restoring this one.
Radioman (199?)
WW2 tactical PC game. Snore. Its only unique idea is that it uses a speech synthesizer to say the player's name. I don't know of any other game which does that!
TTT - Trav's Tic-tac-toe Trainer (1998)
I taught a computer to play Tic-Tac-Toe using fuzzy logic (see my Neural Network page). My plan was to then use fuzzy logic to invent new Tic-Tac-Toe variants and have the computer pick the ones it likes (and can learn) the best. Unfortunately, grad school ended before I could get that far. Fuzzy-logic is slow! Even on a departmental server.
TTG - Trav's Travel Game - Time To Go (1997-1998)
Card game with a travel theme. Lots of rules ideas, several prototype cards, but no cohesion yet. Almost done, could be finished in a couple weeks if I regain interest.