Finished Level Up!

Level Up! The Guide to Great Video Game Design

 

If you have ever looked into video game design you probably already know there are many books on the subject. Dry, technical, boring books that truly are filled with great information but who wants to read it? Scott Rogers has turned this image on its proverbial head with his Level Up! The Guide to Great Video Game Design. From the introduction to the last page you will find humor, humility and fun. (Of course, the basic concepts of video game design too!)

 

While the humor is great fun and the illustrations (his own little cartoons) are great, the best thing about this book is the fact that it deals with the entire process of creating great video games from a man who has actually done precisely that. Scott Rogers has over 16 years in the video game industry and what is more, he loves playing them as well. This book actually got its start as a small basic guide he passed around at work, a room full of developers.

 

Whether you are a seasoned developer or brand new to the system, Level Up, is a book for you. Inside you will learn everything you need to know about great video game design, while at the same time gaining an understanding of how this is a massive team effort. Scott has really put together a fantastic tool for just about anyone, and it is so much fun to read! Perhaps the most telling of all is another review you can find from Scott’s former boss who paid full price for the book because he believed in Scott Rogers and that the information contained inside would be beneficial to his career. How many of your ex-bosses would do that?

Level Up on Amazon

Level_Up_Cover

Price tag of new navy laser system.

Laser beams to protect U.S. Navy from drones – CBS News.

 

Pretty crazy video/story.  The most interesting part about this was the claim the R&D only cost $40 million.  For something we have been researching since Reagon/’70s it doesn’t seem possible for it to have such a low price tag.

 

Here is some better information.  Engadget says the laser costs $32 million per unit.

 

us-navy-solidstate-laser

Amtrak and Fracking

When I am traveling with my family, the most cost effective/convenient way to travel is by train.  I always enjoy the people I get to meet and watch.

I watched a fairly humorous exchange on the dining car, where three separate rough necker types heading to western North Dakota were being barraged by the more typical train folk about the environmental impact of fracking.  There was much confusion around the idea that nobody had actual seen any environmental damage.  My favorite quote was a rather exasperated “but there has to be damage somewhere”.

If you don’t know much about fracking, you should spend some time googling frac sand, very interesting stuff.

http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2013/04/08/business/frac-sand-mining-minnesota-firms

WI Frac Sand

From Duff’s Ditch to the Rothschild’s

I went on a Wikipedia ramble and read last night before bed.  A very enjoyable before bed activity on a weekend.

Started with a friend on Facebook talking about Duff’s Ditch as a solution to the flooding problems in Fargo, ND.  Duff’s Ditch is otherwise know as the Red River Floodway around Winnipeg, MN.  At the time (1968) the Red River Floodway was was the second largest earth movie project of all time.  In front of the Suez Canal and the behind the Panama Canal.

The Red River Floodway cost $360 million CAD to move 305 million cubic yards of earth.  CAD $1.18 per cubic yard.

When the US bought the Panama Canal from the French they paid $24.4 inflation adjusted USD per cubic yard.  To finish the canal the US paid $6.1-$12.2 per cubic yard for dredges and $12.2-$24.4 per cubic yard for steam shovels.

The Rothscilds and The Yellow Fleet both provided interesting segues.

The Yellow Fleet

 

Picture of the Yellow Fleet from here

I used this tool to calculate approximate inflation adjusted dollars.