Final Project Recap

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My final project is located here.

The first thing that came to mind when I found out about the final projects was creating my own website.  Sure, we’ve made blogs in class, but to me that isn’t the same.  As a computer science major I’ve taken classes on databases and web development, but I’ve always hosted projects locally using XAMPP.  I had a big disconnect between knowing how to demo a webpage from my laptop and knowing how to make it go live on the web.   My goal with this project was to bridge that gap.

A year ago, I was working with a group for a class, and we could do the project of our choosing.  We opted for making a very basic game using php and html.  This game did not, however, use MySql for its database.  It used MongoDB, which I don’t think is supported through cPanel.  Maybe I just couldn’t find it.  Either way, I wanted to create a similar project for DS106, but use my own database setup and rework all of the code.  In the end, I didn’t recycle any code from the old project.  I started fresh, and only used some of the same ideas. I decided to take some basic aspects of Pokemon and make a worse, scarier version.  Hence the name, PokeFun.  Also, I am poking a little bit of fun at it (myself? I don’t even know).

To begin, I created a database in cPanel, then created a subdomain where my game would be located.  I then created the tables I would need in phpMyAdmin.  In the subdomain, I went to the root document and had access to all of my files.  At first there was just the basic index, but I added all of the files as I designed the game.  Speaking of which, I sort of designed it as I went.  I suppose that is where the story for this game really lies.  I started with a login page, and the story unraveled from there.

Beyond the background story, the story of this game itself began with the monsters.  I’ve always found pseudo-cute bad guys to be entertaining.  So I started by creating images of three “toads” before I did any programming:

These are the most basic bad guys.  As it turns out, they are the only bad guys in their respective locations.  More to come, I just didn’t have time before finals week.  I want to make a game storyline involving these little guys, but that is also somewhere down the road.  For the time being, there is just battling them.  Back to the story.  I started with these images, along with the location images/links, and from there decided how I was going to make a game.  I figured I couldn’t really make any big mistakes until I started writing code, so I put off writing code for as long as possible.  When I did start writing code, I took it easy : registration, login, logout, home page.  The basics.  I then made a map page where I put my image pictures (if you click on them you go to the specified location).  I mostly just did this to show off my pictures:

When I first made it, all of the links were dead.  That is, I had not written the code to support their respective pages yet.  The story was still very much driven by the pictures.  I realized though, that unless I picked up the pace that’s all I would have: pictures.   And so, I vowed to begin PokeFun for real one day soon.

One day when I had other work to be doing, I sat down and got to writing the code that drives PokeFun.  It was thrilling.  Once I got through the obnoxious page redirects and aesthetic things (I am an html n00b), I realized I was having fun.  It was great! I was getting excited about writing battle algorithms and writing the code to add new features.  The frustrations of first starting out disappeared entirely.  The story shifted then, from PokeFun itself to my experience programming it.  PokeFun is just that: fun.  It does not tell very much of a story on its own (those pictures do still drive it…).  The real story, then, is about my experience making it, and my gradual immersion in it.  I jumped in head first.  Once I started writing code, I would not stop until I had a working product.  Once it was working, I kept honing it and adding features.  There are still many features to add.  Right now you can make gold but not spend it on anything.  Ultimately I want you to be able to buy specific armor and weapons that will personalize your skillset.  This is down the road.  But it’s the idea that I’ve been inspired to want to do this that intrigues me.

Ultimately I want PokeFun to be enjoyable.  I can’t create a better version of Pokemon.  Even if I were to use languages other than php and html, I would have trouble creating an attractive looking game.  Instead, I’m taking a page from Nintendo’s book and making something that isn’t pretty but sure is entertaining.  This leads me to the last chapter of the story: clowns.  I won’t post the pictures.  You have to go in there and find them for yourself.  Beware the circus tent.  That is all.  Happy PokeFun-ing!

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