I participated in Ludum Dare 27 this weekend, programming a complete game, Spacetime Adventure, in 48 hours. I make games for a living but I’d never done that before. It was fun.
It was also enlightening.
Continue reading “What Programming a Game in 48 Hours Taught Me About Programming Games”
John Hopper was born to pole vault: so said everyone who knew him. At the age of 1½ he could leap at a run onto his parent’s four-poster; at two he could jump over the railing of his crib and land inside comfortably on his back.
Continue reading “Without Peer”
I am on a mission to acquire a copy of everything C. S. Lewis ever published. The standalone books aren’t too difficult but the essays are a different story. They have been published and republished many times in diverse and overlapping collections. Some collections are out of print. Some are available in the UK but not the US. The essays sometimes change titles as they move from editor to editor. The task of deciphering the minimum number (or minimum total cost) of books necessary to own all of Lewis’s essays very nearly requires the help of an artificial intelligence.
Continue reading “Finding C. S. Lewis’s Essays”
Imagine that Alien Robots From Outer Space come to observe the earth. They listen in on our conversations, trying to figure out what kind of creatures we are.
Continue reading “What is Ethics?”
I am writing to those who, like me, would have called themselves Christian as a child but who left aside that faith in the teenage or college years.
My aim will be to show that the reasons—the doubts, the discoveries, the emotions—that led you to set aside faith as you came of age were, although probably reasonable, not ultimately correct. You will see in what I’m about to argue that the reasons that persuaded you then should not persuade you now; that in fact the intellectual insights that moved you away from faith as you came of age were tainted with a kind of naivety, and that the more sophisticated reasoning and greater experience available to a more mature adult not only warrants a return to faith, but compels it.
Continue reading “An Invitation Back to Faith”
A sense of foreboding has darkened my skies these last few weeks, fueled in part by what I see in the news and in part by what’s closer to home.
I’ve always been one to assume the best in people. That optimism is no longer sustainable.
Continue reading “The Four Moral Cultures”
How would you like to discover an activity that will:
- entertain you and your family for hours each week?
- pull your kids off of the “screens”—TV, iPad, computer, and phones?
- create “face time” in your family, with all of you looking across a table at each other, talking, discussing, and laughing?
- build your kids’ brain power, their social skills, and even their ability to plan and make wise decisions?
Would you be surprised if I said that the lowly board game is the lost ticket to this kind of engagement and fun?
I am selling nothing in this post (truly!). But I believe so strongly in the modern board game, and am so convinced that playing more games will be of such benefit to modern families, that I can’t remain silently any longer. I have to tell you why you need to play a modern board game tonight.
Continue reading “In Praise of Modern Board Games”
A word of explanation. I teach a course at SMU|Guildhall on Ethics and Video Games. It is by no means a Christian course and has no explicitly Christian content. But some of the students tell me that they’re Christian. Since Christian ethics is an interest of mine, I’m keen to interact with these individuals at a deeper level about their efforts to integrate biblical ideas with a holistic view of ethics. I’m keen to interact with any student of whatever persuasion to help them more fully integrate their own ideas, beliefs, and intuitions. But since I actually have some training in Christian theology, I can see further down that path than I can see down the philosophical path that other students are on.
A Christian student recently told me that they saw both deontological (duty-based ethics) and virtue ethical elements in Christianity. I wanted to respond to that intuition with a little closer analysis of Christianity’s relationship to ethical systems. Here’s what I said.
Continue reading “Christianity, Deontology, and Virtue Ethics”
In the last couple of posts I’ve talked about a programmer’s greatest enemy: getting stuck. I talked about the various levels of how stuck you can get, from getting stuck while trudging through documentation to getting stuck because you don’t have the resources—passwords, files—that you need to perform a task.
This leads me to my ultimate advice for how to avoid getting stuck and how to get unstuck.
The secret to getting and staying unstuck is to keeping taking steps forward. Simple as that sounds, it is more difficult than it seems, and many programmers never master it.
Continue reading “Keep Taking Steps Forward”
A programmer’s worst enemy is getting stuck. Getting stuck on a problem hurts your productivity. Worse than that, it hurts your joy, your confidence, and your soul. Therefore learning how to avoid getting stuck, how to recognize when you’re stuck, and how to get unstuck is a key skill in the quest of becoming a great programmer.
One of the things that helps me both to avoid getting stuck and to get out of being stuck is understanding the different kinds of stuck.
Continue reading “Four Kinds of Stuck”