Saturday, February 13, 2016 at 12:37AM

Been a long time since I wrote anything here.  It's a failure on a personal level.  There's been stuff to write about, I just haven't felt like writing about it.  On the programming front I'm still whacking away at it, though in small portions.  I recently rewrote our internal website at work.  It was an old dinosaur of a site, full of tables antiquated HTML tags.  There were even some old Frontpage extensions.  For a start I rewrote everything in proper HTML/CSS with PHP for ease of management stuff like including the navigation structure and some forms.  I've added a database with the intention of building in some management and automation tools.  Make it so I'm not the only one who can update the thing.  So far all I've done with it is an event calendar.  It's a simple afair, just a form for adding and editing events, and a page for displaying them.  The dates are saved as timestamps that the page will translate.  So far it's working fine, but I'm the only person to use it at this point, and I know how to behave with it.  We'll see what happens once a few others start using it.  I did add a simple log in case there are any shenanigans.  I also plan on adding an employee directory, maybe that classifieds page I've been tinkering with.  For any of the more complex stuff I've been doing object oriented PHP code.  I think I'm getting the hang of it, but I never know if I'm doing it "correctly".

On a more personal front, I've been playing a lot of videogames lately.  They're my preferred form of escape.  I never know how personal to get here.  Should I keep it light or unleash the abyss?  Suffice it to say I am and have been depressed for some time, and the games take my mind off things.  At least for a little while.  XCom 2 is my most recent focus.  It's odd, over the years the original X-Com, which I believe I had on Playstation, picked up from a discount bin at a game store that I can't even remember the name of, has been a lingering obsession.  Most people I have talked to about it have never heard of it, yet the remake and sequel are both very popular.  I must have been talking to the wrong people.

I was ecstatic when I found the original on Steam, and even more so when I found a mod for it (almost more of a complete rewrite) that fixed some of the technical limitations of the old ones.  Weird, old school PC game type problems, like item limits due to memory allocation.  It also made the AI even more deadly, as if that were necessary.  I think anyone who has played the original has had one of those missions where you lose 3 people as they're literally stepping off the ship to off-screen alien ambushes.  Anyway, it was remade a few years ago, and while it wasn't the same, it had enough of the old elements, and it was a ton of fun.  They recently released a sequel, where I believe they got just about everything right, and it's been a lot of fun playing it.  I think I may have had my all time nerdiest moment the other day when it released.  For my birthday my wife got me a shirt with the new XCom logo, complete with the Vigilo Confido slogan, and I wore it while playing XCom 2 on release day.  Shameful.

I've been enjoying it so much so that I stuck my toe in the modding water.  To be fair, what I made isn't really a mod.  They added a feature where you can create soldiers and export them to share with others.  Within days Nexus mods had a bunch of themed characters people had made.  A wide variety of alien killers, from the cast of the Alien movies (1 and 2, aka the good ones), Predator, even Duke Nukem.  But there was a glaring absence.  I'm of course talking about the protoganist of what may be the finest sci-fi horror movie ever made: The Thing.  1982 version, not that 2012 nonsense.  That's right, RJ MF'ing MacReady.  Here's the link to him on Nexus Mods

The makers actually released a full on SDK for the game, so I might dip my toe a little deeper.  I don't know squat about mod making, but I imagine it can only help sharpen my software development skills.  It's funny, I put very little actual work into the character, and yet I've already checked on the page activity about 4 times since posting it tonight.

I guess that's about it for right now

Article originally appeared on Rich Burns (http://richburns.me/).
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