Tag Archives: coding

Writing immersive interactive fiction using near field communication (NFC) tags

I found a drawer full of near field communication tags and remembered this article I wrote a few years back.

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Talented fiction writers are skilled at drawing upon their readers’ five senses–sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch.  But what if a writer had a way to truly immerse their readers into an environment where one could literally smell the zeppoles from the carnival stand or feel the forceful rush of wind from a moving passenger train past the platform?  The technology exists—sort of—in the form of near field communication (NFC) tags paired with mobile smartphone and tablet technology.

NFC tags are a form of radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips that cost mere pennies and are often sold in the form of self-adhesive stickers.  Requiring no self-contained power, NFC tags are easily programmed from freely-available software.  And when an NFC tag is physically “tapped” by an NFC-enabled smartphone or tablet, the tag issues commands to the smartphone to take an action like setting an alarm, starting an application, or for the purpose…

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Quest: Writing and Playing Text Adventure and Interactive Fiction

I read an article this morning about text adventure games and was reminded of this article I wrote a few years ago.

Today's Author

I recently stumbled upon Quest, software created and distributed under an open-source license by Alex Warren for individuals to write and play text adventure games and interactive fiction.  The platform is extremely flexible, allowing reading/playing in either a web browser, downloading to a PC for offline play, and even allowing the option for creating mobile application distributions.

Writing Quest Stories

Quest comes in two varieties for writing your own stories.  You can either download the open-source software for Microsoft Windows OS to create your masterpiece locally on your machine, or you can create a free account on the website to build your story online.  Key features include:

  • No programming skills needed
  • A full tutorial with illustrative examples
  • Write your story in any language
  • Ability to embed pictures, sound, and video
  • Encouragement to share your creation

Here’s an example of the web-editing interface:

Quest-Web-Editor

Reading/Playing Quest Stories

The homepage for Quest, http://textadventures.co.uk/

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Coding text-based MMORPG games in PHP and MySQL

I’m out of the professional coding world for ten years, but it hasn’t stopped me from creating a BBS-style online text adventure game in the spirit of TradeWars 2002 and Legend of the Red Dragon using PHP and MySQL.

game

I remember well the specs of my first brand-new PC in the fall of 1993 that cost me $3,000: an Intel 486DX processor with 8MB RAM, 340MB hard-drive, and a USRobotics 14.4K modem. With that PC came the joy of exploring local dial-up BBS systems, namely the Trenton NJ area It’s All Rock ‘N Roll and the online text adventure games the SysOp offered his members.

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Frequent Agile SaaS deployments are disrupting end-user value

Like most, I spent the recent year-end holidays reconnecting with family and friends over a tin of homemade Toll House chocolate chip cookies and non-fat cappuccinos. We laughed. We cried. We debated the merits of Agile SaaS deployments and Minimum Viable Product (MVP) delivery.

SML Books by See-ming Lee is licensed under Creative Commons | Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
SML Books by See-ming Lee is licensed under Creative Commons | Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic

It began as an innocuous statement:

“Drive-thru windows at coffee shops. Call-ahead seating at chain restaurants. Online order pickup at big-box stores. Clearly we’re an impatient society. We know what we want. And even if we don’t, we want it now, anyway.”

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Calling Web Services within Microsoft Office via the SOAP protocol in the year 2013

In the early to mid-2000s Microsoft Corp. painted the world a beautiful picture of the ease at which one could exchange information across disparate systems, whether across the LAN or across the Internet.  The company simultaneously eased both Office users and professional developers into unfamiliar terminology like Web Services, Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), and XML.

A bubble by Jeff Kubina is licensed under Creative Commons | Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic
A bubble by Jeff Kubina is licensed under Creative Commons | Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic

Don’t worry about the new terminology, Microsoft told Office users (paraphrased).  With a few drag-and-drops and mouse clicks, we made it simple for you to call a web service with little to no coding experience.  You’re going to love how easy it is to push and pull data using Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) within your Office files—namely Excel (paraphrased).

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