Dylan's blog

Back to Monday

Day 3

Welcome back to Monday, the universally most tired day of the week. I went to bed pretty late last night after going and seeing some friends in my hometown. I think it was after 1am. Today I'm substituting for a fourth grade classroom at the school district I grew up at. Right now, the kids are taking a pretest for their Historical Fiction and Biography section of class. This class is pretty easy and most students aren't little shits. Most of them do their work and aren't bothersome, which is a plus about substituting for them. Last week when I subbed at this building, I substituted for ISS, which was one of the toughest days I've had to work here. One of the students was very rowdy and would get upset over the smallest of things. The other student didn't have much trouble getting work done. The two of them together were a bit challenging to handle, so I got a bit of help from the assistant principal to help me get them under control. Overall just a hectic day and I wasn't able to get much school work done. I don't anticipate getting the most productive day here, but I do have some extra time I could fill in to get some homework done.

Starting off on Mondays, I'm going to have a section called "What I did this weekend", which goes over my doings of the weekend.

What I did this weekend

Friday (yes this is part of the weekend)

Friday I hung out at home. I redownloaded one of my favorite games of all time, RollerCoaster Tycoon 2.

RollerCoaster Tycoon backstory

I can't exactly remember how old I was when I first played (RollerCoaster Tycoon) RCT. I went with my grandma and aunt garage saling. (typing garage saling looks so weird compared to just saying it) I remember we were looking around and I found the game, and it looked magical. The disc copy of RCT, in its unopened box could not have looked any better. The game had some age to it. My family's Windows XP desktop was able to power through the game like it was nothing.

The disc copy of RollerCoaster Tycoon.

I don't think my grandma spent over $10 on it. It was one of the coolest looking games I had ever seen. For the most part, I didn't play for the objectives in the game. The game was overall fun and just the mechanics and how the game functioned astonished me. I particularly enjoyed playing the Diamond Heights scenario, which was a pre-built park that you had to double the value of by the end of October of Year 3.

Diamond Heights scenario in RCT. The park is bigger than this, the screenshot only captures the front entrance.

RCT1 vs. RCT2

The difference, as far as I can tell, between RCT1 and RCT2 is that RCT2 is like an expanded version of the original game. It has more scenarios, more trains, rides, rollercoasters, concessions, you name it. RCT2 also has a rewritten open-source version that is called OpenRCT2. It's written in my least favorite language, C++. Despite that, its still a great project that is maintained here. This is the version I primarily play with. Big props to the developers that made this possible.

Also, big props to Chris Sawyer, the developer of the first two RCTs. I learned over the weekend that 99% of the original implementation source for both is x86 assembly, and the remaining 1% is C. I'm currently enrolled in an assembly class, and writing a full-fledge game at this scale sounds insane to me. How do you even write that much assembly without losing your brain?

loopLoad:
li $v0, 43 # set the value of $v0 to 43 (the syscall service number)
syscall # call the syscall
mul $t1, $t0, 4 # multiply to calculate offset for array
addu $t2, $t1, $a1 # calculate offseted address
swc1 $f0, 0($t2) # store at offseted address
addi $t0, $t0, 1 # i++
slti $t1, $t0, 15 # $t1 = 1 if i < 16
bne $t1, $zero, loopLoad # if $t1 != zero, continue loop

An excerpt from my most recent assignment. This creates an array of 15 elements, each element being a random float from 0-1.

Back to the weekend

This weekend I completed the Diamond Heights scenario, the Crazy Castle scenario, and the Electric Fields scenario. Overall a great weekend for some casual RollerCoaster Tycoon. It felt great to play it after over a year.

Saturday

Saturday I woke up a bit later than I wanted. My sister and her boyfriend came over and ate lunch with my family and I. After we got done eating sandwiches, I packed up my hiking bag, along with my water bottle and hydration pack. I headed towards Ponca, Arkansas, where I would be taking a more than 5 mile hike on the Goat Trail. The drive there was pretty neat, and I was fairly familiar going the way I did to get to Berryville. After Berryville however, I was relying on my my phone's maps the rest of the way there.

Ponca might as well not even exist, there was an RV park that I saw and that was it, besides the state park features. The trail was an in-and-out, meaning I would walk the trail and then walk it back to where I parked. It was 5.9 miles in total length. I started hiking around 4:10pm. The trail was essentially a hike down a huge mountain to a lower spot in the mountains. The climb down was fairly easy. I reached the beginning of the Goat trail around 5:00pm. I started to climb down to what I think is the coolest spot I've ever hiked.

These pictures will never do this place justice.

This place was astounding. These huge beautiful bluffs were some of the coolest ones I had ever seen. The lookout into the wilderness was just as astounding. You could see the U-shaped curve of the Buffalo River below, and there was a couple that was kayaking that set up a tent on the shore. There were more bluffs, that looked even bigger across this huge landscape. It was mesmerizing to say the least. The vibes were immaculate.

Further past the bluffs I didn't continue much further, as it started going downhill and I was starting to lose daylight. I took one last walk across the bluffs, admiring as much as I could, and began to head back. The hike back wasn't as near as easy as the hike down. The hike back up was intense and was much more than I originally bargained for. Every step was worth it. After pushing for 52 minutes from the beginning of the Goat trail, I had made it back to my car. Most of the cars that were parked at the trailhead earlier in the day were now gone. I started my drive home to some 12.38 by Childish Gambino. Absolute banger.

I got home around 9pm. I was having issues falling asleep, but man, I slept like a rock.

Sunday

Easter Sunday I didn't do much. My legs were sore and I could feel my thighs burning each time I took a step. It had been awhile since I did a full-fledge difficult hike. I once again woke up kind of late and slowly got around. I still had to respond to two discussion posts for my art class and had to take an exam over computer security. I ate a pretty snacky lunch and then around 4:45pm, my family and I headed to go eat dinner at my grandma's. Afterwards, I ended up making my discussion posts, taking my exam, and then I went to go see my friends around 10pm. I went home around 11, but didn't fall asleep until I think after 1am.

After taking this awesome hike, I've decided I will be doing more of these with the weather getting warmer. I've visited the Magnolia Waterfall trail (also in Ponca) last year, and it is on the list to return to this year. Ponca has a bunch of trails I'd like to go see. I've also decided I'll be dedicating a page on my website to hiking to log my experiences. This weekend was one for the books.

Anyways, this post has taken me like, three hours to type and I've been on and off of my screen looking at this one textbox full of words that I've somehow managed to type so much. I feel like I'm an author of something which is cool. I don't know how else to end this less abruptly other than to say, have a great week!

-Dylan

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