New Ideas

Unexpected benefit of this blog: I can collect stupid ideas in writing as well! Some ideas look really dumb after a day or two, others look even better. It’ll be nice to reflect on these after a week to see where they shake out.

A new take on Connect Four

I’ve been thinking for a while that I should try my hand at some sort of simple games on iOS. I love quick arcade-style games to unwind after a long day so I’m naturally drawn to creating something like that. Alternatively, I play asynchronous turn-based games with my Mother to keep in touch between phone calls and there aren’t enough good games in this model that are quick and fun.

I’ve been doing lots of technical interviews recently and one of them asked me to write up a connect four game in code. Most of it was just some Swift organizational yoga but detecting wins was a fun challenge and the solution I came up with involved simple row-wise detection of four subsequent same-colored pieces, and then each direction you could win in (row-wise, column-wise, diagonal-right and diagonal-left) just required translating the board matrix in that direction and doing the exact same check.

This got me thinking about building a quickie connect four iPhone game (the hard part is done! now it’s just everything else! you know this feeling). But the weird translational solution I came up with got me thinking about different ways you could play connect four. Rotating board connect four? Does that exist?

This sounds fun but I know that there’s a lot of work that goes into creating a polished app. I would probably start by creating something very basic and playing with connect four rotation to see if that is fun and weird.

Twitter Conversation Stream

For the most part I like the fact that you only see @-replies on Twitter to people you follow. Otherwise I’d be muting everyone who used Twitter more frequently (or way more frequently) than I do.

But I also like sometimes like digging into conversations that my friends are having with people just outside my friend group - or entirely outside. It would be nice to have a site that would find current conversations that my friends are part of and see the whole thing in context. And then they all flow by in a stream, just like individual tweets do (in a naive stream).

Probably just a web site connected to the Twitter API. I could even use their card rendering and do less of the styling work myself.