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4 Letter From the Editor 5  Poetry Page 7  Interview with a Programmer 11  The Three Keys 12  Why Undertale? 13  Crossword Puzzle 15  Book Review: The Silver Eyes 16  Crossword Puzzle Answers 18  My Logo

The purpose of this publication is to inform you of the incredible amount of work put into the creation of a videogame. From the cheesy flash games played on your browser to the big name games such as Call of Duty or Uncharted series played around the world, each game begins with an idea and follows up with an execution of that idea. I’d like to take a look behind the scenes of such games to the hours of coding, compromise , and creation put in to bring you your favorite games. It’s a lot of work, but in the end, I’d say it’s worth it. Who knows? After this magazine, you may even be inspired to create your own game! Should that be your goal, I hope I’ve equipped you with at least a basic knowledge of what you’re getting yourself into. Best of luck,



Interview: Mr. Nick Edens , computer programming instructor In the theme of creation I've taken the time to interview someone who's inspired me to take an idea or a basic knowledge, add to it, and run with it. As my programming teacher, Mr. Nick Edens has taught me not only how to code, but how to stick with an idea even when it proves to be a challenge. He's taught me the importance of using what I know to solve problems and learning from each setback that occurs. Because of that, and because he takes the time to teach a few of the younger generation these same skills, I decided to ask him some questions about what it's like being a programmer. Here is the result:

What do you do in your job? I work for a worldwide distribution company for fabric and notions. Currently I manage an IT department that is comprised of 2 programmers, 1 network administrator, 1 designer, 1 database administrator, and 1 help desk support person. Most of our computer systems to run our company are based off of software I have designed over the years. Up until two years ago I was the only programmer so from our website to most of our warehouse processes was all done by me. Now I get to work on some of the higher level parts of projects. So my day to day is coming up with ideas to make the company run more efficiently, analyzing data from website purchase patterns to warehouse production patterns, talking with departments as to things they have issues with, and finally coming up with solutions and then delegating parts out to be implemented by our team. This could be a web based front end interface, new database tables being made, optimizations in database structures, server acquisitions, etc. How long have you been coding? My first foray into programming was probably around 2002-2001. I dabbled in basic on a Commadore 64 in the 80's and then did Microsoft Dos scripting in the late 80's. I messed a little with webpage development way early on as well but didn't really like it. The web was nothing like what it is today. What's the best part of your job? Problem solving. I love problem solving. Being able to look at every aspect of what goes on at the company, how all of the people and systems interconnect, and then being able to come up with a solution to make it operate better and see that through to completion is a lot of fun. Also learning new things. I love to learn and programming is always evolving so I always get to learn something new.

What's the worst part? Problem solving. Really though, it can be great but its also filled with issues. When you have to meet with people and you only get half of the story on how things work and then go back and spend weeks or days developing something only to later find out they missed one vital step... It's frustrating. Have there been any mistakes you've made along the way that you've learned from? Wow. Yes. I've made so many mistakes. I've deleted data from databases, lost files, lost emails, crashed servers. Over the past 18 years I have had my hands into all sorts of aspects of technology as a profession from servers, to networks, to programming, to desktops and dumb terminals. Stuff always goes wrong, but you learn from it and move on. The key is to learn from it. Every failure, even the bad ones you get in trouble for, you can take something away from. Nothing great happens perfectly the first time. As long as you approach a project like that you won't get too worked up when it isn't perfect out of the gate.. What would you say is the hardest part of being a programmer? Learning new things. Luckily I pick up on things extremely quickly. I have since I was young, but not everyone is open to that. I try to find the best tool for the job and use that, so sometimes I have to learn a new language, or a new interface, or method, etc. And it takes time. Second to that is probably debugging. I know a lot of people who cannot look at their own code to find bugs. They just don't see things that way. So debugging can be very hard.

Is there something you'd like to see more of in your industry? I would love to see younger kids working on their own projects. There's this old school mind set with a lot of people that to do something ground breaking or awesome you have to be a part of a large company. That's just not the case anymore. That's part of the reason we started HackBG, to empower younger students and let them see that they can do some really amazing stuff. Some of this goes on now, but not enough of it. I think some students just aren't committed enough to completing an idea they have. If we had more students completing their ideas, it could literally change the world. So yeah... more of that. Is there something you'd like to see less of? Programmers in general seem to jump to the newest language or package for development. It's like everyone and their brother has their own language these days. It's just not needed. These fad languages don't really accomplish things quicker than their older counterparts but people flock to them. Then you have this whole culture composed of an "I'm better than you" mentality because of a language someone knows. It’s kind of crazy really and, in my opinion, detrimental to the future of programming and cooper-

Do you use the skills you've learned in your job in everyday life? Absolutely. Problem solving skills I use everywhere and with everything. From preparing to backpack in the Smokies, to problem solving my way out of a bad situation in the middle of nowhere. Skills I've learned as a programmer have such far reaching implications outside of software development. It’s a mindset of how to look at problems, break them down, and then solve them. Is there something you'd say is your greatest achievement? Marrying my wife and raising our kids. Really though, it’s super easy to put in long hours at work on projects and then end up neglecting your family. There's also a pretty pervasive culture of drinking among programmers. So knowing when to walk away from work and head home to what is important and not get caught up in the negatives of the programming environment (isolation, etc.) is probably my greatest achievement. I have done tons of projects, written lots of code, made lots of money for the company but family comes first and that's what I am most proud of. What, in your opinion, is the most important thing to remember when trying to program? Failure is ok. Accept it, learn from it, and move on. If you aren't failing, you are not doing anything awesome. Great things in life come with failure. In conclusion, are there any words of wisdom you'd like to share with someone thinking of a career in your industry? Just do it. Have an idea and then put in the time to make it happen. If it’s a game, or a device, or a website. Don't let it just be an idea and die. Everyone has ideas, the great people are the ones that decided to put in the work and do something about it. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise, you CAN be great. Just decide to follow through on your ideas and do it. You will amaze yourself, amaze others, and in the process you have a chance of changing a part of the world. Sometimes it seems, the most important thing to remember for a programmer isn’t about programming at all! It’s about appreciating what’s important, never losing yourself, and keeping your priorities in their right order. Do that and who knows? Maybe you will change some of the world.

The Three Keys By Chris Leary What is it that makes a video game work? What foundations do nearly every hit game share? How important are they to the success of a game? All of these are good questions and hopefully I've got an answer. Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, gameplay mechanics are crucial to creating a good game. No matter how incredible your story, characters, or graphics are, without good gameplay your game won't capture a player's interest. After all who wants to play a game that's just frustrating to control? After gameplay, the story is important. Although some styles don't have any story, most games worth remembering have at least a little bit of story even if it isn't a main feature. A good story will keep your players hooked until the last scene. Third comes pacing. If things happen too quickly in your game it may be overwhelming for the player. On the other hand, if there's not enough happening your player may get bored and quit. The trick to this is to balance excitement and calm while still challenging your player in order to keep them interested. These are three key elements of creating games, but it certainly doesn't stop there. Art style, battles, creativity... A game is so much more than just three things! These are simply foundations to build a game on. Twist them in your own way, add a unique spin, work hard and you may just have the newest hit game! Whatever you do, remember to have fun.

Why Undertale? Around the year 2012, music producer Toby Fox began to build a universe. Although his project started with little more than a battle system, Fox's game would prove to be loved by thousands. On September 15, 2015, nearly three years after he began, Toby Fox released his role play RPG "Undertale." Soon after, "Undertale" appeared in the top twenty five best-selling Windows games of all time. How? The answer, I believe, comes from every unique detail that makes Undertale different. One of Undertale's biggest strengths is its characterization. Besides your main character "Frisk," Undertale is filled with diverse personalities. The way each character looks and acts so uniquely makes it hard not to enjoy meeting and loving characters. Of course, along with a fantastic cast comes a fantastic storyline. In fact, there are multiple stories in the game. Although the game revolves around Frisk, other characters have their stories referenced enough to piece together story after story in the RPG. Most prominently featured is the story of Asriel and Chara, the King's son and the first human to fall into the Underground, both of which play a large part in the main story even though they existed long before Frisk. The characters and story aren't the only thing making Undertale stand apart from other games in its genre. Also noticeable is the battle system, which allows you to complete the game without killing a single character. While most RPGs focus on the killing of enemies, Undertale offers and even seems to encourage taking a pacifist route. Although Toby Fox may not think he belongs on stage with a big-name like Bloodborne, it isn't hard to see why Undertale has such a devoted fan base. Is it any wonder people fall in love with characters and worlds so deeply felt and portrayed?

The Silver Eyes A Review By Chris Leary

Ten years after the tragedy that changed her life, Charlie reunites with her friends and finds herself confronting all of the memories she's tried to forget. After a decade of trying to forget, Charlie is pulled back into the little town of Hurricane to attend a ceremony. As she meets up with all her old friends, the memories and curiosity begin to take them over until they decide to revisit the old pizzeria of Freddy Fazbear's. They find the place untouched by time since it's surprise closing ten years earlier. As the nostalgia of their childhood hangout pulls them back night after night, the friends begin to realize that everything is not as it should be, and the animatronics that once brought them so much joy become far more terrifying in the night. Soon enough, the seven friends find themselves trapped in the old building in a page-turning rush to survive both the forgotten memories in their minds and the hateful anger of the children who never got to leave Freddy Fazbear's. With a solid, suspenseful plot and fair writing skills, "The Silver Eyes" proves to be an adventure that will keep you hooked until the last page. Although a few mistakes in plot and writing have a strong tendency to pull reader's out of the story, Cawthon's written continuation of his best selling game series paints the Five Nights at Freddy's universe in a new and interesting light. A suspenseful, compelling thriller story.

Pixelcosmity by Chris Leary  

A class magazine-creating project.

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