Closed Prompt 2 11/18

Evening Hawk describes a hawk flying around, and its viewpoint, during sunset. Robert Penn Warren uses his poetic language to describe the majestic hawk, and relates it to embracing how powerful life is. He talks about Time, and the world to show us the different aspects of life..

The first stanza has many references to geometry, with “plane of light” and “black angularity”. Warren is paints a picture of a perfect place through his use of mathematical terms. He talks about light, and describes the contrast with the darkness of the peak. He uses these lines to describe the setting that the hawk is flying through and exploring. The reader gets the impression that the hawk is going from the light of the setting sun, and into the darkness of the mountain willingly, representing how life has its ups and downs.

The second stanza focuses on a different aspect of life: aging. The hawk “Scythes down another day”, showing how we are always losing time. The scythe is a reference to Kronos, who was considered the Titan of time by the Greeks, wielding the same weapon. The rest of the stanza talks about time passing, such as the “crashless fall of stalks of Time”. The next stanza, of one line, states that we all have regrets, that each stalk is “heavy with the gold of our error”. Warren is also alluding to increasing consumerism, which happened during his lifetime, by using the word gold.

The fourth stanza references the Sun. The “last light” alludes to this, but the phrase “world… swings into shadow” makes it clear. Warren is trying to say that only celestial objects can be perfect. Humans make mistakes, and inanimate objects cannot make mistakes.

The last two stanzas describe how all humans can do is learn while we live. Warren mentions a bat whose “wisdom, Is ancient, too, and immense”, telling us that there are other creatures than the hawk, who are part of this world. He is telling us to be like the bat, and learn as much as we can while fumbling through life, before Time catches up to us and the inevitable happens. The description of history “drip in darkness” is simply reinforcing that humans must learn about our past as well. He is asking us to make sure that history is embraced in the light, and not forgotten in a cellar.

Warren uses his language, with powerful diction and allusions, to describe the scene and convey his interpretation of the meaning of life, and how humans can do better. While he may be a little critical of our society, similar to Albee, his words have good intentions behind them. He is hopeful that humans can change the way we look at life.

Response to Course Material

We started out this unit talking about Absurd theatre and comedy. I hadn’t heard of these topic before in a school setting, especially not Theatre of the Absurd. The definition of comedy was very interesting as well. I hadn’t thought about humor following a defined set of rules.

 

Our main focus was The American Dream. I learned so much about Albee, and the time period surrounding that literature. I always feel like literature is a reflection of a time period, and this piece was no exception. This was also the first time I had seen an author critique their time period. I was used to praise of the time they lived in, not outright attack of the era.

 

This was the first Absurdist play I had read, and it was a good introduction. Based on what I have seen so far, this play had absurdist elements, but it wasn’t the best example. The play was non-circular, because the Young Man replaces Grandma at the end. This play has had so many different interpretations as well. We read one interpretation that Grandma represented the old American Dream, while the Young Man represented consumerism and what society was moving towards. While I agreed with this interpretation, I also felt that being given an interpretation was bound to influence the rest of our discussion, which I saw in our theme statements. Most of them seemed to take for granted what the Young Man and Grandma represented.

 

The vocabulary we learned through vocabulary.com was useful in describing the themes from The American Dream. I knew some of the words already, but a few were new to me. Learning new words that can be used to describe is always a good thing. The terms we learned, on the other hand, is only useful to literature. Some of the terms, such as poetry, blank verse, and foot, I will use throughout my life, but words such as epizeuxis I am likely to forget once I get to college. Still, learning all of these terms was an interesting challenge, and recognizing them will be another challenge.

 

Learning about how to tackle the MC AP Lit questions was difficult. Literature is inherently open ended; asking students to narrow choices down between two options was tough. The questions are written so that most of the viewpoints are defensible, but only one is correct. I personally hated that, but I can think of no other way of incorporating MC questions into a literature based class. That is why I enjoyed the writing assessments we had more, because they asked us about our thoughts, and we were free to pick from whatever we wanted to.

 

We covered many different topics over the course of this last month. Most of them can be related to each other, especially the essay writing and the American Dream. I look forward to reading more great literature!

 

American Dream Summary and Analysis

The American Dream, by Edward Albee

Setting

An apartment, set in the 1960’s. Multiple shops near by. The apartment is spacious enough for 3-4 people.

Author

Edward Albee  was adopted when he was very young by rich conservative parents, who he always felt apart from. His parents sent him to multiple boarding schools and academies, which he kept changing. He always felt like a poster child, a toy on display. He left his family in the 1940’s because he wanted to be a writer. He wrote mostly plays that critiqued American culture. He was also a homosexual man, and his parents still forced him into an engagement with a woman.

 

Characters

Grandma – A unique old woman who critiques Mommy, and tries to be caring to most others. She argues with Mommy at the beginning, then says that she is quitting her act and talks normally with Mrs. Barker. Later, she encounters the Young Man, and compliments him on being “The American Dream”. She looks around the house, missing it, before walking out with her boxes. The boxes contain her past 86 years of living, and her dog. She then leaves, escorted by the Young Man. At the end of the play, the audience can see her as an outsider, where she breaks the fourth wall and addresses the audience, closing out the play.

Daddy – A man who doesn’t feel right in his own gender. He doesn’t have much say in what goes on, and tends to simply accept what is happening. He shows suicidal thoughts, hoping he could just get it all over with. He is tired of what happens every day in his household. On the whole, he is a hollow character, unusual for the time period. We don’t know his job, but he recently had a gender change surgery.

Mommy – She has most of the lines in the play. As a child, she was a decietful little girl, tricking kids into giving her candy. As an adult, she argues frequently with her mother. She states that “the van man”  is coming to take Grandma away. When she doesn’t get something that she wants, she belligerently attacks the person who is denying her satisfaction. When Grandma leaves, she appears to show some remorse and misses her, however this quickly passes once the Young Man replaces Grandma.

Young Man –  He is in his twenties, and was an identical twin. He claims that he feels hollow inside, after incidents occurred to his twin.He seems  to represent a Gilded Age, where everyone just wants what they can buy with money. He is quite happy to comply with whatever if someone has money. Despite with the young man says, he is still quite caring towards others. At the end of the story when Grandma is walking out, he offers to escort her to the elevator.

Plot

The play starts with Mommy and Daddy complaining that some visitors are late. As they complain about how they can’t get satisfaction, Mommy recounts how she went to go buy a hat, and returns it after she feels the color was off. Daddy nods along and just goes with the flow.

Grandma enters the scene, carrying many nicely wrapped boxes. She complains about the bathroom which leads to Daddy insulting her. Grandma then goes off on a tangent, saying old people are always treated unfairly.  Mommy recounts her childhood remembering how nicely Grandma wrapped boxes for her during lunch. She talks about how she was able to convince her classmates to give her food everyday.

Grandma calls Mommy a tramp for marrying a rich husband, just for the money. Mommy seems proud of the fact that she was a able to marry him. The doorbell rings, and Mrs. Barker enters the scene. Mrs. Barker removes her dress, and asks Mommy and Daddy why they called her here. Grandma and Mommy get into a fight, with Mommy leaving to get Mrs. Barker some water. Daddy leaves to break Grandma’s television.

Grandma and Mrs. Barker talk about the “bumble”, Mommy and Daddy’s child from 20 years ago. They mutilated the child until it died because they were unhappy with how imperfect it was. Grandma leaves Mrs. Barker with this thought, not explaining much about it.

The Young Man enters the home, and immediately attracts the attention of Grandma. She describes him as the “American Dream”. The young man says that he will do anything for money, to which Grandma replies that there is plenty of money around here. the young man recounts his tale,  explaining how he felt being mutilated throughout his childhood. He says that he was born with a twin, and that they were separated at birth. He explains how as life went on, he started to lose the feelings that normal human beings are able to have. Grandma seems to realize that the “bumble” and the young man were twins.

Grandma decided to leave the house and replace herself with the Young Man.  Mrs. Barker explains to Mommy and Daddy how the van man came and took Grandma away. Mommy is emotional for a moment, but then Mommy and Daddy realize that the Young Man is there.  mommy directs the young man to get out some drinks, so he gets out 5 glasses. Mommy admonishes him for bringing out 5 instead of 4, signifying that she can no longer see Grandma while the Young Man still can.

The play ends with Mommy promising how she will tell the Young Man what happened to their previous child, and Grandma breaking the fourth wall, saying “Good night”.

 

Notes

There is no point of view, since this is a play. Albee is criticizing American culture and the path that we are on, and he longs for the true American past (Grandma).

The historical references here are quite important. This is a period right after WWII, with the baby boomers still growing up. Most of the people watching this play would have remembered some effects of the Depression. Grandma at one point says “150 years”, which in context means the start of the American way of life. Mrs. Barker may be related to Eleanor Roosevelt, as both have husbands that had wheelchairs, and both were women of power.

 

Quotes

“I no longer have the capacity to feel anything. I have no emotions.” – Young Man

This is showing the despair the Young Man feels inside, while looking fine on the exterior.

“She’d have you carted off too, if she thought she could get away with it” – Grandma

Grandma is pointing towards how conniving her daughter is, and how she would have Daddy removed if possible. Hints towards Mommy having power, rather than the patriarch.

“The truth is, there isn’t much you can say to old people that doesn’t sound just terrible” – Grandma

Grandma is criticizing the way the world is today, by saying how nothing that is said to her nowadays feels nice. She actively feels the passage of time.

Theme Statement

In Albee’s American Dream, he argues that modern American ideals are leading us to a path of destruction, and that our older American values are vanishing.

Grandma is an old lady who disappears with her values. The Young Man describes himself as a broken person, and laments the death of his twin. These two are important plot elements.

The way the Young Man describes his inner self being terrible, while Grandma simply says he looks nice, draws a contrast between new and old through diction. Albee is stressing that the Young Man lives a terrible existence, and just because he looks good doesn’t mean he feels good.

Closed Prompt 1 2008

Author 1A

Overall, this author does a great job analyzing Keats and Longfellow’s poems and meaning. The thesis statement is made well, and quite defendable. Saying that Keats and Longfellow have different viewpoints on life is the answer this prompt is looking for. The claim that both authors feel that life is short is well backed with textual evidence. The usage of the word anaphora is correct and shows that they know what they are talking about. The second paragraph analyzes the differences very well, pointing towards the contrast between the lives of Keats and Longfellow. The meaning that they are able to extract from a few words makes sense. The last paragraph fully backs the thesis and establishes the different viewpoint on life and death. The only thing I believe the author could have done better is add more to the thesis, by adding the first and second paragraphs’ argument. I would have mentioned the differences in love in the thesis, rather than say vague words about regrets they both have. This disconnect feels like the author started writing their thesis, found a better argument, but forgot to modify the thesis to fit their argument. Still, the body paragraphs and conclusion are very strong.

Author 1B

This author’s thesis is not as strong as the Author 1A’s. The only difference that this author finds is actually a similarity. He says that each one symbolizes a wasted life, but lists it as a difference. This author ties their claims and warrants together very well, along with supporting textual evidence. The first body paragraph is a good example of how one should approach one of these prompts. Evidence is all metaphor based, but all of the in text quotes make sense and are not mislabeled. The next body paragraph outlines more similarities between the two poems. However, no differences are discussed except for in the thesis, when the author states that they both have different feelings about death. There isn’t any in text evidence used to prove that claim. The conclusion is very abrupt and doesn’t do well to sum up their argument. This author needs to find more varied sources of evidence to back up their claims, and make more claims. The thesis needs to have a compare and contrast, not just a compare. The essay as a whole is lacking in substance, like the author was rushed. This piece could use a bit more time on the conclusion, and a third body paragraph where the differences are discussed.

Author 1C

This author focuses on only one aspect of both poems: the rhythm. The thesis statement does not discuss anything about the viewpoint of the poems. Furthermore, the thesis only focuses on similarities between the two. The first body paragraph doesn’t mention what type of literary device is being used to convey that the author is close to death, or has a fear of dying. The second body paragraph lacks explicit references to the text. Both of these body paragraphs come up with defensible conclusions. However, the author fails to back them up with claims, evidence, or warrants. The conclusion is also weak, as the author simply comments on how the two poems are similar and different. There is a sense of wrapping things up, but there is no argument to wrap up. The entire piece is rather weak, and it is hard to see what argument is being made, and how.

Fasting

In Fasting, Desai uses point of view, diction, and dialogue to show that Arun is scared of the unknown; that his indian background leads him to not be familiar with nature, as as a result he is frightened by it.

Arun’s point of view is explored, with his thoughts telling us what he thinks of a beautiful summer day. “But how passionately he prefers its post office, its shops, its dry-cleaning stores” shows us how much Arun wants to be indoors. He loves the small buildings in this isolated small town. Phrases such as “back of his neck begin to prickle, as if in warning” show how opposed he is to the outdoors. He takes what is a beautiful summer day, the kind of day most people would enjoy, and he manages to make it seem negative in his head. Even at the very start of the piece, he “stands despondent” and is unable to make any excuses for staying at home, or in the town. He doesn’t want to go to the beach, and even when he does go, he dislikes it. Since Arun is indian, we can assume that he is from a city, and not from a small village. His had probably spent his entire life in a small area, not really exploring outside of the city. After all, there was no need to.  All of these details reinforce that Arun doesn’t want to try new things; he is quite literally afraid of the unknown.

The diction that is used throughout the piece tells the reader how Arun is frightened. Phrases like “he starts wildly” show that he is almost amazed by the fact that he may have to go out in nature. “ugly, jarring note” gives the reader the impression that the sounds are discordant. Arun takes the sounds of nature, and the author uses diction to almost twist it. Instead of feeling at ease, the words convey a sense of nervousness; something is not alright. Finally, diction is used to make it seem like the woods want to actively stifle human life, with “creeping curtain of insidious green, these grasses stirring with insidious life, and bushes with poisonous berries”. This phrase is used to say that the active, lively woods are unnatural, and that even the innocent seeming bushes are poisonous to Arun. The use of diction to twist a summer day into a scary forest implies that he is panicky about going to the lake.

Finally, dialogue is used in this work to show a contrast between Arun and his family. “‘Summertime,’ he hears her singing, ‘when the living is eeh-zee—’” shows that faced with the same set of facts, the family members are drawing very different conclusions. The only reason for this to happen would be the background that each grew up in. Arun grew up in crowded India; the Pattons have been close to nature since they were born. This illustrates the difference in the two worldviews. “we’re not going to sit here waiting for them to come home—oh no.’” shows that Mrs. Patton is an independent woman. However, it also shows that Arun is willing to follow. He isn’t going outside because he wants to try something new, he is going outside because once his host family has their minds made up, they intend to follow through with something. This is important because of the lack of something: Arun never wants to go outside. Because his host family wants to, we can see that he is unhappy about the situation, but compliant.

Anita Desai masterfully uses strong diction, focused dialogue, and Arun’s point of view to show how he is scared of the unknown. These are also used to reinforce how Arun’s indian background colors his way of looking at a pure summer day. The meaning of the story is how the unknown is always frightening.

Recap

  1. Reading like a professor

This book showed me the different ways authors will convey things to their readers. I simply didn’t know about how authors will try and reference other texts, or how rain and other events tend to relate to christianity. This unit showed me the complexities that are in the reading we embark on this year.

 

  1. The Nuts and Bolts of College Writing

This book taught me how to write concisely and how to not go overboard with the words. The people who read what I write don’t want to read thousands of words that could be summarized in a few paragraphs. That is the most important takeaway I gathered from this unit. Other things that I want to explore more include: flow, endings, and paragraphs. I had never thought of paragraphs as units of thought before, which is a comparison I liked a lot. I connected this with computer science in my head, thinking of a paragraph as a nested data structure. There are infinite types, but some work better than others to do the same thing.

 

  1. Essay Writing

This presentation was mostly on how to write essays for the AP Lit exam. I found the central question that we always have to answer to be the most useful thing in that powerpoint. Knowing what the grader wants is central in writing a good answer. I plan on using this statement for the rest of the year.

 

  1. Close Reading Practice

Practicing everything that we had learned by using “A Jury of her Peers” was a great in class activity. Engaging with the class made me realize the number of different interpretations there were of the exact same story and words. Applying everything that we had learned was also lots of fun. After doing this activity, I went home and re read Ender’s Game. A bunch of religious references and other bits and pieces all jumped out at me.

 

  1. All Textbook Activities

These were fun to do. I enjoyed applying all of the skills that we were learning in class to real material, stuff that was closer to the AP Exam. I felt that the poetry section was harder than the prose. In my opinion, prose has a much easier to understand plot, whereas poetry has many more interpretations than prose. Realizing the differences between them this early is something I am thankful for.

 

  1. Peer Review

We already posted our reflections on this in Classroom, but there are a few things that I realized after doing it. This assignment helped me so much with my writing skills. Having multiple students review my writing and tell me what parts they liked and disliked is something that will help me write better.

 

  1. Terms List

I have been studying the terms in class and at home for a while now. I have gone through about 50 of them, and I like to learn them everyday. Some words are ones we covered last year in British Literature. Others are completely brand new to me. Learning these allows me to describe literature much better.

AP Lit 9/24

 

Ann Petry’s 1946 novel, The Street, shows how Lutie Johnson has a connection with the setting of an urban street. Throughout this passage, Petry establishes Lutie Johnson’s relationship to the urban setting through the use of imagery, by using phrases like “rattled the tops of garbage cans”. Petry uses personification, by saying “Fingering its way along the curb, the wind set the bits of paper to dancing high in the air, “. Petry also uses figurative language such as good diction, with “barrage of paper” and “grit stung their skins”.

 

Imagery is used very heavily throughout this passage. Petry says “rattled the tops of garbage cans” to show how strong the wind is, and to make the reader feel as if there is a rattling noise of metal on metal. She says “sucked window shades out through the top of opened windows and set them flapping back” to show that the wind was really powerful and changing; it was fluid. This gives the impression of the wind playing around with the people in the streets of this urban place. This wind later encounters Lutie, and all of these images start to make sense as it mercilessly drives her to find a warm room.

 

Personification is used to show the relationship between Lutie and the setting. By saying “Fingering its way along the curb, the wind set the bits of paper to dancing high in the air, “ Petry shows that the wind is moving across all of the people around it. It is trying to be as much of a nuisance as it can, by makes the streets dirtier, and by touching each person in a certain way. “She shivered as the cold fingers of the wind touched the back of her neck” shows that the wind is exposing everyone, and it is making people feel uncomfortable. The wind blowing through this less crowded city is unmasking everyone and making them feel like they need a safe place. This very wind that Lutie is trying to avoid quickly annoys her right before she finds a room to hide from it.

 

Petry also uses figurative language such as good diction, with “barrage of paper” and “grit stung their skins”. The barrage of paper really puts a picture in your head. You can almost see a tornado of paper being driven through the dirty streets. The grit flying into people’s faces makes them blind and hurt. “dark red stain like blood” tells you exactly the color that this rusted sign has, and it makes you feel a bit more afraid for the protagonist. “impossible angle on the rod that suspended it from the building” shows you just how precariously the sign was placed, and that the wind is so strong that it can makes even the impossible happen. This wind is so powerful that it has, in some ways, created this urban setting that Lutie is trying to navigate.

 

In conclusion, the wind is used in many different literary ways to show the connection between Lutie and the city she is in. The author uses very powerful techniques to put a picture in the readers’ heads of what this wind can do, and how it touches everyone. Petry truly  establishes Lutie Johnson’s relationship to the urban setting through the use of such literary devices as imagery, personification, and figurative language, and makes the passage a pleasure to read.

 

AP Lit Blog Post 9/10

2006 AP Lit Free Response

“The following passage is an excerpt from Lady Windermere’s Fan, a play by Oscar Wilde, produced in 1892. Read the passage carefully. Then write a well-organized essay in which you analyze how the playwright reveals the values of the characters and the nature of their society.”

First Response

Author A answers the prompt. They point out the differences in character between the women and the Lord Darlington. However, this response focuses too much on what is being revealed, rather than how. The prompt is asking for how the writer reveals details about the characters. Author A says about that is “a mundane situation to reveal character”, and then picks apart a few lines of dialogue to show how and what it means for the character. I feel that they could have included more dialogue, and started with the dialogue, rather than their impressions of the characters. The last paragraph is the most organized of them all, and it finishes out a strong argument. The author is able to back their claims with solid quotes, and I found myself agreeing with them on a few points. Overall, this response is quite good, but the author could have been more direct in answering the prompt. EDIT: After reading the other responses, I feel like I was too critical of this one. This response is the strongest one of them all, but it could use a little bit of work, like I mentioned above.

 

Second Response

This author barely answers the prompt. There are very few direct quotations, and they only talk about their impressions about the characters. The introduction is okay. The author simply rephrases part of the prompt and then provides what they thought of each character. The second paragraph deals with what they thought of Lord Darlington, which happens to agree with the first author. In this paragraph, the author mostly talks about how the lord is funny and doesn’t judge people based on their “scandals”. While I agree with the author, this does not answer the prompt. There is very little analysis on how the author reveals the character. The piece reads more as an argument for what each character is like. In the second to last paragraph, author B references the text a lot more, trying to answer the prompt better. In the last paragraph, they conclude by mentioning that dialogue is shows the personalities of each person, but they don’t mention how or why.

 

Third Response

This response is the weakest of them all. It only covers one character, artificially limiting the author to a set amount of content. The response also spends a lot of time directly “translating” the dialogue that is said, rather than analyzing it. This author also does not really answer the prompt. In their conclusion statement, they talk about how our society and the society mentioned in the play are not that different. Their central claim is based on comparing our world to the world described in the text. This response makes it feel like they’re answering a completely different prompt than the one that is mentioned. They talk far too much about the world, and they end with a call to action, on making the world a better place. This read like an essay that was based on a similar prompt. It does all the right things, but it doesn’t even remotely answer the prompt, and it doesn’t have the content that was in the other two responses.

Programming Languages Explained

You might hear someone call themselves a programmer, but what does that really mean?
It means that they know one or more programming languages. Now what is a programming language?
A programming language is the way a programmer can tell the computer what to do. There are many programming languages out there, but I will touch on the ones that I have used and liked for this post.
First off, we have C. C is one of the oldest languages (1972) that is still in heavy use today. Operating systems are written in it; most other languages are based on it. C is one of the highest performing languages as well, however it can be a pain to code in for beginners. Here is an example “Hello World” program.
/* Hello World program */

#include<stdio.h>

main()
{
    printf("Hello World");
}

File:The C Programming Language logo.svg
Photo Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_C_Programming_Language_logo.svg
What this program will do is, if run in a terminal/cmd, it will print out the text “Hello World”. Most of this is easy to understand, however things like manual memory management and pointers make C harder to work with for beginners.
A successor to C, C++ was created to add object orientation to C. It aims to keep the same performance, and since it is object oriented, many games are written in it. Object oriented means that you can write classes, which make it easier to have a lot of something appear on a screen.
// my first program in C++
#include <iostream>

int main()
{
  std::cout << "Hello World!";
}
File:C plus plus.svg
Photo Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:C_plus_plus.svg

As you can see, the two languages are quite similar, and you can sometimes use C libraries in C++. Next up we have Golang, a language backed by google. Golang is quite fast, as it compiles into C code. Golang was created by google in order to reduce their server processing time by rewriting some of their application in Golang. It also has a nicer syntax than C or C++ for some people, so one could use it as a beginning language.

package main
import "fmt"
func main() { 
    fmt.Println("hello world") 
}
File:Gogophercolor.png
Photo Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gogophercolor.png
Still is pretty simple. Next up, we have the king of beginning languages, Python. Python is an interpreted language, which means that each line is read by the compiler as you run it, then each line is evaluated. This makes it a much, much slower language then all of the ones I have covered so far.
print("Hello, World!")
That’s it. Very, very simple and easy to read. My favorite out of all of these, however, would have to be C++. You can do almost anything in it, and it is high performance. It might have a bit of an ugly syntax, but it clicks for me in my head, and I love using it for simple stuff. However, if I was asked to write a GUI application, I would probably switch to a different language, like D. D was designed as the successor to C++, and it is also quite fast. It hasn’t really caught on in the rest of the world however, because no one wants to move away from C++ and rewrite everything.
import std.stdio;
void main()
{
    writeln("Hello, world without explicit compilations!");
}

As you can see, the syntax is close to C and C++, but quite easier to work with due to the lack of header files, which I can get into quite later.

That’s all for this post!

Spell Dev Log: 0.1.6

Link: http://ajusa.github.io/Spell

Welcome back to another Spell Dev Log. In this log, I will be discussing what the current state of Spell is, and why I have decided to change all of the gameplay. This is a pretty short one, since all of the changes can be described succinctly.

spellnewverison
Photo from me

First off, a ridiculous amount of changes have happened since I last posted one of these. We have working multiplayer, and better graphics than before. We had an actually playable, not too bad game. However, after discussing it with some of my friends, we realized that the way the gameplay worked was kind of limiting.

We had a 2d platformer type of game, where you can shoot only in two directions and move in only two. This makes it somewhat easy to “camp” in a corner and spam long range spells. If done right, you could kill everyone on the map. For games such as Mario, it works because you are trying to solve a puzzle. However, for a game like Spell, where all you need to do is shoot and move, this becomes very boring.

After thinking about it for a while, we decided a top down tile based game would be better for the feeling we were trying to achieve. A top down game is more like Pokemon, and it adds on two new directions the player can travel and fire in: up and down. If you have ever played games like Realm of the Mad God, Agar.io, or Binding of Issac, you know what I am talking about.

newspell
Photo from me

We decided to leave most of the controls the same, but to implement aiming with the mouse, so that the game would require more skill. Right now, you face the mouse, but the spell don’t actually fire in the right direction, rendering it useless. However, this will be fixed within a few days. Some of the math requires trig and basic calculus, so that is why we are looking for a better way to do things.

Another gameplay change is the way the controls are mapped. Since we are planning on using a mouse to aim, that means that one hand will always be on the mouse. This means that you have to move with your left hand and choose your combo with your left hand. While this could get a bit cramped, we can’t really think of a better way to do it. If you have any suggestions as to how we should go about implementing the controls, feel free to leave a comment!

One change that has happened to our Dev Team is that it has grown substantially. We now have two developers, two graphics artists, and one game designer. EpicMittMitt, Ajusa(me), AlphaBetaR, Dark_P1ant, and FunnyWabbit are part of our current team. The game master, Dark_P1ant, has already started to balance Spell and make it more fun to play. He has also been suggesting good ideas for us to implement. Other people that I bounce ideas off of are my friends at school. They have helped a bit in the brainstorming process.

github
Photo taken by me, from http://www.github.com

What is coming in the near future? Right now, basic aiming and 4 base spells are our goal. By sometime in May we will probably have some spell combos implemented for you guys to test out. We will be designing a map so that you can move around and shoot people with spells strategically. Lastly, we will be adding a chat bar of sorts, so that you can run commands and talk with other players.

In short, Spell development has not halted. It is accelerating much faster than I had thought it would, and I hope it manages to become popular, like agar.io. See you all in the next spell update!