Categories
College Game Development

Engines and Frameworks for 2D Game Development

For my English 212 class I had to create a Product Analysis Report. I decided to do something based on a question I get almost weekly: Unity or Corona SDK?

Those of you who know me best might find yourself flabbergasted at my conclusion (please don’t hate me!)…

Engines and Frameworks for 2D Game Development — PDF

Categories
College

Anthro 200: Athabaskan Report

My last assignment in Anthropology 200 before starting my final exam (due Friday evening).

http://jayjennings.com/files/AnthroAthabaskanLuck.pdf

Just a quick page and a half with a look at the Athabaskan and their concept of “luck” when it comes to hunting.

One thing not in the report that I found interesting during my research, was the number of Athabaskan language groups — more than 50, including down in the Apache and Navajo areas of the southwest US. In other words, it’s probable the Apache and Navajo indians were Athabaskan people who migrated south from Alaska and Canada.

To this day people still leave Alaska for the dry heat of Arizona. 🙂

Categories
College

Price Positioning Map for TRR

For my final assignment in my Marketing class I had to create a price positioning map and “Discuss what your company can do differently with their pricing strategy to stay competitive; if the evidence suggests that they are doing well with their pricing strategy you must present the evidence in a clear and concise framework.”

http://jayjennings.com/files/BA260PricePositioning.pdf

That’s what I ended up with (single page PDF download) — the idea to create a course that includes the online videos PLUS live (via Skype, Google Hangouts, etc.) mentoring and feedback is something I thing I will try after the first of the year.

The downside is that it really limits how many students I can have, but I just wonder if it isn’t a good way to increase my income and help the students that really want that extra touch.

Categories
College

Weapons and Warfare of the Tlingit

If you want to read about Weapons and Warfare of the Tlingit you can find it at the following link (a PDF file). It was the research paper for my Anthropology A200 class.

http://jayjennings.com/files/Anthro200Research.pdf

I thought I might get docked for adding humor and editorial comments to the paper, but nope. 🙂

Categories
College Game Development Internet Marketing Product Creation

Three Ring Ranch: The 4P’s

Three Ring Ranch 4 P’s

  • Place: Online business, which saves on inventory, rent, etc.
  • Products: Video tutorials that are aimed at beginning game developers.
  • Pricing: Competitive with similar offerings; price testing often.
  • Promotion: Focused on social media. Single worst P of the bunch.

Of the 4 P’s for Three Ring Ranch (TRR), the place is the easiest one to talk about because TRR is a digital-only company that exists online — there’s no physical storefront. However, there’s still the idea of “curb appeal” when people open the site in their browser, so looking good and making it easy to find the products is just as important online as in the real world. The TRR site is built on top of WordPress so it’s designed with ease-of-use in mind. There’s a link to the game development courses (the product) right on the home page.

The main products of TRR are online courses that teach game development. The video tutorials are self-paced so the customer can go as slow or fast as they like. Besides the videos, source code for the sample projects is included. Online courses are available for the Corona SDK and Unity tools.

Pricing for TRR products is based on current pricing of the competition plus the amount of material in each course. Due to the number of free courses available online (even though typically of lower quality) TRR is often price-testing the courses to try and find the “sweet spot” for each one — make the most sales, but don’t leave money on the table.

Finally, promotion for the TRR products is mostly an after-thought since the company is run by just one person and time is fleeting. Most promotional activities are tied to social media — answering questions on game development forums and Twitter, then including a link to the game development courses. If there’s one area TRR should improve on, it’s in promoting the current courses.

Categories
College

Anthro A200: Immigrants to Alaska

(From my Fall 2015 Anthropology mid-term exam.)

An ethnography is a description of the customs of different people and their culture. In looking at the history of Alaska Natives archaeology is an important part of building an ethnography because there are no written records to give us descriptions of life in Alaska hundreds and thousands of years ago. Discovering artifacts and features through archaeology (combined with educated guessing, verbal histories, etc.) helps us understand what life may have been like for the first people to arrive in Alaska.

Most theories say Alaska was settled between 50,000 and 15,000 years ago when seas were lower and an arctic grassland (Beringia) stretched between Siberia and Alaska. The first migration probably consisted of hunters following mammoth, bison, and other large animals. A site north of the Brooks Range (in use 12,000 years ago) has produced what appear to be chipped spear points, and microblades and arrowheads (dated to more than 11,500 years ago) have been found in the Tanana Valley.

While nobody knows exactly how natives in Alaska made their way south (boats along the coast or ice free corridors through the glaciers?) there is DNA proof that it happened. There are pockets of Indians down the western coast of the US and into Arizona who share DNA with Alaska natives. Couple that with the archaeological finds and it’s apparent that the Americas were populated by the people who first came from Siberia, across Beringia, into Alaska.

Categories
College

Aleut Story Report

For my Anthropology 200 Natives of Alaska class I had to watch a film called Aleut Island and write a short report about it.

The film talks about the US using the Aleuts as slave labor and decimating them in internment camps during WWII. You know, normal stuff.

Here’s a link to a PDF copy of the report if you’d like to read it.

Aleut Story Report

Categories
College

Article Review (Class Assignment)

How to Approach Your Own Career Like an Entrepreneur
Fortune (January 2015 Issue, December 29, 2014 Online)
By Erika Fry

This article talks about what it takes to navigate your career these days and encourages you to embrace the spirit of entrepreneurism when job searching. The article begins with what it admits is an extreme example — at 31 years old Nitin Julka wanted to make a change and decided to switch job function, industries, and geographical location; something everybody told him was nuts (“Just make one change at a time!”). But Julka researched 60 target companies (spending 60-80 hours each on some of them), found a tutor and online videos to learn new skills, prepared a 48-page set of interview notes, and pitched himself to 3+ people a day. He admits his job search was “abnormal” but it worked when he received several job offers.

The author says that might sound like “a case study in craziness” but observes it’s the prototype for what’s needed in today’s economy. Fry explains how startup companies pitch themselves to venture capital firms and draws parallels between those actions and how you need to be thinking of your career.

One skill sought now is “learning agility,” because tech skills in demand today are going to be obsolete tomorrow. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics a person will “pivot” every 4.6 years (every 3 years if you’re a millennial). Besides learning new skills, the entrepreneurial attributes of imagination, initiative, and guts are what make those pivots possible.

The article closes with a list of rules collated from three dozen venture capitalists, recruiting specialists, and successful workers to help get yourself launched.

The information in this article would be most beneficial to someone just entering the workforce, someone who’s burned out and looking for a career change, or someone who feels like they’re stagnating and wants to move up the corporate ladder at a more rapid rate.

This article applies to a couple different topics we’ve discussed in class. The most obvious is one of entrepreneurship and how certain types of people are more willing to face risk in order to build the business of which they dream. This article discusses how some of those same attributes can be used when people are looking to become employees, and not just trying to build their own business.

Secondly, one of the things we’ve talked about in class is the changing workforce. This article talks about globalization, technology, and a long recession as reasons that old-fashioned employment has been disrupted. Job-seekers acting like entrepreneurs may be the best way for the unemployed to find a job these days.

One question the article left unanswered for me is whether a plan like this would works for most people, given that not everyone has the “spark” that a real entrepreneur needs. And while the article focuses on people in the corporate world, I wonder if the same techniques — “adapt to the future” and “invest in yourself” — would work just as well for blue-collar workers who are unemployed?

Bibliography: Fry, Erika (2014, December 29) How to Approach Your Own Career Like an Entrepreneur, Fortune, http://for.tn/1x4Nek5

Categories
College Game Development Unity

CS A109 Intro to Game Dev with Javascript

The 2015 Spring Semester at Mat-Su Central College starts tomorrow and my first class is Spanish 102 at 5PM. But I actually started my semester earlier today.

About a week ago I was able to get into a Computer Science class called Introduction to Game Development with Javascript. It was full by the time I found out about it in mid-December, but I kept an eye on it and luckily spotted an opening and grabbed it. While I don’t need another CS class for my AA degree I can use it as an elective — and if you think I’m going to skip any game-related class you’re crazy.

Seems like UAA has a game-related class about every other year. And while this one is focused on Javascript, one of my least favorite languages, it’s also using Unity, a tool I’ve been looking for an excuse to dive into. This is that excuse.

So how did I start the class early? It’s a “distance learning” class which means it takes place entirely online and Sunday afternoon is when the new weekly lessons are pushed out. So I already did my weekly assignment.

I wish the class was in person, but I’ll take what I can get.

Categories
College Miscellaneous

My First Algebra Project

Yesterday I took my final exam in Beginning Algebra, the first algebra class I’ve taken since I was… well, it’s the first algebra class I’ve ever taken.

I had to do a class project that consisted of finding something we learned in class and show how it can be used in everyday life. Basically, it needs to answer the question, “Why do we need to know this?”

Here’s a link to the PDF (just two pages) version of my project:
AlgebraProjectLaser.pdf

And here’s a video version of the project (I did it for extra credit):