Andrew S's weekly Progress Topic


This weekend I wrote a word-ladder program (eg sad-fad-fan-fun). I’d done research a couple months ago and it was on the 20 or so Firefox tabs I’d get to some day. But when I finally closed some old ones, the project turned back up. The tabs were more about creating a graph in general. They were too much to take in at first, but I wrote a basic word ladder in PERL and then revisited the links and downloaded the python packages that helped me understand it all more in general.

The link for my perl script is at for those interested. I think I may use it to help with other programming languages.


Yesterday I tracked down a bug in my FreeCell game when I probably should’ve concentrated on my Spring Thing game. It was a weird bug. Undo didn’t work, and I found the reason it didn’t is that sometimes entering a blank command would automatically reshuffle the cards. This didn’t go in the move array, which was slightly different from the command array. (For instance, the command “8” searches for somewhere to put row 8, but it’s seen as, say, 81, or row 8 onto row 1.)

So it created confusion when I pushed enter. It took forever to track down the bug until I also included a command array. Then I also implemented some other window dressing that I probably won’t see much since I don’t intend to play the game much, but this was an exercise to learn Python, so every little bit helps.


In FreeCell, I put in stuff so I write protected my save file so I couldn’t be tempted to edit it. It helps a lot.

I also wrote a small PERL utility to look through I7 source code–specifically, rooms with compound names. So I looked for where something like “Outer Route” was just “route.” I wrote a CFG file and found a few miscellaneous bugs in the process. They stemmed from shifting room names e.g. A became B, B became C, C became D and D became E. Once I had the room names normalized I was able to verify the code worked correctly, so that was a big win. The nice thing is, I can do this for other games, too. Most of the bugs were in the hinting module, but it’s g ood to have anyway.


This isn’t strictly programming, but earlier this week I achieved the StackExchange 100 point site wide bonus. I did it with a flurry of editing posts on the chess beta section. I didn’t realize for the longest time that you got 2 points per edit. Cool thing was I learned a lot on the I cleaned the posts up. Before then I wondered how anyone managed to get a reasonable amount of points to start.

StackExchange has been immensely helpful for me to learn new Perl and python tricks. I don’t know if anyone else here uses it a lot, but just knowing it is there is a relief for my new projects.

Oh, I also wrote a script to open up certain SE subsites once a day, so I can get the 100 day in a row gold medals there. It felt a bit like cheating, but it does encourage me to ask questions or look for answers instead of giving up on an idea.

Plus I already got the Stack Overflow gold medal honestly.


This weekend I broke off random tables into separate files in Problems Compound, Buck the Past, and Slicker City. This isn’t too hard to do in Inform, and the organization is nice. The problem was with some of my source verification scripts.

I’d wanted to do this for a long time, and while I feared some of my auxiliary scripts would break down temporarily, those weren’t that hard to fix.

I also realized that “Bottom Rock” in Problems Compound was better off as A Great Den, where you feel guilty for taking (or not taking) the hints available. This didn’t require any tricky coding, but it’d been on my mind for a while, and it was nice to see it fall into place.


Yesterday I made a script that checks to make sure if I put in a github and/or bitbucket change. I’d really only used Git just to dump changes, and it’s really neat to see the more powerful things it can do. is the small script. You need to use it with a cron job or windows task scheduler.

Stackoverflow has been huge for this sort of thing in general…I’ve been able to ask enough questions on my own, I might get the gold medal you get for upvoting 600 questions. It’s sort of a minor goal.

Also, I figured how my Spring Thing game should really start, and my Trizbort map now looks nice and tidy. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to fit 2 3x3 areas into an 8x8 map, but I did. It’ll be interesting to see how I go about developing a full version of a game without a contest deadline.


Ugh. I forgot to write one of these for a long time.

I finally started writing out test cases for Ugly Oafs. The problem is, it is so random to start I wasn’t sure how to, but I realized I could write a command that moves you north/south or east/west to the “right” room.

My monitor has been flaky lately so I’ve been doing a lot at the library & it’s actually helped me waste less time. One other thing I did was to replace the stick figure version of Alec in Problems Compound with a much more robust one. is a link to the video that helped me. Maybe it will help you.