Friday, December 4, 2015

Space, Games and Chinese

Hello and welcome to the latest publication of my blog. Today's topic is an overview of the new courses I am enrolled it. I recently completed Ancient Greek (Wesleyan University) and the FIRST: The New Hampshire Primaries (University of New Hampshire). I also finished SQL, a programming language.

Right now, I have three new courses:

1. The Evolving Universe, through Caltech. It is about space and the universe; it's about outer space and what occurs in the great unknown. In my space class, it gave a couple of metaphors for the vast of our universe. If the earth was the size of a grain of sand, the sun would be 5 feet away. The nearest star that isn't the sun would be 250 miles away.

Our galaxy would be 10 million miles across and the closest large galaxy, the Adromeda galaxy, would be 130 million miles away from the earth. Proportionally, that would be a HUGE distance! One last thing about the space class - if our galaxy was the size of a frisbee, the most distant celestial body that we know of would be 100 miles away, but that it only proportionally.

2. Introduction to Game Design through California Institute for the Arts. This is about designing your own games- it can be on paper or a video game. If you finish the class, you will be able to build your own games completely from scratch. You never know, it might be the next big hit, like Flappy Bird or Angry Birds. There are other hits that don't involve birds, though.

In the first week of this gaming course, which you can enroll in through December 7, is an introduction to the professor and his Sesame Street-like character who assists him. It also talks about the different goals you can have in your game- the need for a story line, as well as the fact that you should involve a little bit of chance and a little bit of skill in your game.

The final assignment for the first week is to create your own game that can fit on a single sheet of paper and is for just one player. What's that? You want to hear a little bit about the game I am working on? If you say so!

  • The came is called Kingly Quest.
  • The storyline goes as follows: The queen has been kidnapped. You need to go on a journey to rescue her. It's like Monopoly except with only one dice. You roll the dice and follow the instructions on the space you land on.
  • The way you win is by fighting the dragon who has taken the queen captive. In order to fight the dragon, you have to roll the die twice. If the total is even, fortunately, you win. Unfortunately, if the total is odd, you lose and have to play the game again.

3. My third course is Chinese for Beginners through Peking University. As the title indicates, it is learning the Chinese language. It seems a little bit difficult at first, but once you get a little further in, it gets a little bit easier. My Chinese class starts out with you learning about the different tones.

There are 4 tones and they indicate a different pitch that you say it in. There is one that is a straight line over the letter and as it kind of indicates, it represents there being no change in how you say it.

There is one that looks like a small V over the letter, which represents a decrease in the pitch and then an increase in the pitch so eventually you would end at the exact same pitch that you started with.

There is one that looks like an accent mark with the top facing to the left, which represents only a decrease in the pitch.

The final tone is opposite of the third one, representing an accent mark with the bottom end facing the left. This is for an increase in the pitch. Those are the different tones that you learn in the first week. I do not want to give too much away, so I will not go into more detail right now.

Thank you for tuning in to this edition of School Stories (Where School Is ALWAYS In Session!). I hope to see you again soon!

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