Date: 1997-03-27
From: Paul
Subject: Tape & Alexander

The tape went out yesterday, so hopefully it'll be waiting for you by the time you get home. I ran out of tape (!) before really getting into Alexander, so here are a few tidbits:

First, the presentation went pretty well. Most of the students weren't all that interested, as they were already stressed out about giving their presentations, so I wasn't expecting much of a reception. The "competition" varied wildly, from a few projects that involved silly things like modeling inheritance in the animal kingdom for a zoo to an impressive modeling of an IBM mainframe operating system. The latter was certainly a tougher project than mine, but I had arguably the most compelling presentation.

Your graphics helped immensely. I started the presentation with a world map (sadly, I couldn't manage to get my overheads in color) and I think immediately everyone understood basically what I was trying to do, and they followed at least part of the following discussion on the issues and implementation. Showing the map generated from a queue-based algorithm and discussing the difference between that and the array-based algorithm was the clincher; this was exactly the kind of information the instructor wanted everybody to present, and I think I was the only one who did it effectively.

One the down side, the night before the presentation I discovered a bug in my code, and I still haven't managed to track it down. Depending on the input parameters, sometimes a few cells don't get assigned. It seems to happen mostly in smaller worlds, though never yet in the really small worlds it would be convenient to follow through the debugger. This is really annoying me, and I'll fix it as soon as I can figure out how to pinpoint the source.

Aside from the bug, I'm really pleased with how the code is looking. Also, I seem to still have Alexander energy available. The question is, what should I work on next? Should I go back and fix continent IDs so that each continent gets only one ID (should I keep the current ID and rename it as Country ID for some possible future use)? Add in mountains or streams? Worry about smoothing?

Please advise...