Happy New Year! Let’s Talk Goals

January 1, 2022 Posted by zachary

As we close out 2021 and look forward to 2022, I wanted to put some goals for the coming year down. These last few years have been crazy, but there is no reason that we can’t put some control into 2022. I want to put some goals down that will focus on several key aspects of my life: Professional, Personal. and Spiritual.

Professional Goals

For professional goals, I think it is pretty easy. I started up a project to convert the code examples in some programming books I have to HaxeFlixel. The purpose of that is to help me more familiarize myself with the game engine, and to provide some example code that people can use in their own projects. I started off strong and managed to finish 6 chapters before taking a long break. For my first goal, I will finish this project this year. (hopefully it won’t take that long).

My second goal in my professional life is to finish and release a full game this year. As I work on the above goal, I will be making more games that are like toys and less like massive games. I have a tendency to overthink and over plan game projects and get burned out. So instead, I want to create one game that is more about a narrow game loop with a lot of replayability. This doesn’t mean I won’t put time into larger projects, but my main focus will be on completing one fun replayable game.

Personal Goals

For my personal goals, I am focusing on what will improve my self. I am currently overweight by a lot. I get worn out pretty quickly. I am just not too healthy. So my first goal here is to start exercising. I am not planning on joining any gyms or subscribing to any weight loss program. Instead, I just want to take it simple with what I can do at home. I want to take daily walks with my wife. When I have time, I will do some simple exercises using my pull-up bar and some free weights I have. Just enough to get me into a mindset of taking care of myself.

But it isn’t going to be all exercise. I also want to have some fun. I have a number of books I want to read and will be doing that. I also want to play several games from my back catalog that have been staring at me for a while. No pressure here, just pick a book and read it. Pick a game and play it. I am not saying I will read or play X number of things. Just do more of it.

Spiritual Goals

For spiritual goals, this is pretty simple. I will read my scriptures daily and pray daily. I have been lacking in this aspect of my life for a while and need to make it a habit. Even just a little reading or saying some quick prayers will help. So that is what I am focusing on. My wife has bought some study aids that I hope will help and she would be happy to see me use them.

So there you have it. My goals for the coming year. I don’t to pressure myself, so I won’t be making regular evaluations etc. But I might revisit this later and provide an update. The only real updates that will happen regularly will be about the programming projects I work on.

Let’s Talk About UFOs Anyway

September 24, 2021 Posted by zachary

In my last post, I mentioned that I probably wouldn’t be writing a dedicated blog about the Chapter 7 UFO2 example from Beginning Game Programming. At the time I wrote that, I was thinking to myself that the introduction to Game Controller input would be fairly straight forward and I wouldn’t have much to talk about. But I was wrong.

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Hey, Its The First Full Game In Beginning Game Programming!

September 22, 2021 Posted by zachary

Before we get into the first full game made in my current project, I wanted to share a few things from Chapter 5. Chapter 5 introduced the developer to player input with the keyboard. In this chapter, we made a little “game” that lets the player fly a flying saucer around a night sky. Fun, but not super interesting. But with what we learned about player input, we can start making real games.

Chapter 6: Memory Game

With the introduction of player input, Chapter 6 gives us an example that uses mouse input. This memory game is a pretty simple concept going back decades or more. You take a deck of cards and lay them face down and try to find all the matches.

I actually created one of these a long time ago when I was still working with Flash and Actionscript, called HexMatch. That SWF is no longer playable and I doubt you would be able to get the code to compile. So I thought it a great time to create a new matching game. Introducing BGP: Memory.

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Chapter 4’s Slideshow Was No Problem

September 12, 2021 Posted by zachary

Just finished up Chapter 4 of Beginning Game Programming by Michael Morrison. This chapter taught new game developers about bitmaps and how to use them in their games. Since HaxeFlixel handles all those details, I didn’t need to write up a class to read and display them. So I jumped right to the example at the end, A Slideshow.

For this, I used it as an introduction to HaxeFlixel’s sprite animation functionality. The FlxSprite class has some built in animation functionality that you can use to to create a slideshow effect.

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Beginning Game Programming: Two Chapters Down

September 10, 2021 Posted by zachary

As of today, I have completed the first two code examples from Beginning Game Programming by Michael Morrison. So far, this project has started off fun and even slightly challenging. I am really enjoying it. Here are some of the things I have learned.

Chapter 2: Blizzard Example

This chapter was not too challenging. In the book, this chapter had the reader create a basic game engine in C++. Since we are working with HaxeFlixel, I didn’t need to worry about that. But you do need to know how HaxeFlixel structures its projects. In a barebones HaxeFlixel project you have an assets folder (where all the game’s sprites, sounds etc live), a source folder (where all your source code goes), and a project xml file. The source file starts off with the AssetPaths, Main, and PlayState Haxe files.

The AssetPaths file is a class that scans the assets directory and creates pointer objects that you can use for your games. The Main file Loads in your game and sends the player to the PlayState. The PlayState file is where the core of your game is going to run from. In this file you have the create function, which is where you do all your initialization for your game, and the update function which is where all your game’s core logic will execute from.

In the Blizzard example, I also created a SnowFlake class file which is a basic class file that extends the HaxeFlixel FlxSprite class. The “game” doesn’t have a lot happening other than a timer and counter that controls how many and when to add snowflakes to the game screen.

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New Game Development Training Program

September 3, 2021 Posted by zachary

Hey Game Development Fans,

My name is Zachary Knight, I am one of the Co-Founders of Divine Knight Gaming. A long while back, we found and fell in love with Flixel, an Actionscript engine for creating 2d sprite based games for Flash. When that engine got ported to the cross platform language Haxe, becoming HaxeFlixel, we couldn’t be more excited about the possibilities. While I have made a lot of progress in learning this engine, there is still much more to learn. That is why I am taking up this new challenge.

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Why I am A Libertarian Who Is Leaving the Libertarian Party

June 22, 2021 Posted by zachary

Ever since I was a kid, I knew I wasn’t a Republican or a Democrat. My first real exposure to the idea of parties outside the dominant parties was Ross Perot and his Reform Party in 1992. As a kid I was excited to see what a three candidate race for President was like. Even though I expressed preferences based on what my parents felt, I still thought his run was history in my lifetime. I had no idea why when it came to the Clinton/Dole election in 1996 that we only had two candidates. This dulled my interest in elections. It wasn’t until the Bush/Kerry election in 2004 that I took interest in elections again. This came about in my college years and I felt I had an obligation to at least see who was running, but I didn’t take much interest at that time. I don’t even remember who I ended up voting for aside from that it wasn’t Kerry.

During all this time, I never really felt at home in the two dominate parties in the US. When I started voting, I registered Independent and stuck with it until 2012.

Because of that lack of home, I was always curious about what other parties were out there. I read about the rise and fall of political parties with keen interest and thought I might one day start a party. In 2006, I returned to Oklahoma and looked up the procedures in state law to find out what it would take. I was astounded by the high signature count needed to form and even higher electoral burden to stay recognized. I read about how few parties formed in Oklahoma and how none ever survived their first year on the ballot.

Around 2010, I found a group of like minded people at Oklahomans for Ballot Access Reform who were fighting to make it easier to form a new political party. I learned that prior to 1968, all it took to form a new party was 5000 signatures. But due to the success of a third party presidential candidate Oklahoma, a Democratic stronghold at the time, the election ended up with Nixon as the winner of the state’s electoral votes. So the Democratic majority in the state legislature increased the petition to 5% of the last vote for President or Governor, and increased the percentage of the vote that a party would need to stay recognized to 10% of the vote. Ridiculous.

I immediately got to work in the fight to change these laws. I worked every legislative session, calling legislators, visiting them in their offices, writing emails and letter campaigns, and writing a ballot access brief. 4 years I worked to get a bill passed to reduce that petition burden. Finally in 2014, we succeeded. After nearly 50 years, Oklahoma’s laws for forming a new party was eased. While not the 5,000 signatures it once was, the new 3% of the last vote for Governor was a huge improvement.

During this time, I worked on other efforts to expand electoral options for Oklahoma voters. In 2012, the American Elect party spent considerable money and effort to get on the ballot under Oklahoma’s old law. But when it came time to follow through with that ballot access success, they failed to organize and nominate a candidate for President. So a small group of American Elect supporters convinced me and others to join in nominating Gary Johnson for the Americans Elect position on the Oklahoma ballot. So I joined the party and registered to be an official Elector for Gary Johnson. We filed the necessary paperwork and immediately the Republican controlled state government challenged the nomination and sued to remove Gary Johnson from the ballot. They were successful in making up law on the spot and convincing the Oklahoma Supreme Court to rule in their favor and Gary Johnson was no longer a candidate for President in Oklahoma in 2012.

Back to 2014, during my time at Oklahoman’s for Ballot Access Reform, I met many people who were members of the Libertarian Party. As I learned more about that party, I was sure that I finally found a political home. Even before we were successful in getting the laws changed in Oklahoma, I joined the Libertarian Party and was elected as Secretary for the OKLP in 2012. Once the laws to form a new party were changed in 2014, I joined the effort to petition for party recognition. That petition was successful in time for the 2016 Presidential election.

Even during that time, I was still working to ease Oklahoma’s laws regarding the recognition of political parties. I knew that even if a party was successful in petitioning to form, they would have a severe uphill battle meeting the 10% vote requirement to stay recognized. So I convinced a handful of legislators to introduce a bill to lower that vote test to 2.5% of the vote for Governor or President. That bill passed in time for the 2016 election. That year Gary Johnson won 5.76% of the vote in Oklahoma, surpassing the new 2.5% requirement. Had that 10% requirement stayed, the Libertarian party would have failed to stay recognized and they would have had to petition all over again.

I wasn’t done yet. In 2017, I wrote a new bill that changed the vote test so that it applied to any statewide elected office as well as allow for a party to remain recognized for 4 years rather than 2. I convinced legislators to introduce this bill and pass it in 2018. This new bill again helped the Libertarian Party to stay recognized in Oklahoma. At that same time, I wrote and succeeded in getting passed a law that reduced the signatures needed to get an Independent Presidential candidate on the ballot as well as provide for an optional filing fee. Because of this, 3 Independent presidential candidates were on the 2020 ballot along with the Democratic, Republican, and Libertarian nominees.

During this time, I maintained some activity in the Oklahoma Libertarian Party. I still felt that they would be a home for me. However, due to the actions of some members of the party and the way they treated founding members of the modern OKLP, people who I considered to be friends, I reduced my activity to casual observer. I maintained my voter registration but stopped paying dues and attending conventions.

One aspect of Oklahoma election law that I like is the option for recognized political parties to invite voters registered as independents to vote in a party’s primaries. In 2016, the newly formed party invited independent voters to vote in the one primary election we had, for US Senate. While the primary results were not the ones the party, and even the candidates themselves preferred, I still felt it was a major reason why the party went from roughly 700 members at founding to several thousand after the 2016 election. But in 2017, the new Executive Committee chose not to allow Independent voters to vote in the OKLP’s primaries. This was primarily due to concern they had that independent supporters of Joe Exotic would nominate him for the LP place in the Governor Race. These concerns manifested themselves more broadly in 2019 and the primaries were once again closed. I felt this was a betrayal of the ideals of freedom and liberty that the Libertarian Party was meant to exemplify.

This wasn’t my only concerns with the party. For years, the Libertarian Party has had a provision in the Party Platform that allows for all sorts of restrictions on immigration so long as anyone claims that they are “reasonable”. And there are a lot of people claiming to be libertarian who believe that locking children in cages and destroying life saving supplies in the desert are “reasonable” restrictions. Despite many efforts to simply strike the word “reasonable” from that platform statement, it has failed every time. This isn’t my only concerns with libertarians. There are also many who believe that the government should be allowed to deny marriages to LGBTQ+ people. There are Libertarians who do not support civil rights in general. There are libertarians who glorify the Confederacy and hold that defenders of slavery were righteous warriors of freedom. Many libertarians also expressed solidarity with police who murder innocent civilians and who also violently break up protests against those police abuses. Not to mention the libertarians who express support or apathy towards pedophilia. It is frankly disturbing that people in the party of freedom for all would support so many anti-freedom beliefs.

Then the 2016 election came and boy was I not prepared. Trump won that election and the ensuing avalanche of support from supposed libertarians for him was mind boggling. Throughout his presidency with all his increasing of taxes, wall building, cracking down on immigration and asylum seekers and refugees; despite his effort to escalate the wars in the Middle East and start a new war with Iran; despite his terrible handling of the Covid pandemic, and so many efforts to destroy liberty and freedom in the US, libertarians flocked to him as if he was the epitome of libertarian ideals.

During his Presidency, Republican Congressman Justin Amash expressed disdain for the cult of Trump and changed his registration to Libertarian, becoming the first sitting Libertarian Congressman. He even made movements that indicated his intent to seek the Libertarian nomination for President. The 2020 nominating convention scared him off before he could even make an official announcement. Despite a deadly virus outbreak, some in charge of the convention refused to allow an online convention to take place. They fought to death to prevent it because they knew that if an in person convention was held, that their anti-immigration anti-freedom candidates would be nominated because only their Covid denying supporters would show up in person. Thankfully they failed and an online convention was held, but that whole fiasco scared off the best potential candidate since Gary Johnson.

It became quite clear to me that many active members of the OKLP and those seeking leadership roles in the party supporters were people who held the beliefs above. They fought against efforts to reject bigotry. They made it quite clear that bigots were welcome and the victims of bigotry are not. Then came the January 6 assault on the US Capitol that disrupted the counting and certifying of the 2020 Electoral votes. The OKLP refused to take a stand against it stating that it wasn’t an Oklahoma problem.

These kinds of libertarians were gaining extensive traction all over the country, but none so blatant as those in New Hampshire. The series of tweets that came from the official LPNH Twitter account were quite appalling and nary a word from the OKLP. When the national party decided to take action against New Hampshire, those in leadership and influence in the OKLP spoke out against the national party and in support of the edgelord messaging of LPNH.

All of this to say that at one time, I felt like I might have found a political home. There were so many aspects of libertarian ideology that rang true to me and influenced my line of thinking. But there are severe ideological differences between me and those who seek to control the messaging and direction of the Libertarian Party. Over the last week, so many people I admire have resigned from their roles in the party. Many people who started the Oklahoma Libertarian Party have long ago left the public spotlight. I feel it is my time as well.

I am moving soon. I will need to re-register to vote. When I do, I plan on once again registering as an Independent voter. However, I will continue to work toward a world set free. I will work for liberty and justice that is truly for all. I will be renewing my efforts with Oklahomans for Ballot Access Reform. There are still so many areas of Oklahoma election law that needs reform. I feel that is where I can be of most help toward a world set free. Perhaps one day a new political party will emerge from those efforts and it will truly reflect the ideals that make up who I am.

-E. Zachary Knight

A Better House Of Representatives

November 6, 2020 Posted by zachary

While everyone is focused on the Presidential Election this year, I want to point out just how undemocratic and unrepresentative the US House of Representatives is.

In 1911, The House capped its membership at 435 members, the number of representatives at the time. The only time that increased was for a brief period after Alaska and Hawaii were brought into the Union. It was quickly brought back down to 435 members after then next census.During the following 100+ years, the US population increased by more than 3 times (92 million to 309 million). But we have not seen an increase in House membership to reflect that.

There are currently 7 states that have only 1 Representative in the House. According to the 2010 census, the populations of these states vary from 563k to 989k. That varying population means that there is less genuine representation in Montana (989k) than in Wyoming (563k).

The limitations in travel and technology present in 1911 when the House was capped is no longer an issue. Representatives can fly from their state to DC in a matter of hours. We have technology today that means that meetings and votes can be held virtually. The need to be in Washington at all is no longer relevant.

To fix this mass undemocratic body, I propose the following change (which I believe has been presented by others before me).

We should eliminate the cap entirely. Instead, we should set a floor. This floor will be that the least populated state in the Union gets at minimum 5 Representatives. If 5 would result in the members representing fewer than 30,000 people (the minimum set in the Constitution) then that state gets as many as that limit would allow. Then the Representation of the other states is based off that proportion.

If this were in place today, Wyoming would have 5 Representatives, and the proportion other states are based on would be 1 Representative for every 112,000 people. So, for example, Oklahoma would have 33 Representatives and California would have 330. For a total House size of roughly 2,700 members. Thanks to technology available today, there would be no reason for all those House members to have offices in DC, or to even have to travel there. They could be permanently stationed in their home states where they are more available to their constituents.

This change will also have the result of reducing the impact of the 2 at large Electors representing the 2 members of the Senate for all States. Meaning that the full Elector slate of each state will be more closely inline with the populations of the individual states.

EDIT:

To go along with this post about the House of Representatives and just how unrepresentative it is, I created a spreadsheet that gave me the data. This spreadsheet shows the population of the 50 US states as of 2010, their current number of Representatives, then in it goes into projecting various scenarios of Representative numbers based on different criteria. Basically, any scenario that isn’t a hard cap is going to increase the total number of Representatives.

State Representatives Current and Projected

2020 Election Endorsements

October 13, 2020 Posted by zachary

It is the time of year again. The election is creeping closer and closer. This year has been a very rough election season. With Covid causing havoc around the country, and the election rhetoric at an all time high, this year has been one of the most annoying I have ever experienced. So let’s get down to business, my endorsements.

First off, do not vote Straight Party. Not only is this one of the laziest forms of voting, it hurts the wide number of independents running, and ignores those races that do not have one of the party candidates running. This form of voting needs to go. Several bills have been introduced over the years to repeal this device, and I support any bills introduced in the next few legislative sessions to repeal it.

President

President has been the most annoying race this year by far. With the Democratic Party nominating Biden despite him not joining the race til near the end, and Trump’s nonstop rhetoric about Democrats stealing the election using Covid and mail-in voting, and the Libertarian Party completely screwing the pooch and losing Congressman Justin Amash because they couldn’t do the right thing and go full virtual for their convention, I really have a hard time deciding this race. Normally, I would say to vote for Libertarian Jo Jorgensen for ballot access, but that isn’t as important in Oklahoma thanks to the work of Oklahomans for Ballot Access Reform. There are also three independent candidates running in Oklahoma, Kanya West, Jade Simmons, and Brock Pierce. I don’t know much about them. What I do know is that I cannot endorse either Trump or Biden. Neither are good for this country. Neither will end the endless Middle Eastern wars. Neither will pass serious Criminal Justice Reforms. I am inclined to vote for Jorgensen. She is better than the duopoly candidates. She has some serious problems with communication and some policy positions, but she is much better.

Trump is also very likely to win in Oklahoma. There is little hope of any other candidate winning Oklahoma. So vote for whomever you want. But I would love to see a whole lot of votes for the Libertarian and Independent candidates. We need to break the duopoly stranglehold in this country.

Senate

This year Senator Jim Inhofe is up for reelection. This man has been in office for as long as I can remember. He is a warmonger. He supports the never ending wars in the Middle East. He supports the Drug War at home. He supports Trump’s border wall and immigration system. He is not good for the US or Oklahoma. Running against him are Democratic Candidate Abby Broyles, Libertarian Robert Murphy, and Independents Joan Farr and A.D. Nesbit. I have know Robert Murphy for years and know him to be a good man. I will be voting for him and recommend all voters vote for Robert Murphy. This is another race where the Republican will win easily, so if you feel like voting for someone else, I won’t complain.

Congress

I live in Congressional District 2. This race has Republican Markwayne Mullin, Democrat Danyell Lanier, and Libertarian Rickie Castaldo. This is the one race on my ballot that I will NOT vote for the Libertarian. I know Castaldo to not be a good person. He has a habit of lying about people he disagrees with. He also holds several campaign positions that I do not consider Libertarian. Instead, I will be voting for and endorse Danyell Lanier. I think she will do far more to advance liberty in the capital than either Mullin or Castaldo.

For all other Congressional Races, I also endorse voting for the Democrat in the race. Specifically, I endorse Kendra Horn in District 5. I lived in District 5 in 2018 and voted for her, and have not regretted it. None of Oklahoma’s Republican delegation have done anything to end the endless wars, advance justice, or rein in the budget. Voting Democrat will do far more to advance those issues.

Corporation Commissioner

This is a two way race between the Republican Todd Hiett and Libertarian Todd Hagopian. I endorse Todd Hagopian. He has a good head on his shoulders, an employment background that will help him in this position, and a desire to improve the state and advance liberty.

State Legislature

For the districts that represent me, there are Senate District 9 and Representative District 4.

In district 9, we have incumbent Republican Dewayne Pemberton and Democrat Jack Reavis. I am not too familiar with either, but Pemberton voted to increase the filing fees and petitions needed to run for office in Oklahoma. Essentially, he wants to make it harder for people to challenge him and his incumbent friends. So I endorse Jack Reavis.

For District 4, we have incumbent Democrat Matt Meredith and Republican Bob Ed Culver. I have not seen anything in Meredith’s record that really turns me off of him. He has been on the right side of every ballot access bill that came to a vote. As for Culver, this guy is basically running his campaign as if he is trying to impress Trump. Every mailer I have received from him or his supporters has been about how much he loves and supports Trump and how much Meredith doesn’t. Ugh. I endorse Matt Meredith.

As for all other state legislative races I recommend voting for the Libertarian if there is one, and voting for the Democrat or Independent next. Basically, I want to see the GOP lose power in Oklahoma.

County Sheriff

Don’t know much here. New to Cherokee county and have not had a lot of interaction with either candidate. Democrat Jason Chennault is the incumbent. Republican Manuel Holland is challenging him. Not really sure what there is to like about either and will probably skip this one simply because I have no information to go on. But if you know more than I do, I recommend voting for the one that supports ending the war on drugs.

State Questions

State Question 805: This question will put an end to the practice of increasing someone’s criminal sentence if they have been convicted previously. Basically, for all non-violent crimes, the sentence cannot be increased beyond the statutory limit. This will reduce the time people are in prison, reducing the total prison population in Oklahoma. Vote Yes on SQ 805.

State Question 814: This question redirects the majority of funds received by Oklahoma’s Tobacco Settlement and Endowment Trust (TSET) to the general fund. TSET has not done anything in Oklahoma to reduce tobacco use. The board denies health science. They need to be defunded. Vote Yes on SQ 814.

County Questions

Cherokee County has a question on the ballot to allow for sales on Sunday. I do not drink and have no personal stake in this fight, but I think that Oklahoma’s blue laws are an affront to liberty. Vote Yes on this Proposition.

What Is The Point Of Human Electors?

May 30, 2019 Posted by zachary

What is the point of having human Presidential Electors? Nearly every state binds the vote of the Presidential Electors to the statewide popular vote winner. Even if the winner of that state’s popular vote shoots his running mate in the face on election night, the Electors are still bound to cast their vote for him.

If Electors don’t vote for the winner of the state popular vote, they are immediately fired, fined, and replaced with another more willing cog. There is zero autonomy in this.

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