Learning Through Play Hack Chat

The power of play, from computer games to automata

Wednesday, March 13, 2019 12:00 pm PDT Local time zone:
Hack Chat
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Greg Zumwalt will be hosting the Hack Chat on Wednesday, March 13, 2019 at noon PST.

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You may think you've never heard of Greg Zumwalt, but if you've spent any time on Instructables or Thingiverse, chances are pretty good you've seen some of his work. After a long career that ranged from avionics design and programming to video game development, Greg retired and found himself with the time to pursue pet projects that had always been on the back burner, including his intricate 3D-printed automata. His motto is "I fail when I decide to stop learning," and from the number of projects he turns out and the different methods he incorporates, he has no intention of failing.

Please join us for this Hack Chat, where we'll discuss:

  • Lifelong learning through play;
  • Toy building as a means to extending one's skills;
  • Sources of inspiration and getting new ideas; and
  • What sorts of projects Greg has in the pipeline.

  • Hack Chat Transcript

    Lutetium03/13/2019 at 20:03 0 comments

    Dan Maloney12:00 PM
    Hi folks, slight delay while Greg gets connected...

    Greg Zumwalt joined  the room.12:01 PM

    Dan Maloney12:02 PM
    Hi Greg!

    Greg Zumwalt12:02 PM
    Hello Dan, I've got spotty wifi right now hoping it will improve

    ostudio joined  the room.12:03 PM

    Dan Maloney12:03 PM
    Looks like we're ready to go. I'd like to welcome Greg Zumwalt to the Hack Chat today. Looks like he's having connectivity problems, but we'll try to make do.

    Dan Maloney12:03 PM
    Can you tell us a little about your background, Greg?

    Greg Zumwalt12:04 PM
    I went to college at the University of Tulsa for Business. While there I worked fixing arcade games to pay the rent.

    Greg Zumwalt12:05 PM
    After graduation I went to work for an aircraft simulation company

    Dan Maloney12:05 PM
    Cool, I worked in an arcade when I was in my teens. Always wanted to get into the repair side.

    Greg Zumwalt12:05 PM
    After 5 years of that Tandy asked me to write video games for them

    morgan12:06 PM
    hey! my first 'puter was a Tandy 1000

    Greg Zumwalt12:06 PM
    I wrote 37 video games for Tandy Corporation, Atiari, Sega of American and electronic arts.

    Greg Zumwalt12:06 PM
    and more that I can't remember '

    Greg Zumwalt12:06 PM
    One of my first games was a game called Star Blaze for Tandy Corporation for the first color computer

    Dan Maloney12:07 PM
    Games have become such big productions now. Must be so different from the days with one developer or a small team doing everything.

    Greg Zumwalt12:07 PM
    A few games later Tandy asked me to program Tetris created by a Russian Mathemetician

    Greg Zumwalt12:08 PM
    Yes it is a lot different if you wanted a graphic engine I had to write it my self

    Greg Zumwalt12:09 PM
    If I wanted to drawn a line I had to write my own algoryth

    Greg Zumwalt12:09 PM

    Greg Zumwalt12:09 PM

    Dan Maloney12:09 PM
    Did you think up the games? Like Star Blaze, was the gameplay your idea?

    deshipu12:09 PM
    and there was no Wikipedia to copy-paste Bresenham from :P

    Greg Zumwalt12:10 PM
    When an arcade manufacturer wanted a game moved from the arcade to the computer Tandy would line me up to do it for them.

    Greg Zumwalt12:10 PM
    :) correct no Wikipedia

    Dan Maloney12:11 PM
    Ah, gotcha.

    Greg Zumwalt12:12 PM
    I created a few original games Varloc was one of them it was a 2 demontional chess algoryth

    Dan Maloney12:12 PM


    Greg Zumwalt12:13 PM
    Flight Sim1 was another one I created. It was a flight simulator

    Sylvester Demmel12:14 PM
    Why do kids and people like to play for hours, but when it comes to school almost everybody wants it to be over instantly.

    Dan Maloney12:14 PM
    I always loved flight sims. Thought it must have been challenging to make it realistic without making it unplayable.

    Greg Zumwalt12:14 PM
    For a lot of people school isn't entertaining. But I enjoyed it I enjoyed math and science

    deshipu12:15 PM
    @Sylvester Demmel because games give you a sense of agency and freedom, a sense of achievement, and a sense of belonging, and schools actively work to take all those away from you

    Greg Zumwalt12:15 PM
    Yes, at that time my graphic engine was line based and it was the best you could do on a 1 MHZ color computer

    Dan Maloney12:18 PM
    I always looked at it as you're happiest when you're doing what fits your brain. Sometimes that's solving problems in a game, other times that's solving problems in classes. Usually the games win, though - they just fit my brain better.

    Nicolas Tremblay12:18 PM
    And controllers fit my hands better than a pencil

    Greg Zumwalt12:19 PM
    I feel kind of the same way it just all made sense to me the ones and the zeros all made sense. That is the way my brain thinks.

    ostudio12:20 PM
    @Greg Zumwalt you...

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liam wrote 09/12/2019 at 12:02 point

Trick about games is knowing where to buy them, always seen some secret sales on model building toys, just need to know where to look. 

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LWarner wrote 06/10/2019 at 16:27 point

I agree with Greg, some of my most enjoyable times was as a visual games creator. It would've been good for Gregg to go into more detail about how he came up for the ideas for some of his early games like Star Blaze. Good talk though. 

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zolonanta wrote 04/30/2019 at 07:43 point

At first I didn’t recognize the author either, but then I looked at his works and everything fell into place. I even remembered how I wanted to use it as an example, but I had to look at due to lack of time. Thus, Greg's prog learned the best term paper writing services. His life motto should be used by everyone!

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carlawarner21 wrote 03/26/2019 at 11:12 point

Amazing post. I Have Been pondering about this issue. so much obliged for posting. Quite cool post. It's actually quite pleasant and Useful post. Today I read two useful guide first was about how to use and second is your blog.

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