Often in life we come up against some interesting situations that demand more than the occasional dose of creativity. I had been going through my courses at IIT-Delhi, grinding through assignments, but really loving the programming. Every semester when I went home in the mid-semester break of a week or the end-semester break of much longer duration, I never touched books (not that I touched much of them in the hostel).
During my breaks I had written some interesting stuff:
- Typefast – When I was in my first / second year, there was this game we used to play on dumb-terminals. It was called Typefast, where random words would start falling from the top of the screen to the bottom and you had to keep typing out the whole thing before it reached the bottom. In the days when I was not familiar with the keyboard this game was a big challenge. When we moved to our department’s labs we had much better computers, but unfortunately the Typefast binaries wouldn’t run. Once I got introduced to the curses library I decided to take a stab at writing my own code to do the same thing that Typefast did and I was quite successful.
- Minerva – Another piece of software that I had written using curses. This was based on Panini, something that a senior (Amitabh Sinha?) had written. It used my GRE cram lists and randomly asked you to give the synonyms / antonyms of different words.
- Scrabble – I had written this in Java for the Bitskreig, the ACES festival in our department. At that time I had written only the player vs. player mode, with dictionary checking built in, but I have, since then added an AI mode into it.
But I guess my biggest project was the yearbook for my batch. I had seen yearbooks for prior graduating classes. Most departments did not have one. The CS department’s graduating classes did have an online yearbook, but it was something put together by a moderator aggregating email.
We had to be better. I mean, we were supposed to be the cream of the nation and was that the best we could come up with?