I bought one of these fuschia plants when I was fairly young. Maybe 10 or 12? At the time we were living in Pennsylvania and it just barely survived the winters there. It also would always get a very late start. So we planted it in a sheltered spot and in the spring we always wondered if it was dead until it finally came up in June. One year it actually did die, but we liked it well enough that we got another.

So when we moved up to Maine we brought it with us (dunno why). And obviously it wouldn’t survive the winters here so we planted it just inside the end of one of the heated greenhouses (we keep two of them just above freezing). And obviously it loves it here: it’s huge. Actually it keeps growing all winter. Usually we chop it back to the ground at some point during the winter, and often we chop it back quite a bit in the summer too, when it gets too out of hand. But it’s a fun plant.

A waist-high plant: long thin arching stems with small leaves, bright magenta flowers dangle from some branches. It's inside a greenhouse, just against the end wall: you can see the open fins of the air vent in the top left corner. A cherry tomato vine hangs along the left edge of the photo

Huh. I don’t know when we lost the one in PA and replaced it. 1995-ish, maybe? Or maybe it was when I went away to university in 1998. Still, this plant is well over 20 years old, and maybe pushing 30.

Wednesday is my day to meet up with my programmer gamedev friends. I had done a bunch more on the prototype, and they’d both played with the code. So we finally started a Git repository that we could all get at. I sat down afterwards for about half an hour and improved the level-loading code and added a couple convenience functions, but I think it’s about at the point where we can start making levels and really experimenting with the gameplay.

I’m still going to have to tweak the controls. I tried having a “gearshift” where the up arrow key is always accelerate and the down arrow is always the brake, and then you shift to toggle between forward and reverse. When forward was accelerate and reverse was decelerate/reverse, I was having trouble remembering which was which when I was driving in some directions. But shifting is really too much of a nuisance.

So I think we’ll need to do a better job of differentiating the front of the car from the back. And have whichever direction is “decelerate” at the moment act as a brake and come to a complete stop, and then you have to release the controls and press it again to start accelerating in the opposite direction. I think that’ll be good enough. I had also added some smoothing on the steering and that’s somewhat close but it still needs tweaking.

Oh! The other cool thing I did was to work out the trailer math and show the steering circles for the current turning radius of both the car and the trailer. It’s pretty fun to watch them change in real time. And it definitely helps with figuring out what’s going on when you’re backing up these trailers.