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The nearsighted one cometh

quick update

Posted by , 03 September 2005 - - - - - - · 210 views

Weigh-in: 206.0 lbs

Yeah. August was a good month for weight loss.

I'm in the home stretch for More OpenGL Game Programming. It was due on Monday, but since I'm working with 20+ authors on this, a few of them are late getting their stuff in. But, 95% of the book has been edited, and 75% has been turned in. I'm really quite happy with the way the book has turned out. I think that it's going to be an excellent intermediate-level resource for a lot of people.

Paradigm shift

Posted by , 29 July 2005 - - - - - - · 281 views

(Whatever) weigh-in: 215.0 lbs

I'm supposed to see a sports medicine specialist in a couple of weeks, but because I'm that way, I spent a great deal of time over the past week doing some reading (much of it at Testosterone Nation) to figure out what lead to the tendonitis in my shoulder, and to determine what I can do to prevent it from being a major problem in the future. The fact that it's currently preventing me from training my chest and shoulders is killing me.

Everything I read pointed to the tendonitis being caused by an imbalance between my chest and back strength (with my chest being stronger). At first, I dismissed this possibility, since I've been training both of them, and in fact, I train my back MORE than my chest (9-11 sets vs. 4-6 sets). But when I was talking to Kevin about it last night, I realized that most of my back work has been the vertical plane (pull-ups, pulldowns, etc.) and only minimally in the horizontal plane (2 sets of rows). That's been up against 2 sets of bench, 2 sets of incline dumbbell presses, plus dips or pec dec. Plus, I can lift a lot more with my chest than my back (e.g. benching 215 lbs for 2 sets of 6-8 reps vs. rowing 135 lbs for the same sets and reps).

I also did some posture analysis yesterday and found that I have internally rotated humeri and mild kyphosis, which confirms the imbalance.

So for now, I'm going to train my back hard to try to reduce the imbalance. I won't be working my chest, since it still hurts to do so anyway. I'll also be doing some additional exercises to strengthen my rotator cuff.

While doing my research, I also came to the realization that my current workout philosophy is no longer working very well for me. I've been using high intensity training (HIT), mainly because it takes less time. For those unfamiliar, it basically boils down to doing a low number of sets with heavy weight and training to failure on every lift. I got good results from this initially, but over the past 4-5 months, my gains have been pretty minimal. Since I believe that I'm getting adequate nutrition, I suspect that my training is inadequate.

So previously, I've been working one body part per day, several exercises per body part, with 1 to 2 sets of 6-8 reps, adjusting the weight so that I train to failure on the last set.

But after the reading I did over the weekend, I'm changing to a more high volume approach. I'll focus on doing compound lifts (which I was doing previously, but I'm going to drop a few isolation exercises that probably aren't that effective) with setXreps in the 10x3, 8x4, 5x5 ranges with 80%+ of my max, alternated with 3x10, 4x8, etc., with slightly lower weights. I started doing this on Monday, and I already feel that I'm getting more out of my workouts, but I'll see what kind of results I get after a few months.


Posted by , 21 July 2005 - - - - - - · 283 views

Damn I'm frustrated right now.

Two months ago, I hurt my shoulder while bench-pressing. It didn't seem too major, so I took some time off of weightlifting to let it heal, which has worked for similar injuries in the past. After a month, I tried benching again, and it immediately started hurting again. So I went to see my doctor, who ordered an MRI so that she could determine whether she needed to send me to an orthopedic surgeon or physical therapist. I had the MRI the next week, and was told, both by my doctor and the MRI tech, that my results should be available in 2 days. So I call my doctor's office 3 days later (this was around the 4th, so I gave them a little extra time for the holiday) and I was told that MRI results typically take 3-5 days, and that they'd call me when they were in. A couple of days later, no one has called me, so I call back, and *this* time I'm told that it normally takes 5-7 days. I tell them that the number has gone up every time I call, and they just shrug it off. I also find out at this point that my doctor has gone on emergency medical leave (she's six months pregnant with twins) and they aren't sure when she'll be back, but the nurse will call me.

I wait a few more days, and still no call, so I call them again, and they tell me that the results aren't in yet. They also tell me that my doctor is now on indefinite leave. But they again reassure me that the nurse will call as soon as they have the results, which should be a day or two tops. Several days pass, and they of course haven't called me back, so I call them (this is last Friday), and they tell me that I've been handed off to another doctor since mine won't be coming back for months. They transfer me to his office, and they tell me that they don't have my MRI results yet, but that my doctor had called them specifically about me to tell them that it's urgent that they get a hold of me as soon as the results are in. They said that they had followed up with radiology and that they should get the results no later than Monday, and that they'd call me then.

As of this morning, they still hadn't called me, so I call them. They told me that they'd left a message for the radiology supervisor on Monday, and that she hadn't called them yet. I explained how frustrated I was that 3 weeks after my MRI, I still didn't know what was wrong with my shoulder or what my treatment plan would be, that every day I'm dealing with pain and restricted functionality (it hurts to pick up my kids), and that every time I've called, I'd been led to believe that I'd have some answers in a day or two, but that the only follow-up that had happened was because of me calling and nagging them. She basically brushed it off and said she'd call radiology again, and that was it.

I'm so pissed off about this. If I don't hear from them before I leave work today, I think I'm going to go by the clinic and stay there bugging them until they can read my freaking results to me.

Not quite as funny, but...

Posted by , 17 July 2005 - - - - - - · 198 views

I just got this from a Russian email address. The subject was just "Article correction":
Can you correct article? ( I'm about English language )

Mobile games

Posted by , 14 July 2005 - - - - - - · 204 views

I was browsing our news the other day, and again encountered something I've seen fairly often. When we have news posts about mobile gaming, particularly ones mentioning speculation about the growth of mobile gaming, there's invariably a few people who come along, pooh-poohing this entire segment of the game industry. Mostly, their arguments against the potential of mobile gaming are based on anecdotal evidence, e.g. they played a few games on a single handset, and those games sucked, so why would anyone pay for cell phone games?

I can understand skepticism regarding some of the numbers being thrown around about the potential size of the mobile gaming market (e.g. $7 billion by 2008), since these numbers are guesses at best, and are far too reminiscent of the types of things people used to say about the market for PDA games several years ago, which of course never really materialized. But...

1) Even if the numbers being thrown around are overly-optimistic, the fact remains that there is significant growth in this area. Hundreds of millions are being made on mobile games now, and with better gaming handsets coming out and new markets opening, that number is increasing rapidly. So even if mobile gaming is unappealing to some people, it's clearly true from the numbers that there are lots of people who enjoy it.

2) The cell phone market is very different from the PDA market. Besides being several orders of magnitude larger, people are upgrading their cellphones every 2 years on average, and because the technology is advancing so rapidly, every time they upgrade, they are getting a device that is better suited for games. Also, the distribution models on phones are much better than they are on PDAs.

Granted, the mobile game industry isn't without its challenges. Variance among handsets means a huge porting effort if you want to make your game widely available, and some handsets simply aren't well-suited to gaming. But standards are emerging (i.e. OpenGL ES) and developers have become very efficient at porting to multiple handsets.

As for handset design... I have sitting on my desk a prototype phone that we (QUALCOMM) made. Here's a photo of it:

This isn't intended as a commercial handset. Rather, we use it as a development platform, as well as something to show to handset manufacturers to give them an idea of what a gaming phone should be (and hopefully, they'll improve on the idea).

As you can see, the thing has a joystick, d-pad, shoulder buttons, and can "transform" into gaming mode. The screen is about the same size as that of a GBA, but higher resolution (320x240), supporting 16-bit color. It also has hardware accelerated 3D (exposed through OpenGL ES) on par with the Playstation. We've been working with developers like EA, Ubisoft/Gameloft, etc., with developing early 3D games for it, and I honestly enjoy playing games on it.

I think it's unfortunate that many small development studios and individual developers have missed out on opportunities offered by mobile gaming. At least until recently, the bar for entry was fairly low, both financially and coming up to speed technically, so this has been an area where someone who wanted to start their own dev studio or even just break into the industry could have done so fairly easily, at least in comparison to other platforms. That's unfortunately changing now, but if you currently have experience as a mobile game developer, you're in a good position. Pretty much every major game publisher is trying to establish a presense in mobile. To do this, many of them are buying up as many mobile development shops as they can. If you have experience in mobile AND 3D, you're golden.

In reality, the window of opportunity for breaking into the industry relatively easily through this route probably isn't closed yet, so if that's something you're looking to do, I'd suggest not being too quick to dismiss mobile gaming.


Posted by , 13 July 2005 - - - - - - · 259 views

Someone just sent this to webmaster@gamedev.net, and I just had to share:
Hi guys could you help me out. You know Im a fresh graduate of Computer Engineering course and not yet employed. Well the problem is this, I cant pass the IQ exam that the company always given to me. I hope you have a leakage there or an IQ test sheet with answer that I can review so I can pass this IQ test. Well I want to pursue a creer in programming and Im a hardworking person but I really cant pass any exam or IQ exam plase help me.
You can send the leakage or sample IQ exam here in my email.
thanks in advance.

We get these kinds of things all the time. Maybe I should start posting them here so everyone can share in the funnies.

Climbing the ladder

Posted by , 26 April 2005 - - - - - - · 241 views

Yesterday, I had a meeting with my manager to go over my review feedback for the past six month period. I'm happy to say that I was promoted from Senior to Staff Engineer, with a healthy raise and bonus to go along with it. Yay me.

Anyway, as a few of you might know, Saturday I got back from a week-long bike trip across California. I'll be posting a summary of it soon. It was an amazing experience.

Review rant

Posted by , 30 March 2005 - - - - - - · 281 views

My books have received a number of reviews, mostly good, some bad. I don't really have a problem with most of the bad ones, as long as the person has actually read the book and has legitimate criticism. But occasionally people will write reviews that are basically just "this book sucks", which aren't really useful to anyone*. This happened with a string of reviews on Amazon for OpenGL Game Programming, and now it's happened with the latest Amazon review of Beginning OpenGL Game Programming. The review, which is accompanied by the lowest rating, states:
As a professional developer, I was curious and flipped through this booka at a Barnes and Nobles. I normally would not take the time out of my day to write a review, however, I feel this is a waste of money, as most books on game programming.
The main thing that bothers me about this review is that Amazon greenlighted it. The reviewer states that he didn't actually read the book, and provides no explaination of why he considers it a waste of money. Why does Amazon allow reviews like this to waste space and waste the time of potential buyers?

As a technical author, I'd like to make a request of anyone reading this. If you read a book you like and that you think others would benefit from, take a moment to review it *somewhere*. Say what specifically you liked about it, and if there are things that could have been better, mention them as well. If you didn't like the book and you want to review it, be fair. Realize that you may not have been in the target audience for the book.

Oh, and if you have an Amazon account and agree with me about the uselessness of this review, you may want to use the "report this" link under the review to see if we can get them to remove it.

* - btw, the "this book rocks" type of reviews aren't really any better. As an author, I'd like to know what people liked about it, and I'm sure potential buyers would like to know as well.

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