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About this blog

Spending far too much time on Empyrean Gate and University. Trading in Sleep for Coffee and Coke.

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LOL

Hey All,

Its been a long time since I posted anything here, but as I draw close to the end of my degree, and as things start changing again in my life, I have taken to writing them down again (though mostly this is at my site.

This Journal has been a walk down memory lane seeing as it was listing assignments from back in 2006. As I gear up for my last class in Semester 2 2008 I now have updated the top to reflect where I am up to.

On top of what is listed I am working on another Project that is not directly related to game development, or really to my Education/Certification, so it has not been listed.

I find myself straying farther from the Game Development field these days and walking in the Corporate World of Systems Administration and dabbling in some Tool/Application Development. My skills are usually utilized in a way that I find myself using my skills to solve problems in ways they really aren't meant to be solved. At least it is keeping my mind sharp by training in a lot of different situations.

With the changes in my Roles at work I have managed to work myself into a nice position where I am able now to concentrate on making things easier for everybody else, by developing tools and improving processes. The pay has improved as well, so I have crossed out that item from my list above.

I think thats about as much as I can update at the moment. I would like to have updated the Empyrean Gate status, but I have been too focused on a lot of things instead, such as MCSE and Uni. Hopefully I get the opportunity to get back to that sometime in the near future.

Cheers, Chris.

LOL

Hey All,

Its been a long time since I posted anything here, but as I draw close to the end of my degree, and as things start changing again in my life, I have taken to writing them down again (though mostly this is at my site.

This Journal has been a walk down memory lane seeing as it was listing assignments from back in 2006. As I gear up for my last class in Semester 2 2008 I now have updated the top to reflect where I am up to.

On top of what is listed I am working on another Project that is not directly related to game development, or really to my Education/Certification, so it has not been listed.

I find myself straying farther from the Game Development field these days and walking in the Corporate World of Systems Administration and dabbling in some Tool/Application Development. My skills are usually utilized in a way that I find myself using my skills to solve problems in ways they really aren't meant to be solved. At least it is keeping my mind sharp by training in a lot of different situations.

With the changes in my Roles at work I have managed to work myself into a nice position where I am able now to concentrate on making things easier for everybody else, by developing tools and improving processes. The pay has improved as well, so I have crossed out that item from my list above.

I think thats about as much as I can update at the moment. I would like to have updated the Empyrean Gate status, but I have been too focused on a lot of things instead, such as MCSE and Uni. Hopefully I get the opportunity to get back to that sometime in the near future.

Cheers, Chris.

Untitled

Another four exams down, and now into 'Semester' 3. I have landed myself a job in Government, so I no longer will be required to work excessive hours without compensation. I start that job on 11/12/06, in two weeks time.

Was just out at the pub with a work colleague who's last day was today. This left me in quite a state, which I am still recovering from. This week has been a fairly hectic one, with 2 exams and being informed that I have another test due before monday (for LAW). This is one reason why I headed straight for the put this evening.

Exhaustion

I am almost at exhaustion point. Since exams last semester, I have been running around crazily trying to learn everything for this semester. That includes studying MCSE, Toshiba Procare Training, IBM product training, Custom SBS 2003 Installation Scripts (eg. Exchange Scripting, as the rest is simple), SQL, Java, ERD's, Network Management (from a hopelessly outdated text), etc. The last four being specifically for Uni.

If that weren't bad enough I've started looking for a new job, in the Public Sector... It sure would be good to not be expected to work my ass off for minimal pay for once. Let's hope I can get into a job there within the next month or two and then half of my Todo list disappears.

That way I can use that spare time to get my ass back into gear on Empyrean Gate.
Accounting is down, now just Monday and Wednesday of next week for the other two... here's hoping.

I also hope that my less than spectacular effort in this Accounting exam actually gets me 50% of the mark. I probably should have spent more time studying.
Statistics Exam is down. I think I passed (I was fairly confidently answering the questions at least), so we shall see if I was deluded or not.

Got the Accounting one tomorrow... damn I hate the boredom of accounting.
Assignments have now been completed.

I have checked my overall Accounting %age which sits at 78.955%. Not bad considering that I don't own the text book (and the last assignment required me to use a table of data out of the book... there went about 20% [grin])

Time to use some time to read Magician (again), work on Empyrean Gate, and study for my Exams...
Assignments have now been completed.

I have checked my overall Accounting %age which sits at 78.955%. Not bad considering that I don't own the text book (and the last assignment required me to use a table of data out of the book... there went about 20% [grin])

Time to use some time to read Magician (again), work on Empyrean Gate, and study for my Exams...

One to go

So, Friday (Tomorrow) I have my final accounting test due. It is currently 75% complete, so I should easily finish that tonight.

I finished my Marketing Assignment, still under the required words. I think they actually require too many words in most of these assignments (or I am too concise) because I find myself needing a couple of hundred words to fill when I have already started waffling on. It isn't like I am missing anything from the assignment, but oh well.

The Stats Assignment I only did half of. I didn't have time for any more. Basically what I handed in was everything that DIDN'T require me to use SPSS. I had already worked out that I would pass my assignment quota even should I not hand the assignment in. So hopefully I get some marks for it.

On the EG front there has been some major reworking of the entire theme in order to fit with that damn Europe thing. At least the concept is sounding more humorous than serious fantasy like it was previously. I am looking forward to the concept of European Wizards Towers immensely [grin]

Also, 4 Exams coming up :(

Ignorance.

I simply can't believe some of the absolute rubbish that is required in assignments for subjects like Marketing.

Perceptual Mappings, I mean seriously! Sure, draw pretty graphs to make the mumbo-jumbo appear scientific, although the same conclusions could be gleaned without the stupid 2D graphing of how customers percieve your product. Ridiculous.

If that weren't bad enough, I have Statistics on one hand telling me that I shouldn't draw conclusions from data, because you can't just prove causation because the data proves a link. But in my marketing class they are simply throwing rules like this out of the window and running with whatever hype they can find.

I feel like burning marketing down, but lucky for them I am an external student. *sigh*. It is so funny how one department can just ignore the basic principles of another that are teaching to students in the same semester at the same time...

I wrote up a Game idea for a High School game, but this won't commence until after Empyrean Gate (and 4e5 for that matter)

Countdown

Not long until I can kick these assignments in the rear, and then have to concentrate on exams.

Marketing is the biggest worry at the moment, as it is an essay that needs to be handed in (due in this friday). Once that is complete I have a weekend to complete an Accounting online test (that should take at least one day). Then I have until the friday to finish my Statistics Assignment.

After that, I have a little bit of time to work on Empyrean Gate before exams. The exam dates are 19th, 21st, 26th and 28th of June. Then I have some more time for Empyrean Gate (and heading down to Dreamworld/Movieworld).

Tomothy suggested that he might be headed up to Brisvegas over that period, so I may get the chance to head out to the pub with AndrewRussell, boolean and him for a few brews. Hopefully things go as well as the last BGDC :P.
I have been busy of late with a few Assignments (which you should see above have diminished significantly). There are still some to go, but the majority of work is done for this semester. I am looking forward to getting back into Programming for next semester.

With all this work almost done, I am almost at the stage where I can put some more time back into Empyrean Gate. ArchWizard has added a couple of pages, but I have been living off 3 hours of sleep a night again.

The other thing that has been eating my time has been discussing the Columbine Game which is distastefully titled Super Columbing Massacre RPG. This game is significant, if not disturbing, but quite relevant today, given that nothing has really changed in society since that fateful day over 7 years ago.

Having suffered a lot of taunting at school myself and wishing to die and take others down with me I can sympathise a little for Dylan and Eric, but in the end despise what happened (and who really wouldn't?).

Anyway. Time for bed (I've had enough of Marketting #2 already [sad])

Stagnance

Empyrean Gate has been in a state of Stagnance of late. Not due to any lack of interest from my part, but more due to a lack of time. That should all change after Monday (in the few weeks leadup to exams) as the majority of assignments will have been completed at that stage.

I had 10 hours of sleep over Tuesday Night... because there had been too many 3 hours sleep nights in a row. Then i quickly followed that up with Last Night going to bed at 4am, for another 3 hours of sleep...

I can't wait until my uni stuff actually is related to programming, at least then I can DO the assignments in my sleep. [grin]

I will try to get onto Empyrean Gate sometime over the weekend if I can finish off those assignments quicksmart!
So Archie and I started talking mappage, and how the ingame will work. We are going to stay true to Isometric, and use the Baldurs Gate method of being able to 'travel' back to already visited areas.

We may introduce some of the funky 3D hacks that Diablo II did to make things not quite just 2D Isometric, but that will remain to be seen.
I have been pushing hard to get a Management Assignment (or two) finished. They are both due this Friday, and hopefully I can finish off the 2500 word one today.

On the Empyrean Gate front I have been discussing alternatives to the Class Selection Scheme that is used by so many RPG-likes. Instead of lumping the Player with the Character Creation Window at the beginning and leaving them to pick their stats, the classes should be decided through the gameplay and the choices that the player makes during the game.

Thats about all on that, and I am writing up my idea into the wiki. Catgirls are a must, you simply can't resist the feline femininity that only comes from a Catgirl [grin]

Tired

I've averaged at between 3 and 4 hours of sleep for over 7 days straight now. Mostly due to assignment work. I added up some more content to the Empyrean Gate wiki wrt Cultures within the game.

I liked the distinct culture phases that were apparent in Diablo II from act to act. This was fairly well done, especially the melding of multiple cultures into an uber-culture (well, they were similar cultures anyway).

I have been trying to think of some more story fillers/side quests, and when I say 'some more' I mean 'at least one' ;). My brain really isn't functioning.

Oh, I got my results from the marketting assignment. What a lousy thing it was. 66%. But at least it isn't a fail (and its mostly to do with the fact that I didn't "layout" the PPT effectively. Who cares. I had the content!)

Anyway. Its time for me to get somewhere near the first 8 hours sleep in 7 days (I believe I am actually up near 14 days for sleep ranging between 3-6 hours per night)... Up until today I hadn't felt it. I really should not have been driving around today :/

ANGRY DWARF!

So Archy has been discussing Race Relations in his journal. He wants a peaceful world where harmony abounds... but realistically nobody wants to play in hippy fairy land. We want conflict, and thats what Dwarves and Elves do best when in the same room... CONFLICT!


ANGRY DWARF!

Music

I added in some stuff to the wiki today on the Music system I had been talking about some months back in this journal. ArchWizard has suggested using FModEx, and I am looking forward to seeing what it can do in comparison to SDL/SDL_mixer and OpenAL. Both of the latter I hated for various reasons. OpenAL is not simple enough to set up and maintain, and SDL_mixer annoyed me with its file streaming limitations.

We had a bit more of a chat about Boozing and Whoring in the game. Seems like it might actually be fun to play :P

Caffeine

After living on Caffeine for the past few days I find that now I can't go to bed early, and I have real trouble getting up in the morning.

I can see why people start drowning their morning with coffee now. Hopefully my brain will wake up enough soon to be able to continue development.

Too many assignments to go though :/
Just finished my Statistics Assignment 2. This took a while to complete due to the fact that the student discussion boards were packed full of people disputing what the questions where asking. I should have just made up my own mind about what the questions wanted and continued with that.

One of the students who is really good at helping everyone out had me so confused because he over-complicated the problem. It wasn't until I took a step back and realized that he was trying to do something that didn't need to be done (the question didn't ask for it) that I finally was able to move on with the question.

So its 10:30am and I have now had 3 coffees and am onto my first can of coke for the day. I feel shattered. I didn't get to bed before 3am over the entire weekend.

Statistics

I am sitting here at 3am wondering if I am going to get through this Statistics Assignment by the end of Monday. I may need to take the day off work in order to manage it, unless now that I have almost figured out how SPSS works that I will be able to finish the other questions a marked bit quicker than the first few.

I haven't done any work on the Baldurs Gate Clone document, except paste in a complete template for the Design Doc. I have taken to listening to the Baldurs Gate 2 game music in order to get me motivated to complete this project.

I started talking to ArchWizard today about the possibility of Dynamic music. As a concept it seems relatively straightforward to me, but the real test is whether content can be made for the system that is workable (and worthwhile) in the game.

Skill Trees

It's amazing what you can accomplish at 2am, when you think that your brain is completely asleep you can come up with some surprisingly interesting ideas.

I will check back on what those ideas were when I wake up tomorrow morning. In the meantime, I might see if I can have some more creative ideas to put into the Skill Trees.

Juggling

Life has become a Juggling act, where I have my Job, my Uni, my Family and my Project with Archie (not necessarily in any particular order) all floating up in the air with me running around left, right and centre trying to keep them airborn. Life is hectic!

BGC Project:
So we have been making some slow progress on the design doc. We have been finding common ground for story, advancement, skills, in-game mechanics, and general engine stuff.

As it stands we spend our time Chatting in order to work out a place where we both feel comfortable with the project progressing. We both put forward the ideas, then we either accept or reject elements until it becomes a feasible idea, or more importantly a workable idea.

Working this way in a team has been beneficial for me as I have gotten used to things being done by only myself for far too long (this has had consequences in the family life also :P )

University:
I have completed another Accounting online test, and there is already a third one available to do... They just keep on coming thick and fast.

I am working on a Management Essay of 2500 words, and a sister essay on how I felt about writing the first essay. Idiots.

Another Marketting Assignment (thank God this time it isn't a presentation) is coming up, requiring a 2000 word essay (should not be of too great difficulty now that I have found that one of my wifes friends is a tutor)

Statistics is about to take my weekend, as I have an online submission to complete based on SPSS, and I haven't started using the software yet (due on Monday). So this weekend I will be learning how to use SPSS for Statistics stuff and attempting to answer the questions.

Family:
Family life is reasonably stable. My wife is very understanding of my need to be up late into the night on most nights. Darcy has been very unimpressed with me staying up until 2am, as I do my work in the same room that he sleeps. He often gets up to wander around in the middle of the night and seems to give me the dirtiest of looks. I have attempted to sheild his eyes from the light by draping a towel off the desk so as to allow him to sleep uninterrupted - which went well over the past couple of nights.

Work:
Well, what can I say? IBM are idiots, because although they fixed their Drivers/Firmware page so that it actually has Disk 1 and Disk 2 for the firmware available (instead of two copies of Disk 1), the SATA RAID drivers they provide do not work for the particular model server. I have just set the machine running two dynamic disks in software mirror setup. This is not ideal, but I have little choice.

Online:
I have been trying to add some stuff to my journal for a while. Been trying to get more on the Future of RPGs Wiki, and have so far not had too much response for accounts to add and maintain the site. If only I had some more time. Anyway, there are a couple of users who have volunteered, though nothing has been added as yet. I may need to create a mailing list of these users so we can keep informed as to what direction the wiki is to take, how we are to format and enter stuff.

I am now managing 3 wiki's, and this has helped push me back into the wonderful world of SQL. The last time I touched it was when I was using Oracle at Uni before I quit. I don't mind databasing, but it can be rather dull. At least it is logical (unlike Marketting). I have also had the chance to go through some PHP code for the first time since I picked up a PHP book and read the first chapter some years ago. I might have to make some more time to get to really KNOW it if I can organise myself during the semester break or something.

I think that is enough for tonight. I'll probably try to get an update going regarding the BGC developments as they happen, as ArchWizard seems to be keeping the progress updated, and keeping everyone informed. I really should follow his lead more with regard to public relations and advertising. (Yeah, I hate marketting)
Well, it appears that my current Collaboration with ArchWizard has been Outed. So I have been trading in sleep for work. I wouldn't have said that it was a Baldurs Gate/NWN clone, because I couldn't hope to put in as much technical skill as NWN has, but I certainly hope to get something similar to a Baldurs Gate game finished (well, in terms of the game, not the content).

Additionally, I announce the release of The Wiki of RPGs. This is the long awaited wikification of that tremendously outdated document I wrote, The Future of RPGs. Now with some community help it can once again be considered relevant and useful to todays game developer generation.

Feel free to email off for an account, I just wanted to make sure there wasn't going to be any more defacement of the wiki by some unnamed Tiberians ;)

Marketing

This subject is the bane of my existence. I could handle Statistics and Accounting with no problems. There is nothing creative that has to be done with those numbers. But Marketing... Sheesh.

First I have to search for heaps of information on market segments, growth etc, and consumer spending in particular areas. The only problem with this is that most of that information is owned by (you guessed it) marketing companies, and they are willing to give it to me for a meagre US$1300 (hardcopy) or US$3900 for PDF. How kind of them...

And of course now my assingment looks great with all these (assumed) tags in it because ther is no relevant data. Surely the universities should be providing mock data in these situations if they expect students to waste their time searching for non-existent data (or unrealistically priced data)
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