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About this blog

Ranting, raving, and coding. All in the name of caffeine.

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Well it's been quite a while since I posted on this thing and since I pay for the service I figure I might as well use it a bit.

So where to start? I'm beginning my last year in college working towards a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with a minor in Physics focusing on Electronics. All I have left are electives really, and in true last year spirit I took what seemed to be the easiest load I could manage without having to resort to some liberal arts type stuff.

So, with that in mind, I proceeded to sign up for Golf, Intro to Java Programming, Elementary Statistics, a microcontroller class where we get to play with a BASIC Stamp, a CSCI undergraduate research project, and Ethics for CSCI. Of these 6 classes the 2 that I really wanted are microcontrollers and the research. They may be fun, but the other is just filler. Taking easy classes, i'm finding, is not all it's cracked up to be either. Several of the classes are freshman level classes and operate at a snail's pace which drives me insane.

Next semester I'll have 7 hours in my way before I get my degree, and then, if all goes to plan, I'm packing up and moving to Nashville, TN (from Augusta, Ga for those unaware).

In game playing news, BioShock looks crazy awesome and from the 360 demo I played I can't wait to play the full version (only 360 version though, I want nothing to do with the SecuROM shit on the PC).

In game making news there's not much to report. Me and my friend are going to hopefully be doing some XNA related awesomeness in the near future when we both have sufficient time. I used to seriously consider games as a career path, but my goals have shifted in the last few years. I still want to be in the entertainment industry, but I'd rather work with hardware and software together and am setting my sights on entertainment robotics (ideally something like special effects shops or Disney Imagineering).

In the meantime, before trekking out to Hollywood on a whim, I'm hoping to amass some money after moving to Nashville that will give me a good jumping off point for what I truly want to do with my professional life. Games will likely still be in my life but only as a hobby.





here's a long overdue update

Well, disregard everything from my last entry. The girl I had been going out with got a boyfriend and got rid of me with a nice little text message. i'm over her, i think, but i'll most likely shoot her in the throat in the end of the year csci math paintball tournament. yeah, that's how i get over stuff.

Our senior project is good, we did some asp.net stuff for a syntactically correct sql builder.

Our electronics project is good so far as well, it's a line following robot. weve made it out of an index card holder. i've adapted wheels to it and all thats left is the circuitry. I'll post pictures and maybe a video of it working when done.





Well, this year seems to be starting off better than last. 20 days in and i've already been to a movie with a girl. This may not be groundbreaking to most, but it's a good start for me. We went to see Saw III and then to another friends house after that where, wonder of wonders, she played Gears of War. It was actually pretty cool. She said she liked gaming and it sounds like she wants to do it again. I'm amazed. This is like what you hear about in the movies or in books [wink].

If I don't mess things up too badly maybe we'll do something this week or again next weekend.

Oh, and as a preemptive measure. Yes, she's hot.

In a more gamedev related note, I visited the career center at our school and was pleased at what I learned. I'm looking into some Co-ops/internships, but something else the lady said that I thought was very interesting was that she can write grants to professional conferences. If i'm lucky and can swing it, maybe this is my way to the GDC! I had no idea that opportunities like that were available through school, so if you're in school it may well be worth a trip to your career center (or equivalent) as well to see if they can do similar things.





The new semester started this week. We didn't get nearly enough time off :(.

I had signed up for a Piano class, but since i'm going to be pretty busy all semester i've dropped it already.

I have:

Applied Theory of Computing - I'm not entirely sure what this will include aside from language grammars, but it looks cool.

Sr. Project - We do a project for an outside company. The teacher must've had some sympathy for us though, there's one person who for the life of me I can't figure out how they've advanced as far in the Computer Science program as they have.

They don't seem to be able to do anything on their own, and they didn't contribute anything to the software design class (not in my group, but I heard about it from their partner) and now somehow he's in the Sr. Project class. The teacher put him in a solo group, so if he knows how to do anything with code, we'll get to see. If he doesn't, we'll see that as well.

I hope they don't actually give him an external company, because I don't want our department to get a bad reputation (and less local hiring opportunities for us) if he spazzes out.

Electronics II - last semester we learned a lot of analog stuff, this semester we learn digital stuff and we get to do a project. I haven't decided on a project yet, but i'll probably keep the journal up to date on all of these projects.

I also have Computer Organization, we get to build some circuits, but mostly it's going to be software simulation (I believe we get to design a simple CPU at the end of the class, so i'm looking forward to that).

In game related news, I took John Hattan up on his opening for product reviewer and was able to review 2 DVDs from Noesis Interactive on modding Half-Life 2. Overall I liked it, but check the main page in the next few weeks for the full review.





Wow, been a long time since i've posted here.

School's nearly over for us this semester. Only 2 more weeks. I'm fairly happy with all of my classes. I should be getting A's and B's all around so that's good.

This semester has been mixed. It's been long, but fun overall. Most of the people I hang out with will be graduating next semester and that sucks, I still have a couple of semesters left, but that's because i'm not taking more than ~12 hours/semester and I took the first semester after I graduated from high school off.

Next semester i'm going to be taking Applied Theory of Computing, Computer Organization, Electronics II, my Senior Project for Computer Science, and an introductory piano class (got to break it up some). I was going to take a computational physics class to finish out my physics minor, but I won't have time to take that many upper level classes I don't think. Good news though, the professor said he might offer it again in 2 semesters if a couple of us want to take it then. That'll be fun.

Final exams shall be coming up soon, hopefully they'll go well.





As some of you may remember, I got in on the AirTran deal earlier this year-collect a bunch of cups, get a free ticket. Well, I got a free trip to San Francisco out of the deal ($10 out of pocket or so for various fees, still a great deal though). Anyway, as it happened, AirTran was upgrading their computers or database or something the morning we flew out (Hartsfield in Atlanta) and for whatever reasons the computers were down.

A couple of days after we got back I got a voucher from AirTran for $100 off of a ticket for the inconvenience. Score! The voucher expires Saturday, so I have to spend it somehow. Seeing as how i'm now 21 and we have our spring break at a weird time (to coincide with the Masters Golf Tournament) I think i'll be heading out to Las Vegas. So I figure within the year i'll have 2 coast-to-coast flights for under $100, can't beat that.

In more school news, I finished the system call implementation, it sure is a lot of work for such little gain (it just printed helloworld to the kernel log file). It's cool, but I doubt i'll use it beyond this class. Now we have to emulate the shell with fork() and exec(). It's working somewhat, but not fully.

I also discovered that my journal here is pretty much the top result when searching for perl isogram from a few entries back. How did I find this out? Someone in the same class told me [smile]. I know this guy, and I don't think he copied it, but I suppose I shall have to delay posting any solutions I may come up with until after the due date lest someone less scrupulous in the class comes across it before it's due.

In my electronics class we've been doing lots of cool stuff. At least stuff I haven't seen before such as phasors, Fourier Transforms and such. I e-mailed the professor (who also happens to be the Physics chairperson) and asked if we could do some stuff with robotics outside of class and to my surprise he said yes! He even said we could get ~$500 - $1000 to spend on parts (we already have tons of test equipment that we can use) so that's very cool. Me and a friend in the electronics class are president and vice president of this newly formed entity or club as it might be called, so i'm sure we're guaranteed flocks of women now...yeah. When our mech starts destroying buildings they'll know who to be friends with.




Oh dear.

Well, we got our first project in Operating Systems, and that is to add a simple system call to our installation on Virtual PC.

First of all, installing to VPC is horrendous. From CD/DVD, it took some people ~4-5 hours to install the OS. I ripped my images to the HD and mounted them in a virtual CD Drive and the process went much, much quicker. Now I have a successfully installed version of Fedora Core 5 running on my laptop through VPC.

I'm downloading the kernel source through the VM right now so that I can set it all up. I've never done any of this before, so wish me luck! On the bright side though, doing all of this through VPC means (I hope) that even if I mess something up really bad it won't mess up my physical computer and all that I need to do is reinstall through the VM. Again, I hope.

Just finished downloading the source but when I follow the instructions on how to set it up:

rpm -ivh kernelname

I get an error and a warning:

error: cannot write to %sourcedir /usr/src/redhat/SOURCES
warning: kernel-2.6.15-1.2054_FC5.src.rpm: Header V3 DSA signature: NOKEY, key ID 4f2a6fd2.

Gah, just talking to a friend and I forgot to be under root privileges when doing that. I am not much of a Linux user yet, so this kind of stupid stuff is bound to crop up again. I'll record my stupidity here for the benefit of others though.




My first Perl!

I decided today to work on one of our first homework problems in Programming Languages. The idea isn't bad: given user input find out if the word is an isogram (which from my understanding means that each letter in the word is repeated the same number of times). You just display a message saying what "order" it is (probably the wrong wording, but I can't think of anything better). If it has non word characters we can ignore it.

This is the first Perl program i've written with any substance. It's not too bad, but it's longer than I would've hoped it would be ~45 lines. Seems long, but it does the job.

while($input ne "end")
print "Enter a word to find the isogram (end to exit): ";
$input = ;
$input = "\L$input";

if($input =~ /\W/)
print $input . " has an illegal character.\n";
else {
@allchars = split//,$input;
@allchars = sort(@allchars);

my %hash = ();

for($i=0; $i {
$hash{ @allchars[$i] }++;

$zVal = $hash{@allchars[0]};

$count = 0;
while( ($key, $value) = each(%hash))
if($value == $zVal){

if($count == (keys %hash))
print "$input is a $hash{@allchars[0]} letter isogram.\n";
print "$input is not an isogram.\n";

So, for example, if you enter TartAr (an example we were provided) the program will output that it is a 2 letter isogram since t, a, and r all occur twice. It's not bad, but the syntax after coming from C++ can be a bit weird. I'm sure there's a more efficient way to do it, but I don't know it [smile].




Oh yes, Guitar Hero rocks!

Last week my friend and I went to Best Buy between classes so he could show me what Guitar Hero was like. OMG. Best game ever. I don't have a PS2 yet(but this makes me want to get one) but I bought a second controller just to play at my friend's house for the time being.

I went to my friend's house last Thursday between a long break between classes and plan to do the same tomorrow. I played him and his wife. So fun. I'm still getting familiar with the controller, but I can't get enough! Looks like they're adding a couple of new multiplayer modes that should be fun.

We're planning to have a Guitar Hero contest in the computer science lab next week. We're calling it an ACM activity (to raise awareness haha) since my friend and I are president and vice president of the local ACM chapter respectively. If there are any pics showing us acting like tards I might post them.

In school news we're learning Perl for our first language in Programming Languages. So far I like it. It's powerful for pattern matching, but a couple of things seem quirky about it. I setup ActivePerl while in class and was able to run the examples as the professor went over them which is helpful. I'm hoping we'll learn either Python or LISP in the class as well, both languages looks cool in their own rights.

For Operating Systems it seems we'll get to do something cool. We were tasked with installing Virtual PC 2004 (which is now free from Microsoft if you didn't know) and install a flavor of Linux we choose. I'm going with Fedora Core 5. Anyway, after having done this I think we're going to be writing a custom system call and recompiling the kernel to get it working. I didn't know doing all of this would be possible under Virtual PC, but if so that's cool. I'm pretty unfamiliar with Linux so all of this is pretty new to me, but it seems cool.

For Electronics we've been building small, simple circuits (voltage dividers, LED turning on when a photoresistor is covered and the like) which is cool because it makes you feel like you've accomplished something when you're done, but I really hope we get to build some more interesting circuits. On the theory side Thevenin equivalents seem a bit confusing at the moment, but I'm getting there.

For Software Design we haven't done a whole lot yet, he just goes over PowerPoint presentations which is kind of boring, but he's pretty cool overall (he's the one I've mentioned that does Genetic Programming research). We just got our team list and we're supposed to start a project proposal soon as the first phase of a semester long project (where we'll later implement the design and such).

So far the school year's fun. The summer bored the crap out of me, and I think I have to be in school to be any good. Lately i've been thinking about what I'm going to do when I'm done with my BS. Right now it's been a relatively free ride (except books) as i'm on a state based (money from the lottery) scholarship for performance in High School. The prospect of work scares the hell out of me at the moment. I think i'm going to get a masters after my BS, but I can't be sure. If I did, i'd definitely want to find a scholarship or something because I just couldn't pay for it. I still have my parents who would put out the money, but I don't really want that burden.

The upcoming months will be busy. October especially.

Camping with friends, concert, midterms, Phreaknic, Programming contest

All of this should be fun, hope I'm sane through it all.




Oh the Oxycodone!

As the title says, I have some rather nice pills! I got my 2 bottom wisdom teeth taken out yesterday. They were impacted and it took about 2.5 hours just to get the bottom teeth. It was no fun. Hopefully my pill supply will remain strong enough until I shouldn't really feel any pain.

On a different note, school's proceeding nicely. Having a great time in Electronics where we have some cool labs (I think hooking anything up is pretty cool, though). We're not building much complicated yet, but the circuits are fun. This past week we made an LED light up on our breadboard when we covered a photoresistor. Yay!

Operating systems looks like it might actually be kind of cool. Aside from the rather dry lectures it seems that we'll get to do at least a few cool labs. For this coming week we're installing Virtual PC and our preference of Linux distro so that we can write a system call and recompile the kernel to get it to work. That's what the professor said at least.

Now, to take yet another completely different path, the XNA Studio looks freaking awesome. I watched the game components video that was posted in evolutional's journal yesterday, and OMG, pure awesomeness.

For those who haven't seen the XNA video yet, game components can be likened to form controls used in .NET, though on a more powerful scale I suppose.

As an example of what these types of things include, the demo video showed a model viewer, grid component (so you can verify easily that the camera is setup right), FPS counter, terrain component, a nice looking Menu component that just uses collections for the menu positions, and the video shows an example of writing a component that effects the model by rotating it about an axis and bobbing up and down as well.

XNA looks easier and more powerful than I could have ever imagined. This will not only be awesome for XBox360 code, but I think it will be a great way to work on Windows games too. If you haven't already seen it, check out the video. Go ahead and download C# Express and the studio whil you're at it and get to playing!





For those loyal readers out there (haha, right), you are rewarded today. A friend pointed me in the direction of a free copy of Bryce 5 all completely legal (from the company themself no less). Normally ~$70, it's something not to be passed up. Even if you don't have an immediate or any use for it, why pass it up!?

Details. Enjoy!

Edit: On a related note, I received my free copy of Visual Studio 2005 Standard today. The offer was discussed somewhat in the forums, so many of you were probably already familiar with it. I completed my video watching duties on June 13 and they just arrived today. Came with a nice looking ASP.NET book too. Yay free stuff!




Almost time for school.

Next week I go back to class [sad]. I rather enjoy sleeping in until late afternoon and staying up until the sun breaks, but I suppose i'll be doing a bit less of that now. My courses:

Electronics I
Programming Languages
Software Design
Operating Systems I

Electronics I goes towards my Physics minor hopefully. It will probably be my hardest class but hopefully we'll get to do some cool projects.

Programming languages from what I gather is just surveying several different languages throughout the semester, comparing how they do things differently. I doubt each language will be covered very in-depth so it shouldn't really be too bad.

In Operating Systems we'll learn about things such as process management, scheduling, synchronization, deadlock, memory management, and virtual memory. I've had this teacher for a networking class and it was quite boring. I hope this class is better.

Software Design is where we learn things such as software engineering, structured design, object oriented design and life cycle management. I don't know what the significance of all of those terms are yet exactly, but that's why I'm taking the course I suppose [smile].

I don't think that the semester will be too bad, at least I hope not. There should be some fun stuff thrown in though. In October I plan to go to Phreaknic with a friend from school, a concert (Buckethead - awesome!), and a programming contest in Atlanta. A second contest is scheduled for November in Tennessee which I hope to make as well.

In development related rambling I've continued a bit of work on my friend's engine as he needs it, but there's nothing appreciable to show since the last screenshot. We did some work on normal calculation and smoothing, but it doesn't look terribly different than the last shot.

I decided today (I suppose yesterday, haven't really made it to bed yet) to work a bit in .NET using C++. I've had some experience with VB.NET and didn't care for it too much, but with C++ it seems slightly more tolerable.

I'm curious to know why more support wasn't written in for things like std::strings though. I've used them for several years now and they seem very natural to use. They're workable with .NET's voodoo, but more code than it's worth since there are easier solutions.

As a test project for dabbling with .NET I decided to make a gradebook type program for my mom who teaches third grade and still averages grades by hand. As a first small task I decided to create a student file (the file name coming from form input) just to get my feet wet. My first inclination, having used C++ and its accompanying functionality for so long, was to use fstream and std::strings. This was not as elegant and clean as I would have liked, with ugly conversions between System::String and std::string, but it worked.

After this little experiment I went the way of .NET and tried using their types and methods. This of course was cleaner and easier, but I'm having a hard time figuring out why they didn't provide more support for the types we were already familiar with. It was my understanding when reading about .NET that the framework and all it had to offer would extend what we already did, but it seems there's more to change over than I originally thought. I suppose their reasoning on doing it this way is irrrelevant now though since it has already been done.




Let there be polygons!

So a friend of mine had the idea that he wants to create a 3d engine, and with me hanging around the game development forums so much he decided that I should help. So I agreed. But this shall not be my project, I shall help on whatever is needed, he's the head dude. Anyway, last night we decided to start on our model class and finished the basics at around 3 or 4 this morning. I did the parsing for the file, which isn't too bad. Now it displays and roates our fairly plain looking balloon model, but it's a start.

We're attempting to go with a strategy for development I vaguely remember from a not so distant Dr. Dobb's Journal. Don't remember the exact term, but candlestick comes to mind. The idea is to have a working project at each step in development, you just keep adding pieces to it to add more functionality or whatever. According to that article it cuts down on bugs, so if i'm remembering the technique anywhere remotely close, we'll see.

We're using SDL for the window setup (may god have mercy on the souls that use Win32 stuff, that's pure evil) and OpenGL. This has the added benefit of cross platform compatibility, but that wasn't our motivation for using it, just ease of use.

So, for now, I give you a screenshot.




Mystery on Steam!

Well, I was messing around with Steam today as I was preloading Red Orchestra in preparation for the free trial coming tomorrow. Under the tools tab though was a new entry: Source SDK Base. I don't know what this does, but I downloaded it anyway. Once it was downloaded I ran it and the only thing it seemed to do was run a video stress test using the Lost Coast level.

I don't know if there's more to it than that or not, perhaps you can use the files for this level within Hammer somehow, i'm not sure. I'm sure Valve will let us know sometime, but the way it was just plopped into the list without even a mention is kind of mysterious.

Ah well, I shall wait eagerly until I can play RO.




I can...

now legally drink those awful drinks that inhibit your motor skills. Hooray for me!

On a non-stupid note and more of a game development related note, I think i've come up with a game idea that I want to pursue.

The idea builds on a simpler concept of a dodge the falling blocks game. Not only must you dodge the blocks to avoid death, you must also stack the blocks in a way that allows you to get to a platform at the top of the level. Initially I think you should have limited control over the blocks only being able to push and pull them. I would like to also add tools that will allow you to better manipulate the blocks (kind of like the gravity gun in Half-Life 2 perhaps). This is the idea at least, I shall begin work on it.




Sometimes you feel like a tard...sometimes you don

Well I had a very retarded feeling today. I was trying to setup SDL to work with a new install of VS.NET 2003 (hd crashed a few weeks ago) and was following TANSTAAFL's SDL tutorial but for the life of me could not find the C/C++ tab under project properties. Well, as it turns out, I had created the project but had not yet added a .cpp file to the project! I was getting ahead of myself I suppose, but now everything works as it should. Just let that be a lesson to all of you lest you be retards too!

On a CSCI note, after listening to one of my professor's give a talk last semester about Genetic Programming (he did his Ph.D. on Genetic Programming where I believe he did symbolic regression to get a model for the GDP that was pretty darn accurate to what economics people use), he recommended a book Genetic Programming: On the Programming of Computers by Means of Natural Selection (Complex Adaptive Systems). I bought it a while back for a great price (had water damage so I ripped off the rotting cover and scotch taped it up, good as new) and I finally got around to reading through it while i've been off and I must say, that is some really cool stuff in there.

It still seems like black magic in a way, but I would love to either try something on my own or possibly do some research with my professor if he'd let me to get my feet wet in actually doing some Genetic Programming. The field still seems very new and the possibilities of its applications seem virtually unlimited.




VB.NET is the language from hell

I've been taking a programming for business class at school where we focus on more realistic applications that you might face in a work environment. We are using VB.NET for the class, as I suppose that's the hot thing to be in at the moment.

I like the idea of VB.NET, but from my experiences it seems like a big mess and you have to find a work around to things that should be relatively simple (at least they seem to be).

For our final exam we actually had a take home project. This is a client/server app. that has the client send an XML request to the server, where it is validated for proper formatting, then, if the request is valid (and there is enough of the part they want to order on hand) the server updates its database, sends an XML purchase invoice back to the client, where the client updates its inventory database. The databases are MDBs.

First of all, it doesn't seem like VB.NET has a proper implementation of SQL in it. You can do SQL statements through strings, but not everything works as planned all the time. Quite a headache on occasion. Since we're using Access, I don't know if it's specifically the implementation of SQL, something quirky about VB.NET or something quirky in the MDB files themselves.

I'm glad I took this class though. We have learned some pretty cool stuff, but i've also learned that, if given the choice, I won't be doing VB.NET for a living. [smile].





In an effort to take my mind off of the topic of my last entry, tonight I tore into my Targus Cool Pad which, despite the name, has yet to make me cool.

Anyway, either the cable or the connector on the pad was going/is bad, so I snipped them off. I robbed a 9v battery connector from some old burglar alarm door sensors and, after a bit of soldering, I now have the cooling power of the pad back again. Hooray.





Well, I was going to post in the Pretty Girl thread in the lounge, but I felt my story would be more appropriate for my journal.

I went to a movie with a great looking girl today. I wasn't sure what she thought of our time out, a date or just going to see a movie together, but she called it a date as we were leaving, so I guess it was a date [smile]. I don't think of myself as looking good, so i'm amazed that she called it a date to be honest.

This is good, because this will have been my first date ever. Yes, i'm 20 (nearly 21) and this is my first date[sad]. Stop laughing.

Hopefully i'll get to go out with her again, we'll see.

On the bright side, she did say that this movie (The Hills Have Eyes) was better than one she saw earlier in the week (Silent Hill), and that the date was better because I wasn't trying to feel her up. I was too nervous to even think about trying that.

So hopefully it will go from here. Pray for me my fellow nerds!

That's all the news I have to report, but what news it was (to me anyway).





Well, my professor is still checking on what exactly we can do with our game, so nothing of that yet.

On a different note, however, I got a new (to me) video card and power supply. I got a GeForce 6800GT 256MB, and a 420 watt PSU off of a friend at school, grand total $150. I didn't figure that was terrible, considering I haven't done anything but RAM upgrades in about 4 years. My previous card was a RADEON 8500, so it's a bit antiquated.

I can now play the Lost Coast with HDR on, and hopefully i'll be able to play anything else I can think of for a long time to come, so i'm happy about that [smile].





Well, I haven't gotten around to making an installer for our school project, but i'll wait until next week and get a definitive answer from my teacher on what we can and can't do with it (this week is Spring Break for us since the Masters crowd is in town). I don't want to get busted for showing off our game.

I was poking around in the source a little and it made me want to continue with it and fill in holes I know are there, give it an objective and more features and whatnot. We were just crunched in the end by time and that wasn't good. Heck, since we've done all of this work to it, we may work on it some more and get an artist involved and make it look better too. We shall see though, it's been fun working on it.

I've been working on school week this week a bit as well. We've got a project due for databases (my team is doing a mafia database [lol]). So far it's going pretty good.

On a completely different topic, I got a tattoo this week. Skull and crossbones [grin]. You can check it out here if you're interested. I want more, but it comes down to money with those things. They are not cheap.

I'll try to post something from the game this coming week after I find out our restrictions.




Screenshots as promised

Title screen (the penguin looks like he's moonwalking back and forth as Alien Ant Farm plays "Smooth Criminal" in the background) :

Dissolve effect going to actual gameplay:

More of the map, unfortunately we didn't have time to animate the water:

Our music selection (one of the guys actually made the iPod, but this was the last day of the project, and he didn't let on that he could draw any other time...):

Just our stats display:

A battle, with a witch, who is about to pwn me:

As you get more experience, the accuracy of your magic spell gets better, but the enemy's accuracy stays constant. There's also a super move that your penguin can perform (a flying shoulder block), it's to be used as a last resort. While it does a lot of damage to your opponent, it also does 10 damage to you, so you have to be careful. [smile].

One of the hardest things we encountered was getting collision detection to a sufficient level. We specify in our map file what tiles should be collidable, and we do some voodoo to make them actually collidable. There are still a couple of bugs, like you can get snagged on a corner. All in all it was really fun and a great learning experience. While it's not fully completed, it's the best we could do with the schedules we had in the time we had to complete it. Hopefully we'll be making more games soon.

PS: The barbie girl thing for the iPod was an ongoing joke at school [wink].




I completely forgot about my game.

As most of you probably don't remember, last semester we got to do an independent study course that allowed us to make a game on school time. I completely forgot to post what we had done on here!

The only reason I bring this up now is our professor insisted that we submit what we had done to the Phi Kappa Phi student research seminar (or whatever it's called). We did our presentation and I think we were the only ones from our section that were understandable to someone not in the field. We were lumped together with all the sciences, so along side us was a presentation about a new way to synthesize some compound. I swear, the only word I recognized her saying was "crap" when she made a mistake.

Anyway, we seemed to get a good response from our work and we do plan to do more games together. With all of our other courses, lack of artistic ability, lack of participation from some members in the group, and a lack of planning, we were not able to make the game to the standards we wanted, but we did think it was really fun.

The original premise we had for the game was a sidescroller set in the school where aliens were trying to take over our department. When our artistic abilities didn't match our goals, we were content in using free to use graphics on the web, and our game turned into a very small RPG where you, a penguin, run around and fight off various enemies which include a pimp, a witch, and a mage wannabe. Yeah, it's pretty diverse.

Before getting into our mistakes, i'll list the tools and libraries we used as best as I can remember:


Everything free for noncommercial use. Yay.

Our first mistake was not planning. If we had had a clearer goal of what we wanted to do, i'm sure things would have went more smoothly. We just sat down and coded what needed to be coded as needed. Not the best strategy at all. In future projects, we will have to plan if we want to get anywhere.

Secondly, there were three coders working on the game, and none of us had worked in group projects until now. This, as you can imagine, created a huge mess when we were all hacking away at code that happened to be in the same file. With three versions of the same file, we'd have to sit down and figure out how to put them together, certainly not fun. In the future, we definitely need to use CVS or something of that sort.

None of us had really had to care a whole lot about memory management in our previous projects, so while I was working on some other code (I believe battle code), my friend decided to implement sound and music. Well, this is great, but he had a lot of songs, and they were in WAV format. Yeah, that's right. To make matters worse, all of these WAVs were loaded into RAM before the game began. This caused excrutiating load times and huge memory consumption of course. After finishing up the battle code I had been working on, though, I implemented FMOD, converted the WAVs to OGGs and streamed them, resulting in a MUCH smaller memory footprint.

We did a lot of things wrong on this project, but we learned a lot too. We all want to do something else soon, but what we're not sure.

I don't have the game with me on my laptop, but i'll try to post some screens of our end result later this week.

Since we did the game through our school, it's my understanding that we can use the assets at our disposal as long as we don't try to sell it. I'll check on all of this, and if this turns out to be true, i'll upload the game for you to play (but believe me, there's not much to it). If not, i'll rip out all the music and put it up anyway.

Just thought i'd share my experience.




My new addiction.

Eve-Online. Wow. Quite an awesome game, I must say. A friend from school got me hooked and has given me a lot of money, advice, and even a ship that I otherwise couldn't have gotten on my own, i'm sure. Huge universe, and a lot of stuff to do. Me and this other dude from school need skills, so i'm being the delivery boy. You should try the game out if you haven't already. It'll take your soul.




Robot Arena

I remember a while back KHawk was having a little contest where you program the AI for some bots to face off in an arena. I was looking for that today and couldn't find it anywhere. Does anyone have any idea of what i'm talking about? I remember downloading it and playing with it a bit, but I wanted to mess with it some more after seeing this video. I'd appreciate it if someone could point me in the direction of a thread or download.

Edit: I found it, here. Couldn't think of the name, but there you have it. I loved the idea of this contest, but unfortunately it seems to be dead in the water at the moment.



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