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Greetings my fellow developers.

I've been super duper ubar busy with work recently, which includes a 'slew' of things programming and non-programming related. Quite unfortunately, none of them are game related though. Sadness.

But before delving into that realm, I must comment on current games I am playing. The first that comes to mind is Final Fantasy XII. This game, without putting it too direct, is absolutely one of the best RPGs (if not any game) I've played in a long while. The details in the game are amazing. It's just extremely polished, and has gameplay to boot. One of the cooler features is the gambit system, where you can basically 'program' your party to attack, cure, defend, etc, and you don't have to do anything but intervene when someone screws up, which is rare. I'm extraordinarily impressed with this game. I'm also slowly crunching away at Shadow of the Colossus (finally...I know it's 'old'), and that's also a very interesting game. It's all bosses...there is nothing but 16 monoliths you have to fight. It's certainly out of the ordinary, and I love it. The scale of the game is monstrous (no pun intended).

Right, back to business.

I am currently working on programming a 40' MIDI controlled tree with about 81,000 lights on it. It's called the 'Living Christmas Tree', and the general idea is that you put 75 people on a 40' tall steel structure, decorate it with greenery and lights, and do cool designs with it through MIDI (not in that order of course). It's extremely hard to explain with words, but it's quite a project. The tree operates with 9 'tiers' (where people stand), with 9 blocks per tier, with six colors per block. My MacBook Pro interfaces with the system using MoTU's Digital Performer 5 and it's MIDI capability. While I can't really explain much of how it works, the tree is powered/controlled by a MidiLite system (here), which has about 82 dimmers that power six colors a piece. The computer sends MIDI commands to the MidiLite racks, which separate it into the proper tier and block, then powers it up at the appropriate brightness (as defined by the MIDI values). It's a little complicated, but extremely fun to play with. I'll try and get a video of the system in action and throw it up here somehow. It's still about two weeks off of getting finished, but I have a mouthful of pictures that I'll get up before too long.

When that is finished, I am moving on to programming ('programming' being in the more traditional sense...code, not MIDI) a back end for my church's (I work at a church) website. The back end I am working on is for the new 'version' of the site (not the one behind that link above), which I also had the joy to design. It's much less sucky than the current one. Then I move on to a front/back end for databasing sermons and their correlating information (manuscripts, audio files, video files, transcripts, etc). It's all in PHP5 (thank the Lord), and will eventually be housed in a brand-spankin-new quad CPU Opteron box. I'm giddy with the speed.

That's about it. I apologize for not having much game programming stuff down. It looks like I'm going to be doing a couple of flash games coming up here in a couple of months (read: 6 or 7) for our kid's website. Should be interesting.

One other game of note, I ran into this game a couple of weeks ago, and am admittedly addicted. It's extremely kiddy, but the mechanics of the game are simple and do what games should do: be fun. Check it out if you get a chance.

Until next time my friends -
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