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Sorry for not having much this week, guys. Most of my time this week has been pining for Bioshock after playing the demo, writing up all of the various documentation the university has managed to misplace regarding my internship program, and being point lead on the project for this week.

How bad is my university? Well, they spent several millions of dollars of my tuition money on moving to Peoplesoft from a home-grown admissions, registration and control system, which doesn't quite work all the time and is rather defective on almost all browsers. It also drops credit card registrations and thus triggers fraud alerts on students' Visas when they try to pay their tuition, causing the university to go after them and for them to fall out of mandatory but overcrowded courses and graduate late.

But this is just the background story for what is wrong with it.

See, Peoplesoft has this cool feature where profs can put up "assignments" with their "due dates". Still with me? I know this is cutting edge stuff. Anyway, instead of using the Peoplesoft system, the Computer Science internship staff enter all the due dates into Peoplesoft as April 1, 1969, and then put up the actual due dates in 500 kilobyte Word documents consisting of one line buffered by pretty logos on the header and footer.

This means that when I want to open a due date to see when my paper is due, I have to download the document, wait ten minutes for Word to spin up, read one line of text, and make an entry in iCal. If they knew how to use the due dates system, it would automatically appear on the front page of my Peoplesoft account in a nice calendar.

It's monstrously disappointing, because I tend to believe in the Squarepusher slogan that software can save us. Software can also destroy and doom us. Software can make unreasonable bureaucracy spin out of control and become something more horrible every day, pressing upon everyone involved. SAP does this. Peoplesoft does this. These are terrible monstrous applications developed by a revolving-door squad of lowest-common-denominator programmers who are buoyed by cynical sales managers who care only about the next big sale, and nothing at all about the quality of the product. And my university bought it hook, line and sinker.

Academia truly is where people who can't cut it end up. This school is one clusterfuck after another.


The good news is I should be back on track next week, but the bad news is that my pre-order of Bioshock comes in on Tuesday. With a little Big Daddy action figure. Ryan is going to take his out of the package, knock it over and go "Please wake up, Mr. Bubbles" in a tiny scared voice, much to the chagrin of his significant other.

On the plus plus side, I'm still working on Novarunner and Afterglow. Right now Afterglow's work is still in the theoretical stage, where I'm figuring out how to cull and quickly collide a 3D arbitrary-polygon top-down map. It's harder than you'd think! But it will end up being awesome.

Novarunner is getting more solid every day. I've been working on homing bullets because I don't have the time to embark on the universe-editor project, but it really makes the game cool. Of course, the game blows up on a NotImplementedException when I actually hit something, but the love is there.

I was considering entering TIGSource's "B-Game" contest, but I don't think I have the chops to overachieve and underdeliver like Ed Wood.

However, I do like B movies, and Grindhouse is a B-movie. Here's a related comic:
Can I mix up a lot of topics in a single journal entry or what? A cookie to anyone who actually followed the entire rant up above. Papa needs his medicine.
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I've heard some bad things about PeopleSoft at the university with regards to getting paid back for expenses covered by the school. I don't have any personal experience with them, but I like to think that I understand your pain a little bit.

I almost went with a NotImplementedException but, being lazy, I ended up using "FIXME: implement" comments and letting it die with indeterminate behaviour.

Hoping for a NovaRunner demo soon. [wink]

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Yeah, as soon as I get basic AI working I'm going to cut off a branch and then push it out for Windows and OS X for you people to consume.

The user interface is still not as good as it could be, and buying/selling is completely unimplemented, which is very bad.

Current plan is to have the game done in November (Novarunner November), which gives me about a month for Christmas stuff and to spin up the Afterglow core.

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