Entries Tagged 'Work' ↓

Thoughts on education

So, I spent 45 minutes on Friday waiting for a meeting that never got started – during this period of lost time I decided to have a think about what I believe would help the Games course develop and produce (hopefully) better graduates… Not that the guys (and gals) that have gone through are poor, but they could be given a better chance straight out the gate, as it were.

Anyhow, enough blithering, time to translate my scribbled notes into something vaguely coherent!

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A little slice of heaven.

So, my slice finally flowed through the system – I signed up for a 256 slice, which is the low end of what Slicehost offer, but I’m only really using it for playing around with stuff that my “standard” host doesn’t support very well (ruby and other such fancy things in the main). As time goes on, I may make the transfer more complete – as it is, I’ve started a second blog that’s going to be more “technical” than this one. It just allows me to separate the “work” from the “personal” slightly – so no book lists or gamer tag widgets over there.

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Keeping it real, yo.

I appreciate that lists of books aren’t exactly the most exciting thing to read about – for the one person that reads this (well, me…). So time for an update with a bit of “heft” – got a fair amount to talk about, though not sure just how much of it is actually interesting to anyone!

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Boys, that girl hasn’t worn panties since she was twelve.

So, what’s been going on?

We’ve been hard at work developing a portfolio video to send out to development studios who may want to make use of our freelance art services – it’s looking very pretty, so I’ll throw up a link shortly.

It’s been an interesting time with the Hidden, Valve have been busy updating the SDK, so we’ve been playing catchup with that while also implementing the Evacuation Point gametype – I’ve made good progress on that so far, I think I’m at the point where it’s down to visual additions and tweaking the core gameplay following feedback from testers. Of course, to let the testers actually test, I need to dive into Linux and try and figure out why the server isn’t running properly.

Aside from that, I’ve been working on a 2D vertical shooter as a way of giving us a game to add to our portfolio that’s all our code – progress on that is going well, I’ve got the basic gameplay sorted, but I need to tidy it all up, add a menu and start getting some more advanced gameplay features in; pickups and the like. I’m also still working on the Pseudo-3D platformer, but that’s taken something of a back seat at the moment as I was working on the editor but realised I needed to implement picking / selection code and wasn’t sure how to do it! (I’ve since figured it out, I just need to get back into it and get the code working)

Finally, I’ve finished my Masters, graduation in about 6 weeks! I’ll put up some examples of what I did over that year over the next few weeks – with that out of the way, I’ve taken up a job with the University as a “demonstrator” and “help desk technician” – which helps me pay the rent and keeps me in touch with the faculty and some of the help they can provide (like hardware for the office!)

One last thing before I sign off – take a peek at the Great Games Experiment (link) – an interesting new networking site from the guys at Garage Games (link), it’ll be interesting to see how it kicks off once it leaves Beta!

Only after disaster can we be resurrected.

Right, bit of an odd one we’ve had around here – I’ve given up trying to sneak out a little update, instead we’re just dumping 4a out the door to avoid confusion.

The Hidden – Source

It’s been a hectic time around here, not only have we dropped Beta 4 out the door, followed by me running around remaking installers, compiling windows and linux builds – remaking the installers again, uploading the installers, remaking the installers, cancelling the upload and doing the whole lot all over again. I’ve also finished the last of my ‘taught’ units, getting the assignment done by the skin of my teeth (I’ll try and get the final product of that, a slightly broken MD5 viewer, uploaded soon), alongside which we’ve secured ourselves free office space for a year thanks to the sparkhouse, the universities business incubation setup – due to winning their “Business Ignition” Competition, which garners us the aforementioned offices, free of rent for a year, support from a local accountant and solicitor along with £2000 in funding to help get us off the ground.

This is awesome news – it means we can really settle down and focus our efforts, rather than being diverted by working out of our bedrooms! Of course, that’s once we find the money to get ourselves set up with the various bits of hardware and software we need. Which equates to roughly £15,000 all told (we can use the £2000 towards that, but it’d be nice to get some extra to cover any other costs we may encounter) I need to sort out the majority of that over the next few days, hurrah!

In other news, I’m off on a holiday soon, wewt! Week and a half at me dads place in France, hope to get me an NLP diploma while I’m there (his wife does courses, I get to sign up for them when I’m about) and get some writing done for my dissertation.

That’s a very fine Chardonnay you’re not drinking!

Ways to make money -

  1. Sell your soul
  2. Create, Market and Sell a successful product
  3. Sell your body
  4. Get a job
  5. Sell someone elses body
  6. Sell firearms
  7. See Two
  8. Start a game development studio
  9. Sell drugs
  10. Win the lottery

Of those 10, I need to do at least one in the coming months – basically, I need a job… Something that will let me do 15 – 20 hours a week at above minimum wage, enough to cover rent and hopefully monthly costs… Possibly even let me buy some food.

Of course, I’d prefer 10, that’d just be easy… But it requires investment of the aforementioned cash, which I lack and as such cannot afford to invest in something with such astronomical odds of not winning! (A vicious cycle)

Apart from that, the replacement 360 from the nice Amazonians seems to be working a charm – at least I’ve not had any horrendous shearing polygons in PGR3 yet, hurray for decent returns policies! The new unit I’ve started seems to be an interesting one and far less taxing on the brain than AI!

In the odd spare hour or two I’ve been writing a bit of Hidden based fiction (does it count as fan fiction when it’s the project lead writing it?) which I may eventually get around to finishing and posting here – though it’s getting to be a bit epic considering it’s only meant to be a short story!

Thinking of posting on here, I’ll be sorting out that reviews section soon, filling it out with some bits and pieces – I need to talk about the 360, DoA4, PGR3, Black, Oblivion… I’ll also throw in some films that I’ve enjoyed recently too, speaking of which, I recently organised my dvd collection into alphabetical order and I’ve laid down the challenge to myself to try and watch one a night until I’ve gotten through them all.

It’s proving tougher than I thought, not due to a lack of time, but due to the fact that I keep finding stuff I want to watch on normal TV, tonights viewing was stopped by “In Hell” with the Muscles from Brussels (Van Damme) – who can resist the temptation of an unseen Van Damme film? Not I!

Right, if anyone figures out how I can make lots of money, well, not lots, but enough, without doing any real work, let me know… Most suggestions will be seriously considered!

I had my cell phone on vibrate, I was busy – didn’t wanna get disturbed.

Ok, It’s been nearly 2 months – I’ve been lax!

However, all is not lost, we had an awesome time at IGF / GDC, we didn’t win, but we made good contacts and got some good feedback. While I said that we were pushing for a release in time for GDC, we didn’t make it, we delayed the release so we could crush the last few major issues that we knew of – including a (completely unsurprising) linux problem.

We’ve brought on board a new coder – who’s been doing amazing work fixing up some of my more horrendous code and making it all a bit safer. This has let us move forward quite well in regards to fixing bugs, though we somehow managed to release a bug riddled version of code that was seemingly stable mere days beforehand (hah, what a surprise!)

The PS2 Linux unit went quite well – the project didn’t have much visual flair, but the code was fairly solid – however, it really started to drag on a bit, especially without ‘decent’ debugging tools and a frustrating tool chain. It’s another of the units that didn’t really fit the “four week block” structure of the course. I may grab a screen shot and / or video of the game if I get a chance / put the code in.

We’ve moved onto the Advanced AI unit, which has been interesting – especially since it’s given me a couple of ideas for my dissertation project! The coursework for this is creation of a bot for the TORCS open source racing game using any of the AI paradigms we’ve discussed, but with the recommendation of Neural Networks.

I’m going to create a new section – Reviews – where I can drop my thoughts on new shiny stuff (such as the 360 I finally got around to picking up and Black, which I’ve been meaning to talk about for months!) – that’ll prolly happen over the weekend (he claims) and may or may not be interesting.

Excuses are like assholes, Taylor. Everybody’s got one!

Gah, it’s been ages! My apologies, but I have excuses and notes from doctors… or something…

In all honesty, I’ve been damned busy with Hidden work – preparing for a release pre-IGF has sucked up all my time for the past few weeks. However, there is an end in sight at last – we’ve got the majority of the features we wanted in and working (to various different degrees) and about a week of tweaking, testing and fixing before we ideally want to release.

In uni news, I’m coming up to the end of my fifth unit – which has been planning for my research project for the summer. The title of which is “Swarm intelligence for modern military RTS games” – so I get to faff about with swarms / flocking techniques and make use of military tactics (formation movement, taking cover when under fire, plotting concealed routes etc).

I’ve got to finish off the beginnings of my lit review over the weekend, which requires about 4 or 5 pages of writing and a fair bit of reading, but it shouldn’t take too long if I get a bit of focused time on it. With that handed in on Monday, I also start the limited resource hardware unit which means I get to play with ps2 linux kits – sounds like the assignment will be to use perlin noise and generate terrain with it.

I picked up Black last week – but it’s late so I’ll talk about my views on it later in the weekend (it’s basically going to be a glowing review).

I can’t afford to have an independent program monitoring me.

We’re going to GDC – WOOOOT!

It’s taken much wrangling of hands and the odd debt but 5 of us are off two GDC in March (well, we will be once I’ve booked the tickets tomorrow – a simple yet important step!) We’ll be showing off the Hidden at the IGF pavillion as part of the Mod competition finals.

Myself, Keith, Rick, Gus and Ben will be running off on the 20th of March to spend 4 days in San Jose, California. Spending 2 – 3 hours a day running demonstrations of the mod and generally networking, perhaps sneaking off for the odd hour to catch the occasional presentation.

It’s going to be fairly intense I suspect, we’ll have about 12 hours from landing to get ourselves sorted out, get some kip in and make ourselves presentable – a tough job for 5 people sharing one hotel room! (2 double beds, we’re going to have to rota the floor!)

We’ll be taking a stack of business cards along with us, just so we can palm them off to anyone and everyone we meet – it’d be especially awesome if some of the valve guys turned up to say hi! (Though I fear that Keith will tear into them for the shocking art pipeline they’ve made for Source.)

It should be cool – it’s a bit scary, but cool all at the same time, even if we don’t win, we’ll have hopefully made some important contacts!

Side note : I’ve leapt upon the podcast wagon – woot! Grab it here. It’s obviously a newb effort, but it might improve with time, you never know!

That was a real kick and good for laughs and lashings of the old ultraviolence.

I’ve got physically simulated curling stones, woot! However, they aren’t affected by friction, so they never slow down – this is a slight issue… With that resolved, along with the current bizarre behaviour of the “camera” I’ll have a nearly functional game, I need to throw in the swapping of players and the brushing input – some form of figuring out who’s winning might be useful to!

That will hopefully be done in the next couple of days, then it’s on to working on networking with the other guys. Get that sorted, implement it and a wifi 2 player mode and I’ll be well and truly sorted!

Hidden work on the other hand has taken something of a beating – I’ve been away the past 4 days visiting my dad and I’m heading away again at the end of the week to see friends from back home so I’m having to put most of my efforts towards my uni work for the next few days. Though hopefully, I’ll find some spare time and be able to do a bit of work on finishing off the weapons.