Saturday, December 16, 2006


It was a dark and stormy evening in Redmond on December 14, 2006. The winds were howling, the rain was coming down in sheets. In short, it was very nasty outside. While we were out earlier that day, we heard the weather advisory on the radio that there were to be wind gusts up to 65mph. That's approximately 100 km/h; highway speed! So we hunkered down in our condo for the evening, chatting to our friends over msn while the lights flickered... and flickered... and then eventually went out.

It was sometime between 12:30am and 1:00am when this occurred. We sat around for a few minutes thinking that the power would be back soon, but this was not the case. Therefore, it was time to go to bed. Unfortunately we then heard a high pitched intermittent beeping being emitted from the computer room.

Figuring that this sound was being emitted from the security system box in this room we then fiddled with security system settings for over an hour (The manual has to be one of the most cryptic things we've read in a while). Eventually the beeping stopped so we at last went to sleep. But it wasn't a very good sleep because it kept beeping every now and again. It was only later in the afternoon that we figured out the great mystery of the sound and that it was actually the smoke detector in that room that seemed to be on the fritz.

During the day we went over to the Bartell Drugs across the street and procured some candles (which unfortunately were scented since they didn't have any unscented candles), a couple candles holders, a lighter, and a battery powered radio.

Luckily our stove is gas, so after purchasing a lighter we were then able to cook food and heat our place a little bit. Our entertainment for the evening was listening to a battery powered radio spouting news about the storm (appearently over 1 million people were sitting around without power and there were recorded wind speeds of 90mph) and a candle-lit game of scrabble. Of all the things that electricity brings us, I think I missed the light and heat the most.

After our dimly list scrabble game we huddled up in bed till around 11:00pm when we decided to go to sleep. When we awoke at 5am (I don't know what woke us up then), we found we had electricity again, hooray! Sometime around 1:40am power was restored to our area.

Some random thoughts (you can ask me if you don't understand):
- Nintendo DS Lite is not only for entertainment, but can light your way in the dark when you only have one flashlight.
- Pralines and Cream will now be the official smell of power outages.
- I'm glad I'm not one of those people in the rural areas that still don't have electricity and they don't even have running water.
- Low temperatures outside are bad news for keeping your home warm, but good for keeping your food cold when you don't have electricity to keep your refrigerator running.
- Some people can be so stupid, I mean, why would you bring your barbecue indoors?

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Digipen Week 13 and 14

I apologize for the lack of update (not really) but schools been keeping me rather busy (The uncontrollable reason).

This week was finishing off all the projects for the semester, most importantly my game! I'll try to get it dumped somewhere on the web shortly but for now lets just say its pretty good considering all the termoil that went during its development.

Brief Synopsis
Name: OmniFall
Genre: 3D Puzzle / Action (1st Person)
Status: Main Game Engine Only

So what we have is a basically a giant cubical room (200 cubic meters). With a bunch of colored blocks in it. There are three colors of blocks (green, red and blue) all with different gravity properties.

Green: Same Gravity as the player
Blue: Opposite Gravity as the player
Red / Gray: There own Gravity Color (In the actual game players can change what direction Red blocks go by touching them)

So what you can do with our engine is walk around, change gravity, float around and watch the blocks move / bounce / collide.

As mentioned there's no real game yet. The idea is what each level will feature puzzles that require gravity manipulation to solve. Pretty straight forward I'd say :)

11 more days until back to Calgary.

I'll hopefully update this soon

- Mike

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Snowness in Seattle

I apoligize for the terrible title (Not really) but instead of Snowness it should really be Frozen Hell. So it Snow's on Monday afternoon, no big deal right? Except it seems like this City is now in a state of emergency or something.

First of all theres alot of moisture here being a coastal city, nothing new. But when it snows.. its really snowing slush. Combine that with -4 degree weather and its insta ICE when it hits the ground. Compound this fact with NO SANDERS and really stupid drivers and you have a recipe for great fun! When I say stupid drivers I really mean it... a significant amount of people think its smart to Spin your tires... yeesh.

So because of this School was canceled on Tuesday and Wednesday. I hope its not canceled again. While snow days use to be nice... they arent so nice when its near the end of semester and dead lines and breathing down your neck.

Let me repeat... no Sanders and Instant Ice == BAD.
On Monday night when I returned from school (longest drive ever...) I wasnt able to get up over the tiny hill that leads in to my condo complex. I wasn't the only one however, 4 cars were parked on our Hill be the end of the night.

Wii what fun... speaking of which... I've been playing it tooo much ><

- Mike out

Monday, November 27, 2006

Digipen Week 12

It was thanksgiving last week so nothing much happened school wise. Nicole and I went to a friends in a pot luck dinner. We made a chicken vegatble stir fry and a Cheese cake (or rather Nicole made the Cheesecake)

Generally it was just a bunch of us Digipen students just hanging out. It was all good except no one knew how to carve a Turkey. All the good turned out great, just a sloppy presentation in the end :)

Played alot of the Wii. Nicole ended up winning alot of the games we played. Most memorable was our Wii Boxing tourny and Nicole being the victor. She beat everyone, all in a row too!

Two more weeks of classes, it sure is gonna be a busy time for me.

- Mike Out

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Digipen Wiik 11

Alrighty, sorry for the delay in my posts to my viewers, I bet all two of you were anxiously awaiting this post.

Lets start off with the Digipen stuff.
This past week was the due date for our second modeling assignment which was to model terrain in 3D studio max. Below are some screenshots.

These first shots show my Terrain for far, yeah I know you can see underneath the ground and see water.

Nicole helped with my Terrain generation. She made a black and white contour image (like a satellite map) that highlighted where the mountians, river, city and ocean would go. I then took that image and applied it to a flat plane and then did a bunch of fine allightment to get the rivers and mountians looking properly.

From there it was applying textures to each section. Not tough, just alot of time selecting and moving polygons so that the boundries of the terrian look nice.

Nicole decided to help out and blend in my textures from the light green to the dark green in my mountains. I showed her how to do it and she did it!

These next shots are close ups. My city was generally modeled after Calgary in terms of layout plus the tower and the Stadium. Originally I wanted the stadium to really look like the Saddledome but my proffessor helped me model it after a traditional football field. So I just left it at that.

The Vehicles in the City are actually scaled down versions of my Jeep from my previous assignment.

Lighting was a bit tricky. I basically took 4 ambient light sources and placed them on the corners of the Terrian. I then took another ambient light and told it to draw shadows. This way theres shadows but things arent super dark when in shadow.

Tree's are just two planes stuck together in a cross format. I modeled the Traffic and street lights which was a bit over kill for this assignment but I found it fun.

I applied a raytrace reflection property to my water and a noise generator to the ocean. However my water looks to "clean" and my river is a bit jagged unfortunetly.

So now that I've said that... Now for the fun stuff. The Wii launch!

Friday before the official Launch I head to the Nintendo Corporate store and secure a copy of Zelda:Twilight Princess. Read the manual twice that night in anticipation :D

So Saturday night I head out to Fred Meyer, which is basically a walmart / super store place. Half to food other to home stuff. There were doing a Midnight Launch and my particular store was allocated 90 units. Nicole and I head out there around 9:oopm... HUGE line of people waiting ><. So we decided to stick it out and hope for the best. At around 11:00pm the store people come out and start handing out claim ticketets to those in line. Happends that we were in about 110 or so out of 90 ><

So I pursue my second plan, Circuit City bright and early. I wake up at 6am and head to Circuit City (They open at 10am) and theres a slight line there. I get in line and I'm 31st out of 48 according to those who got store allocations earlier. Apparently Circuit City was "forgotten" as some people in the line were saying how Target had a massive line and people were wrapping around the building.

So as I wait in line, I play a few DS games with others and then a store manager comes at around 7:30 and hands out tickets. I get my Wii Claim ticket and we can just come back when the store opens.

I head home and wait... longest 2 hours ever :)

So when I head back to Circuit City theres a massive line.. this is about 15 minutes until the store opens and its starting to rain fairly hard. Thankfully I'm in my gortex jacket :D Store opens and people flood in snatching up every thing they can.

When waiting in line to pay for my Wii I overheard a guy saying he found a nunchuk but no extra wii remote 0_o. All the Wii stuff was on a big table upfront and it was devoured in seconds.

I get to the checkout and pay for my Wii, with a Tax Exemption and a $15 Cicruit City coupon :D. So I get it for $234.99 har har. I head home and I begin to setup the Wii.

I played Zelda for like 8 hours that day... and I had a 5 hour group meeting that day too... On Monday it was another early morning as I head back to the Nintendo store to secure the rest of my items :)

I picked up Excite Truck, Monkey Ball and an extra controller + nunchuk.

The Wii is an absolute blast. Nicole is like a Pro in excite truck and Wii sports is so fun, especially when you create your Mii characture and put them in the game. Zelda is gorgeous... I've been playing it alot and barely touched any of the game.

I really want to see how my Dad enjoys Wii Sports Golf, It'll be interesting when we go back up for Christmas.

And with that I leave you this picture I took on Friday when I got Zelda :D

- Mike Out

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Caramel Sauce - 1, Nicole - 0

Today being Mike's birthday I thought I'd try something a little new and different. I thought I'd make some caramel sauce. Well I have never made caramel before, and today was an astounding failure :( I burnt the sugar and our whole place smells like burnt sugar (whoops!). Oh well, next caramel, next time I shall master you!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Digipen Week 10

This week saw my group demoing our engine proof for our game. It consisted of a Basic Physics simulation (all numbers) and a basic 3D room made from directX as our graphics engine. Things are slowly coming together, but it is slow unfortunately. School is still school, I'm trying to get ahead as much as possible with the looming Wii launch.

In other news, Airline tickets secure!
Nicole and I will come back to Calgary for Christmas on December 20th and returning to Redmond on January 3rd. We're flying via Alaska Airlines on a direct flight.

In other not so great news...
So I think the previous Condo owner has screwed me over. The condo management is assessing a $2000.00 bill to every unit in January for painting. Then Condo Association was previously not well organized so there are no reserve funds in place to cover the painting. In addition, to prevent future problems they are increasing condo fee's from $210 to $285 per month.

So why did I bring up the previous owner screwing me over? Simply they were the President AND Secretary before they left. They knew of the pending painting assessment before I moved in and the financial situation the Condo Association was in. Simply they left everyone else to pick up the pieces. I'm trying to see if I can reach them and see if they are legally responsible for disclosing said painting stuff to me earlier. I knew none of these issues before moving in... Urgh its gonna be a pain but I don't really want to pay $2000 to paint the place I just moved in to.

In more crappy news, my TV hasn’t been repaired yet :(
I called the place this morning and they said they are waiting for parts to arrive... I highly doubt the TV will be back before the Wii launches. I'm so very tempted to just buy a TV from Costco and return it later.

And that’s news from Redmond

- Mike

Monday, November 06, 2006

Digipen Week 9

More school as usual... never ending and unforgiving :)

Its Raining in Redmond, not much of a surprise. TV isnt back yet, I expect to hear from the shop in the next couple of days... The inability to play a quick game of guitar hero for a HW break sucks. I need my precious gaming fixes!

I've been spending far to much time lurking the internet looking for precious Wii news. A new trailer for Smash Brothers Brawl was released and the hype for the game grows even more... However more importantly my Hype of Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is at an all time high. I want the game! This weeks south park is a great example of my current anticipation.

Only two more wiiks! I won't have to resort to freezing myself since school is keeping my busy >.>

On friday I went to the Nintendo Store (again) to pick up a few things requested by a friend of mine who claims be a Zelda fan but hasnt played thru A Link to the Past and will remain annonymous... We'll just call him Ricky P. Hmm or rather R Pusch, that will do yes.

Picture's of dat loot

(Yes that is a big kirby)

Anyone else in Calgary want any goods from the Nintendo store? Be it Games, Accessories or other collectable trinkets. The discount is usually around 30% on most things. I forsee myself bringing up lots of Wii accessories. ($31 bucks for Zelda and excite truck, $30 for a wiimote, $13 for a nunchuk)

Lastly I've started looking in to flights for our Christmas Return to Calgary. So far we're looking at December 20th to January 3rd. I'll post when more details have emerged.

- Mike out

"Do u even care"

At 11:18 last night, some unknown person sent this text message to my phone. I don't know who they are or what they want, but they cost me 10 cents to receive it *grumble*

Monday, October 30, 2006

Digipen Week 8

What a fun week it was to be had... not
3 Midterms and a physics engine in one fell swoop!

Well the midterms went okay, and the physics engine went pretty good to. We can detect when boxes collide with other boxes and walls in which they promptly stop after wards... all in code. So what you actually see is a bunch of numbers on screen and some messages but its happening inside the computer I swear!

Redmond's started to get cold and basically most tree's have just dumped their leaves on to the road / ground. No pretty scenery or pictures :(

My Precious 40" TV is busted >< After its been on for an hour pixels start flipping to green for no apparent reason. I called LG repair center and they are sending a guy to take it away for a week. Warrenty is covered but no games in the mean time and FFXII comes out this week! (Not like I have time to play through a game like Final Fantasty but that isnt the point)

In other news, why arent the Calgary Flames winning any hockey games... I can only listen on NHL radio but its still sad to hear them lossing so much, bah.

3 weeks till Wii launch!

- Mike Out

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Digipen Week 7

Nothing of particular interest happened this week at school. However on Sunday Nicole and I went out to dinner with some of the Pre-Master's students and a Digipen Masters Graduate. Dinner was had at Ginza, a Japanese resturant dealing primarly in Sushi. It was good but a bit pricey for a student budget. It worked out to over half of what we usually spend on food a week. That either means Nicole and I don't spend enough money on food a week or it was too expensive, you decide :P

The digipen graduate now works for bungie. Technically he hadnt graduated yet since he hasn't completed his thesis, which appears to be a common thing. First off not a single Master's student at Digipen has completed their Thesis in the three years digipen has been running the program. Secondly, the graduate was saying of all his friends and people he knows / talk to in other graduate programs, not completeing the thesis on time is a very common thing.

I personally plan on getting my Thesis done in a timely matter, I must do it!

Nicole and I also took a nice stroll with Marymoore park, she should have pictures up shortly. My summary is things are slowly starting to turn color, its still very nice out. I still wear short sleaves.

Less then four weeks until the Wii launches!

- Mike

Sunday, October 22, 2006

New Template!

The blog has a new template now, that is all.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Digipen Week 6

This week saw the creation of a Technical Design Document. Its not due until Wednesday of next week but since we have so much crap to finish worked on it as much as possible. Ours is about 50 pages. Could easily be more if we had time

Math is terrible, huge ass assignment that everyone was stressing over. And I really mean people are stressing over it. Math is really gonna be an issue if the work load doesnt slow down soon.

Other 2 classes were uneventful.

As for life in Redmond... Umm its cloudy! There was a brief 2 or 3 days when leaves started turning and looked all pretty like. But then the rain and clouds came and tress just dump there none green leaves. Hopefully things will clear up so we can take some nice pictures.

So one more month until the Wii launches! (and my Birthday too :D)

- Mike Out

Friday, October 13, 2006

Chicken Fried Rice

Yesterday, I made some chicken fried rice for dinner. It turned out alright, but I wish I had some of Grandpa's fried rice. It's just better. I shall have to learn from him how he does it some time.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Digipen Week 5

Not much of an update since well school is school.

But I'll leave you with a picture I did for my GAT300 course (modeling / animation)

Its a scene of a jeep (or rather a humvee).
The professor just gives us a texture map (think of all the sides of the vehicle drawn on a flat piece of paper) and we have to create a model to fit that texture map.

Done in 3D studio Max.

- Mike out

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Digipen Week 4

Last week was rather interesting in the non-interesting way...
This coming week we had like 5 or so assignments / projects due. So everyone in the Pre-Master's program was stressing to get everything done.

I didnt find it that bad myself. I just worked on the assignments as we got them and finished with extra time to spare, which didnt work out so well in the end. Why you ask? Simply because all my other group members were to busy doing the other individual HW they didnt have time to spend on finishing / polishing the Game Design Document. So I ended up putting far more time in to that then I wanted... I even had one of my group members call me at midnight to ask for help on the (Weekly) Math Assignment. I wasnt sleeping yet but it was just sorta odd. Now I shall continue rolling my eyes at these people who have apparently gotten Computer Science Degrees >.>

Well to be fair not my group is not all that bad but I guess I'll categorize them. To avoid naming names I'll just call em person A, B and C

Person A: Tries to stay ahead and puts in a good amount of time. Only issue is he gets fairly heated in discussions / debates that arent going his way, which are instigated by Person C.

Person B: Is enrolled in 1 extra class this semester which is programming. (The other 2 are ta
king that next semester). Seems to want to be just given tasks and doesnt step up in any regard. Seems to only do the minimum doesnt add alot of input in discussions.

Person C: Talks the talk but doesnt walk the walk. Wants all this stuff for our game and likes to play "devil's advocate" for no good reason (aka likes to debate for the sake of it). Has a different "startegy" for doing work that goes against everything I've learned in Engineering. Basically he'll spend hours and hours on one thing until its done before moving on. Now apply this to a group discussion and we've (IMO) wasted several hours talking about 1 subject cause he won't let the conversation move on. Doesn't have a clue about how the 80 / 20 rule works. Also doesnt really start Assignments until the due date gets fairly close. I fear hes going to burn himself out real fast and request certian aspects of the game be implemented that arent neccessary in the bigger picture, but will spend large amounts of time working on it.

Okay... so we can see how this is going, lets hope it doesnt actually go that way.

/end Rant
- Mike Out

Monday, October 02, 2006

Project Clean the Blinds Complete

A few days ago I finally finished cleaning all the windows & blinds in the house. What a pain that was! For those of you who wonder why I felt the need to clean them I present to you this picture demonstrating the before and after.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

O' Nintendo

So today, Nicole and I had the opportunity to go visit Nintendo thanks to Wing Cho.

The main attraction is the Nintendo Corporate store. They sell alot of merchandize stuff. First the usual Hats, shirts, then it goes to things like Nintendo themed games like Uno, Monopoly, Dominos...
And then you start seeing the stuff you usually find in China Towns... The little figurines, Pens and Plushies!

Unfortunately no pictures of the store are allowed, but we were allowed to take pictures of the other things.

First off is the Little Nintendo Museum. Starting from when Nintendo use to make trading cards all the way to the current generation with out missing a step (as far as I'm aware anyway)

Picture of me next to the Game and Watch Gallery display.

The NES Display with ROB the Robot!

A Game Man! Well no, the big buttons don't work :(

They also had a "marketing" section where they have displays of how stores should setup there displays. In this section they also had a F-zero Arcade machine! Oh man was it fun... you have the strap yourself in to the seat as it tilts around as you play. So much fun but I wasnt very good at it.

So I did end up getting a bunch of stuff from the Nintendo Store but I did hold myself back a bit. Nicole got her self a Kirby Plushy (OMG the cute!)

I got my self Nintendo Monopoly, a hat (to replace the one I lost...) some games and accessories yada yada yada :D

Oh did I mention the Store was really really cheap?!? I'm gonna have a Hay Day come Wii launch...

If anyone in Calgary wants anything Nintendo related for Christmas time this year, say the word and I'll see what I can do

- Mike Out

Monday, September 25, 2006

Welcome to My Humble Abode

So here's a really abbreviated version of events after day 2 of the move.

On August 25, we finally got keys to the condo at around 5:30pm. Appearently there was some mixup so then the realtor never got told that the place was finally ready. We were hoping to have the place early afternoon >_<. We moved our stuff inside, and did a few errands before turning in for the night. We spent the night allergic to the place. We assumed that the former owners had a pet or something because we ended up vacuuming a lot of hair. (Later on, we received a dog & cat magazine in the mail)

The next day we went to PAX; Mike placed 5th out of 100 in a tetris DS tournament. Gooooooo Mike! His sister arrived later in the day and we packed the rest of the stuff into our condo unit. The next few days were filled with shopping for furniture & food, buildng furniture, vaccuuming, and all that stuff. (Mike bought a ton of Banana Republic clothes... I think he owns more clothing than I do).

September 1st, we attended a Microsoft party for Windows Vista. Then we headed off to the welcome event for DigiPen. After that we went along Alki Beach and later headed off to the Crab Pot. This is a seafood place that has massive amounts of food, and they dump it all onto the table. Mike says "you grab a bib and start eating." Unfortunately somehow I became ill and had a fever. So while everyone ate at crabpot, I slept in the car.

Anyhow, on to the stuff you all wanted, here are the pictures (along with some cost information) for your viewing pleasure.

Here you can see the entrance to our place. There's really not much to note here I guess.

Floor Mat: ??
Shoe Rack: $18.99
Total: $18.99+

Living Room
This is ourliving room. As you can see, on the day I took this picture, we connected Mike's laptop to our snazzy TV. We were watching some episodes of Lost :D.

Couch: $499.99
Coffee Table: $29.99
Place Mat: $0.99
Television: $824.98m
Television Stand: $99.99
Floor Lamp: $14.99
Frame for poster: $24.99
Total: $1495.92

Dining Room
The table here can be used for eating. We can have up to 4 guests here! (we have folding chairs)

4x4 Shelf: $149.00
Shelf Boxes x3: 29.97
Table: $149.00
Placemat x4: $3.96
Chairs x4: $159.98
Total: $491.91

Yummy stuff to eat comes from here.

Garbage Can: $29.99
Canister Set: $29.99
Dish Rack: $12.99
Cutlery holders for dish rack x2: $7.98
Total: $80.95

This is the bathroom in the main hallway. I'm afraid I don't know how much the stuff cost in here since Elaine paid for it. (Thanks!)

This is where we spend our time on our computers. Mike took a lot of time trying to pick out that chair of his. I don't know how many stores we went to and chairs we sat on. He kept saying how much he misses his chair he left in Calgary.

Desks (one left, one right): $398.00
Chair Mats x2: $33.98
Desk Lamps x2: $33.98
Letter Tray: $9.99
Hanging Folders: $10.99
Mike's Chair: $169.99
Nicole's Chair: $119.99
Waste Basket: $3.99
Total: $780.91

Master Bedroom
This is where we sleep :)

Bed (plus delivery & tax): $686.66
Bed Sheets: $79.99
Duvet & shams: $39.99
Floor Lamp: $7.99
Pillows (4): $30.87
Dresser: $179.00
Bedside Tables x2: $99.98
Table Lamp x2: $39.98
Total: $1164.46

Master Bathroom

Bath Mat: $17.99
Bathroom Set: $15.99
Shower Rack: ??
Waste Basket: $1.99
Total: $35.97+

As you can tell, we have a very IKEA home. Something interesting to note is that the IKEA here is actually labelled as a tourist attraction on the signs on the interstate. Appearently, it's the only one in the northwest states. This IKEA had a MASSIVE parking lot, and is massive itself. I think if you just walked through the whole store at a normal shopping place it would probably take you an hour to get through it all. You can check it out on google maps. Go to sattelite view and I think it's the three buildings above where it has it marked; 2 are parking, 1 is the store. I guess we were spoiled having one right in Calgary.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Digipen Week 3

So this week we did our game pitch / presentation thingy. I didnt present my best since it was totally unreheared but it was good still. Prof had a couple remarks about our game being difficult to do. But I imagine that with the way we've outlined it, it'll be very easy to scale back items if things get rough.

The other classes are uh going... GFX (CS241) we got our first assignment due in 2 weeks... I finished it in 2 hours. It was made easy since the Prof gave us a frame work to start with and since I'm familiar with gfx and opengl.

Animation and modeling we finally got our first assignment and its to model a humvee / hummer when given a texture map. I'll post my crappy model when it gets done :)

Math is time consuming, nothing to report there...

Had 2 really good lecture things this week thou. First one was on Tuesday. It runs from 7pm to 8pm and is now a required thing to attend. It was a xbox game developer and this week he was talking about networking... really good lecture imo. Puts in to perspective the different type of decisions that are made when comparing game development to normal application software.

The other was something that happends once a month and has a game developer speak about whatever... This month had the developer of Supreme Commander, a new RTS game thats coming out. Talked about the evolving game development process and talked about how games use to be made and how they are made now. Was a very good listen.

Got involved in the Super Smash Bros Melee club at the school. They meet once a week on friday to play. People destroy me at it but its sooo much fun. I dont do to bad against most people, but the really good me beat me fairly easily.

As for Non Digipen News..
I want a Nintendo Wii, comes out Novemember 19th... seems so long away
- Mike out

Monday, September 18, 2006

Digipen Week 2

Hmmm whats there to report...

So I got my GAM240 group. Got in the "B" team oh the possible A, B and C groups.

Our group decided to make a 3D game based on the ability to manipulate the characters Local / Personal gravity. Its aimed to be a Puzzle action game. More on this later as details develop.

Animation is going a bit slow... only a little bit of formal teaching so far, still just getting familiar with the (horrible) 3D Studio Max interface.

Graphics is pretty lame at the moment... total review. I have the option of not having to take this course but then I need to find a course to replace it, else they kick me out of the country! (Student VISA requires so many credits per semester). Kinda late to find a replacement unfortunetly :( Atleast it'll be easy I guess.

Linear Algebra is pretty good so far but alot of work too. Weekly semi long assignments and a graphical, curve drawing project that spans many parts. We're to mathamatically generate a curve given input points and draw it to the screen using a variety of curve creation algorithms. We got a framework for the project from the TA, but its in C#. So I gotta learn a bit of that to figure it out. This stuff isnt really difficult, just time consuming but thats just the way it goes.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Ronald MacDonald rides a segway and other more recent news

On Saturday, Mike & I took a trip to Seattle. I have to say that the roads in the states can be a little crazy. As Mike put it, sometimes it looks like it's a roller coaster. I took a picture from the car which I think demonstrates how scary the roads can look sometimes.

Anyhow, the whole point of our trip was to visi the sci-fi museum and the space needle. We also wandered around the area a little bit to take a look around (after first driving around a bit to try and find some cheaper parking). This area seems to be where all the touristy attractions are located (sci-fi museum, experience music project, science center, space needle, seattle center, some small amusement park, etc.). It was during this wandering around that I spotted Ronald MacDonald riding a segway. Now that's something that you won't see in Calgary. Ignore the kids in the picture, they're just some people that were posing.

Now, the sci-fi museum shares a building with the Experience Music Project (something we'll have to go to another day. I have to say this is one of the weirdest buildings I've ever seen. According to wikipedia, someone out there thought it resembles a melted electric guitar... I fail to see the resemblance myself. Especially when looking at it from above; to me, it looked like a bunch of mismatched blobs, but then I've never been a connoisseur of architecture.

The museum itself contains some cool props and costumes from various science fiction movies and tv series, as well as showcases of some science fiction novels. There's also some stuff on the history of science and science fiction. It was kinda neat to see the stuff and I thought that my dad might enjoy going through the place. He's probably also read a lot of the books that they had there, I know I read a few of them. I'd post pictures of some of what was in the museum & hall of fame, but we weren't supposed to bring cameras in there. I snuck mine in anyhow because I didn't trust them with my camera, but I was good and didn't take any photos just like they requested.

Afterwards, we had a snack to fill our grumbling tummies, before we went up the space needle. Not really anything to note here other than I got fudge, and it was yummy.

So on to the space needle. This was pretty cool and offered some nice views... if it weren't foggy or smoggy or cloudy or whatever it was we would've been able to see the mountains. After getting off the elevator I spent the whole time feeling rather wobbly up there, it was a really weird sensation. Appearently there's a revolving restaurant right below the observation deck, something similar to what they have in the Calgary tower, I suppose.

I took a lot of pictures up at the top to make sure I got as many angles as I could.
The telescopes that they had up there were free too. I thought that was nice since they already charged you $14 to up the tower. At least they didn't try to milk you for every single cent by then charging you another 50 cents or so to look through a telescope for a minute.

So after that we went home, made dinner and all that jazz. I will conclude this post with another picture of Mike, with the space needle behind him. Where am I you ask? Why I'm behind the camera. (if you want more pictures, or higher resolution, you'll have to ask)

Monday, September 11, 2006

Moving - Part 2

So now I'll talk about day two of our moving trip (August 23, 2006).

02:00 - We were woken up by some rather rude people a bit before 2 in the morning. I don't know what they were doing but they went stomping and yelling through the hallways and down the stairs and out the building... and then we could still hear them outside for a bit. Then they seemed to quiet down, but just as I was about to fall asleep again they came back inside and the yelling and stomping started all over again. Luckily the noise stopped after a few minutes. I just hoped that the car and allour stuff was ok.
07:30 - The alarm went off since we were planning to get a nice early start, but Mike said he was too tired to wake up yet (must've been the rude awaking @ 2 am)
08:30 - We got up
09:15 - we checked out and packed our suitcases back into the car, which I might add was a-ok. None of our stuff appeared to be missing either.
09:26 - Got onto the i-90
09:34 - Post Falls
09:38 - We passed a truck that was filled with chickens. There were feathers flying everywhere!
09:44 - Spokane Valley... and some time or other we passed through Spokane too
10:32 - Albert's County
11:04 - Passed by exit 196 (wherever that leads to)
11:10 - Passed by a grass fire
11:11 - 189 miles left to Seattle
11:17 - Stopped at a Chevron for gas just before Moses Lake. We also had lunch at McDonald's. I ate a Fruit & Walnut salad (which I thought was pretty tasty, but maybe I was just hungry) and Mike had a snack wrap
11:55 - Driving on the i-90 again
11:57 - Drove by Moses Lake. There was a person on a bridge here that appeared to be fishing.
12:25 - We passed by a canyon. Mike dropped his sunglass clip around this time and spent the next while squinting while driving.
12:29 - Crossed the Columbia River.

12:40 - There was another grass fire by the interstate. We saw a lot of Fire trucks travelling in the opposite direction a bit after passing this. Presumably, they were going to put out the fire.
12:52 - Ellensburg
13:24 - Easton. Mike stopped to find his sunglass clip here. It was awfully bright out that day and I'm surprised he waited that long before stopping to find it.
13:31 - Entered Wanatchee National Forest
14:09 - Passed the turnoffs for Auburn & Tacoma
14:20 - Entered Bellevue
14:45 - We arrived at Alvin's (the place we stayed at until we got our own place) after getting a little lost first
16:00 - Mike's realtor came by with some forms for Mike to fill out
16:30ish - We navigated to Mike's bank branch using our trusty map
17:00ish - Tested out soe matresses at Sleep Country & Sears. Then we shared a Chicken Fajita for dinner at Red Robin
18:45 - We took a look at our furture place and explored the mall that resides across the street.
19:07 - Took a look around the Redmond Town Centre. This mall is just a few blocks away from our place. Here we got cell phones from T-Mobile. Afterwards we headed back to Alvin's place.

So before we went to sleep, we found a rather large spider wandering around the basement. Our conversation went something like this:

Mike: "Ewww, that's a huge spider"
Nicole: "Where? ... ooohh So kill it or something"
Mike: "With what???"
Nicole: "I dont' know, some toilet paper?"
Mike: "Toilet paper is too small!"

So in the end I got the toilet paper and squished it myself.

Moving - Part 1

On August 22, Mike & I left for the big move. Our original planned departure time was 8:00, but we didn't get to leave until around 10:40. Why the wait you ask? Well, we had to wait for the form that DigiPen sent overnight to arrive. So, until this happened we chilled at Mike's house.

The cops seemed to be out in full force on the roads that day. Along bow trail we almost had a disasterous start when a cop came out and... pulled over the guy that was behind us (don't speed in construction zones).

So here's a timeline of the first day of the trip

11:05 - Last stop before elaving the city
11:20 - Left the city limits.
11:44 - Passed through an odometer test strip and Mike's odometer is ok.
11:52 - Nanton
12:12 - Claresholm
12:20 - The radio signal starts getting too weak :(
12:35 - Fort Macleoad. We stopped for lunch here; amazingly, we couldn't find a Tim Horton's so we went to the subway for lunch. Before leaving we filled up at Petro Canada.

13:13 - Back on the highway. There's a lot of windmills in this area it seems.

13:51 - Lundbreck
13:59 - Municipality of Crowsnest
14:04 - The Frank Slide

14:20 - The Alberta-BC border
14:33ish - Sparwood
14:52 - Fernie. Here was the first Tim's we saw outside of Calgary
15:13 - Elko
15:22 - Galloway
15:23 - Jaffray
15:50 - Cranbrook. Stopped for a snack at Tim Horton's and a bathroom break here. There was a big stretch of construction happening along the main road,
16:27 - Back on the highway again.
16:41 - Moyie
16:54 - Switched time zones
16:03 - Yahk
16:15 - US border crossing. While it wasn't remarkably hard to cross, it did take quite a while for them to process us. We ended up with a trainee (which is fine, I approve of training people) who used the hunt'n'peck method to type on the keyboard. Everything he entered took sooooooooo long >_< Not only that, he had to use google in order to find the sevis website.
17:05 - Made it across the border
17:25 - Passed by a scenic overlook. I took some pictures, but none of them turned out.
17:27 - Two dead deer on the road :(
17:40 - Bonners Ferry
18:15 - Ponderay (estimated population 638)
18:17 - Stop for gas at a Conoco
18:26 - Sandpoint
19:03 - Passed by Silverwood theme park
19:30ish - Coeur d'Alene. Here we decided to stop for the night.
20:00ish - Checked into a Super 8 (room 353) not too far from the i-90, and went for dinner at a place called JB's.
22:00 - Brought our suit cases into the room and watched a little TV before going to sleep.

More to come later.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Week 1 - School's Started

Saturday Sept 10th - Week 1

School started this week. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday... No Classes on Fridays!

So orientation consisted of a C++ exam for all "Pre-Masters" students... 10 failed 3 passed. I got 51.3%! woot. Since I passed I do not have to take there advanced C++ programming course (CS225) but I'm going to just sit in anyway.

During the first week of courses we had to take another C++ exam so the prof can "Balance" groups and by balance I mean stack. Generally they want everyone in a group to be similiarly skilled. They've had it in previous years were very skilled people were teamed up with others of not so good skill and the skilled people ended up doing all the work... (Hmm doesnt think sound familiar...)

So the courses I'm taking are a project course (Gam 240), Linear Algebra (Mat 290), Animation (GAT300) and Computer Graphics (CS241).

Linear algebra is like a hybrid of linear algebra and modeling. Basically learning all the math that goes behind curves and surfaces.

Animation is basically learning how to use 3D studio Max, which is pretty neat in itself

Graphics so far seems like graphics from the UofC. So learning how graphics work and all the jazz.

- Mike

Hooray for the internet!

After a few weeks without the internet and feeling a little disconnected from the world, at long last we have an internet connection. Now I shall have to work on posting all about what happened over the last little while...