Saturday, November 24, 2012

November Status

It has been a while since my last post, well, since the post before the last post. I should write more in general,  the main reason is that these writings are a chance for me to reflect on myself and assess my current status, these help me get out of the usual mold and see life from a different angle. Well, here it goes then.. what should I write about? hmmm.. lets see... I am just going to start from .. right .. here.. Infected Mushroom is playing now, the name of the song is "Nation of Wusses", how ironic... I'm going to start off with my son, my son is 4.5 years old now, he has changed quite a lot, in fact he changes every two weeks, it is all a quite an experience, the way he changes, the way he talks, the way he sees me and expects things from me, it all makes me want to try more to be a good role model for him, a real big challenge but really interesting. The wonderful thing is that we can now enjoy playing video games together, both on PS3 and the iPad, I remember what a wonderful joy it was for me when my father played a bit of Family Computer with me and my brother back in the 80s and the same memories enhance the joy I get from playing video games with my son.

Testament is playing now, Dragon Attack, just pure awesomeness. We spent yesterday and today working on Kuro mostly, two packed days of focused work on our side game project for the iOS devices. MLD has been exceptional and these days were a blast, looking forward to a productive day tomorrow, thanks to the very long weekend here. It is magical how much work can be done when there is an intense focus, not to forget about the wonderful accompanying music. The whole Garshasp project had a few of such events which defined its structure and were major leaps for the product in terms of quality and team morale.

Team morale, its all about the team, its all about the players, we've been always lucky to have great players around us, we've lost many, we've gained many, its all about great guys wanting to do great work. Its all about the process that matters. The process which runs on the foundation of great developers. "A" class people.

Pearl Jam is playing now and I couldn't be more happy. The latest Soundgarden album is great, not as magical as the old albums but still quite good for these days. Alice in Chains was around these days, fabulous, I don't know what really happened in the 90's in Seattle, but whatever it was, the result was the best musics of the world, period.

I am looking forward to Lakers this year, saw Kobe and Howard perform the Showtime! Kobe is just great, not quite Micheal Jordan but still good. They're gonna win it this year.

What am I writing about really? Nothing major, just reflecting.

There are quite a few areas that I researched about with enthusiasm recently. One was related to creativity. I had to talk about it a bit for the class that I had, read about it in un-related books and I attended one of the distant learning courses of Stanford about the subject. This is a very significant topic for life in general. The beauty of it is that it stems from the right hemisphere of the brain where it is all about magic and intuition. The part of the brain which reminds us to not be so analytic about everything. The scalability of creativity is what makes it super valuable with great lessons to learn from for small teams that can not compete with the big players in terms of money or experience. MNO introduced me to a wonderful presentation by Ken Stanley entitled: "Discovery without Objectives" which is quite related to the idea of the value of creativity and novelty. The presentation and the related papers about "Novelty Search" are exceptional. There is so much wisdom hidden underneath the concepts that can be used for diverse fields such as AI, Sociology, Science, Math and Psychology.

On the technical side of things, we've been pursuing an exciting new path to develop a brand new game engine with yzt for quite a while now, we hold regular code jam sessions and the progress of the core of the engine has been really well so far, I learn extensively from guru yzt in each session and this is a priceless experience. The code base is heavily based on C++11. The component system and basic features including the networking layer have been implemented so far, quite exciting. One big question mark is the rendering system. OGRE has been quite nice to use previously, but our extreme care towards performance might lead us to other solutions. We'll have to see. In one alternative universe stemming from a few days from now, yzt can develop a super efficient and capable graphics engine to act as the front end of the developing engine.

Wolfmother, oh so great! "Indukti... And who's the God Now?!" Words can't explain ....

This is going to be a bit shorter than I thought and will have to stop here.

Fundamentals of Game Development

I recently taught a course about the Fundamental of Game Development. It was an interesting experience for me, first of all because I was back in a class after about four years and secondly because it was the first time that I had a class about game development, a topic which is quite interesting for me these days and I've been involved with during the past 6 years. The great thing about teaching in a class is getting exposed to fresh new minds, trying to help them achieve their goals and also finding a time to reflect on yourself and your own status. Too much teaching is not something that would be good for me but a little is what I would need.

Here is a link to the course material I had prepared for this class:

Students ranged from people who were aiming to pursue their studies in different categories related to game development, some technical, some art and some related to game design. Quite diverse and the topics needed to be quite diverse also.Alas, this is the real beauty of game development!