Monday, May 25, 2009

Church Brewery in Pittsburgh!

I know Matt (aka Father Fife) will love this one: in an old catholic church in Pittsburgh they've converted it into a brewery rather than tear it down. Its a really beautiful building with great food and imbibes.

these were taken on a recent short stay in Pittsburgh area around Mother's day. We spent a solid day sightseeing all around Pittsburgh that includeed a tour of several neighborhoods, a view from Mt. Washington, and a tour of the Frick Estate.

The Ultimate Rock Band Setup

This is the ultimate Rock Band setup a friend of mine has built. It has a real drumset wired into the rock bank drumkit wiring so you can practice and improve your playing of real drums. Each note maps to the correct drum.

There is a projector hooked up for the guitar, bass, and microphone band members and the drummer has his own HD LCD so he does not have to look away from the drumset.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Game Programming Gems 8 Call for Abstracts!

Abstracts for Game Programming Gems 8 are now being accepted at The eighth of this popular series, as with previous versions, aims to gather and share the latest gems from the game development community. Game Programming Gems 8 will include sections on General Programming, Mathematics, Graphics, Artificial Intelligence, Physics, Networking/Multiplayer, Audio, and a special segment on General Purpose Programming on GPUs for Game Developers. Join us in advancing the state of art in Game Development!

Experienced game programmers are encouraged to submit proposals by July 10, 2009. Final articles will be due on October 1, 2009. Series editor Mark DeLoura, book editor Adam Lake, and section editors will help select and prepare articles for publication. The book will be available in time for the Game Developers' Conference in 2010, with authors receiving a royalty based on the book's sales. Submission guidelines are available on the Web site: Please feel free to forward this announcement to other potential authors.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Portland Parking Ticket online payment

its completely impossible to find online, and if you call during non business hours you can't get a website for payment (just a vx mail that says 'we're closed now, call back during...'). i am completely baffled, nowhere on the citation nor the envelope is any of this listed.

To pay by credit card, go to this website (but only from 6am to 9pm, the hours the internet is open i guess):

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Game Programming Gems 8

Looks like I'm going to be doing the Game Programming Gems 8 editor, and i'm looking for a few good people for section editors.

Please send me an email if interested.


Sunday, March 29, 2009

laptop thief in NW PDX coffee shops...

if you've got a habit of leaving your stuff at your table while your using the restroom, think again!

from craigslist:

i want my 13.3 inch macbook back, you jerk! - $1 (stolen in nw downtown portland)

Reply to: [Errors when replying to ads?]
Date: 2009-03-28, 3:17PM PDT

hello out there, I am appealing to the craigslist crowd to help identify a man worthy of a karma kick straight to the ass. This week I was a college student on spring break, sitting at a cafe working on my new macbook aluminum that i slaved away to purchase to use during college. As a trusting girl that I am, I went and used the bathroom for under a minute while I left all of my belongings in the busy environment of the World Cup cafe in the seemingly friendly neighborhood of 16th and glisan. To my surprise (surprise is the nicest word for it) when I returned my computer was gone. I later found out that two other computers were taken by the same guy in the nw area within four blocks of where I was. Although to be 'out for blood' is an over statement, the other victims of this computer theif, myself included are left without their new macbook pc's and a little peice of each of our hearts. My small business is absolutely obliterated, since it all lived on this 3 month old golden egg investment of a computer. The police officer I spoke with told me that a guy matching all of our descriptions also broke into a hostel across the street from world cup and stole three young traveler's wallets, another stomach churning loss for those people I am sure.

What I want is for anyone buying a macbook aluminum pro or the regular 13.3 inch-er to email me or run the serial code in the portland police dept. database. You will not be held accountable for checking. What does this snatch and run computer theif look like? Around 28 years old, thin, 5 foot 10 inches, (kenian or ethiopean) african male who will wear dark clothing, maybe an ipod or thick framed rx glasses. Believed to be homeless. He walks into cafes in the nw (nw only as far as we all know), doesn't order anything and hangs out people watching. when someone steps out to use their cell phones or take a leak, he casually walks up and takes the open computer in front of everyone. after leaving the building with your investment he will run like hell. We believe he is selling to someone else who may be his dealer or another party that redistributes. If anyone has any information or has also been wronged by the same guy, please send me an email. thanks guys.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Improving the Multiplayer matchmaking experience

We’ve been having a blast playing gears of War 2 multiplayer. A few of us got cocky and decided we’d try our hands at playing the kids online. I can’t help but imagine a more helpful environment for multiplayer:

A multi-dimensional visualization tool, color coded with some bar graphs of the number of players online playing different styles of gameplay. Maybe putting such a tool on xbox live is kinda a big complicated deal. Fine, just put it on a per game website or some such, let me view it with my PC and/or cell phone while I’m playing and/or before I logon to the servers. How many people are playing? Why am I having such a hard time finding matches? Is it because nobody is playing? If I wait will a game end then I will be able to join? Am I in a ‘waiting to play’ game queue that is just waiting for available server time or something? Ugh…. push the data to this environment so I know when I log on what will give me the most likelihood of getting a match in the quickest amount of time. Better yet, just make the queries possible and allow others to build websites around the interface, may the best man win…but then you don’t get control….

Gears of War 2 Update coming March 24th!

Hey folks, I was going to rant about the online multiplayer issues larry, jake, charles and myself were experiencing. Poking around the web i found out that epic has an update two days!

complete patch notes here:

hope this fixes some of the issues we've been dealing with for awhile.

Gears of War 2 Title Update 3—March 24, 2009

A culmination of the tireless efforts of the Gears team and mounds of player feedback, this latest Gears 2 update is our biggest yet. Title Update 3 contains a bounty of additions ranging from new features and achievements to exploit fixes and matchmaking tweaks, with highlights below:

New experience-based ranking system: The new system gives you 100 levels of player experience, gained through scoring in Public matches. The game still uses TrueSkill to set up the most competitive matches possible, but skill ranks are now hidden. Players who quit matches early see their experience docked as a penalty.
Public Match autobalancing: Bots now automatically join a Public Match to fill any slots left vacant by players who quit early or disconnect.
Improvements: You get region preference for matchmaking, improved standby detection, playlist optimization, plus nine new achievements—six of which require the Snowblind Map Pack—worth a total of 250 points.
Exploit fixes: Title Update 3 eliminates the ability to mantle greater distances by swapping weapons during cover slide and to melee attack through walls while holding an enemy weapon, plus adding many more fixes.
General fixes: These include more reliable chainsaw interruption detection, improved headshot detection for certain character model heads, improved flag AI in Submission games, plus other fixes.
Balancing: Title Update 3 makes changes to Subway weapon spawns for greater balance, reductions to smoke-grenade stun duration, an increase to the forward angle that triggers chainsaw duels, and several other balance revisions.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Real-time parametric wave simulation published on Gamasutra!

This one has been in our back pocket for quite some time now...finally got it out the door. Read here.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Pandora says....

"Based on what you told us so far, were choosing this track because it features a subtle use of vocal harmony, repetitive melodic phrasing, intricate melodic phrasing, mixed acoustic and electric instrumentation and mixed minor and major key tonality"

Friday, January 02, 2009

Little Big Planet and a few other notes....

My XBOX profile says I haven't been gaming, but that's not true. Stacey and I have been playing her copy of Little Big Planet on the PS3 for the past few days/weeks. I really think Media Molecule did a fantastic job with this title. Beautiful graphics, fun gameplay, well balanaced puzzles, interesting experiences...its been a joy. I just keep thinking to myself after playing 'wow, i really had fun tonight'. I like how easy it is to customize your character, which seems silly but is actually done in a really fun way. I also like the way they motivate you to get involved with others in special sections of levels that require x2, x3, or x4 people to accomplish them. Not too manyubut a few. Haven't played much with the user generated content but would expect it to be pretty fun.

One thing that can be frustrating is the 'do entire level over' problem that annoys me when any game developer does this. They have checkpoints with limited number of tries. Unfortunately, these are not proportional to the number of players, you get so many restarts, usually 4, no matter how many people are playing. In some sections, you get 8. I understand they need to do this for the challenge, but once again i'd like a 'employed, unemployed' option that allows those of us with full time jobs to complete the game in a reasonable amount of time and not repeat the same game mechanic 20 times for 5 minutes just to clear that one little hurdle at the 95% of the level completion. Can't game developers spend the 20 minutes it takes to create an adaptive solution to this? (more 'restarts' each time, lower boss hit points after 20 tries, whatever).

Grand Theft Auto IV was so bad at this (great game, just this one thing i consider a bug in the design) was that I spawn in the city 20 miles (author exaggeration) from all of the next 3 possible quests. Dying means I spend my valuable meatspace lifespan repeating 5-7 minutes worth of tedium before getting to the quest. They should have called it Groundhog Day, the game :) It caused me to stop about 40-ish% of the way through because i couldn't stand the monotony. Monotony is the enemy.

In summary, we are loving Little Big Planet, its great fun.