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Current Projects: Americana Engine (Game Engine Development)

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Render: Stockton in Krita

One of my first in progress drawings for the year is using Krita to recreate a shot from a picture that I recently took. Of course after several attempts I couldn't get it looking how I wanted it to be, so I focused on something smaller instead in order to get this post out. More specifically, the downtown BofA building that's set to close in Jun 2017. I'll try to focus more on recreating the entire picture in the future, but I don't know when.

This took much longer as usual because of having to learn perspective, and the sheer difficulties in allocating time blocks to do these things (In reality it is much busier during my off-time then at work). Since it's hard to have completely free weekends, I have many days where I don't have time to even pick up the stylus, much less plan something out.

I've been thinking of the events that arose earlier this year for weeks, with a lot of theories made on this (a full list on the read more section), and I've come to these conclusions: Regardless of what caused it, it was inevitable, and ultimately there wasn't anything I could've done to change this. It brings a lot of unanswered questions, but it wouldn't matter since I would never be able to ask anyways, and because there are much bigger issues that I need to deal with.

I've probably gone over my head on setting this goal, but I have reached the point where I cannot walk away from this, so I must deliver something, regardless of how I might be judged. I may not have the capabilities to make things that appeal to the thousands on a regular basis (assuming I have enough luck to reach them in the first place), but I have to be timely and ensure that they meet minimum quality standards.

I probably have some leeway here since I can backdate posts and update images server-side but I won't be able to do that once it goes on tumblr/twitter.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Stockton Chinatown Exhibit - Lion Dance Opening

The Lion Dance group on the parade route at the San Joaquin County Historical Society and Museum; they were opening their new Stockton Chinatown exhibit, which goes on from January to May; admission was free today but parking is not.

Some other events going on here include Mah Jongg, Tai Chi demonstrations, Arts and Crafts, and Lunch.

There is an article about this event here.

Monday, January 16, 2017

2017 in Art

With a fulltime job, I can spend less of my free time focusing on various programming languages and more on pursuing creative projects. My goal (and new year's resolution) for 2017: Produce as much quality artwork as possible during the year.

The goal is designed to achieve the following things:

  • Put a new tablet to use and establish expertise in Krita
  • Improve my own drawing skills (from almost nothing)
  • Turn text-only concepts into something that is more 'visual' and 'creative'
  • Produce an alternative set of sprites for Americana Engine
  • Learn Speedpainting
  • Get better known out there to the general public
  • Get out of the few active followers hole on Twitter

I'll probably put up a dedicated page for this, but for the most part these images need to be present on tumblr / twitter with the proper tags to be effectively visible to the proper audiences*, so I'll put the better ones up there, and include all WIPs and commentaries on this blog.

Things I will probably be working on (will add to later):

  • Profile / Cover image
  • Hard Drive icons
  • Chibis (including paper ones)
  • Drawings to explain various posts
  • Shadow casting
  • Rare pairings
  • Beancoons
  • Water Effects
  • Glow Effects
  • UX stuff
  • 3D display effects (Wiggle and Split Depth)
  • Some things from 2011
  • Zuma Blitz closure

Notes:

  • I can't be truly motivated unless I base my quantity / quality of work off of someone who's active and who I've knew or seen IRL, so I set my benchmark against Tv's artblog in 2016 (around 170); picking up this speed should allow me to fulfill deadlines on a more timely basis and participate in collabs without holding anyone back*.
  • I will probably focus on a variety of topics; the general idea would be to plan ahead substantially to avoid running out of ideas.
  • This post will be updated in the future, and this post may include its own image as well.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Heading Into the Unknown


When the walls fell

Today marks the end of the first week of a new year - 2017. And today marks the end of a major original-content artblog that I was following for 2+ years, as well as the end of an era where the people I knew from college posted on tumblr on a regular basis. It became empty, filled with posts from people who I could care less about. More importantly, it marked the complete end of new OC content from people I knew IRL who I could get ideas from, which took priority over all other things - it's now completely deserted.

I would be better off explaining my relation to Tv and any commentary on internal things as well as any anon asks that I did / did not send off at some point in the future (I had various ideas from 2013 that I could finally get to now), but I will provide a summary here.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Return to Twitter


So I can see all my five year old posts at a glance.

As I begin to transition up to the smartphone era, I may be getting back to Twitter. Now that I'm back to a fulltime job, my smartphone will probably get significantly more usage time than before, and I'll need to find new ways to be informed about current events as I can't use RSS feeds here (I've used this since 2009 to keep me up to date, and I have no fewer than 70 on my main computer).

I have had worse experiences there when I was active five years ago with more spam accounts following my twitter than there were actual ones; however, there's probably a better chance of people noticing content there (with mentions / tags / media) than on this blog, which actually takes me longer to write these posts than the total time people spent reading them, so it's probably worth another go.

Unlike the past, twitter posts will now focus more towards what (and who) I care about as well as topics that interest me the most.

My next goal is to figure out what to start posting on a regular basis; most likely it will contain content I would normally post here (but are too short to be considered a post), any art posts, as well as commentary on other posts.

Process:

  • Wipe old posts that were more intended to be towards closer hs-era friends
  • Unfollow inactive, empty, or spammy compromised accounts (may be archived to list if I need to refer back to it later)
  • Like any posts that interests me, based on my following list (or accounts I have viewed) - this is approximate due to searching for various keywords for each person I was following, and I might miss posts that I might otherwise like. I won't hesitate to like posts retroactively (up to a max of two years). No retweets will be done during this time.
  • Create private lists, add people to list, and unprotect the list (accounts are not notified they were added during this phase)
  • Unprotect Twitter (most follower requests will be accepted). I may or may not have recent posts up for a short period of time after this happens.
  • Follow a lot more people. My twitter suggestions list is bad enough that I wouldn't follow a single one there, so I'll figure out who to follow manually - this might take some time. Most sites and people whose posts I'm currently reading on a regular basis (via RSS) are also followed if possible. They might be added to a side list instead (that I check regularly) if they don't fit who people expect me to follow, or they consistently occupy too much or too little of my main timeline.
  • Will start retweeting at 50 followers.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Americana Dawn: (Old) Official Soundtrack

The old Americana Dawn soundtrack used in the RPGMaker/C++ engine era has now been recently released on Soundcloud, with commentary and the cover art for each of the songs from screenshots spanning between the two eras (including songs that didn't make it between the transition). However, what's more interesting is the backstory regarding the release of these tracks.

The soundtrack descriptions might reveal spoilers and important plot points about the game, though it may not be relevant anymore considering the fact that AD may be headed into a new direction. Notably, this includes Cadence; despite her appearing in various pieces of concept art in 2013, her character bio included in the soundtrack was never publicly released.

It is worth noting that as the result of this music no longer being used in the game, none of the original assets as seen in the original (2012) Kickstarter trailer will be part of the final product.

None of the official game pages have made mention of this album release.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Robinhood CLI


Five seconds to a buy order

Links: Download (build Aug 25, 2016) - Source Code

Robinhood CLI (rh-cli) - a simple (unofficial) Windows command line client for Robinhood that no one asked for.

Despite being command line, it's more focused on usability than automated trading, and attempts to reduce the time to place a trade to that of other trading platforms, helping to avoid possible price fluctuations in between.

I mainly use this project as a means to get myself into C# programming (making something that works and is something people will use irl) and to learn the more advanced aspects of that language (such as asynchronous programming and parsing json files), but it might be useful to a number of people.

I intend to add features to this program for at least several more months while I'm still looking around for a full-time software development job; feel free to point out any changes made in the backend that prevents this program from working, or any corner cases that I didn't check (such as whether rh positions with > 150 stocks owned will fail to load (either partially or at all), because URI length > 8k ).

Features

This program adds a number of things not seen (afaik) in any other unofficial RH implementation. This list will be added to as time goes on.

  • Increased Realtime Quote Speed - Increased the update time to once per second (this is slightly faster than the update speed on Google Finance), particularly since battery drain is not a real issue on a PC. This is around 5x the speed which Robinhood updates. There might be rate limits, but so far I haven't hit any of them. (If you have a lot of stocks up at one time then updates are slower)
  • Margin Buying Power - Displays how much actual buying power you have in your account in an Instant account. In Robinhood Gold accounts, this also factors in extra buying power based on the tier you have subscribed to, although you will be informed if you cannot use all of it when buying that stock. (A number of assumptions were made on how margin is implemented, so this value may be inaccurate)
  • Maintenance Margin / Initial Margin - Gives you information on how big of a position you can open when extra buying power from RH Gold is considered. (We assume that "extra buying power" represents additional funds handed to you by RH, and are subject to margin requirements). If either of these percents are above 50%, you might not be able to utilize all of your extra buying power on that stock. The official app will adjust your buying power accordingly but will not give you exact margin requirements.
  • Intraday Buying Power (Day Trading Buying Power) - Determines how much you can trade during the day. It's based off of 4x excess margin, so accounts comprised of blue-chip stocks (example) will have substantially higher buying power than those who are mainly holding low-priced and/or volatile stocks (example). On non-PDT accounts, you may start getting High Volatility warnings once you go negative; you will receive a Day Trading Margin Call if you are flagged as a PDT. Buying leveraged ETFs will reduce this faster, so your intraday buying power will be adjusted accordingly. (The app will limit your buying power to prevent this, and does not make any mention of DTBP at all, except in Disclosures.)
  • Max Buy/Sell: Tells you how much of that stock you can buy right now given your buying power, as well as how many shares you have currently and in open orders. (If the price does move past 5% between when you entered the command market orders may not fill). Currently this does not factor the max amount when you place a limit buy order, so be warned if you are planning to spend to the last penny.
  • Stock Split Indicator - If your shares vanished (or were adjusted) because of a reverse stock split, didn't see a notification regarding this (or never got them), and it happened within the last two weeks or so, you will know now. (If you don't have enough shares to meet the reverse split ratio, they are usually converted to cash.) You will also be informed if the opposite holds true.
  • Fees Paid if Applicable - If you are charged a fee when the order is filled, it will inform you. The commission might be zero but the regulatory fees aren't. This fee is more noticeable when selling tens of thousands of dollars worth of shares at once. (FYI: For options, the cost from options regulatory fees alone bumps the total fee to 4 cents a contract, whether you are buying or selling, so make note of that when they support options trading.)
  • Account / Portfolio View - You can display either basic account info and/or a list of all your stocks in your portfolio (including quantity held, equity, cost basis, current price, and profit/loss so far) If your portfolio consists of a lot of stocks it may take a while to load.
  • Extended Hours Trading - Allows you to choose whether your orders will be active during normal market hours or extended hours as well. RH Gold has no setting to toggle this off, so this might be useful in some cases.
  • Additional Warning Messages - Because you are using an unofficial app you may be able to get by some of the restrictions that the official RH app has set in place should those orders fill, so it is my responsibility to cover these scenarios. There is one additional warning if the limit price you are entering is substantially lower than the current price.

    Also, market sell orders executed on this program will not execute if the price would be below 75% of current price (most likely due to significant slippage), at which point you should do a limit sell instead.