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Current Projects: Americana Engine (Game Engine Development)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Asparagus Festival Spear It Run

After going to the Asparagus festival from 2004 to 2011, it feels like almost the same each time: Head over for bus rides in order to get to the festival (or park over there), look at booths and get freebies, try various asparagus food items, that's it. Most of the booths are the same throughout the years, so it's a matter of finding what's new.

I've decided to try out something new: Run the Spear-It Run. I've heard about it for the past few years and saw the finish line, but always wondered where it started. I no longer have to look further. The run goes back and forth over a single street (this makes it quite prone for people taking shortcuts) but is decent enough.

Overall: Cleared in 28:42 (83rd place) - which is a 3:42 improvement. Getting closer to the 'under 20m 5k' goal.

Playlist: My playlist developed quite a few additions since I last did the run at Davis. It still consists of mainly electronic music, but unlike last time, there were many songs that didn't seem to fit right during the run, so I found myself having to skip quite a few songs while running.

The addition of K-Pop Songs during the run (I posted one as a comment on the photo) might get some of my friends by surprise.

New Additions: The Asparaberry Shortcake is a Strawberry Shortcake with bits of Asparagus on it, and it's 3 bucks - much cheaper than getting a shortcake at some of the other booths). I don't know if it was introduced last year, but it was featured this year.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Missing MRP Award, Recovered

During my game programming meeting, I was handed a few materials from David - said they were cleaning out their pile of misc CKI stuff and they found a few things that belonged to me. It had my Bronze MRP award from last year, as well as other CKI materials I should've received even further back when I joined four years ago.

It's all coming back to me now - the MRP award was the break point between remaining and leaving for that year. My goal was to leave with at least something notable, and the MRP award was the easiest - I had to do 50 hours of volunteering in events. It was going to be a tough one as this would require attending nearly all local events and every interclub and district event available, and I managed to pull through. I was lucky to end with Bronze - no one (save maybe a officer or two) from UOP has ever achieved anything higher than a Silver, particularly since there's barely enough events at UOP CKI during the year to give you over 50 service hours total, and this figure includes service project and district interclubs. (Other schools, like Davis, has no problem with giving you Platinum Status, which is awarded at the 200 service hour mark, if you at least made an attempt at going to at least half of the weekly events.)

At the end of last year, my Bronze Star was taken, leaving me with only a two second recognition period, without a bronze star pin on my nametag that DCON - it essentially voided all my efforts as part of A-Board. I said my goodbyes since I would be graduating. Turns out there's a few more classes I had to take, so that means staying another year, but I felt already discouraged from last year's events, all the work without bring really recognized, and without a major position of importance, I appeared only periodically, though it was mainly due to other members (mainly from UOP) wanting me back. That support disappeared in Spring, and I retired completely.

Now that I have my award proper, I do see it this way: Was this a last attempt to get me to return? If I got more recognition and a better position, I would certainly do that, but I'm going to be done at UOP in less than three weeks time... to find a job, to eventually move out. Though I don't want to leave my friends from Capital behind, espeically Nhi Tran (the only other person in Davis perceived as a closer friend), I'm pressured to move on.

Will I ever find anyone from past interclubs that sees me as someone more than just an acquaintance? To hang out, to do stuff with... outside of CKI? That's something I'll probably never know.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Book Sculptures

One of the more interesting exhibits on display at the library - book paper art.

I've always seen book sculptures online as impressive, but they are even more so when you can actually see them in full 3d. It was on display the week of April 15, 2013 near the front of the UOP Library.

I was hoping to get a pic of that last year with a decent camera but the entire exhibit disappeared before I had a chance to do it.

Sunday, April 14, 2013


Re: Foster: Not when you're in a room that's going to be removed in the release.

Draft copy of a game screen with dialogue text. Three lines, one character speaking, and an optional portrait. Non-pixel font. Not a mock-up (except for the background). This screen can also be used for various system events like any events occurring in the background.

Need to Add:

  • The ability to color or bold text in dialogue - there is no real way to program this easily when relying on word wrap to do line breaks (triggered with \n).
  • Optimize dialogue to stretch to border when there's no character portrait displayed.
  • Text that fills in like actual dialogue instead of displaying it all at once.
  • Fades. In the event that a different character is speaking in any conversation it will fade smoothly to that character, the box itself won't fade until the convo ends.
  • Add some timed dialogues (no user intervention) - critical when characters are moving during dialogue.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Looks like things have taken a turn for the worse when I got back. Although additional sprites were ready for me to use, KY's images for the menu were lost with the power outage, so I'll have to wait until the materials are ready. David's hard drive on his laptop crashed and pictures couldn't be recovered there. That makes three dead drives this semester.

My programming team is currently out at this time while they replace their laptops (via loans) and get stuff back to working condition - until then I'm on my own to carry AD to the finish... at least to a playable demo anyways.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Returning to Reno: Peppermill

I didn't get to experience all of Reno the first time around at the beginning of this year, so I decided to go another time. I've never been anywhere past Downtown Reno before, and this time around I got to explore much more of Reno, including Virginia City (my friends were at the Piper Opera House back in November but I was unable to make it that day).

I decided to stay at Peppermill since I saw a coupon at Costco once regarding this place and it was well worth the money - I didn't find Circus Circus and Eldorado too satisfying to stay in but this hotel was a notable exception to that rule as a AAA four diamond hotel.

Overview: The suite has some nice amenities. HDTV with capabilities of plugging in computer equipment *, fully dimmable lights, dual showerheads, whirlpool tub, and free wifi*. Like other high class hotels, they tend to lack a fridge and microwave (I'm accustomed to both of them, maybe it's because I've been staying in motels for too long?)

The Costco Package fixes your room cost to $100 a night for two nights, simply make a reservation and use the Costco printout instead of paying. (there are a few blackout dates though when you can't use it though, and space is limited so you'll want to plan in advance). It also gives you a substantial amount of resort credit ($50 on weekends and $100 on weekdays) effectively creating a $50 or $75 per night four diamond suite. Given this is at least 50 percent off the room in most cases, I'd take this offer again.