Archive for December, 2008

Post Christmas Miscellany

Posted in Life in General, Miscellany with tags on December 29, 2008 by Dan Amerson

Arising from the food coma that is Christmas in the Amerson family, here’s some miscellaneous bits about furniture shopping for the weekend.

Some Tips for Furniture Shopping in the Raleigh Area

Theresa and I need a dining room table. Right now, we’re using an heirloom dropleaf table from my great-grandmother which is dwarfed by the room. Since we’re hoping to host larger gatherings, we need something that will seat 8 or 10. Over the last month, we’ve hit up a number of places. We eventually settled on this table. It’s got a really cool finish on the top which is unfortunately hard to see in the pictures. I’ve also learned some important tips for furniture shopping around Raleigh.

  • Go to Whitley Galleries first.
    • It’s a whole city block. When you walk in, they give you a map.
    • It is a small drive out to Zebulon, but it’s worth it for sheer breadth of selection.
  • Check out Wayside Furniture House next.
  • Go to Glenwood Ave./US-70 last.
    • There are a ton of places out there, but it’s such a pain.

Meant to post Friday, but I forgot. dba


Gag Gift Exchange

Posted in Miscellany on December 22, 2008 by Dan Amerson

The annual gag gift exchange at Emergent is a source of great comedy. I figured I’d upload a couple of pictures. I got a copy of Red Means Dead, a custom made children’s book about the continuous integration policy that I named. I’ll try to post the full text later.

Also featured today is Santa! While he’s not technically pantless, it’s hard to tell from the picture. We do, in fact, refer to him as Pantless Santa. It’s a Christmas tradition.

But I just changed a comment, CI is insane! dba

Crisis on Multiple Builds

Posted in Video Game Development, Video Games, Wednesday Update with tags , on December 18, 2008 by Dan Amerson

We had a major blockage in our continuous integration system last night which caused yet another Wednesday Update delay. I spent yesterday afternoon pretending I was an air traffic controller for our source control system. I’m still here for a short one though. I promise some real content next week.

  • Gamebryo Alpha
  • Book Club!

Coming Soon!

The next version of Gamebryo is scheduled to hit alpha this Friday. We’re working hard to get things finished to alpha level which is the other part of the reason this post will be so short. The next version is going to be an amazingly huge addition of functionality to Gamebryo, so keep your eyes here. I’ll be talking about it in the next few weeks as we get closer. PM is keeping me tight lipped for now.

Not a Fan

We have a book club here at emergent. We recently read Gene Wolfe’s first two volumes of The Book of the New Sun. It was fairly highly recommended, and even includes praise from Gaiman and Le Guin on the cover. I, however, am not a fan. I do not recommend it. I read the first volume and quit. I think it’s that bad. If you do choose to read it, I highly recommend reading the appendix of The Shadow of the Torturer first. When I got to it after investing several hours in the book, I felt betrayed by the author. It’s the type of info that should go into a foreward.

I can’t really justify more time today. Sorry. dba

Harried At Best

Posted in Video Game Development, Video Games, Wednesday Update with tags , , , on December 11, 2008 by Dan Amerson

Due to a little crisis last night, Wednesday Update is slightly delayed again. No worries. I consider Thursday morning to count.  Onward.

  • Last Week’s Demo
  • Dragon Quest IV
  • Gamebryo Feature Brainstorming
  • Scotch

So… Ah… It Was at 2PM

If you check last week’s update, you’ll notice that I mentioned a demo I was doing at 3PM last Sunday. It was really at 2PM. I hope I didn’t lead anyone astray.

In any case, it went off smashingly well, literally. I closed out the demo breaking a 10lb. chunk of ice which shattered nicely in front of the crowd. Prior to that, we had several really successful demos. Mr. Santos, who just started offering classes at our school, gave a demonstration of some Capoeira Angola techniques which was incredibly cool. I’m debating if I have time between everything else to take some classes with him on Wed. nights. We’ll see.

There are some pictures of the demo. However, the camera in question had to fly off to New England this week before I could lay my hands on the memory card. I’ll try to get them posted at some point.

Zen Gaming

It’s totally accidental that Sony tried to create Zen Gaming as a genre today. I swear I was thinking about this in the context of Dragon Quest IV last week. I was playing it on the DS the other night, and I was frustrated at how slow paced and boring it was. I figured I’d give it a couple of hours and give up. This odd sort of calm settled in after a while though. I developed a rhythm with the game. I’d wander for a while. Get in a random encounter. Analyze whether I should worry about the monsters. Set people to attack, and then zone out or talk with my wife. It became incredibly satisfying to play a game that was so familiar and understandable that I didn’t need to devote my whole attention. I can just flow through it. I’m now 15 hours into things and loving it. It’s a weird switch, and it made me wonder if perhaps that familiarity of design is what makes the Dragon Quest series so appealing.

The New Frontier

I had a really great meeting with the engineering team at Emergent last week. We talked about possible features for the next version of Gamebryo. (Note that this isn’t the one we’re currently working on, but the one after that.) There were some good themese that came up.

  • Continued investment in multithreaded techniques. This extended both to Floodgate as well as higher latency systems like …
  • Better large world streaming and LOD systems. e.g., shader LOD and separate mip chain streaming.
  • Animation system improvements. Better transitions, IK, etc.

There was a bunch of other stuff, but I figured it was worth posting the major themes here for two reasons. One, some readers may be Gamebryo users. I’d love to hear ideas from you. Post a comment. Are we thinking about the right stuff? Two, maybe you’re working on an engine of your own. You’re probably thinking about future versions. Are you looking at similar themes, or not? Maybe you’ve solved some of these problems, or maybe you’re really focusing on tessellation and D3D11.

Blended or No

I’ve really taken a liking to whiskeys of late. However, drinking single malt scotch is expensive, so I’m thinking of looking for a more affordable blend that I like. Any suggestions? I tend to prefer less peaty scotch whiskey.

Between whiskey and zen gaming, I’m pretty mellow now. dba.

Excitement Forthcoming This Weekend

Posted in Wednesday Update with tags , , on December 3, 2008 by Dan Amerson

Wednesday Update this week is the short edition. I’ve only been back from vacation three days. As I’ll note, I’ve spent it diving through emails. I don’t have any exciting work items to discuss.

  • Vacation
  • Martial Arts Demonstration

Days Off Equals Work On

I took a few days off from work before Thanksgiving. I had a great time vacationing at Lake Oconee. I splurged and spent a couple of days on the club level of the Ritz there. I had a great time. The only problem with taking time off is that coming back to the office just equals more work. I still haven’t caught up to all the email that accumulated over three days. I hate email.

Breaking Things

I don’t talk about my martial arts much despite the blog description, but…

This weekend, my dojang is giving a demonstration here in Raleigh. Everyone should come check it out. We’ll have the black belt candidates doing a demo and arnis demonstrations from Master Bullock. I’m planning on possibly a weapons demonstration and a breaking demonstration. The demonstration will be at Stonehenge Shopping Center on Creedmoor Rd. around 3PM. It’s part of the holiday festival, so there will be things going on all day. Come on out, get some shopping done, and watch me shatter things. Can you ask for more?

I’m aware that you could ask for more, but it’s a rhetorical question. dba