Three months in Cleveland

October 04, 2016, 8:06pm

Today marks three months since Lutetia and I moved to Cleveland. Here are three things I’ve done in that time:

GitHub marks days you push code with a green square.

Clearly there’s room for improvement, but work progress has been satisfactory thus far. Here are three more wins from the past three months:

Our apartment, The Roosevelt

The weather has been absolutely beautiful lately. Temperature and humidity are way down and the sun is shining brightly. Cleveland natives tell me a cold, bitter winter is on its way but for now I’m enjoying the heck out of autumn.

Lake View Cemetery

I’ve been getting in as many runs as possible while the weather’s nice. My favorite route winds through Lake View Cemetery, one block away from my apartment. The cemetery has one main loop and many meandering side paths which add distance and variety to routes.

Lake View Cemetery

I also like running through the cemetery because it serves as a memento mori, which translates to “remember, you’re going to die.” Similar to the Buddhist concept of impermanence, it’s an oft-needed reminder that nothing lasts forever, including the amazing weather and the short time I’ve allocated to work on these passion projects of mine. There have been many tough days and nights in Cleveland but I am very grateful for the time and opportunity to be here. I don’t want to take it for granted, even on the worst days (especially on the worst days) so every morning I rise and grind.

My companion while writing this post

My life here is pretty mundane but filled with moments of small happiness, like enjoying the company of a cat while her owner’s building is under inspection or seeing my coconut oil solidify at the onset of autumn.

Coconut oil turned solid three days into autumn

So with the last three months in the rearview mirror, here are three life goals for the next three months:

And three work goals:

I'm keeping these goals modest with room to achieve and exceed expectation. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to grab some hot pot with Lutetia to celebrate! Now that we have a car our cuisine options have expanded greatly.

Thanks for sending the car, Mom!!!

Kamigawa Sengoku Previews

September 26, 2016, 11:24am

One of my favorite times of year is Magic: the Gathering set preview season. I love reading through set spoilers and design articles, and listening to five hour podcasts analyzing the new cards. Preview season is great and almost as fun as actually playing with the cards. The new set, Kaladesh, comes out on Friday and it looks amazing.

Back in April (Week Four), during Shadows over Innistrad set previews, I posted the beginnings of my own set design: a reimagining of Kamigawa. Last year on my birthday, I asked Mark Rosewater, lead designer of MtG, about the chances of a set revisiting the Japanese-themed world of Kamigawa. The design of original Kamigawa was beset by problems like obscure themes and difficult pronunciation. It also suffered from rotating into a Standard environment dominated by Ravager Affinity decks and not providing enough power to introduce new viable archetypes. Finally, being sandwiched between two of the most popular sets of all time, Mirrodin and Ravnica, Kamigawa is considered to be a creative and developmental failure by Wizards of the Coast.

This week, inspired by Magic preview season, I've come back to my Kamigawa set. I've been exploring game narrative lately and crafted an overarching story to guide the rest of the card designs. In the spirit of preview season, I also posted cards teasing the set mechanics. Check it out at Week Twenty-Three.

Streak Broken

September 19, 2016, 5:15am

That moment when you stay up late coding and realize you didn't check in any code before midnight :(

Well, Week Twenty Two is up, and it's a zombie apocalypse! Burn them with fire!

I spent some time this week working with the Unity particle system. Getting it to work in code was pretty tedious, but I'm still resolved to build the project open source and without any prefabs. Frustratingly, the particle texture doesn't load in the webplayer (but the square texture effect is still pretty cool) and it simply threw an error in a WebGL build. I love Unity but its browser builds leave much to be desired.

About Me

August 27, 2016, 2:33am

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been getting acquainted with the Cleveland tech scene which, I’m happy to report, does exist. There is a lot of excitement around VR in Cleveland and a shortage of experienced engineers. With many years of CG and Unity experience under my belt, I am fitting right in.

As I was updating my resume, I realized that packing a decade of accomplishments onto a single page (resumes should never exceed one page) had turned it into a bloated mess. I thought about removing some old extracurricular activities, like hula dancing for instance, but I always thought those were the most interesting parts of my resume and, by extension, the most interesting parts of me. In the end, I decided to write a brief resume that refers to my website containing more details in a nicer format. Nowadays everything is on the web anyway.

I’ve been involved in a lot of different activities over the years and it was fun to write about them: from Japanese taiko drumming to Argentine tango dancing, from training in judo to playing the oboe, from spray paint stenciling to distance running and more. Each of these has special meaning to me and I wrote about some life lessons I’ve learned along the way on my new about page. There’s lots of pictures, videos and stories so check it out if you’re interested in learning about some of the things I do besides coding and making games.

Week Sixteen: 3D Equatia FPS

August 08, 2016, 4:14am

Week Sixteen is up!

My not-so-secret goal for these next few months in Cleveland is to rebuild Equatia from the ground up. These game-a-week projects are meant as mini milestones where I can explore new technology like WebGL or Photon Unity Networking. I spent most of this week working on code for EquatiaLib, so I had a lot of new gameplay to play with. A few tweaks here and there and I was able to turn the game from top-down-adventure to first-person-shooter relatively easily.

The camera for FPS games is actually really tricky to code well. Fortunately, some googling and a little trial-and-error led me to an awesome implementation of an FPS camera that worked quite nicely.

Rebuilding Equatia is pretty slow, careful work and this was a fun opportunity to cut loose and churn out some code without worrying about details like scalability or QA. Like I said in my last post: This first month in Cleveland has been tough, but things are definitely trending up.