Friday, 14 September 2012

The End Of UNversity

My name is James Moore and I have just finished my honours year. 15 weeks later and its the last day of UNversity 2012. Did I succeed in what I set out to do? Well yes and no. The yes is that I managed to secure a full time job doing what I like, programming. The no is that I didnt complete any of the multiple personal projects I had planned, although most of these have good reason, and some of them I am still working on.

One of the projects(probably the most interesting) stopped due to my team member also securing a job, and I couldn't be bothered to progress on my own, since we had both put time into the planning and I would rather wait it out to see if we can ever pick up from where we had left off with it.

The other project was a port of an older project into newer OpenGL code and this is still on going and is going well. Just slowly. The main reason is that my old code was crap, and it has taken a lot of willpower to rewrite it all without wanting to punch my computer. By sticking in however I now have a pretty good framework/basic 3D engine set up that can load and render .obj models, 1st and 3rd person camera support, full GLSL shader support with phong lighting and normal mapping, particle systems, state management, texture and shader management amongst other things. So its not a total disaster and im sure in the next few weeks I will have some sort of game demo to show utilising this stuff. I am aiming at either a simple FPS or small RPG like game(basic but just showcasing my game making abilities as well as the engines). No video as of yet, as it really isnt polished enough or worth showing off tbh.

Thats really all. I know its not very exciting and I know for sure a lot of over people have done more exciting projects, but I really needed some time out at the beginning of the summer to recooperate from 4 years of Uni as well as trying to catch up with my social life and taking some time out to visit the US and look for jobs. Therefore I am just thankful that I managed to do something!

So until next year(perhaps),


Sunday, 1 July 2012

Progress So Far...


Well its Summer again(supposedly; please tell the weather) and yes, that means its time to start working on and improving the ol' Portfolio work.

University is finished for good(unless I go back for a P.H.D....ha), and the real struggle now begins to become a grown up, get a job in the real world, blah blah.

Enough of this depressing talk however, this Blog Series is aimed to document my programming ventures of the Summer, mainly to remind myself of what I actually accomplish, as well as using it for self motivation, so that I dont....Oh look the football is on...I'll finish writing this later.

Yup distracted again, Anyways, where do I begin....

I currently have 3 projects underway, two of which are on my lonesome, and one of which is in a group of 3. It is this project that I find far more exciting than the others and therefore it's the one that has been taking up most of my time and energy. Sadly its also the project where we have all swore an oath not to talk about too much, at least until we have something to show and is presentable enough not to get laughed at. In saying this however I can reveal some of the aspects of the project we have worked on so far.

My main task up until this point, excluding the actual project planning(yes, the really boring paper work part that no one enjoys, but is essential to ensure your project actually gets off the ground), is the more graphical aspect of things, more specifically, working on a particle engine. This is something that I haven't really done before to any great length and was something that I always found intresting.

I started off with a pretty simple 2D system running solely on the CPU. After getting the hang of it however I have vastly improved it so that it now runs solely on the GPU using HLSL, supports 2D and 3D, depending on the camera paramaters and finally in that it is extremely robust to support most of the particle effects we will need in our game(alongside support for plenty more that we probably won't use). I am also thinking of porting this full system to OpenGL/GLSL just to give myself a challenge, and to see how similar the shading languages really are.

As well as this I have mainly worked on improving my HLSL shader skills in general, since its an area that I have had no prior experience, however with a good knowledge of GLSL shaders, its a pretty simple step once you get used to it.  I have created a few simple lighting techniques that will most likely get used somewhere.

The second project is creating a game engine on my own. This project really hasnt taken off and currently its sitting at around 4 classes, with a minor self made scripting engine created in it. I dunno how much work I will put into this as its a fairly time consuming project, and one that requires a lot of planning and research to get right.

The last project is less ambitious than the other two and its simply creating a small 3D tech demo/game using OpenGL 3.3 alongside GLSL. Again, I havent put too much time into this, and I don't even know if I will both making a game or just try and create a showcase application with lots of lovely graphical techniques.

Well thats been just about it currently, I'll probably try to post about one blog a week, but i'm sure none will be quite as long as this one has been. I am going to put a Video on to my youtube of the Particle Engine, as the pics really arent doing it justice, as well as the horrible formatting this blog supports. Anyways, thanks for reading.

Signing Out, James.