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This is the CS679 (Computer Game Technologies, Spring 2008) News and Announcements page. If you're looking for basic information about the course, you probably want the BasicInfo page!

You should check this page regularly for news and other announcements as this is the main way of spreading the word about class announcements. Check out the rss feed of this page, if you prefer to get your information that way. Either way, you will be held accountable for the information that appears on this page. This page will be updated frequently.

May 15,2008
Computing in 1325

(Supposedly) One of the 1358 computers will be moved into 1325 for the project demos, so you'll be able to run on the real hardware.

May 6,2008
Final Handins

Information is available here

May 6,2008
Festival of Games


May 5,2008
Playtest Reviews Compiled

Here they are:
ONSLACKER Playtest Review
Corporate Loyalty Playtest Review
Dead Ends Playtest Review - y

April 30,2008
Playtest Mechanics

Please read this to get an idea about how the playtests will work. They will require preparation from each time and person: PlaytestsMechanics

April 16,2008
Irrlicht Diary

Please leave entries in the Irrlicht Diary about things you've learned that could help others. - y

April 16,2008
NY Times Article on The Sims

This isn't that relevant, but I found it insightful. Its also a good reminder of the context of videogames as still (mainly) being a niche.

April 10,2008
Fahlstein on Portal

There is an article by Noah Fahlstein about the lessons of Portal.

Here's the summary:

Here's the real article:

April 10,2008
Project Wiki Groups

You should all have permissions to edit pages in your group. - y

April 10,2008
Plans and Meetings

A reminder that your project plans are due by 9am on Friday, April 11th. We will give you a "free" extension to this deadline until noon.

During class time, the TA and Professor will meet with each group to discuss your plan. We will meet in 1325.

  • 2:30 - Hanson, Leaf, Strommen, Moore
  • 2:55 - Park, Felder, Kruse, Brzycki
  • 3:20 - Driscoll, Lynde, Geil, Byrne, Steinich

April 4,2008

The project groups are:

  • Hanson, Leaf, Strommen, Moore
  • Driscoll, Lynde, Geil, Byrne, Steinich
  • Park, Felder, Kruse, Brzycki

On Monday, we'll make Wiki Page groups for each group (to give you a place to post the various aspects of the project)

April 4,2008
Game Design Critiques

I've compiled and anonymized the first round of critiques. They are now linked from the Game Proposals page. - y

April 3,2008
Lecture / Assignment

Rather than lecturing on the next topic, I thought I'd have you watch a video of a lecture given by someone who truly is an expert. The downside of this: I am also asking you to do a little homework assignment to make sure that you really watch the video and learn the lessons.

The assignment is described at Main.GameDesignForOtherEnds

Note: you do need to come to class on Monday, April 7th. There will be a brief class discussion, and then some "in-class" work for your project teams.

April 1,2008
Last Year's Game Design Proposals, etc

Some of you had trouble finding examples of design proposals. We'd compiled a mostly-complete set of examples of different stages of the Game Project from last year's class. You can find it here. - y

March 30,2008
Game Engines edit permissions fixed

Hi guys. Some of you noticed that you couldn't edit the pages Engines by People and Engines by Engine. The permissions are now fixed. Please post links to your pages! - y

March 24,2008
Partners for Design Proposals

Have been posted here. If you don't know what I am talking about, you should start by looking over the GameProject.

March 23,2008
Game Project "Announced"

The page for the Game Project has been posted here. Please look it over, so you have some ideas as to what is coming up.

March 23,2008
Summer Research Opportunities

If you are interested in getting involved in a research project this summer, please let me know. There are various opportunities (like Departmental summer undergraduate RAs), and several graphics/animation/interaction projects going on.

March 14,2008
Readings Update

I have scanned other book chapters, so the recommended readings for the classes after break are a bit different. (these chapters were always on the list, except that now they are the recommended readings since you don't have to buy the book).

March 12,2008
Game Engine Assignment

Is posted here: GameProject.EngineAssignment.

March 9,2008
More "Physics" References

On Monday, we'll talk about fake physics. Here are some references:

March 4,2008
A Cute Physics Simulator

Check out Phun

March 2,2008
Flying Jello

So I decided I should try my hand at the assignment myself.

Modulo a bunch of issues (I had to rebuild FlTk), in about 4-5 hours (including FlTk issues), I have world's ugliest (both internally and externally) mass spring simulator. I'll show it off at some point (maybe in class Monday).

Some things to keep in mind (that I reminded myself having not written this in a while):

  • computers are much faster than last time I did this. without any attention to efficiency, I have a simulator that can do several hundred euler steps per redraw (and maintain 30hz). it really changes the nature of this assignment.
  • if you want better results (like the swinging of a string) damp your SPRINGS not just air resistance (a damped spring slows velocity in the direction of the spring force only)
  • interactive is a lot more fun

February 28,2008
Between Now an Break

Spring break is only 2 weeks and 1 day away!

Between now and then in 679 we have the Physics project, the reading write-up, the guest lecturer, ... The class has been stripped down over the next 2 weeks so you can really focus on the project. In particular, there are no new readings (but you'll probably want to be reading up on physics for your project).

So here's a summary (it's all on the Calendar too):

  • February 29th - physics project discussion (meet as a regular class)
  • March 3rd - physics lecture. project plan and RTR reading assignment due
  • March 5th - Dan Vondrak guest lecture
  • March 7th - No class - "Open Lab Hour" in 1358 (The Professor and TA will be in 1358 to talk about what you're doing - or anything else). The "physics signs of life" are due.
  • March 10th - basically a "non-class" - we'll meet and discuss what people are doing in their projects, and use this as a way of trying to "appreciate" how hard it is to do physics well
  • March 12th - a discussion of Game Architecture (to help us get ready for the 2nd half of the semester). No reading required.
  • March 14th - physics projects due. We'll probably have a demo session in 1358, but that depends on whether people want to do that.

February 25,2008
The Physics Project!

The physics project (including partner assignments) is Main.PhysicsAssignment.

Also: be aware that the reading/writing assignment is coming up too! Check the assignments page!

February 24,2008
Physics project partners

For the physics project (and the final game project), we will assign your partner / project team. There are a bunch of reasons for this (some are listed here).

The partner assignments will be made sometime Monday, probably after class. The announcement of the project should happen sometime before class Wednesday.

February 21,2008
RenderMonkey 1.62 is available in 1358

The CSL has made RenderMonkey 1.62 available on the computers in 1358. Its available under "ATI" in the start menu (not "AMD"). It was stable for people last year.

As far as I can tell 1.62 is not only stable, but can load in (almost) all of the 1.71 demos. I am not sure what features 1.62 is missing.

Please let me know if there are problems with this.

February 20,2008
Alternatives to RenderMonkey

I haven't found an alternative to RenderMonkey that works with GLSL.

NVidia's FX Composer looks really cool, but it doesn't support GLSL (it does support HLSL and CG).

February 20,2008
RenderMonkey in 1358

The CSL answer to RenderMonkey crashing is: The old version (1.62) didn't crash last year. Its still installed in the Storm lab.
Would someone try it out? If its better, I can get them to install it into the Starsky/Hutch lab. (RenderMonkey 1.62 is under "ATI" in the start menu) update: RenderMonkey 1.62 is available in 1358.

My initial experiments in my office is that 1.62 seems to be stable. But then again, it took a while before 1.71 crashed.

February 20,2008
More Noise...

Since a lot of people seemed interested (and you should be! noise is important) - probably too important to just get "stuck in the end of a lecture" like I did.

And I did have the interpolation function wrong (thanks Justin!) - the cubic interpolation function is 3t^2-2t^3. But if you implement it, you should use the quintic: 6t^5-15t^4+10t^3 since its not that much harder. The details of this are in Ken Perlin's Paper

February 20,2008
Some things about noise...

It turns out that NVidia hardware (like we have in 1358) doesn't support noise in GLSL.

If you want a noise function to look at (and use), you might look at In the directory there is a discussion of a different kind of noise (called Simplex Noise), but a GLSL implementation of both Perlin Noise and Simplex Noise. I haven't tried using it myself - let me know if you try it.

There is also a "block of noise" (128^3) in the RenderMonkey demos. (its even in older rendermonkey - its called "Textures/") It gets used for water waves, wood, marble, ...

Its an interesting question as to whether its better to implement the noise function or pre-compute it in the pixel shader. Some of this really depends on the performance characteristics of the system (whether you are memory or compute bound).

February 20,2008
RenderMonkey problems

I have alerted CSL about the RenderMonkey problems that everyone seems to be having. I was able to get RenderMonkey to crash here in my office. I am trying to figure out what to do about it.

February 19,2008
noise1 always returns 0

The hardware in the lab doesn't implement the GLSL noise functions. If you were relying on those functions to write your shader program (perlin noise, for example), contact me and I'll set you up with a workaround (a function that samples from a custom "very random" texture). If you know of a better workaround, let me know! - y

February 19,2008
Reading Assessment/Assignment

An assignment about the RTR readings has been posted. Its here

February 18,2008
Cool Shaders Assignment

Thanks to everyone for doing the assignment. Lots of neat stuff came up - which has certainly inspired me to read more.

I really recommend that people look through all the things others have found. There are lots of inspiring ideas - good things to get you thinking about your own shader project.

February 18,2008
Yoh's Shader from 2007

Here's a RenderMonkey screenshot of my shader from last year. It's a Canny Edge Detector implemented in the GPU. - y

February 18,2008
Yoh's "for fun" project

I am writing a small facebook application for fun. If 1.) you play Halo 3 on Xbox Live, 2.) you use facebook, and 3.) you are willing to be my testers, email me! <screenshot> :) - y

February 15,2008
Shader Clarification

A Clarification has been made to the Shader Assignment: you don't have to use RenderMonkey.

February 14,2008
RenderMonkey Tutorials

I've made a few tutorials on how to get started with RenderMonkey, which you'll be using for the shader assignment. Check it out here. - y

February 14,2008
Clarification on Shader Assignment

There have been some clarifications on the shader assignment:

  1. Everyone must turn in their own assignment
  2. The dates have been updated to match the calendar (and the new outside speaker schedule)

February 10,2008
Changes to Readings

As only 1 person noticed, the reading for tomorrow (Chapter 10 of RTR3) isn't available yet - I just got it myself.

I also have figured out that (at least some) people like to "read behind" the lectures - that is, hear what I have to say (to get the big picture) then read the book for details. I am realizing this isn't such a bad approach. So I am actually going to encourage that a bit - but use a "writing assignment" to make sure you really are learning the material (without resorting to giving an exam). More on that later...

February 9,2008
Scheduling change

Dan Vondark from Raven had something come up (one of the "realitites of the games business" that I'm sure he'll talk about), and we had to re-schedule, so the calendar for the next 3 weeks will look a little different. (I haven't changed the calendar yet, but...)

February 4,2008
What's coming up

I'm sure you're all aware that there is no class Wednesday or Friday, and that the Flocking Project is due on Monday.

If you look at the Calendar or Syllabus, you'll also see that there are things planned for next week, and the details of the project beyond flocking are already available.

January 30,2008

Um, "Thanks" to Nick, I now have the first 11 levels of Portal, which you can get if you have an NVidia card (it also gives you a PopCap game, and some Half-Life 2 stuff).

It's only 11 puzzles, but if you go through it, you can really see a lot about game design. It will make for great examples later on when we talk about that. For now, it was an hour's distraction, and its making me want to get the whole game.

January 28,2008
Version Control Tutorial

The UPL will be holding a tutorial on version control (CVS and SVN). Weds, Feb 6th, at 6pm in 1325CS. Anyone is welcome to attend. If you aren't a CVS or SVN user, I'd recommend becoming one - soon - and this is a way to do it.

January 26,2008
Web page updates

The web page has been updated with:

  • A schedule for the coming week (Jan 28-Feb 1)
  • A reading assignment for Weds, Jan 30th
  • An assignment due on Friday, Feb 1

January 26,2008
Seminar of Interest

Many people expressed interest in learning about how to make use of parallel / multi-core systems. Guri Sohi will be giving an Architecture Seminary Tuesday (Jan 29th) at 4pm in 1221 on "So what are we going to do with multicore processors?" (the abstract is here). It should be interesting.

January 26,2008
Information on the Wiki

Some instructions on how to use the Wiki are at Main.WikiInfo. It might take some getting used to, but once you get it, its actually quite convenient.

January 26,2008
Student Wiki Pages

I've made wiki groups for all of you, but I've only received 4 emails from you with wiki passwords. Please send me your desired wiki password, and I'll set you up with an account with write access to your wiki group. You'll find your wiki group here. - y

January 25,2008
The Flock Project

The first programming assignment, Flocking, is now officially assigned! The description is here.

January 25,2008
Flocking info

My list of resources for flocking is on the wiki, along with more general notes.

January 24,2008
First Assignment

The first assignment, "Play a Game" has been assigned and is due on Monday, January 28th.

January 16,2008
Testing Announcement

This is a test! test link. - y

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Page last modified on May 15, 2008, at 03:09 PM