Wednesday, November 28, 2001

Another year gone by.

It was my birthday on the 5th of this month (Scorpio, biatch) so now I'm a year older, joy. I'm not going to say how old though, rawr.

Wednesday, October 17, 2001


So I'm sitting here writing my nice little COM objects for a project I'm working on and I thought I'd post something. Why? Because I rarely do and it's about time I cut that out, I mean I pay for half of this site I should put it to use for god sake (whatever that means); you hear what I'm saying to you? Yes, YOU, the person who's actually here, reading this. Wow, you must be bored. Go DO something with your life...

If you're still here these are two good reasons to go away (not that I don't like the fact that you popped by for a visit, but this is the mood that I'm in; deal):
1) Nobody gets out of this alive.
2) Your whole life leads up to death, so make the most of it (life that is).

bye, bye now...

Friday, October 12, 2001

Long time no post... for me.

I don't really have any news or anything as official as that to post. I just feel like writing something, not much of something (ok fine), but something.

I've sent out a bunch of resumes in the past couple of days... I as I'm sure you've guessed I am looking for a job. And, given the current hiring environment, his is proving to be not as easy as it sometimes has been; yeah, I can just hear the violins (BM!)... Anyway, so that's one thing.

I'm in also into cars now. Which is something that's been in the making for a long time but for some reason I never cared about them before.

It's like this: I tend to give people a bit of a hard time if they don't know anything about their computer and I think it's well deserved on their part. I'm nice about it but it's just a point I'm trying to make with them. The idea being if you use this thing every day (and most people do), you rely on it to some degree (probably a high degree), if it fails you find it more difficult to get work done. Yet, you know almost nothing more than the base skill set to operate it; that's a bad combination.

So then I turn it around on my self, something I do fairly often (keeps me honest... as corny as that sounds), and I'm doing the same damn thing; but with cars. So no I'm becoming more familiar with my car. Which, btw, is a new-to-me '94 BMW 3-series (it's a great car, bit slow... but I like it) because my Maxima was stolen (f*ing bastards); as much as a I like my new car I miss my old one... No matter though, on ward and up ward (next up a 330Ci or MKIV Supra TT). Of course I'm just content with being conscious about a subject, nope, I've gotta take it a step further... because that's always where you get to do the fun stuff :)

So, it's now all about bigger, better, faster, more (hence the two cars I mentioned; that I will have)... if for no other reason it helps to get my mind off of other things; which at times can be the most valuable "tool." Everyone should have something that just gets their mind off of everything else; even it's just for a short period.

hmmm... ok, that's it for now.

Thursday, October 11, 2001


It's been fairly quiet here at Fusion Industries. What's been going on? Well, I'm back at the university and I'm taking some very interesting classes -- Compiler Design, Analysis of Algorithms, Computational Models, and SCUBA diving. I've also been teaching myself how to play the guitar.

That's about it for now... Alex out

Saturday, September 8, 2001

Resfest (Quick Review)

I just got back from Resfest (the cutting-edge digital film festival) in San Francisco. The short films and electronica music videos were simply amazing!

In the past (as recently as last year) people were showing off computer graphics almost as if they were shouting, "Look at me! We're using triangles! They're shaded and have textures!". This year I've seen a definite trend of using NPR (non-photorealistic rendering). If these films were talking, they'd be saying "Yeah, we're CG, but shhh! Don't let that be the focus." Everything's so stylized, and in some cases look so realistic, that you really can't tell it was created on a computer, even though you know it was. That's not to say everything shown was CG, in fact, quite a bit was live action or a hybrid, but at some point each one was digitally processed.

Really, the story and how it's expressed is what's important, and the visuals are secondary. In fact, one of the best short "films" I saw was a series of phone calls a guy makes and receives after a party. All that's on the screen is the text of what he says, slightly altered to say what he's thinking instead of what he's speaking. It was so well written and so funny. Still, incredible how-did-they-do-that imagery has its place and will continue to amaze us as long as there are minds to push it further (or until we can render images that are indistinguishable from real life -- so that means around 2005/Star Wars 3 ;)

Thursday, August 2, 2001

Theory and Practice

So what's been going on? This past month has been very busy for me. I've written up a lot of notes and theory on code and programs I want to write but haven't had a chance to do that yet. I've mostly been traveling, seeing California (plus stops in Vegas and Tijuana), and putting around 3000 miles on my car. I also went to the 20th annual Large and Dangerous Rocket Ships launch event out at a dry lake bed to watch rockets (6 inches to 20 feet) fly into the sky. It's all about getting out and enjoying life.

Tuesday, June 26, 2001

TreeGen Released!

I've just released TreeGen, an interactive 3d tree creation program!

I've been working with drawing plants, in one form or another, for the last couple of years. The first method I tried (back in 1999!) was a true L-system, where a list of drawing commands is generated and used to draw the tree. I've also explored using fractals, drawing the classic fern, among other shapes. The method I'm using now is recursively adjusting and drawing the tree, which might be considered a hard-coded L-system. In any case, I had a lot of fun writing and playing with this program and I hope you do too!

TreeGen v1.0 src + exe (about 165k)

Friday, June 1, 2001

E3 2K1

Lavish. Larger-than-life. Lots of booth babes.
These are words that do not describe this year's E3. There were plenty of games on display, but the overall visual atmosphere just wasn't exciting, compared to past years. Having said that, we had a really good time. It only took us a day to see everything, with a day left to play the games that the rest of the world will have to wait to play for months.

And now for a few quick reviews:

Warcraft III
Two words: Jaw-dropping beautiful. The art is incredible and the gameplay seems awesome! Even the menus are not just nice, but really beautiful. This is my favorite game of the show and I can't wait for it to come out.

Blizzard's cinematic division constantly amazes us, and this year was no exception. Their cinematics for Warcraft II and Diablo II Expansion were incredibly gorgeous. We actually had chills watching them.

Return to Castle Wolfenstein
Like many of the gamers out there, I grew up playing Wolfenstein 3D (partially because it was visually astounding and fun, and partially because my computer wasn't fast enough to run DooM.) In the latest version, all I can say is WOW! The AI for this game is really great. For a simple example, if you shoot an enemy, his friend will either come to check on him, or run and hide, searching for the safest way to get out of danger. You really have to see it in action to realize how cool it is. The game itself looks great, which includes my favorite weapon, the flamethrower, which looks incredibly good.

Soldier of Fortune 2
This game looks great, with all sorts of nice enhancements, more realistic weapons and gameplay, and really detailed graphics. One quick test level they showed us involved a mission that took us through the grass, over trip wires, to our final goal. The grass was billboarded and I couldn't help but think of the vines in Wolf3D, because there was a strong resemblance between the two. I'm not knocking it though, because the test level was created in a couple of hours for the show, but still it's interesting to see works in progress.
We were talking to the SoF2 developers and they're in a friendly competition with the RtW team on who can have the best AI. In fact, the SoF2 guys actually hired one of the AI developers from the RtW team.

And now, completely because we have the bragging rights, here are some of the other games and systems we played with:
  • XBOX
  • GameCube
  • Luigi's Mansion (GameCube)
  • Sigma (pc)
  • Halo (xbox)
  • Super Mario Advance (Mario2) (gba)
  • F-Zero Advance (gba)
  • Amped (xbox)
  • Project: Gotham (xbox)
  • Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee (xbox)
  • and more!
Photos will be up as soon as I can get to them. Until then, check out our photos from past E3s in the gallery!

Thursday, May 17, 2001


This year's E3 is going to be HUGE! I'm looking forward to seeing Gamecube, Xbox, Duke Nukem Forever, and Commander Keen for GBA! Full report when we get back!

Thursday, April 5, 2001

GDC 2001 Pics!

Freshly scanned for your viewing pleasure, we present our GDC 2001 pics! Check them out over in the gallery! Greetz go to all the CAs -- you guys rock!

Tuesday, March 27, 2001

GDC: Fun and Games

We're back! GDC 2001 was awesome and we're already looking forward to GDC 2002!

Highlights include:
  • Playing Witch Hunt with 30 people late into the night.
    "Dana's the witch!!!"
    "Tim's the witch!!!"
    "Kill them both!!!"
  • Meeting lots of famous-in-the-industry people, including Will Wright (SimCity, The Sims), Warren Spector (Deus Ex), and Tim Sweeney (Epic Games)
  • Watching Second Reality on the big screen!!!
  • Snagging GDC signs
  • Sigma! "We think a gorilla is really cool. [showed a gorilla] We think an even bigger gorilla is even cooler. [showed a giant gorilla] And we think a gorilla with the head of a killer whale is the coolest [showed exactly that]" - Alex Garden, Relic Ent. [Update: Sigma became Impossible Creatures]
  • Facial animation session given by ILM with lots of SW:Ep1 animations, showing Jar Jar and Boss Nass from concept to 3d model to composite in the movie
  • Seeing friends becoming part of the industry
  • Playing with an XBox dev kit
  • Horse trading (trading work times with others): "If you're a programmer, think of a pointer chain. If you're an artist [pause] just remember the original person" - Ian MacKenzie

Party review
The parties and handouts weren't as lavish as they've been in the past. Suite Night used to actually be about going up and down to different floors and different suites in the Fairmont, now it's just about going from ballroom to ballroom on the second floor, with the same food and drinks in every room. Sadly, the Aquabats didn't play this year, however, there were a couple of bands playing, as well as karaoke. However, aside from the changes, Suite Night was still pretty cool, because it's all about schmoozing, and the food was tasty.

Now, I'm not sure why they keep throwing parties in clubs. You know it's a game developer party when there are basically only guys and they're playing hacky-sack on the dance floor instead of actually dancing. A lot of people just stayed back and played Witch Hunt instead, which was really a lot of fun.

We'll post the photos as soon as I get them developed and scanned (I really need a digital camera!). Until then, check out our past GDC and E3 pics in the gallery.

Monday, March 19, 2001


We're at the GDC! Full report and pics when we get back!

Thursday, March 15, 2001

Hornet's Offline

Andy Voss posted this on today:

"As of March 14, 2001, Digital River took most of the directories offline, including /pub/demos, aka The Hornet Archive. We're sad to see it go, but not all is lost. There is a fully operational mirror at Digital River now charges for use of its space, but that fee doesn't justify returning the demos directory. We may revive the archive someday, on our own hardware, but for now we will let Hornet pass."

It's sad to hear that, but then again, it's been closed since September, 1998, but this feels more like its final death. The Hornet Archive webpage is still up, but downloading from the address we all know and love,, just doesn't work anymore. Long live and its Hornet mirror!