Wednesday, November 20, 2002

A Crash Course in Matrix Math

The principles of linear algebra ("matrix math") are central to the ideas of graphics and simulation programming and used extensively in code.

In the latest tutorial, I describe what matrices are, the operations that can be done on them, and how that mystic 4th row and column are used in a 4x4 matrix.

The Matrix Math tutorial can be found in the Lore section.

Monday, October 21, 2002

Intro to Lisp

Lisp: a language that we're told is great but does anyone use it? I spent some time earlier this year writing AI code with Lisp and gained a new perspective on programming languages and design.

Developing with Lisp requires a completely different way of thinking about programming, especially for those coming from a procedural language background (e.g. C/C++/Java) background. However, after playing with it for a while, it makes complete sense and its a joy to work with.

Find out why and how at: Intro to Lisp, in the Lore section.

Friday, September 20, 2002

Dev Day

It's amazing how a little bit of time, effort, and pampering can change your view of a company.

Yesterday, ATI put on a developer day at some fancy hotel in San Francisco. They served us this incredible buffet lunch, with soups, cuts of meat, and ingredients to make tacos, plus some neat little pecan pie desserts. During the break, platters of chocolate chip, peanut butter, macadamia nut, and oatmeal cookies were out, all very, very good.

Each person was given a binder with info, a fat, clear pen that lit up with the push of a button, and a little black notebook, a la Msft notebooks at the GDC, not to mention their top-of-the-line video card, the Radeon 9700. Definitely very nice.

Technical talks were given too, I think. But seriously, the lectures were interesting and helpful. Topics included Pixel Shader 2.0 coding, new features in DirectX9 (plus optimization), debugging shaders, and a workshop on using their shader dev tool, RenderMonkey. Being walked though it was definitely a great way to have developers start using it, and it really does seem like a great tool -- you can easily create and tweak effects, write shader code in it, and even attach your own engine to it so you can see how it would look in your game. What I have to wonder now is how nVidia's Cg dev tools compare to this.

By reaching out to the developers, ATI presents itself as a more desirable and worthwhile company to develop for (aside from the fact that all the chips out there are basically either by ATI or nVidia). nVidia's been aggressively reaching out to developers for a long time, so the developer really benefits from this dual-education competition.

Sunday, September 8, 2002


I'm currently in Spain, checking out the architecture of Gaudi and Gehry, and the artwork of Dali, but I'll be back soon.

Tuesday, July 23, 2002


I'm studying in Italy for the summer, so the site's not dead, just on pause for a couple of months.

Saturday, May 25, 2002

E3 First Impressions

We're back from E3!

Quick snippets

  • Overheard about Super Mario Sunshine: "Mario's gone from a plumber to a janitor!"
  • Ryan and I were talking with nVidia and as we left the conference room, we passed by Todd Hollenshead (CEO) and Marty Stratton of id (and wearing Doom III shirts), who were waiting outside.
  • Saw Warren Spector on the show floor (of Deus Ex, among other incredible games).
  • Saw DOOM III! We almost watched it with Tony Hawk but at the last minute he didn't come because he had to sign autographs.
  • SimCity4: Incredibly beautiful, detailed, and fun! Great job, Maxis!


  • At 8:30am Ryan and I waited at the side doors to get in to the expo.
  • At 9:00am the doors opened and we ran to find the line.
  • At 9:02am we were in line that had a 2 hour wait(!)
  • At 9:30am all the showings in the day were booked (about 35 11-minute shows).
  • At 10:05am we saw DOOM III.
  • At 10:16am E3 was worth it.

My DOOM III impressions 
I realize that DOOM III is still in development, but here's what I think about it so far

  • Trent Reznor was quoted as saying, "we want to get inside your head and make it an unpleasant place to be." That's an understatement. DOOM III is incredibly scary (and gruesome too).
  • The atmosphere is tense: Every second is dripping in agonizing tension and fear of what lies around the next corner or going to jump out from the shadows. As you walk through, pieces of metal might fall and create a scary clanging sound, making you think something is near.
  • The industrial environment looked absolutely stunning and the detail and quality was way, way above anything we've seen before. The monsters, on the other hand, looked fairly shiny and plastic-like. We think this is due to the way bump-mapping is being used. This is just me, but the shiny fat zombies are just lame (even though their bellies jiggle when monsters eat their guts, literally)
  • Scary Death Sequence: Huge salivating monster kills you and your head hits the ground and you can only see your arm and his feet as you black out. He then rips off your head (which you can still see though, of course) and then eat you. It's so disgusting but very well done.
  • The console in the theatre was apparently from a Star Trek movie.
  • Nice physics! Boxes tumble and so do monsters down the stairs.

Wednesday, May 22, 2002

E3 Expedition

We are making our annual pilgrimage to the awe-inspiring show that is E3 (or at least what it used to be). Top priority is checking out DOOM III! Although the movie they're showing will probably be posted online right after the show, it'll be so much cooler to see it real-time in a room right out of DOOM. Yes!

Sunday, April 28, 2002

The Economy as Seen Through the GDC 2002

Here we can see the state of the economy as reflected in the amount of schwag I've been able to get each year. Unfortunately, I didn't take a photo of the stuff from 1999, but let me assure you it was equal or more than what I got at the GDC 2000. (Note: schwag isn't a big thing for me any more after going to so many of these conferences).




The decline of lavish spending can also been seen visually in the photos from E3 (including the ones I haven't posted yet). We're going to E3 this year and I'm really interested to see how it compares to past years, but I bet it'll be fairly low-key. More importantly, I want to find out who's taking over the Promised Lot -- arguably the best part of E3.

Friday, March 22, 2002

American McGee's GDC Talk

I went to hear American McGee talk on the whole production process of Alice at the GDC today.

I helped prep him for his talk. "The game is absolutely beautiful," I said, "but the gameplay wasn't so good." Almost apologizing, he agreed. American was just so chill, relaxed, friendly, and very approachable.

The first thing we saw was concept art and models from "American McGee's OZ"! It was incredibly cool and beautiful, however, what little we saw has the same dark twisted look as Alice (but that's a good thing, imo). These are just concepts, but the creatures and enemies might include wizards, witches, Quadlings (one leg, torso, and arm, I think), monkeys, the Tin Terror ("garbage can" with chainsaw & claw arms), plus locations such as the ice castle and the witch castle. After apologizing publicly about the lack of gameplay in Alice, he mentioned that gameplay was being worked on much earlier on for Oz. As for the status of the game, they're in the pre-production phase (which will hopefully be done around mid-May).

American's work is strongly influenced by music. After spending some time trying not to name the big-name musician for Oz, it was pointed out that the artist -- Peter Gabriel -- was mentioned in the credits for the demo reel! Slightly embarrassed, he said that the contracts hadn't been signed yet, but then confirmed the deal.

He stressed getting contracts written and signed with musicians (and of course everything else) before depending on it. Apparently Marilyn Manson wrote five tracks for Alice but then later on they weren't allowed to use it.

The contract between Id and Nine Inch Nails for the music for Quake wasn't signed until the day before the game appeared on store shelves. Had the contract not been signed, Quake would have had to be pulled from the shelves and all the already printed copies would have been destroyed. The story for Quake was written at the last minute (yeah, I know --Story? What story?!) just because they needed something to write on the box to describe what the heck Quake was.

Tuesday, March 19, 2002

GDC 2002

At orientation last night the idea of the CAs having a family environment was covered. Ian joked, "Some people may be uncomfortable, but we're a bunch of people who don't usually interact with others... Hey! We're geeks, right?!" [note: a lot of people are programmers]

As for myself, I didn't have to work today so I spent my time getting some much needed sleep. This helped make up for sleep I didn't get and now I've stored up for sleep that I won't get between now and the end of the GDC.

Tuesday, February 12, 2002


Today we celebrate Fusion Industries' 4th year! Go us!

Monday, January 28, 2002

New Weblog

I've started up my own weblog at so I can post things that I've been up to that aren't necessarily relevant to Fusion Industries itself. It will hopefully be updated more often than the main news page.

As for us at Fusion Industries, we're planning on going to the Game Developers Conference that's happening in March. We're looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones, plus all the other good stuff that comes with the conference (lectures, witch hunt, parties, CA's, and t-shirts).