A Neu Haunting

Neumont has been officially haunted… by stalkerish crazy computer scientists… AHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!

Fortunately, everyone somehow managed to survive this haunting occasion unscathed. And as a result of a awesome costume contest we ended up with a wide selection of great photos for your viewing pleasure.

Enjoy this crazy cool gallery :)

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Fracture – The Game

One of the cool things about Neumont is that every so often an assignment comes along that intrigues and causes you to become way more obsessed and involved in that assignment or project than you normally are. One of my current class is a course in XNA, which is Microsoft’s game and graphical development libraries for building games for both Windows, and for the Xbox ad Xbox 360, making it a powerful game development suite powered by .NET and C# (My current language of choice).

The first very, VERY beta version of the game was turned in late last night… or early this morning depending on what time zone you’re in :) The basic premise was to make a simple 2D game from the techniques learned in class, vectors, shapes, zdepth, and text… just basic simple stuff. We were required to have more than one character with a frame based animated sprite, multiple opponents, and collision of some sort or another and some overall game logic (game over, you win, you lose… you know the drill) For those of you that know me from before I came to Neumont one of the big things that originally drew me into computers was making and creating games, my parents were rather strict and against me playing many, if any games at all, but for the most part they didn’t mind me making and creating my own games. Being 14-15 at the time, trying to wrap your head about 3D matrix transformations, vector math, ridged body dynamics, path finding and node graph transversal… Wow, parents must have thought I was crazy (Thanks for all the books mom and dad! :)

So, for your perusing pleasure, I present Fracture, the result 3-4 day coding, lots of coffee, ~40 source files and classes and approximately 7000 lines of code and the Photoshop skillz of yours truly ;) It’s a side scrolling, completely 2D sprite based game (no 3D objects or cameras or anything at all). Your goal is simple, survive to the end of the level, don’t hit the white circles that come in and bounce around the screen or the bullets they shoot at you and destroy as many of those dang white circles as possible.

So.

If there is enough interest, *cough*splutter*comments*cough*, I may continue working on this and get it release ready. You know you want to play an awesome game of shooting little white circles that are trying to run themselves into you and shooting at the same time to achieve the never ending highest percent destroyed per level up to the highest level possible :)

But for real, leave a comment, tell me what you all think, how it looks, even how much it sucks and what could be better :)

(Click the thumbnails to view a full sized image)


Screenshot 1



Screenshot 2



Screenshot 3

Neumont Olympics – Day 4

Who would have thought, Neumont, the on of the most premiere computer science schools in existence right now, would have Olympic events?

However unusual, the USG (United Student Government) of Neumont University has begun what will become a yearly, or possibly bi-yearly Olympic games event. Teams of up to four people sign up and compete in a variety of events throughout the week of the Olympic games. This particular time events have included an egg toss, Foosball tournament, rock band tournament, and most recently an obstacle / relay race.

Photos… SWEEEEETT:

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Paul

Timesheet App + 3rd Place = $100

For those of you that read this blog… And saw my previous post about peak… I entered a timesheet application that I had written for human computer interface design class and ended up with 3rd place! Even so I was quite surprised at the level of interest in the application by some of the faculty and several students who have part time jobs here at Neumont.

The project started off as solution to a problem: How to get people who are paid on a per hour basis and who have their own development machine, to keep accurate timesheets.

I know that people have trouble remembering to consistently fill out a timesheet every day and for every break, it’s not a problem with the person themselves, but just that people are not perfect and do forget things from time to time. Currently, there are two methods of keeping track of time: One is simply to fill out a form every day (or excel document, or some form of tabular information) listing off the time you came in and the time you left, and then totaling the time on the form to get a total time. The second is a ‘clock in’ and ‘clock out’ program where you will either log in or have some form of clicking ‘start timer’ and ‘stop timer’. Some way’s are combinations of all of the above.

I wanted an application that was so simple to use, so unobtrusive that you would hardly even notice you were using it, and something that would keep a detailed record of my activity. I started out with the basic assumption that when a person was active on their computer that they were ‘working’ and that if they left for more than say, 10 minutes that they were ‘not working’. That being said, I quickly realized that there would always be exceptions to this, an hour long meeting, an extended time discussing or planning out a project on a white board… etc. So at the very beginning of the project I knew I need to have a simple, unobtrusive, way to handle exceptions to the normal workflow during the day.

[ This next section gets technical ]

The base of the application relied on hooking into the global mouse and keyboard events via Win32 DLL’s so that I was able to determine when a user is active on their computer. The application disappears into the system tray and keeps a running variable of the last time an action was performed. When a new action is performed it compares the time the new action was performed the previous action. If the difference is greater than a specified period of time (Which is stored in the application settings) the application pops up a message box to the user and asks them if they were working or not and provided an space to enter an optional comment. It then creates two time period segments, the first is for the time they were active up until the start of the activity gap, the second is from the start of the activity gap to the end of the activity gap. It then saves the timesheet and disappears again.

[ End technical section ]

The essence of this program is that it only asks ‘were you working?’ when you’ve been inactive from your computer during your specified working hours. Otherwise you would never even notice that the application existed. For me it’s perfect because it’s something that’s unobtrusive enough that I could run it on startup and just forget about it. It’s detailed because it asks you about exceptions, and it’s robust and stable.

Something that I was really intrigued by was the verity of ideas and features that people wanted for different things. If I decide to continue working on this (which I may) there are several core features that I still need to add. After that, I am thinking that I’ll add ‘aspects’ to the program; an aspect being not a ‘re-skinning’ but a re-skin plus additional functionality. For instance, one of the big ideas was being able to track application usage and to be able to record which applications were being used for how long and at what time. Another was the ability to categorize their time use. A third was the ability to have multiple users working on the same computer. I’m still going to have to work a lot of these issues out and figure out what’s going to be in the core project and what’s going to be included in the various ‘aspects’ of the program.

It’s an interesting project, and I’ll probably keep playing with it and adding additional functionality and ideas. If you’re interested in it, let me know, get in touch, suggest ideas. Who knows… maybe I’ll let you beta test ;)

Assassins

For those of you who have heard of street wars it’s a competition that is put on several times a year in major cities.  100+ people sign up and each person is randomly assigned a target to ‘kill’ by means of squirting them with a water gun, hitting them with a water baloon, or other method of getting the intended victim wet.  The assassin then takes the target of the person they just killed and goes after them.  The last person standing wins, or the winner of sudden death.

For my projects class at Neumont this quarter we decided to create a website that can take the game online so that anyone can play, people will be able to sign up, administrators will be able to create events, and players can sign up to play in events.  The system will take all the players at the start of the Game and assign them their targets and keep track of kills and statistics.  Right now I’m working on a mockup for the graphic design / layout for the site.  Take a look:

Assassins Front / Splash Page

Assassins - Current Target ViewAssassins - View Event

If the site turns out well enough we may try to release it to the public to use, now that would be cool!

Let me know what you think, I love feedback :D

Paul