Still breathing

Yes, it has been a while since I’ve written. Why? I really don’t know.

Unfortunately, my nice, new computer I just bought last October decided to die on me a couple weeks ago. I was messing around in that hell-spawned program iTunes when my computer froze — never to return. Thus, I naturally blame said application. It’s going to be at least three weeks from today until I have my good ol’ computer in working order again.

Going back to conducting affairs from my laptop, I have a new-found appreciation for my desktop. I’m trying to run all the applications I could run on my desktop, but everything’s going four times slower. Garrysmod is nearly impossible to run/play, which is a shame because I have a boss who’s no doubt wondering why my code updates have come to a grinding halt as well as a new not-so-cheap dedicated garrysmod server. Still, perhaps all this worked out to my benefit because now I have more time for miscellaneous tasks like getting ready for my move to Texas and writing on my blog.

Speaking of Texas, I should mention that I graduated from high school last week. I’ve decided to follow the family tradition of attending LeTourneau University. It’s a pretty neat growing Christian university geared toward engineers. The only downside is, of course, that it’s located in Texas; it will be fun to finally get away from Utah though!

On the same day my computer died, I received a call from our local air force base inviting me to come back and work for them again this summer. This is very exciting news for me, as I loved working out there. I learned an inordinate amount of information, and have used most of what I learned at least once since then. Of course, there’s the extra benefit that this job has a good possibility of continuing throughout college (yes, even out of state. I’ll just work whenever I come home), even has a chance of paying for a Master’s degree down the road.

This last weekend one of our cats, Pippin, mysteriously stopped eating or drinking. We promptly took him to the vet, who ran an analysis on our unfortunate kitty’s blood. The tests revealed nothing, so Pippin was sent home with some antibiotics and we were told to force water down him. Now, for those of you lucky enough to have never tried — forcing liquids down a cat is maddeningly difficult, impossible in the quantities required. However, we stuck to this regimen for two days with no improvement.

When we realized Pippin would probably die of dehydration before he got over what was ailing him, we took him back to the vet on Saturday. The vet still had no idea what was wrong, so we had to leave Pippin there for hospitalization over the long three-day weekend.

It turned out that Pippin had a urinary tract infection. We got some extra meds for this when we picked him up Tuesday. It’s now Thursday, and Pippin’s doing much better. He’s almost back on track with his old diet, and seems to be taking enough liquids.

To once again change the subject, I’ve been considering what project to take up for the summer as is my annual tradition. My ideas include:

  • Some AI in garrysmod. Maybe some intelligent weapons platforms, or just general AI demonstrastions (flocking, leading, etc). AI is and always has been my passion, so this would be pretty neat.
  • I’d like to do some work with an ogrelua combination, but this would be a huge project spanning years. If I start now I’d be lucky to have something to show for my college senior project. I may write more about my ideas for this at a later date.
  • Ulysses Universe. A friend of mine would hurt me for putting this on my consideration list (he’s been reminding me to finish it every day for months now), but every time I think of what’s required in the next step to do this script I suddenly remember I somewhere else I need to be. Basically, Ulysses Universe (UU for short) is implemented in garrysmod and is a real planetary system. This means you can launch things in orbit, walk around the planet, etc. This script can be broken down into four major components:
  1. Gravity. By far the simplest to implement, I’ve rewritten this component multiple times until I was happy with how it worked and how it was optimized.
  2. Player angles. The players’ angles have to be rotated while they walk around the planet. It took me a while to figure out how to do this, and I just recently realized I probably took the entirely wrong approach (has a nasty bug when you go to the bottom of the planet).
  3. Player movement. By far the hardest thing to implement, because of the complexity of the physics system. You have to keep track of moving objects under the player, apply force to said objects so they can tip and fall, and of course make sure players can’t walk through walls. This has to be completely reimplemented because the default hl2 system has no allowance for it whatsoever. Even worse is that this would require the prediction for player movement to be redone. In the end, there’s no way this is going to be anything like VALVe’s movement system.
  4. Niceties. Things like an easy swep to launch things into orbit, a compass, hud, etc. These are always fun to implement.

Okay, enough typing for today (3 AM). Hopefully I’ll have more updates soon!

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