I’ve survived the first week of school here at EPFL. Well, survived is very misleading since the courses actually seem very interesting. There is still one course I haven’t had yet though since this Monday was a public holiday and hence no lectures. The course in IT security engineering had a very interesting and quite challenging first lab his week. You were given a virtual machine and a set of questions whose answers you got by performing various security related tasks, both hacking and forensics.
There have been some partying as well. Wednesday evening there was a welcome aperitif where I met even more exchange students. It was followed up by free entrance at a club in Lausanne but I only made it as far as the warm-up party before I realized that I was way too tired and went home.
On the Thursday it was the first really big thing of the semester, PolyNite. For some reason it seems that it is standard to party on Thursday, which is pretty stupid, especially for me who has courses from 8-17 on Fridays. Anyway, I went there for a few hours, it was a pretty cool arrangements with several dance floors and bars.
Yesterday was something called “the Night of the Museums”. You could buy a ticket which gave you entrance to all museums in town which were all open until 02:00. I went to two different museums with Emma and Felicitas (after they made me wait about 40 minutes). One of them was actually several museums which shared the same building. So after seeing some geology, dead animals and 18th century portraits we went to the design museum. After first going through a small episode of Felicitas thinking she lost her phone and then finding again in her bag, we could look at the various exhibitions, one focused on plastic bags and the other on glass. Some of the items were really cool and some of them, well just plain strange.
Today I’ve spent the day at school since I don’t have internet at home. While I had lunch with Esther, we got “attacked” by a small bird who couldn’t find its way out of the building and kept flying in to the many glass walls. We tried to open the door for it but it couldn’t see the difference between the open door and the glass walls and kept hurting itself. It was sad and at the same time a little funny.
Now I’m going home for dinner.
After my first few days here in Lausanne I’m starting to get a basic sense of orientation. I will not say that I’m completely settled in. I wonder if that actually will happen at all. At least I have a place to stay, I’ve aquired a phone a number and a metro card and I know where the school is.
I will back up a little. I have moved to Lausanne, Switzerland to do an exchange semester at EPFL as a start of my master’s studies. I’m living in an apartment in the center of the city together with three Italians: Marco, Irene and Francesca. They are all from Milano and Marco will do a complete master’s here unlike the girls who are here as exchange students like me.
I arrived this Wednesday and after a decent flight and a train trip from Geneva to Lausanne I was picked up at the station by Marco and his parents who were visiting. Thursday and Friday were welcoming days at EPFL with a lot of information but more importantly a lot of new people. I’ve probably talked to over 40 exchange students from various sections in these last few days. There seem to be a lot of nice people from all over the world, with a majority from Europe, here.
Friday evening we had a birthday party for Francesca at our place with Lasagna and a about 15 people. It was a nice evening but when we later went to a pub I ended the night early, still being very tired from the traveling, early mornings and meeting a lot of new people. Yesterday I first spent the day at IKEA wih two computer science students, Emma (from Sweden as well) and Georg. Later, Georg and I took a short trip to Geneva. Later in the evening, the Ialians and I went to a house party at a friend of theirs in the west of Switzerland, very close to the French border. It was quite far out on the country-side but the house had an amazing view and it was a really nice BBQ party with, again, a lot of new people. Since the place was quite off we could choose between taking the last train home at about midnight or staying the whole night until morning. Feeling quite satisfied with the evening so far I eventually went for the former which I felt really great this morning when I woke up in my own bed feeling rested.
The courses don’t start until Tuesday because of tomorrow being a public holiday. Since everything here is closed on Sundays and holidays, we will take a boat over to Evian tomorrow and check out the French side of the lake. In short it has been a few very nice but very tiring first days here in Lausanne. I will try to write more here later this week, until then enjoy this poto of my view from our balcony (will be uploaded when I have proper internet).
We have been working all day now, and except for some starting issues we are now gaining momentum. We still haven’t made anything runnable but a lot of the core functionality of the engine is in place. We basically only need to complete the rendering system and add some placeholder scripts to have a running prototype. Our writer has made a first draft for the beginning of the game and our UI and gameplay sketches looks pretty nice. I’m going to bed now but two of the others will continue. Hopefully they’ll have something nice to show in the morning.
PS. Pic related.
Long time, no post. As you may have guessed, Project Duck was put on the shelf for a while. We simply had too much in school and lost momentum on he project. This week however we are on Easter leave which means a lot of free time. We decided to have a programming marathon and create a new game. We have set up our “game studio” in the basement of one of my friends. The idea is to work Monday to Wednesday or Thursday and try to create a point and click adventure game.
We are three programmers, two of us whom also will do some graphics and sound, and one designer. We have only been working for a few hours now and are still working on the very basics of the game engine. I will try to post updates a few times a day here on our progress and hopefully include materials, either screenshots or working demos. Keep an eye out for more info.
I wrote the following article for our school paper. The theme was adventures so I wrote an article about adventure games. It’s in Swedish since I couldn’t be bothered to translate it. Enjoy!
Äventyr för oäventyrliga
Äventyr, äventyr. Hur ofta är det egentligen man upplever ett sådant? Om man är för feg för att åka forsränning eller för fattig för att åka jorden runt, hur gör man då? Lyckligtvis finns det ju dataspel*, och då inte vilka spel som helst, utan äventyrsspel, en genre som jag håller mycket varmt om hjärtat.
I’m back! After over two weeks without internet I’ve finally worked through my backlog of emails and other compulsory tasks. A new semester has started and I’m really looking forward to taking almost double the normal credits thanks to a combination of me failing last semester and the rich collection of courses to choose from.
I had some discussions with my fellow programmers on project Duck during the weekend. We admit that we have been lacking progress and while we can’t really make any promises since we all have a lot to do, we are very keen on getting work done and hopefully release something playable later this spring.
During my Christmas break I didn’t manage to stay away from development completely. A friend of mine requested a program for our LAN party which we had two weeks ago. The idea was to have one computer with speakers plugged in running a jukebox system so that everyone could choose songs. I solved the problem by creating a simple media player in C# which hosted a web interface from which anyone could upload songs to the server which then was added to the play queue. It was an interesting project because even though being a rather simple program it involved several topics including networking, audio and multi-threading. The program, named LAN Jukebox (creative, I know) can be found on GitHub.
I also have some smaller personal projects and ideas I would like to talk about, but I will get back to that later.
I’m alive! Tomorrow, after five exams in one week, I will finally be able to get my break over the Christmas. Three weeks without school. Oh, how I’ve longed for this. This will give me some well earned time to spend with my friends, some gaming and of course more programming. I have several interesting ideas which have piled up during the weeks. I wanted to list them here, wither for someone else to pick up or to get some feedback on what you guys think looks interesting. Enjoy!
I have finally recovered from last weekend’s adventures. The club fraction from our section, the physics section at KTH (Royal Institute of Technology) went down to Lund, a student city in the south of Sweden. We had been invited by the physics section there to an event called F1 Röj which is a wordplay containing F, the letter of the physics section (physics = fysik, in Swedish), F1, which when pronounced (kinda like “m8″ = mate) means something like “wicked” and finally RÖJ which is both the Swedish name of Minesweeper and also means something like party. Now, having finally explained the name you maybe wonder what this was all about.
This week we have been working on implementing basic functionality into the engine. The first challenge was to figure out exactly how the physics engine works and how to work with it. Creating basic boxes was straight forward but when we came to the issue of terrain we had to consider several possibilities. How do we store terrain data? Should we create models and use or do we generate them from height data. Since the physics engine had methods to handle height maps we went with the latter. Today we implemented a camera system which uses ray casting to prevent the view from being obscured by an item in front of the player. This means that as soon as an object covers the player, the camera will zoom in past the object. The way this is done is that a ray is cast (hence the name) from the players location towards the supposed location of the camera. If it hits anything on the way, we place the camera there.
Almost two weeks ago some friends and I have started up a game programming project under the name Project Duck. I didn’t want to write anything about it until I knew if it was going to get anywhere but today the first runnable test was pushed to the trunk and therefore I’m going to start write about the project as it goes along in this developer blog. I would like to start off with outlining the project’s members and goals.