Saturday, January 30, 2010

Tweaked Again

Don't you just love when the titles I use sound strange or bad without context?

I tweaked the blog template again. The box at the bottom of each post had a solid background that made it way too bold against the rest of the design. Background removed, border-top added.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Majestic Spirit

Out of the blue, I pulled a new composition (photo-manipulation).

I was vaguely inspired after staring at the cover art of [PS3] Resistance: Fall of Man. I didn't want to do something in the same style, but I wanted the dirty/grunge treatment in a landscape photo-manipulation. While working on it, the piece changed style entirely. What was supposed to be a dead/static piece somehow ended up with a life of its own.

Time for me to go out and shovel the doorway again. Damn snowstorms...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Holy Crap, Bad Habit Again...

I neglected my Blog again. I got a few excuses:
  • Busy at work (Board meeting)
  • An event leading to worry and stress (no details here)
  • Choir
  • Crafting a case for my pennywhistles
Take which ever one you like.

I'm not doing a lot of things. I've even pushed aside the infamous commissions I need to work on to work on the whistle case. I'm going to post the process once it's done.

I'm planning on posting a tiny bit more frequently, even if I don't have much to say.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Mindblown - Depth of XNA and .NET

It's one thing to have some fundamental knowledge about something, like what is XNA and .NET. But it's an whole other thing to see what they truly are. Not necessarily to fully understand .NET and become a .NET master, but to see and understand where certain things come from.

I recently went through the "Under the Hood" and "XNA from Scratch" lessons from the 3DBuzz's XNA Xtreme 101 volume 2. My eyes are still glazed-over from last week. Not from confusing, but from sheer amazement. You can't fully understand the complexity and power of .NET until you see it with your own eyes.

When you create a new XNA project (Windows Game, for example), there's a load of code already into place, ready for you to add in your own code to. When you run that empty project, you get a wonderful CornflowerBlue window. Where does that window (Form) come from? Where does the code that's added in come from and what does it do? If we override Draw() and Update(), where is the original and what do they do?...

The almighty default XNA Windows Game window

We first started to look at a normal Windows Application to see where the Form (window) gets created and tried to understand that. Then we looked at an empty XNA Windows Game, and we traced everything using Reflector. It was stunning to see the sheer complexity of .NET and XNA, but then it was mind-blowing to see it all connected and working together.

At this point, I'm both excited and scared/intimidated of working with XNA.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Where I'm Going in 2010... (Personal Life)

The last of the trilogy. I won't be going over many details of my personal life, but will hit some of the major things I want to change or accomplish this year.

First and foremost is the same as every year. Health, exercise, eating habits... What I want to achieve in this department is to reduce my eating portions (I don't eat terribly bad, I just eat a lot) and become more physically active. The exercising is a longterm goal. I can't just start jogging tomorrow. My cardio and lung capacity isn't really good and I need to start from the bottom of the ladder and climb up one by one. I need to start doing some small and basic cardio frequently and work my way up again.

Another thing I want to do relates to another thing I realized in 2008 was how many hobbies I had (too many). I couldn't keep them all up and after some very long and difficult thinking, I dropped some. I've been feeling downright balanced ever since. Problem is I often slack off or badly manages my time to game, which goes hand-in-hand with my gaming commitment problem. What I want to do this year is to put a bit more focus on music this year. Not only for my dad's choir, but also to really learn to play the Irish Whistle and Irish Flute.

If I can commit to focusing on music and manage my time for it, I'll learn to commit to other little things. I got a few side-projects that really don't go forward because I can't seem to make time for them. What I should start first, though, is the two commissions I have that are already on the table.

All-in-all, I got a nice plan for 2010, which is said to be a year of change. If I can follow this road map to the end of the year, things are going to be better for me and I'll be ready to move on to balance and organize my life even more.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Where I'm Going in 2010... (Gaming)

Something that hit me pretty hard in 2008 is when I realized how jaded I've sort of become to gaming in general. Not the industry, but the way I committed (or lack of) to some games and how this made me feel.

I'm not going to be buying a lot of games this year. I've seriously slowed down buying games in the past 6-8 months and I really don't feel I'm going to come back to my old habits. Keeping this up will have two effects. First is that it won't only make me appreciate the games I already own a bit more, but also appreciate gaming as a whole. Second one is that it will make me finish some long-overdue games. I don't want to finish every game. I've mentioned this before, but I do want to finish some essential games. For example, I never completed [PS3] Assassin's Creed. I'm obviously not going to touch the sequel even though it's what the first game should've been.

Essentially, I want to shift my focus to gaming a bit. I don't want to game more seriously, and I don't want to take it too lightly either. There's a right balance in the middle for me and that's where I believe I should be.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Where I'm Going in 2010... (Professional Life)

The first post of the year is something we ask ourselves every year at multiple times (relationships, finances, personal lives, professional lives, etc...) is where we want to go, what we need to do, or what we want to achieve during this brand new year. I will attempt to ask myself this from a professional side. Later this week I will cover the same topic from another perspective.

I think it's clear for everyone by now that masteringMaya hasn't only been put on ice, but has been shut in the freezer for a long time. I often get the urge to simply pull up Maya play around in it in order to re-familiarize myself with the application and maybe run through a few videos. But I don't do it. I hold back for a reason: I need to concentrate on a goal that I need for my profession. Work before fun, I guess you could say.

By the end of the year, I want to have fully dived back in Web Development. I want to become comfortable developing Web applications like I was back in College. For this, there are specific steps that I personally want have to take.