For Marist Artificial Intelligence, my buddy Phil and I had to make a Chess AI. The professor hosted a server that would manage teams and a 2D display of games. AIs had to manage gamestates and submit moves to the server, as well as receive new moves when it wasn’t the AI’s turn. The server managed whether moves were valid or not and would update the 2D display when the AIs submitted their turn. After several weeks of development, all the teams competed their AIs against each other.
For my Operating Systems class, I was tasked with making an Operating System simulation using basic OS architecture and 6502 operations.
Using TypeScript, I implemented a CPU, CPU scheduler with 3 scheduling methods, memory manager for RAM, kernel interrupt and ready/resident queue, hard drive and hard drive driver with swap virtual memory. I also added neat features like achievements, boot video, step mode, and tons of little special commands.
There are a bunch of built in programs to ctOS you can find in the sidebar, but feel free to make your own. There was discussion on how it would easily be possible to read/write executable programs to the hard drive, and with a few more op codes, you could have the simplified 6502 CPU do some pretty legit algorithms like merge sort and stuff. Its a fun Operating System.
For years I’ve been adamant about getting a job in the gaming industry for many reasons that can take up a whole essay on it’s own about why I find it so fascinating and important in media today. As a student, I became very acquainted with the recruitment process of being met with blank stares and non-responses when applying for internships at gaming companies or inquiring about them. Many for some reason are totally opposed to the idea, but others have intern systems even if they say they don’t.
From my high school senior year onward, I was on the hunt for an internship in games. As I approached my senior year of college, I felt my rope was getting really short because an internship would have been incredibly vital to my career decision in games. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be a designer, programmer, IT technician or something else entirely. I wanted to use the internship opportunity to experience it first hand and base my decision off that. When all my efforts failed, I decided to go all-in on programming. It was a risk, believe it or not, for a Computer Science major like me because I still wasn’t decidedly convinced I wanted to be in this field.
After Ubisoft reached out to me, I finally got to experience some professional hands on programming with languages I truly enjoy and learn about the industry first hand. I’m not only sold on programming now, but more than ever before, games as a career too.
Prepare for a long blog. There’s over 8 months of experiences summed up.
Happy fourth-of-July, my American brethren. Sorry Canada, I went home for the weekend!
During my flight home, I started musing some of my unread C++ ebook collection and decided to start with Effective STL by Scott Meyers, the same author as the awesome Effective C++ book I reviewed. One of the first Items covered is how range member functions are better than single elements! I find this extremely intriguing. I never heard of this and I sure wasn’t taught this amazingly simple and clearly superior concept in school.
Interesting bit came up at work with our bi-weekly “brown bag” lunches with our programming team – Scripting vs Native C++ code. A lot of game developers, and even in many other realms, some of the code base may be split into Lua or Python for easy, quick iteration. I know many studios, such as many of the Call of Duty studios, use primarily Lua for their gameplay scripts.
The argument is that is easy to write, iterate fast, and provide to employees who don’t have deep programming knowledge (like some gameplay designers and such). It’s perfectly legitimate too, there isn’t anything inherently wrong with the scripting languages augmenting a huge C++ code-base engine. However, there are caveats such as managing two different languages and creating wrappers for stuff. Also, Lua doesn’t have proper debugging tools many C++ programmers are used to, and when tied into that code-base, it can become a nightmare to debug.
Fantastic read, pretty classy too. Each script is a single cpp file that gets compiled into a dynamic library which recompiles everytime the file changes, even during gameplay. The scripts even get a nice little compression size reduction too. Good read.
Team Omega’s Ubisoft GameJam project – “You, Me, Pigs In A Forest”
A spooky co-op game that features the theme of “You & I”.
One player controls a lantern and the other a sword. Enemies cannot be hit with the sword unless they are vulnerable from the lantern light. The lantern player is powerless to defend himself and the sword player has no light source. They must stick together to survive but are sometimes forced to separate.
Using Unity Pro, we employed depth of field and noise filters to create a cinematic quality to the darkness.
A custom shader I made gives maps a “fog of war” where shadows envelop the player, and only the lantern has the ability to shine through. If the sword player moves out of the lantern, the darkness completely covers him.
Enemies employ the Unity nav mesh system to follow and hunt the player down in swarms.
Member declaration order for structs and classes are important. You want to order the smallest to the largest (or vice versa) in order to avoid what’s known as ‘padding’. Padding is basically what the compiler will use to keep the memory allocation of the struct/class aligned in memory. This padding tends to be wasted space unless some compiler specific enhancement is occurring.
What I learned today was that Microsoft’s C++ compiler actually has extra padding involved, by design. And the solution to avoid the extra previous memory being stolen from you? Quite elementary, how could you not know? Inheriting from an empty abstract class makes your objects smaller.
So this is something I’ve seen two large camps pitted against each other for. Programmers should always be responsible for the code they write and should always be actively trying to write responsible code in itself. I think everyone can get behind that without much quarrel. But! One camp tends to argue that the programmer should ensure there is ~absolutely~ no way for things to blow up while the other camp argues that the programmer should place ‘checks’ in the code in the possibility that it does.
Hopefully the issue is clear.
Should a programmer place checks in their code to not only protect users in the future, but also themselves? “Why wouldn’t you?” your reaction may be. Well, you might have a complex piece of code that would take a lot of resources to constantly check will work properly. The goal is to make sure your code is exception-safe as much as possible, but there is always someone out there who will holler out “at what cost?!” If something is expected to work one way, that should be the ~only~ way it will ever work they argue!
It boils down to a kind of elite purist paradigm vs a human-error safe paradigm. Both have merit!
I made a pretty timely and amateur mistake today because I was running the purist paradigm. I’ll talk about how I should have placed checks to save myself and evidently my boss about 2 hours of time. But at the same time the issue could’ve been easily avoided and no check at all would’ve been needed if I didn’t rely on my faulty memory.
Wow! Just participated in 2 game jams in back-to-back weekends.
I finished hosting Marist Game Society’s student GameJam last week and this weekend, Carrot Island decided to participate in a MiniLudum Dare. We’re all over the place!
As they say, To the moon!!! ┗(°0°)┛