Senior Seminar

Personal Ethics

When making decisions on how to spend my time, I try to balance three things: health, experiences, and career.

I try to do everything with the long term in mind; what will make me the most happy when I’m 80? Obviously I don’t want to be wheelchair-bound and on a bunch of medication so I prioritize health first. Get enough sleep, eat right, and exercise regularly. I find this also makes it a lot easier to study and enjoy myself. My remaining time I budget between experiences and career. When I’m old, I don’t want to remember my youth being spent studying and working, but I also don’t want to be working a dead end job. I’d like to be comfortably retired. I make sure I go out and have fun, but also I work hard and keep grades up. Of course, it’s not necessary at all to have perfect grades; both a 90 and a 100 are A’s, getting those extra 10 points does nothing to improve your grade, so why try for it? Better to spend that time on gaining new experiences.

With careful management and good work ethic it’s possible to have high standards of work while also having time to enjoy yourself.

Senior Seminar

Best Computing Experiences

I’ve just started my final year as a CS student undergrad and it’s time to reflect back on my time here.

My best computing experience ‘in class’ would have to be when I participated in my university’s hackathon AppHack and my entry was disqualified because none of the judges believed my entry was made from scratch (of course I didn’t find out until a week later when one of them was nice enough to tell me that’s why I didn’t place). On one hand it’s a pretty big compliment, but on the other I am annoyed because I worked hard on it and wouldn’t mind having won some of the prizes.

My best outside class computing experience would be this summer during my internship at Avast when I wrote a signature for a family of malware and found nearly 1000 samples. The signature is now part of Avast’s malware recognition database. I also built an extractor that could decrypt the payload packaged in each sample to be further analyzed. It was a great real world experience and it felt good to actually objectively contribute to improving the world.


LD37 complete!

two days in, 2 hours left. Just finished my entry:


LD 37 First Gameplay

Got the character in place running around:


Begin LD37!

just finished finals and it’s time to get back into gamedev!

Ludum Dare 37 just started (theme: One Room), which is great, haven’t been able to participate in the last couple.

I want to go more cinematic and visual with this entry, so I started with the intro:

Let’s get this party started!


Fractals in Unity

Lately I’ve been experimenting with Mandelbrot fractals in Unity.

Here’s the basic script I used, It has some basic controls for navigating and exploring the fractal. Just attach to a quad and it works.

You can play with resolution and iterations amount as well.

It’s basic and unoptimized, so not the best for real-time. I’d recommend checking out the Mandelbrot Wikipedia page for info on optimizations: link



working on some parallaxing:


Announcing Ptolem Infinite

I’m turning my old protoype thing PhaseRunner into a full game, along with giving it a way better name… Ptolem Infinite!

Also, a shot of the tile editor I’ve made for it:



Something Sick I Saw On the Internet #1 Bounty Road

Getting some Fury Road vibes here, obviously.

Fast moving vehicles just inspire a certain something that only gets double-boosted with the addition of firepower.

On the techy side, look at those sick shadows on them dust trails.

awww yeaaahhh

clicky for devLog: Bounty Road Devlog 


What’s a game jam?

This is a continuation of my post on ‘how to make a game’. If you haven’t read it yet, go check it out here:

In this post, I’ll talk about the wonderful phenomenon of game jams.

So, what’s a game jam?

First off, quick question, have you ever wanted to take a big syringe of sleep deprivation and stress and shoot it up your jugular? No? More of a nasal ingestion type?

A game jam is a challenge where a bunch of developers get together and try to make games within a specific time limit. The game also (typically) has to fit a theme.

The most popular game jam is probably Ludum Dare (held three times a year), where you have 48 hours to make a game (or 72 if you do the wuss version). Everyone suggests and then votes on the theme a couple weeks in advance, with the winning theme being announced when the jam starts. You get a lot of interesting and fun themes, but sometimes boring-ass ones as well (one time a unicode snowman almost won, seriously).

It’s a lot of fun, but also hella stressful. It’s like a creativity orgasm; it feels awesome, but you’ll probably regret when the weekend is over.

After the jam is over, everyone plays each other’s games and rates them, and the highest-rated ones get little medals that don’t really do anything.

It’s pretty impressive to see what people manage to make in such a short time; I’ve ended up playing some of these games for hours at a time.

Some examples:

Beneath the City

From Ludum Dare 29. Turn-based stealth game that works surprisingly well.


The Sun and Moon

Also from Ludum Dare 29. Probably one of the funnest and most challenging platformer/puzzle games I’ve ever played.



My crappy game that somehow made 3rd place in innovation. From Ludum Dare 30.


So, what am I getting at here? What’s my secret goal for this post? Why did I self-promote my crappy stuff?

If you’ve read my ‘how to make a game’ post and you’re feeling inspired to make games, then game jams are for you! My crappy game that made 3rd place in innovation (out of a couple thousand entries) was the third game I ever made (if I can do it so can you etc.).

So I’m going to teach you how to survive a game jam so you can get one step closer to fame and glory!

Step One, figure out your camp

Newer developers fit into the ‘finish a game’ camp. More advanced developers go into ‘make something cool’ camp.

When you’re starting out making games, a game jam is the perfect opportunity to figure out your abilities and limits and actually finish something you can show off (great for motivation!).

Once you get a little more advanced and have a few games under your belt, you can use game jams to experiment with new ideas. You’ll have a solid understanding of what you are and aren’t able to do within the game jam’s time limit, so actually finishing things isn’t much of an issue anymore.

Tips for ‘finish a game’ camp:

Make something simple, like a platformer. Focus on having a solid, working game as soon as possible, content and details come later.

Get enough sleep, don’t pull all-nighters.

Dear god, don’t make a multiplayer game.

Tips for ‘make something cool’ camp:

Use your 10th idea; brainstorm ideas and write them down. I guarantee you’ll see other people make games using the first three you come up with. the next six you come up with will be shit. The 10th will be genius, I guarantee it (probably). This seriously works though; I usually score pretty high in innovation.

Preferably come up with a cool mechanic based on the theme. E.g. for a theme of ‘Unconventional Weapon’ I came up with the idea of a room as a weapon, which you move around to kill enemies and try to bounce your character to the end (didn’t actually turn out like that, which is typical for jams :/ , still happy with how it came out though). Cool mechanics always trump cool stories.

Dear god, don’t make it multiplayer.

Finally, if you make something really cool, you can always turn it into a real game:

Remember my crappy game InterSection? Here it is after a year and a half of development.

The theme for that Ludum Dare was ‘Connected Worlds’.

Anyways, thanks for reading! I hope I inspired you to make games or something. If you liked this, I’m planning on writing more game-dev related posts. Next up will probably be on making art for your games.

If you’d like to see more of InterSection, here’s a link to the trailer:

Also, here’s a list of jam games and stuff I’ve made: