3 Oct 2013

Frickin' Laser Beams!

So, it's been a while since I updated this.

Quite a lot has happened. Firstly, I finished my second year of uni. Firsts in all modules except for Game Design (low 2.1, I'm a programmer, not a designer). My average grade across my time at university is now ~78%.

Secondly, I was called up for Jury Duty. It was an interesting, though not necessarily entertaining experience. Put bluntly, it was 2 weeks of listening to 2 people in wigs arguing over a guy's life story.

Thirdly, I started my third year of uni this week. This year, I will be doing Game Engines (game engine architectures, middleware and game physics), Computer Vision & Robotics (self-explanatory), Professional Practice and my Dissertation Project.

For my project, I have managed to secure Dr John Murray, one of my favourite lecturers, as my supervisor on a topic that I think should be very fun and challenging. My initial idea was to design a system that allows a flying drone equipped with a Time-Of-Flight or Structured Light sensor to detect, map, navigate and explore its surroundings. This plan was changed slightly since the drone John has in his office isn't powerful enough to carry a Raspberry Pi and the sensor, and the drones he has which are powerful enough, are far too large and dangerous to use indoors, especially when running experimental software. Now, the plan is to use a ground-based drone platform (i.e. wheeled) as a development platform and proof-of-concept, potentially testing the final product on a drone if there is time. In terms of software, there will be no difference in the implementation, except that the drone will not be able to move up and down. It will still use a 2-Dimensional sensor and will still have full 3D mapping and pathfinding. So yeah, a good chunk of my year will be playing with robots and frickin' laser beams (but not that kind of laser beam).

Penultimately, there is a big development. Something that I'd been pushing for last year but was unsuccessful. There appears to be a very good chance that, since I still have another year after this one to get a masters, I will be able to take a year out in between and work as a technician at the University of Lincoln! Seeing as my course has given me huge amounts of XP towards games production and general software development, I thought I'd move further up the networking skill tree I started on years ago with my 6th form's ill-fated IPRO class. The hope is that not only will this give me an opportunity to hone my skills and get used to a proper IT work environment (Tales From Tech Support has already been something of a primer), but it will also open up a whole new field of IT that I can head into once I finish my course.

The final update is another thing I've been wanting to do for a very long time. I am now on the waiting list for the Lincoln Archer's beginner's course. Archery is something I've been very interested in trying since before I came to uni, and a few months ago I decided that I might as well actually give it a try. If I find it's something I want to continue with, I have been informed that my immediate family will pool some money together and buy me a very nice-looking flatbow I've had my eye on for my birthday.

I think that's about everything noteworthy. Some other events of lesser interest are that I'm now running a Laundry Files RPG campaign with my friends, my girlfriend has started a professional cookery course and is very much enjoying it and I am now situated on the opposite side of town to all of my comrades. I've also pre-ordered the super-fancy-uber-edition of Watch_Dogs on PC using my winnings from the GameJam and Industry Showcase (I showed off a Kinect game I made for an assignment and won a 'Best Project' prize)

Holy wall of text, Batman. Well done if you read it all.