Submitted by Thomas on Sat, 2008-06-28 05:49.

It's still in progress but I've got particles going.  I surprised myself in deciding to use Microsoft's particle sample on their XNA page.  Unlike some of their other XNA samples, it's actually good code, arranged in a Maya-like "Emitter and Particles" pattern that I would have adopted anyway. I modified it to use perlin noise.  For those unfamiliar, perlin noise gives you what looks like animated cloud or (in this case) flame textures, allowing you to get convincing motion without having to use as many particles.

I also added a fade-in to hide where they clip through the ground plane, but did not do the depth-buffer comparison trick that would hide clipping with other objects (I don't think i will add this since it's less noticeable).

I had to be quick with the "Print Scrn" key to get this shot.  The particles are used for a flame trail that only shows up when you hit the "boost" button, sending the ball bouncing all over the screen.  Here you can see the motion blur applied to the spinning ball as well.

( categories: )


Submitted by Thomas on Wed, 2008-06-04 03:53.

Aaru is an XNA tech demo for PC / 360.  It demonstrates real-time depth map shadows, motion blur, depth of field, bloom lighting, particles, perlin noise (on the fire particles and clouds, shown) and simple 2D physics (applied to a 3D sphere).  There is also some basic lighting with normal maps.

Aaru still.

Click the images for the full 720p versions. 

The philosophy was to create a 3D "tile-based" engine mimicking the feel of 8-bit and 16-bit era games with some extra 3D polish.

In the following image you can see the motion blur applied to the entire screen as the ball moves.  When the screen reaches the world boundary it stops and the motion blur is on the ball only.

Aaru in motion.

( categories: )

Fender Bender

Submitted by Thomas on Sun, 2008-04-27 04:25.
A camaro just drove through a stop sign and into my fender. It's all dented and scraped up and the reflector is broken and falling off. I normally don't post stuff like this in my blog but it's really depressing me considering that after 2 and half months of driving loaners and rentals, I finally got a new car, and after only 8 days something like this has to happen.
( categories: )

My Vette

Submitted by Thomas on Sat, 2008-04-19 17:40.
My Corvette


For anyone who missed it, my Solstice, like many other Solstices, was a lemon.  But not to worry, General Motors repurchased it and I didn't lose a cent.  Here is its replacement, the infinitely superior Corvette:
( categories: )

More on Crisis Core and JRPGs

Submitted by Thomas on Tue, 2008-04-15 03:22.

As easy as this game is to make fun of, when you cut through all the weirdness, it does have some great parts.  I'll give you a mild spoiler (which should really not be a surprise if you played the original) and say that this has one of the most heart-wrenching moments of a Final Fantasy game.  Probably the most, since it somehow manages to encompass all of the tragedy in the original FFVII in the same fell swoop without seeming tacked-on.  However it's prefaced by a lot of nonsensical jibba-jabba about goddesses and honor and lifestreams and so forth, and is accompanied by an amazingly innappropriate j-pop song.  My brain has somehow come to terms with this, and I will probably be able to enjoy Final Fantasy-like games for many years to come, but it sure as heck

Ode to Crisis Core

Submitted by Thomas on Tue, 2008-04-08 00:09.

I wrote the following as an homage to the latest Final Fantasy game.  It works not only as bad poetry, but as an example of the kind of dialogue you can expect in the game:



What is in the dreams of Angels?
To destroy that which causes suffering?
An Angel is nothing
but a Monster that wishes to be human.


True, the plot of this game barely makes any sense.  And it features an awful lot of girly-looking guys playfully swinging giant, throbbing swords at one another...

How I Found the Cure for Cancer Using Quantum Mechanics

Submitted by Thomas on Sat, 2008-03-15 02:21.

I say this in all seriousness:  I, Thomas J. Happ, have found the cure for cancer.  Or at least an exact copy of me did.

( categories: )

Satirical Article (Formerly titled "15 Reasons Why EA Is Pure Evil")

Submitted by Thomas on Sat, 2008-01-26 17:06.

Edit 6/10/08 - This links to a satirical article at Destructoid.  The journalist wrote it to poke fun at bloggers and press who portray(ed) EA as the root of all evil, as it were.   The article was published at a time when EA made the heroic move of standing up to Fox News for slandering its critically acclaimed game, Mass Effect, and in doing so standing up for all games maligned by mainstream media.  We had also slid to #2 developer so the portrayal as industry tyrant was now shifted to Activision.  So at that time, the article's satire contrasting EA's reputation among detractors with the much more benevolent reality was a lot more obvious.  When read today it may look like the journalist is criticizing EA, but in actuality he's doing the opposite.  And now for the original post:

Finally someone decided to poke fun at the ridiculous fan/press hatred of EA, which I've found to be one of the nicer game companies.  This article from Destructoid had me laughing out loud:

...then again this turnaround happened in the same year that we slid from #1 to #2 third-party game developer.  Coincidence?

On Reviews

Submitted by Thomas on Sun, 2007-12-02 02:37.

Lately I've been seeing more than a few news and blog stories about game reviews and what they should or shouldn't say.


Submitted by Thomas on Tue, 2007-11-20 22:41.



  1. A marked innate ability, as for artistic accomplishment. See synonyms at ability.
    1. Natural endowment or ability of a superior quality.
    2. A person or group of people having such ability: The company makes good use of its talent.
  2. A variable unit of weight and money used in ancient Greece, Rome, and the Middle East.

I have decided that the word "talent" is only good for insecure people who believe that their endowment with it makes them better than others, or for lazy people who use the lack thereof as an excuse not to apply themselves.

( categories: )
Syndicate content