Back in real world!

Long time no updates! I've finally graduated and now I'm back at my regular stuff. The last 5 months were pretty intense, as I wanted to graduate and for that I needed to pass linear algebra course (third time's the charm!), which was pretty tough for me. But I did it and I'm happy that the school's over.

So, what happens now? I will pick up on my game programming project and try to come up with a few simple demos/games soon. Also, I want to finish my latest 3d modeling project - the Corvette C6 - and release it for rFactor and perhaps for some other games as well. And then I might try to design my own concept car, who knows...

I recently bought an SSD drive and migrated to Windows 7. It boots in under 10 seconds, so it's properly fast. I definitely recommend SSD-s for the system drive!

So, check back soon for more updates! I will redesign the portfolio page so it would give a better overview of my creations; also I want to enable the comments again, but I need to get better spam detection to this blog first.

My new sim racing wheel – the Logitech G27

A picture of my girlfriend trying out the temporary racing setup - I moved our 40 inch TV to my desk to get a bigger and better in-game view.

I finally decided to upgrade my sim racing hardware and get myself a new racing wheel - the Logitech G27. It is a dramatic improvement over my previous (and first!) racing wheel, the Logitech Driving Force Pro, which I've been using for the past 5 years. For me, the most important improvements are the H shifter and the quietness of the wheel. When racing hard, the old wheel made quite a lot of noise, whereas the G27 is almost silent.

So far, I've tried rFactor, Live For Speed and Need For Speed SHIFT2 and the wheel works perfectly with the first two games and less great with NFS. The force feedback was just too heavy even when I turned down the effects in game. I guess I can get better results for NFS, if I care to take some time and fiddle with the settings.

In my opinion, this racing wheel is well worth the money!

This cake is not a lie!

We received four crates of strawberries, and this is the result of some of them. Too bad the starwberry season is almost over, I didn't really notice it beginning even...

Short Circuit – an underrated funny comedy

Have you seen Wall-E? Did you like it? Yes? Well, then check out Short Circuit (1986) and find out where Pixar gets its ideas from ๐Ÿ˜‰

My most favorite quotes from the movie:

Ben Jabituya: I am thinking she is a virgin. Or at least she used to be.

Newton Crosby: Where are you from, anyway?
Ben Jabituya: Bakersfield, originally.
Newton Crosby: No, I mean your ancestors.
Ben Jabituya: Oh, them. Pittsburgh.
(the joke here is that Ben is an indian guy)

Ben Jabituya: Newton, we are wasting valueless time here.

Ben Jabituya: I am standing here beside myself.

Newton Crosby: Holy shit.
Number 5: No shit. Where see shit?

Ben Jabituya: Looks like you have created another Frankfurter's monster.
Number 2: Visibility 5 feet, 2 feet, no feet...

Stephanie Speck: Yes, I'd like to speak to one of your head warmongers, please.
Duke: Dr. Warmonger - I mean, Dr. Marner!

Yay… I now have my own personal website

Well, it took a long time, but I finally managed to get myself a host and my new site up and running. This site is supposed to be my online portfolio and blog.

Once upon a time about 10 years ago, I was a hell of a webmaster... well not really, because I was young and stupid but I did like to redesign my website almost weekly. At that time, it was all just HTML and frames and animated gifs and whatnot. But I was in constant search for a better design for my site and never really did turn much attention to the contents of my site. I remember, I had some images and tutorial about POV-Ray, which I was fooling around with at that time, I even sent one picture (search for 'cell.jpg') to the then popular Internet Ray Tracing Competition; my site also hadย some old games that you could download and so on.

All this constant updating of my website improved my skills in webdesign and eventually I taught myself PHP to some extent. At that point I started coding and designing websites for other people and entities too. I even created a completely new website for the high school I went to at that time. I was pretty proud of the site, and it lasted for a good 4-5 years before it was replaced. So as I discovered, creating websites for other people was much more interesting than constantly updating my own site, and that I didn't have time to update my own site, I decided to take it down.

So, fast forward about 5 years and here I am again, with a new site (runs on WordPress, but the theme is my own creation) and quite a few things to share, I hope. Because I like cars and computer games (and women and beer ๐Ÿ˜‰ ), I played racing games a lot, Need For Speed series was one of my favorite. While playing, I always noticed the games lacked some features, cars, tracks etc. that I would've liked, so I looked into modding. I discovered some tools for NFS3 that enabled the user to change a car or track. That eventually led me to modeling, I began by trying to change the existing models to fit my needs and later, I decided to model a complete car from scratch. It turned out, I didn't suck too much at modeling according to other people, so I continued. A few projects were scrapped or never finished, but I did manage to create a few cars that got quite a lot of positive feedback from the communities of a few games. My most successful mods are the Chevrolet Corvette C6 I created in 2007 and theย Toyota Supra MKIV I created in 2009. I'm currently remodeling the Corvette C6 from scratch to add the ZR-1 and increase the details (and because I just love that car ๐Ÿ™‚ ).

In 2005 I went to study computer science at the University of Tartu, but unfortunately I could't wrap my head around the various math subjects (math is hard for me), so that was that... still not all was bad at that time, because I got a job as an entry level software developer and maintainer. Before that I had done only one web site as a contractor, but I also had beginner programming skills in Java. The job taught me a lot... really really lot! I got to work as part of a software development team on various projects over time and I also touched various technologies. I mostly programmed in Java but also did a few things in C/C++.

In 2008 I reentered the same university and took my chances once more with CS. This time I've almost made it to third year, partly thanks to the small restructuring of the subjects in the curriculum (not all math is on the first year) and partly thanks to my work experience, which enabled me to ace most of the programming classes. I'm still struggling with math, but I hope that this time I will succeed... Since the bills don't pay themselves, and "whether you're rich or poor, it's nice to have money", I still work part time as a C/C++ developer at a different company.

Since I played games a lot (now, I have less time to play) I naturally wanted to make a game myself one day. Learning Java and later C++ gave me an opportunity to cook something up myself. I kinda skipped the 2D phase and went straight to 3D by creating a Rubik's Cube solving game in Java 3D. Since I wanted to get closer to the real game programming I moved to C++ and OpenGL and started experimenting and learning game programming more deeply. I even bought two books on the subject, but since I like to code first and ask questions later (by that I mean, that I need to try things out as I learn new stuff; I can't just read a whole book on a subject, expect to understand it and then start coding), I haven't finished to yet... ๐Ÿ™‚

I'm currently building a C++/OpenGL library for myself that would contain lots of boilerplate code for creating games... it already starts to look more like a game engine (yes, yes, I know, write games, not engines). The sole purpose of the library is learning. If I really want to create a nice game and some day I will, I will use a professional game engine.

I like traveling to warm places (I hate cold weather and snow!), so far I've been to Portugal once and Greece 4 times (once on mainland, once on Rhodos and twice on Crete) - Greek food is just too good (okay, the people are nice too) ๐Ÿ˜›

Ok, long post is long... and this was just an introduction and a bit of an overview of what can be found on my new site.