This is the first blog since the previous quarter so I’ll summarize the previous quarter quickly. The first quarter in this project was all about documentation, figuring out project details and requirements, and getting to know the group that I will be working with for the rest of the project. Now that we are in the second phase of the project, we will be working on code for the project as a team. So far, we have set up a task board using Trello, and divided the project requirements into accomplishable tasks in order to give our project direction. There was plenty of confusion at first (we didn’t set up the task board properly the first time) and it has been fairly slow-coming for now, but hopefully as we get into the groove of things we will be able to pick up the pace and start getting some serious work done. I am currently still playing around with Unity to try and learn how everything works and while learning how to use a new tool is difficult, I think I can at least produce recognizable results already so I am excited to continue working on it. The involvement of turning drawings into game objects is a little intimidating since it seems like the most difficult part of the project, but I’m sure that once we get working it will come together nicely. Hopefully there are sources that we can reference or find assistance from in online forums, YouTube, etc., but that part of the project is still a little bit away since we have to lay the ground work first.
This week for the project, we continued working on the design document. I think things went well for our team, we were able to fill out the document, fix holes that we had in the document and get the questions in for the other review team. One thing that went a little wrong was when we were mending our review design document that we were going to send to the other team, the improved version was turned into a separate document. The other review team commented on the first document instead of the improved one, but that’s not really a problem and is our fault anyway. When we were supposed to review and answer the questions that the other review team had however, there was only one question that they listed on their document. I am not sure if it was because of initial confusion with how the comments were supposed to laid out or external reasons, but having almost nothing to respond to was a little strange. The same person was also the only one to comment on our document, though it was really helpful that he replied to a couple of comments. His opinions and insights were really helpful since they were the first comments that came from a third party (someone outside of our team and the instructor). He gave us some things to think about with regards to our current design plans and implementation strategies that we will have to iron out before next week, but it’s very nice to have a direction to work towards.
The project this week involved a lot of confusion. We submitted our design document drafts to another team for review, where we had to write questions about the project on our own review document before giving it to another team. There were also comments from the instructor on how to improve our own design document that we had to deal with at the same time. The extension that we were given for the team reviews was very helpful. It allowed our team time to solve the problems highlighted by the initial submission to the instructor before sending it off to the other team. We were able to get it done without much trouble and I feel that we put together a pretty good document. Hopefully we will be able to get more insight into different design options and criticisms for our document so that we can continue to perfect it. By building the document in the first place, we were opened to various options for the different sections of the project, so any ideas for narrowing down those options will be nice. Personally, I am glad that the document writings are almost finished and, more importantly, we can start getting into coding the project. The project partner in China is started to get busier, which means that the little time we have to communicate is growing smaller. We have been able to make it work so far, but live conferences are very difficult to include him in and the closer we get to starting on coding the project the sooner more of an issue this will become. There is about a month’s gap between finishing the documents and starting coding so hopefully a rhythm can be established where we are able to have a live conference.
This week in the project requires our team to form a design document. The design document will act as an outline for the rest of the project. For me personally, this assignment is amazingly helpful. I love having an outline to follow as it makes everything more straight forward and also provides a set of rough checkpoints that can mark progress. Since the document will be an outline, the checkpoints will not have any specific meaning as far as completing the project goes, but it will help to move the team in the right direction. The design document is something that may be updated or changed as time goes on and the specifics are likely change, but it is still good to have a written plan for the course of the project. We did run into a slight problem this week with working on the design document. One of the team members currently lives in China so there is a large time difference that we work around. We have been able to work around that so far and we have kept in touch on a regular basis, but he started work this week. With a work schedule of the typical 9am to 5pm, he will be unavailable during weekdays as that correlates to 5pm to 1am PST. We usually held group calls on weekdays so we will have to try and find a time that will work on weekends for conferences. Other than that snag, the project has been great so far and the team has good people on it so I am not too worried about this difficulty. There was a sample design document given to us and Gantt charts were used to chart their timeline for the project for the upcoming terms. We will adapt similar charts to those since that is likely the timeline that will be used for this project. It is helpful that those timeline charts were supplied to us since it was able to give me an idea on what needs to be worked on when and it will help me formulate my schedule for future weeks.
This week in the Senior project was very relaxing. We had no team assignment for this week and worked on a technology review paper. The paper explains what technologies will be used for the component of the project that we are responsible for. I wrote on UI design. The base of our draw and play video game is the Unity engine, and Unity has a built in UI component simply called Unity UI. It has been out for a while and because of that, the reference pages are detailed and there is plenty of tutorial and example content available online. Unity UI offers a lot of what our project needs: multiple pages that are able to be linked through transitions and an event controller, multiple options for the design of the various aspects of game (directions, page selection, and stage layout for example), and it also allows the incorporation of C# programs in the designs. We will be using Unity UI as the base for our design and front end, so I am very happy about all of the reference material. The course as a whole is going good so far and it is helpful that it’s progressing one step at a time in a logical and inclusive way. The discussions each week are a good way to discover new technologies and get feedback and ideas on the options available.
This week we for our project we went over the project requirements. We went into specifications on what needed to be done and touched on the technologies that will be used to complete the project. The easiest thing for our project this week was the technologies. Figuring out what to use for the project was fairly simple for two reasons. First, our project was used as an example for the ‘technologies review’ discussion post. our team took this as a suggestion as to what technologies to use and when we looked into them a little more we figured they would be easy enough to use. Second, we had already decided on Unity for our game engine. This meant that the rest of our technologies were easy to figure out, since Unity 5 uses aspects of Physx (nvidia open source physics engine) as its default for some aspects. Unity also requires the use of C#, and OpenCV is the computer vision aspect that we chose since searching “computer vision unity” results in OpenCV being 2 of the top 3 results. Happily, nothing went wrong this week with the project. The information was already gathered and it was just a matter of piecing it together to present. The future looks promising as well as I was able to find good resources, mostly on YouTube, that will be useful in upcoming parts of the project, mainly when we setup the UI, which I’m glad about because that will be the part of the project that I am responsible for.
This week for the capstone project went pretty smoothly. We compiled our problem statements into one all inclusive team problem statement. The only issue that we had was formatting and grammar, but since that was just a matter of proofreading and editing it wasn’t a big deal. A tool that I looked into more this week is MySQL, a database management system. I will likely be using MySQL for the capstone project as well as in a project for another class so I will be getting more familiar with it in the near future. It is an important part of my other project, and it can be used for the capstone project, so I am really glad that there are a lot of tutorials and help about its use. I can’t see any problems for the project going forward for the moment (except for the guaranteed bugs of course) so I am still ready and expectant for what is to come.
Our Projects have only just begun so there’s not a whole lot to say about them yet, but I can still talk about what has happened and what I look forward to.
To begin with, what has happened so far. So far I have gotten to know my teammates and have written a problem statement for the project and team conduct guidelines. I’ll go with the best and worst about each. The best things about my teammates is that it seems like we will be able to get along as we have shared interests, and have been able to get solid communication so far. The worst thing is that one of my teammates is currently living in China, so there is a 15 hour time difference. This is a bit of issue since live communication (discord or zoom calls) will be hard to host with all 3 of us since the best time to have it would be afternoon PST and my other teammate works mostly afternoon shifts. We are still communicating well despite that, which is a great sign for the future. The best thing about the problem statement was getting to know exactly what the project had in store. I think that our draw and play videogame sounds super interesting and I really look forward to getting to learn about app design and image processing. The worst part of the problem statement was definitely writing it. Formal writing is difficult. Building the team conduct guidelines went really well. We all contributed to it and looked it over before turning it in and honestly I’m not at all worried about how we will get along and from what I’ve heard from my teammates so far. I don’t think there will be any reason for complaints.
I am looking forward to really getting into the project. I know that it’s some time coming and that it will be really difficult to get started, but getting started is always the hardest part. All of the things that the project is made out of interest me and I hope that I will be able to have fun with it without having the stress overwhelm me. The professional side of the project does worry me a little (I’m worried I’ll do something wrong) but it’ll be a good experience.
Since this is my first blog post, I thought it would be appropriate to leave the title as is.
My name is Gavin Thompson and I am a fourth year Computer Science student at OSU. My interest in computers started with video games and with everything I learn my interest grows. Computer graphics, networking, game development, server management, etc., I would like to learn and continue learning about all of these. I am currently most interested in networking and computer graphics and will continue taking classes in these areas. I look forward to working with others on a project. I am hoping that the project will be fun and useful when completed.
Nice to meet you all!