Phew, it's been a LOOOONG time since I've made one of these journal entries, but what's up people? It's summer break and I'm excited to be rid of course assignments... So I can get to a billion other pet projects of mine. I even started making my Spark Comics again. Even when I'm not busy, I'm busy.
So I finished my 3rd year of University in April, now with one final year of challenges awaiting me. I'm both both excited and frightened for it. Excited since I freaking love University so much and can't wait to create new things, but scared because I kinda don't want to graduate since I'm enjoying my courses so much and because it's thesis year and that creates a lot of expectations. Also, because my new dream for the past few years has been to get into META, the 4th year New Media show, with the best of the best in the class and it's been one of my motivations for doing all the wacky stuff I do in my courses. It's for that reason I've been doing a bunch of tutorials and different kinds of projects, independent and course related, since the end of 2nd year and took so many chances with things this year and 3rd year.
So, this past year has been a rollercoaster. So many things have happened and it's been insanely hard, but I'm thankful. I needed the kick in the groin of difficulty this year to push me to more than I had ever demanded of myself before. I've been doing a bunch of different projects, each different from the last. First, my professor Steve Daniels gave my class an assignment to create an interactive Pong controller. I eventually developed my Pong Drawing Machine Controller. This project opened my eyes and inspired me to further investigate gaming and interfaces, which has driven my entire artistic practice of the past year. Starting with the Falcon Draw and Falcon 3D Drawing projects hacking the Novint Falcon interface.
Immediately after the Novint Falcon project, I began independent work on Sparky Konga, an original project I started during the Winter Break to hack the Nintendo DK Bongos in an attempt to make an open source library that anyone could use for their own applications. Eventually, I not only made it a class project, but Imade a Sparky Konga Beta Video a few months ago as a proof of concept. It's become my biggest recent project, especially since it got into Maximum Exposure 2013, the Ryerson end of year art festival where it was featured in the New Media show over a weekend. Currently, I'm getting it ready for release later this month.
I also did some other experimentation with the Kinect by hacking it for a few different projects. I did one where I turned 2 Kinects into opposing distance sensors that made different baby sounds (crying, laughing, etc.) depending on a person's proximity between each Kinect (So if you went to one, it would start laughing... But the other would start crying). I also did another project with a friend with similar principals that created an interactive experience in a confined space and linear path that triggered different fear-based sounds and animations based on distance. Unfortunately, I don't have much records on those ones, but I did have some documentation of my 3D Portrait project where I scanned my grandmother it and used the 3D data and created a bust of her via 3D printing. It was her birthday a few days ago. I sent her one as a gift.
Finally, I became the Public Relations executive of a club at Ryerson called the Game Maker's Union (GMU) at the beginning of 3rd year which myself and another friend of mine helped transform it from a small club of about 10 people, as it had been previously, into a growing club with MANY people joining and learning about us over the course of a year. Now we have plenty of people coming in and grew from 10 to over 160+ people on our Facebook group. It's because of this that I've met hundreds of people over the past year, so much that I often forget names, and have made many new friends since. I helped advertise and organized many events, including one called Checkpoint, which brought 5 local game developers to talk to students. It's been a rather exhilarating experience. If anyone reading this lives in the Toronto area and would like to get involved, feel free to contact me, as anyone is welcome. I look forward to developing games, helping & teaching prospective developers, and assisting with club growth and events as the new External Vice President of the GMU going into my 4th year.
I've been highly enjoying myself otherwise. I'm learning a bunch of stuff in preparation to make an interactive experience video game for my upcoming thesis for 4th year and I went to Anime North last weekend, which was a total blast! Now I'm doing a bit of relaxation, research, and planning for new projects, games, animations, and more. Life is good!
So yeah, a lot of learning, experimentation, and meeting people over the past year. It's been a blast and a great challenge I've enjoyed tackling. I can't wait to release Sparky Konga and create many more new projects that people can enjoy. I hope the world enjoys my work.