Archive for March 2nd, 2012

The Reapers are finally upon us

It’s been a while since I’ve written a post about videogames so what better way to start than with Mass Effect 3.

This is my most anticipated game since Final Fantasy X came out in 2001. I almost gave up on the first game. It was clunky, pointless, going nowhere and the action was terrible. It was already hard enough pointing and shooting let alone trying to use your biotic powers. Exploration took forever and that just fell off a cliff somewhere never to return.

Mass Effect 2 convinced me that it is the greatest trilogy ever made for videogames. The story and the action blended so well that the final approach tot he Collector’s base made me cringe at the throught of losing one of my crew memebers.

I’ve been playing the demo at least once a day. Whether it was the single player or the multiplayer, there are big changes to the visual aspect and the pace of the storytelling. The previous games were slow buildups to an epic finale. This feels like a rollercoaster ride from the start.

The Reapers arrive on March 6, 2012 for North America.

You probably won’t hear from me until I finish the game.

Cameras midterm

I have no name for this as of yet but over the past few weeks I’ve been trying to recreate what I built five years ago. Sadly through the updates that Apple has made, it is no longer possible with their technology. Streaming video from one place to another seems simple enough and is actually simpler today than it was when I was building it. But getting it to place nice with Java is another thing completely.

I was using both VLC and QuickTime Broadcaster to broadcast video from one place to another without the aid of a server to be imported into a Processing applet and that didn’t turn out too well. Apple has discontinued further development on QuickTime for Java in lieu of AVFoundation. So the Quicktime that we all grew up with no longer exists. the core of AVFoundation is used to run movies in iOS, iMovie and FCPX which is why iMovie runs faster and somewhat better than FCP 7. Oh the pains of 64 bit processing.

The QT Broadcast stream, though encoded in MotionJPEG which Java recognizes, still starts with a QT header. Thus when the stream is imported into the sketch, it will not recognize it as a MotionJPEG file but as a QT streaming file. This would require a decoder to transcode it into MotionJPEG that Java accepts.

Installing a Lion server will not help. I learned that the hard way.

So currently I’m using an application called EvoCam. It’s a standalone software that recognizes practically any camera I plug in and allows a ton of options. From motion capture recording/ streaming video to grabbing stills and sending them through applescript or automator workflow. I’ve been having ftp connectivity issues to the ITP server so I’m uploading this to my personal site. So far it’s been working great save for the times of me getting disconnected on the remote end for some reason or another.

remote still

Refresh the page to get the latest image.

Once the image was finally free on the web it was easy enough to access the code in Processing. I’ve always wanted a holodeck no matter how crude it may be. I think the fact that you are walking through a given space that changes would change on how we would interact with man made images or environments. So this is a very crude version of how I would imagine things. More updates to come.

Cold Beer and Inspiration

I’ve always wanted to get out of the house. I remember waiting in the garage when I was little and would beg to ride in any car that was leaving the house. Whether it was picking up my brother or sister from school, or just to get groceries. My nanny even took me on my first public bus ride. Just anything to get somewhere. That desire for travelling got me on an 8 hour road trip to the province one day and I gave up at the 6th hour.

Road trips have been an integral part of my growing up. My father worked a lot and the one time that we get to spend a lot of time together were either on vacations and most of it included a road trip of some sort. We even went out of town one time without bringing any food or some sort. This was before Starbucks and McDonalds put up rest stops along the highway.

These trips were always exciting. There was a time we could drive from Manila to Baguio (approximately 244 km) in 2 1/2 hours compared to the usual 4. Don’t tell my mom. She wasn’t with us at the time.,+Metro+Manila,+Philippines&daddr=Baguio+City,+Cordillera+Administrative+Region,+Philippines&hl=en&geocode=FVjF3gAdmxI2BymLwx5XA8qXMzEfwWkQddXRaQ%3BFZ1H-gAdJyYwByk_8d55aKGRMzHAdTq-NPXejg&aq=0&oq=baguio&sll=14.599512,120.984219&sspn=0.154158,0.703125&mra=ls&ie=UTF8&t=m&ll=15.50093,120.74364&spn=1.80282,0.48132&output=embed

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In these trips I would learn about our family history in some places. My grandmother would tell stories about every town we passed by. Like the moment she first saw my grandfather. She would sweep in front of the house when my grandfather’s bus (he was a bus conductor) would stop every afternoon. She would tell on how My grandfather and his best friend would smuggle rice into the city to trade for medicine during World War II. My father would point at the elementary school and bakery he used to work in. Stories that aren’t written in history books but in the roads and towns that we passed.

My siblings and I learned how to “attack” corners and overtake vehicles during these trips. My brother recieved the most instruction and my sister learned how to drive in winter conditions. I on the other hand learned how to maintain speed through corners in wet and dry conditions and hear the car complain as the traction control set in (Yes Yosemite I’m talking to you).

I’m inspired to make this documentary because this is the first long road trip I’m taking by myself. The United States is one of the few countries that is “safe” enough for me to do this and documenting it is essential. I draw inspiration from the blogs at and Roff Smith’s Cold Beer and Crocodiles . Even though these trips were made on a bicycles, the spirit of adventure is there.

Have you ever felt that moment when you’ve been driving for a long time that the car becomes an extension of your senses?

california  036

There’s something about the car that makes you feel in control of your life. Well at least in my point of view.

Clear day on the I5