The blog has moved

Hi there,

From now on, I will be maintaining the blog at http://leontius.net instead of here.

Do see the first post for details. :)

And that was the tale of CS3216

Looking back at my my first blog post for CS3216, I find it rather surprising that I could fulfill most of the objectives I wrote! I learnt a lot about working in teams and marketing, met quite a number of brilliant people, had a (in my opinion) quite successful final project, and blogged surpisingly quite alright.

I actually had another reason for taking this module that I did not write (or rather, did not state it blatantly): I had trouble piecing up my major and my... err... passion? is that the correct word? in developing software. It's the feeling of having developed solid "foundation" but not being able to conceive or plan the "house", if you get what I mean. I was hoping that some of the brilliant minds here would help me with answering this question, but unfortunately that did not work out very well. (Fun note: in novels and mangas, this is the part where the hero will come to a realization that this is what he and only he must do himself, and resolve to do this while saving the world at the same time.) Read more »

Note to self: Mystery Story

This is a note of things I learnt working on the Mystery Story.

The journey

At the onset I did not really buy the idea of raising awareness through games -- that means it's education through games, an idea that has been abused to oblivion similar to "gamification". (I was the last one to join the team because my group got disbanded due to lack of project idea. Come to think of it, that group was not so bad at all...) However after some more elaboration of the idea... I came to think that hey, maybe this wasn't a very bad idea after all. At least it's worth trying, and we had backing from a medical doctor.

The first few weeks was actually rather terrible and all departments kind of wandered around and tried to figure out what to do. After a knack by our dear professor, apparently we figured out that the script department had lagged behind compared to the others. Then we had some restructuring and yeah, it came out well. :) (If that sounds mysterious, it's because I lacked words to describe the team dynamics in an appropriately diplomatic manner.) Read more »

Entrepreneurial talk

This week's session on entrepreneurship was amazing! It was totally worth skipping dinner.

The first speech

There was this superb opening by the angel investor Jayesh Parekh who seemed to put in so many useful stuff in his slides. His focus seemed to be more of the business rather than the product side, which was terrific. I think an important lesson from his presentation was that startups being a complex endeavour have many parameters and there's a wide spectrum of combinations of these parameters (like: ambitious vs. conservative, self-funded vs. "Other People's Money"), so when starting one you should take all these things into account and be totally sure that you make the right decision. 

Another important lesson was the "typical stuff that needs to be considered on typical startups". This was taken from the heading of his slides: Read more »

Scaling-up lecture, LimeJS, Closure, Trello

Last lecture about scaling up was pretty cool, and it's very exciting to think that some of us might actually need to scale up that far! Maybe not in the near future, heh. Sadly as someone that does web development most of the time, the topic was already quite familiar and I could totally relate to the remark to Drupal. (Before MySQL tweaks, a rather-loaded-with-modules Drupal install requires about 1 sec in localhost to serve a page! Are you frickin' kidding me???) I hope I would ever have the chance to implement some of the performance tuning strategies explained. (Must chant "premature optimization is the root of all evil" 100x first to make sure.)

LimeJS is the library that we use for our final project development, and up to now it has been quite impressive. Initially I didn't really like the smell of a Javascript framework having a dependency to Python runtime (for the build system) and Closure (a gigantic Javascript library that gives birth to Gmail). However now all is well and we begun to appreciate the goodness. Size matters. Read more »

I dreamed a dream

Once upon a time, I got my hands on PlayStation One (yes, it was ages ago). The first console I ever played instantly absorbed me to a world of fun and delight. It was captivating, unforgettable, almost transcendental. (By the way, the game I strongly associated with these feelings was Final Fantasy IX by what was once known as Square.)

Then a streak of thought crossed me: "Shouldn't it be even more fun to create games, rather than merely play it?"

[dramatic pause]

That sudden realization changed everything. It was my childhood dream, the one I pursue with passion. I started programming (and to a certain extent, learned Photoshop and some design) because of this dream. I managed to accrue enough flight hours in programming to enter competitions, because I cared enough to make this dream come true. I also think that the whole ordeal of software development pre-university strangely helped me to enter NUS through some kind of twist of fate, even though the major is not related to it in any way.

It was that streak of thought that time that carried me this far today. Read more »