Doors of Rock n’ Roll

Rock n’ Roll bitches.

Please enjoy this three part writing project, which includes two short stories and one poem.

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Part 3 – Jessica

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“Jessica? I’m Steve.”

Her hand is soft.  Fingers, long and feminine.  But her grip is firm, and her shake tells you she’s no weakling.  As your hands separate and cool air refills the space between them, an unexpected thrill rushes down your spine.  The excitement seem to show in your smile as she smiles back.

“Nice to meet a fellow Albertan, Steve! Even though we’re…natural enemies.” She perks up her eyebrows and her lips form an o-shape which waits for your response.

That’s right, the old Edmonton versus Calgary rivalry.  You’d forgotten all about that regional idiosyncrasy, and can’t even remember anymore the reason behind it.

“Call it a testament to the power of metal.  It’s ability to transcend borders and bring people together.”

 

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You push away the memory as quickly as it resurfaces.

“That’s cool,” is all you can muster.

She smirks and suddenly takes a step closer to you.  But just at that moment one of the bouncers calls out, “alright it’s just about time you rowdy fucks! We’re gonna take you in two lines, here! And there! Get moving you bunch of fuckin’ sheep!”

In that instant, Jessica, yourself, and the rest of the crowd cry out unanimously, “Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!”

Your eyes are locked into each other’s as you bleat with the crowd.  Once everyone goes quiet, the smile returns to her face.

“Come on, Steve.  I’ll buy us some beers.”

Part 2 – Outside the Dressing Room

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“Just five nights in and you’re just getting cold feet now!?” the confounded and hairy Jew gasps as his fat fingers wiggles in between our faces.  “It’s usually the 1st couple shows only – and nevermind that! This isn’t even your first tour!” The puffy, spit-glistening lips seem to bounce around his off-white teeth as he screams pointlessly in my direction.  “We’ve got almost forty-thousand people out there who’ve paid good money to see you and your band of clowns! You think this kind of business is gonna tolerate you – you and your kind of – “

“ – woah, woah, woah.  Forty thousand?”

The man who insists that he’s my manager looks surprised all of a sudden and his fat lips slap shut for a just a moment before they split apart with another wet bluster, “what!?”

“You said forty thousand.  Forty thousand!

“So? Yeah! Forty thousand!”

“Forty thousand people are out there, right? Forty thousand people are waiting OUT THERE, right? That’s what you said right?”

The fat man gazes at me stupidly.  He doesn’t get it.  None of these suits fucking get it.

“That’s what you said – they paid good money.  So if they paid good money it means they paid for a good performance.  If what they want is a good performance then they’re gonna have.  To.  Fucking.  Wait!”

The grease-ball in the suit shakes his curly hair and waves his fingers again, “they paid for a performance you god damn…”

I lean in on him and glare at him and he goes silent.  That’s right.  You wear the tie but I paid for it.  I paid for the whole god damned show because I am the show.

Clearly out of breath, he wipes his face clean of sweat with his sleeve as we backs off.  “Listen Axl.  Ugh.  Listen.  I’m your friend in this.”

This makes me smile for all the wrong reasons.

“Just listen,” and his face becomes sombre.  “They’re gonna cancel the rest of the shows if you keep them waiting like this again.”

I tilt my head back in disbelief.  “Who says they’re gonna cancel?”

He shakes his greasy hair again and comes right at me.  “Geffen says.”

“Ha! Geffen fucking loves us.  You know how many millions we’ve made for those guys since – “

“You know how many millions Geffen has spent on this fucking tour!?” that stinking manager snaps back.  “I’m serious! You’re not playing in theaters anymore.  These are arena shows.  You guys are the fucking headliners this time around and a lot of people are counting on you to do your god damn job.”

“A lot of people are riding us you mean, like a bitch – like I’m a bitch you mean? Huh!? Do my job…you do your job! You do your job, fuckhead! I’m going to my room and I’ll be out WHEN I’M READY.  Til’ then, peace!”

And I can’t overstate how good it feels to slam that dressing room door behind me.

Part 1 – The Conundrum

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Oh how I’ve worked

Oh how I’ve yearned

All my great struggle

O’, the things I’ve learned

From downbeat sweeps

To harmonics sick

This axe I bear

As well this pick

Deliverance of music pure

To satisfy your aural need!

I riff for greatness upon the stage

At unimagined speed

But O’! How the man does stifle my voice!

My right to act! My right to choice!

How may this artist express their heart?

When the dollar stands before the art?

I declare my intent to forge an ark

Two records long, an epic tale

Spanning genre, culture, all

For this indeed! I hear the call!

But the man says, “This shall fail.”

“For example, the 4th track song”

The Nocturne Serpent, tis pure sublime

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“And nine minutes long!

This just won’t do, it’s pretty yes,

But pretty doesn’t pass the test

It needs some fire

It needs some sex.”

It’s about warring for your fate-bound lover!

“Yes, yes, yes

But that’s Shakespeare shit.

Kids these days are flakes, and it

Just won’t do to have such stake in wit

Trust me and I must admit

I know that soon you shall submit.”

And this conundrum bears down on me

To be or not to be a wealthy me

Or poor as ever, but truly me

To bask in limelight every night

To grasp the glory of the high life

To escape the shackles of greener pastures

To rival all the greatest masters

This conundrum bearing down on me

Like a typhoon great overwhelming me

A lonesome ship through seas of hell

I wish for more than I could tell

You seek a soldier this I know

And hardly could I throw

The bull, the Taurus, the aching florals

While you rest upon your laurels.

Hand me the pen and I shall sign

And to my soul resign

And to my life define a thread

And follow, though I dread

The inhibitions scarcely shed

As this wickedness is bred.

I see you smile grotesque and cruel

And I know it is my own.

I see your wisdom twist this fool

And I shall see him sown.

Sown like Jesus upon the fields

The disciples drink his blood.

Father me, oh father

And fuck me with your love.

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3D UI Design System – Introduction of Animated UI Elements, the Scrolling Grid Inventory, image customization (buttons, panels, etc), and more…

 

This update includes the following new introductions to the 3D UI Design System: 

  • Animated UI Elements: in this demo we see an animated element that I modeled and animated in blender before importing into UE4 to be used as the skeletal mesh assigned to the 1st Animated UI Element, the Display Pad
  • Inter-module communication: the UI Design manages all constituent UI Modules.  When input to a UI Element is received, its parent UI Module handles the event and determines if the effects can be determined locally (within the module) or need to be passed up to the UI Design.  Here, when input to the CLM Module is received, when the user selects an inventory object, the event is broadcast to the UI Design, which processes the event and the current state of the design, and instructs the Display Pad Module to perform the required functions.
  • Scrolling Grid Inventory Panel: under the ‘Weapons’ option in the collapsing list menu, we see an instance of a Scrolling Grid Inventory Panel, which lists a series of ‘inventory’ objects associated to it.  The designer can dynamically set preferences for things like:
    • number of inventory slots per row
    • maximum inventory slots
    • icon images
    • icon text
  • Introduced custom images for panels and buttons.  The designer can now easily set their own custom images to these elements from the design level, without ever having to manually configure individual  buttons
  • Improved animations of the collapsing list menu.  Panels now scale more smoothly during transition animations.

What comes next?

  • Mouse-interactive object meshes on the display pad, so the user can rotate and manipulate the object
  • Improvements to program architecture
  • Effects, effects, and more effects…

 

3D UI Design System – Latest UI Element: Collapsing List Menu

This latest development for the 3D UI Design System for UE4 is a new UI Element I’ve called the Collapsing List Menu (CLM).  This 3D menu has animated transitions between menu options, and the developer is able to assign a unique collapsing widget to each option (ie: the developer can assign something like a grid-based inventory list to certain options, a scroll box of sliders for others, etc, encapsulated and managed within the CLM UI Element)

Customization and tweaking of the CLM is made easy, as all basic parameters are kept in the UI Design class for the current design, while the CLM automatically handles changing parameters upon instantiating a game session.  This means that adding and removing entire menu options, collapsing widget types, animation speed, scaling, and so on, can be accomplished in a matter of minutes or seconds.

3D UI Design System – Milestone 1

3D UI Design System – Milestone 1 reached

The first milestone of a 3D UI Design System has been reached.  After a long hiatus due to post-secondary studies, development has recently begun again, and after a short week of effort, the 1st milestone has already been reached.  A non-comprehensive list of the features of the 1st milestone are as follows:

  • Fundamental framework of system implemented (a hierarchical system involving an encompassing UIDesign that manages a set of UIModules that are each composed of various UIElements)
  • Occluded or anti-occluded UI elements
  • State-transition effects: linear interpolation, fade in/out
  • UIElements: UIPanel, UIButton
  • UIElement factory
  • Standardized design principles for client ease-of-use

The Ultrasonic Motion Capture Device – Shape Drawing Demo

The Ultrasonic Motion Capture Device is an Msp430 microcontroller driven system that uses a set of ultrasonic distance rangers to capture the motion of an object in three dimensional space.  The process involves using sonic emissions that are picked up by a set of a receivers, which provide a set of distances from which we can triangulate a position for the particular emitter.

More theory and specific design to come soon..

Making music with the MSP430

As expected, post-secondary responsibilities have been pretty much overwhelming.  But that doesn’t mean there isn’t bit of wiggle room for some creative fun, even within the context of course requirements!

So here is a quick video demonstrating a ‘music making’ program I made in C that works with the MSP430 microcontroller and a piezoelectric beeper to generate what can subjectively be described as music!