Zelda and San Diego? USC+

Howdy everyone! I hope your first couple weeks of school have been going well, I sure know that mine have! It’s been a hectic few weeks with fraternity rush, making The Legend of Zelda (what?!?), and driving down to San Diego!

So, first thing’s first, classes – we are a University after all! This semester I am taking a heavy load of Computer Science courses, ranging from CS 201’s Agent-based development, to CS 170’s Discrete Mathematics (I’ll get into this a bit later), all the way to ITP 140’s Mobile Development, and ITP 280’s Video Game Production! For my agent-based development course, we are currently transitioning from C++ to Java in lab while we develop a fully graphical restaurant, complete with customers, waiters, hosts, and cooks! It’s really interesting to see how each instance contains it’s own thread of action and processing and how they can talk to each other, just like people, and choose to act upon the instructions or ignore them altogether! In my Discrete Mathematics course, I was worried at first; I mean, what really is discrete mathematics – the math we just don’t like to talk about? Actually, discrete mathematics is the math behind problem solving. So far, we’ve looked at presenting all possible outcomes in a set notation and manipulating them that way to find a solution and also how the minute calculations and differences in runtime analysis for computer methods can really create a huge difference in outcome! Can you believe that a method that takes log(1000) operations can complete in only 10^-10 seconds, while a method that takes 2^1000 operations would take over 10^100 years to complete. That’s right, years! What seems like a minute difference can become incredibly drastic once it gets repeated. Continuing on though, in my Mobile Development class, we’ve learned about how most applications work on a client/server structure, where most of the data is held on some machine somewhere connected to the internet, and each device running the app contacts that server to load the information that the user requested. And finally, what I teased about earlier, in my Games Production course, we’ve set the schedule for personal tours from Blizzard and potentially Riot Games. For our first lab in ITP 280, we are using GameMaker to recreate a classic video game. For my first attempt at this, I decided to reach a bit and recreate The Legend of Zelda for the NES. It was quite a bit of a reach and so I’ve settled for a recreation of Atari’s Pac-Man due to our tight 3-week deadline, but I plan to keep at it and get a working version of a couple of dungeons going, so I’ll keep you posted!

My first pass at a recreation of The Legend of Zelda for the NES.

Outside of school, the first week of classes was also our fraternity rush week. During this week, we host events for guys who are looking at joining the Greek system so that they can meet us and decide if there’s a house that they want to join. It’s always a fun time, giving house tours, going go karting at K1 Speed, and bowling with the guys. It’s nice to get to meet guys in the incoming Freshmen class (as well as some older!) that we often don’t have classes with. It went really well this year, and I even got a great shot of the coastline during one of our events:

And finally, this past Friday was a year to the date since my girlfriend, Sarah, and I started dating. To celebrate, we went out to San Diego to visit the Zoo and see the giraffes and giant pandas! It was such an easy drive since Los Angeles is so close, and it was definitely worth it. Look at that panda, how could it not be?

San Diego Zoo!

After visiting the Zoo, we explored the town, heading over to the Gaslamp District, Seaport Village, and Coronado Island. In my opinion, there’s no better way to end the weekend than with your feet in the water and your toes in the sand! Until next time – bye y’all!