“Weekly” Update (September 17, 2017)

Hello all,

With school in full swing I have very little time to write. However, for my own purposes I’d like to have a written record of my progress, so I shall endeavor to continue these updates.

The last week of summer, I spent a lot of time making music. I was also practicing for an audition, which went well. I’m now playing piano for the Jazz Ensemble. (More on this in another post.) Also, remember the Seaboard RISE 49 that I mentioned last time? I’ve already made some fun tracks with it. I’ll get around to uploading a bunch of them later.

I’ve returned to classes, but that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped making and coding. I’ve started taking my school’s Advanced Robotics class. I’ve decided to log my progress via Github. The repository is alan-luo/advanced-robotics-crh. Since the last update, I’ve added entries for Sept 15 and Sept 18. In particular, check out this bit of music I made by interfacing Pure Data with my sensors.

Spooky scary circuits...
Spooky scary circuits…

This was also our first week of Games and Change. I’ll write more about this organization in the future. We had a very strong first showing. I also organized and ran a Super Smash Bros. doubles tournament to a decent degree of success, raising a good sum of money for charity. We’re looking to expand our efforts into the online realm. We’ll be making game design video essays. Watch out for news on that front.

Game development continues at a steady pace. I’m working on putting up a development blog. I’m writing it in Pico. Look out for that, too.

This coming week, I plan to host the first meeting for the programming club, and to attend Maker Faire. I will continue my robotics work my game development, as well.

That’s all for me.

“Weekly” Update (August 19, 2017)

Hello all,

I have not been very good about keeping up with this blog in the past few weeks. I can come up with any number of excuses, but none of them are particularly valid. I’ve been busy but didn’t push myself to write anything. At any rate, it’s time to pick up the pace. We have two weeks to cover.

Two weeks ago my internship at Tufts VALT ended. I’m overall pretty happy with what I accomplished and how things turned out. I finished the second-to-last day with a call with our project collaborators on the system I built. My biggest takeaway from this experience was probably learning the importance of sustainable code. At the lab I worked, a lot of people cycled through over various summers and left behind a corpus of very valuable but unreadable work due to poor documentation. My past project advisors have been stringent about making sure I document my projects well. It’s much more clear to me now why this is so important.

Earlier that week, I put up a minimal parallax demo. I turned this into a mini jQuery plugin so that I could colorcode the projects on my site. I’ll probably turn this into a proper plugin at a later date so that you can use this technology in your projects.

The week after that, I travelled to Maine for some tourism. We visited Acadia National Park, and I got some nice photos for a generative art project I’m working on.

On the music side, I’ve been preparing a number of pieces for an upcoming audition. I’ve also bought myself a fancy new piece of equipment in the form of Seaboard RISE using literally all my money from the last year. Hopefully I can produce a track or two soon. Look out for those.

This coming week, I hope to resume normal blog posts and to stay more on top of these weekly updates.

That’s all for me.

Weekly Update (August 6, 2017)

Hello again.

I regret to inform that I haven’t posted anything useful in the last week. I’ll try to make this change.

Part of the reason is that I was occupied playing the wonderful, beautiful Pyre. Supergiant has produced two (now three) of my favorite games of all time, so I couldn’t help but finish Pyre as fast as possible.

I got to see Earth, Wind and Fire, with three of the original members performing. That was pretty great!

On the code side, I put up a Jekyll site to house all the demos I’ve been collecting. It’s a nice place to put them together and showcase. You’ll find it hosted on Github pages.

In order to populate the site, I made a fabric simulation and a fluid simulation. This is the first time I’ve managed to get a fabric simulation to work! In the past, when I’ve tried to make spring systems, I’ve gotten really odd results.


I finally discovered that the reason for this was because I had no friction. In theory, this should only cause spring motions to oscillate, but I think rounding error compounded over many frames probably caused the system to go out of control. All I had to do was add a velocity-based damping factor to the differential equation and it worked out.

(I also accidentally discovered a cool effect, and kept it for later use. It’s based on a bug, so here’s a gif in case it gets fixed in the future.)

A tear in spacetime!

The fluid simulation uses cellular automata. I got the algorithm from a Reddit post. I really like the algorithm because it’s extremely elegant. I’ll probably find a way to repurpose it for a later project.

My favorite project this week is probably this parallax demo. It’s a jQuery plugin that generates a parallax-powered mountain scene into an arbitrary element. I’ve put it in the background of some of the page on my website. (If you’re reading this in the future, that link may have changed, and that effect may no longer be live.) I’ll probably work on making the plugin public.

I started working on a project to bring pure math education to the masses, but it’s still in its infantile stages. Expect another update on this soon.

On the lab side, I got the front-end for the collaboration we’re working on to a workable enough point that we’re ready to demo it. We’re meeting with the other group on Thursday to explain how our system can interface with theirs.

That’s all for me.

Weekly Update (July 30, 2017)

This past week has been pretty tiring. I coded a lot, as usual.

I started contributing to freeCodeCamp.

I released the Pico theme used on my homepage. It’s called Attache.

Little Planet Procedural got quite popular! Someone found it and posted it to Hackernews. I had a few people reach out to me expressing their interest in my work. Nice!

I was pretty active on Github this week. Github shows something like 60 contributions. I wrote a little script which can schedule publishing so that you can optimize viewership. Use it instead of apps like Later for Reddit to save money. Although, if you’re a competent dev you can probably figure out how to write it yourself, anyway. It’s not hard.

As usual, I’m continuing to work at my lab. I’m meeting with my program advisor next week to check in.

Didn’t do much work on my game this week, but it will continue to progress slowly but surely. Be sure to watch out for an official announcement + development blog later down the road.

That’s all for me.

Weekly Update (July 23, 2017)

I continued to work with my lab. I’ve begun trying to construct a systemization of data tasks. This would potentially lay the groundwork for the future of another project.

I did a bunch of SEO on my websites and updated my Github. I’m looking more and more legit by the day!

google search result
This is on the first page!

I was contacted by a reader of my blog, which is a really nice feeling for me, since it indicates that the random jumble I’m writing here is potentially influencing someone else, even if just a little bit.

I’ve finished transcribing In Just a Moment’s Time from Skullgirls. Keep watching for a cover! I’ll also probably upload the transcription to Musescore at some point.

I ran into an issue on my current game. I wrote about this here, as well. However, I’m going to keep pushing forward to make this work!

This week, I’m hoping finish that cover, and otherwise just continue to work on projects. I’m working on porting some of my design docs over to a CMS the same way I’ve done for docs.alanluo.com.

Weekly Update (July 16, 2017)

As has been the case for most of this summer, I spent most of my time working with my lab. I’m not sure at what liberty I am to disclose what we’re working on, but I’ll say that I worked on debugging an experiment we ran on Amazon Mechanical Turk. Essentially, we were running into an issue where the asynchronicity of Node resulted in one file being edited by two instances at once, resulting in corrupted data.

I also got my knowledge base up and running at [docs.alanluo.com](http://docs.alanluo.com]. Those are literally my personal notes synced to a remote Git repository on my hosting service. In an effort to promote global education, I plan to make those notes public for anyone to benefit from. I also turned the site into a theme for Pico CMS called Clutter. (Technically, some of this is from more than a week ago, but whatever.)

There are a handful of internships I am looking at. Unfortunately, most only take college students. This, however, has not stopped me from preparing applications anyway. I updated my CV, and asked some adults I knew for references.

On the music front, I have begun transcribing In Just a Moment’s Time from Skullgirls. Expect a cover coming out soon.

Oh! And, of course, I set up this blog! I doubt anyone has read the posts up to this point, but I hope to expand my personal brand and online presence. I have more plans for this going forward – stay tuned!

On that note, I spent quite a bit of time planning and rearranging my online identity. When you have more than one interest and you’re looking to make all those interests digital, it’s hard to keep accounts, emails, and identities in check. I’ve decided to break my online identity down into three people. I’m not entirely willing to disclose the other two just yet. They’re all a part of my aforementioned plans. Just wait.

This week, I’m hoping to start taking better notes, prepare for water polo season, and continue my research job. And hopefully I’ll start maintaining this blog multi-weekly. As in, more than one post a week.