Thought Repository

Spring Carnival 2005

Yes, it has taken me a week to write about carnival, but I had a lot of work I had neglected for carnival to catch up on. It was by far the most beautiful carnival I've ever seen. No rain from move on to tear down and it was very warm too.

How did AEPi booth building go? Picking up where I left off, we got the booth back up, and work continued. After that brief detour of reinvolvement with the structure I went back to working on the game. Perhaps I should not have volunteered to make the game for AEPi this year. Helping out as an alumnus is one thing, but what I've discovered is that it is better to work on smaller projects so the booth isn't 100% depenant on me. I don't need that kind of pressure with everything else I'm responsible for as well, particularly once carnival has started and I feel that I should be relaxing and enjoying the weekend with my visiting friends, as alumni usually do. However, things did turn out ok in the end.

Originally the game was supposed to be a flight simulator. The design for it seemed nice but it wasn't achievable because we didn't have any 3D models, a problem I was unable to solve and the booth chairs seemed unwilling to listen to. There was going to be a secondary game which at some point we decided would have to be the primary game, but thanks to a discussion with my brilliant friend Jason Small, we came up with a plan for a much simplified flight sim that I could create. It was still an ambitious project. The design was to build a model plane flight simulator and have guests fly this model plane in a course around this year's midway. Yes, I built a 3d model of the physical midway that was being built concurrently. This basically involved taking pictures and photo-texturing a boxy model of the midway. The whole game was built, from start to finish, in one day, less than 24 hours. The secondary game was an air traffic control simulation. It is based on a similar existing game which is fun, but not very approriate as a booth game. Unfortunately I spent a lot of my time working on that, procrastinating the main game, but was able to finish both in the end. After spending tons of time on the less important game, I finished it before lunch on Wednesday at which point I began work on the main game. I was very stress, just about as bad as I've ever felt, but with some good motivation and help with prioritization, I was able to get it done. Strangely enough, I was also working on a flight simulator game for the ETC this semester. I had intended to steal a lot of the code from that experience for the booth game, but as it turned out, I was able to write from scratch in one day (with some liberal idea stealing from a racing game I like) a better game than the one I had been working all semester on. Although the cockpit was not quite finished and we had to use my old steering wheel and pedals instead of a yoke or flight stick and throttle, the game was still very well received and a lot of fun. I was worried that other organizations would take offense to us using their work in our booth game but in fact they seemed to quite enjoy finding their booths in our virtual world.

Speaking of games, as fun as that game might have been, another I was involved in was more fun. The entertainment engineering booth's game was just a pit of foam blocks with stuffed germs to find, yet I think it may have been one of the most fun games at the carnival. Despite my work on a highly technological game as well, I was not offended by the comments by guests that our game was much better than any of those computer games. Something to consider for the future.

As for the booths themselves, overall I wasn't as impressed with them as I have been in the past. The one exception was SigEp's Rock and Roll booth. Although I was impressed by KDR's Mission Space type game, I thought SigEp actually deserved first place because it was one of the most impressive booths I've ever seen. I really loved their exterior, particularly the giant guitar they made.

AEPi's booth particually disappointed me. It was not quite finished. Not as bad as last year, but it made me feel worse than last year in a way. Last year had a lot of problems and the booth they tried to build might have been outside their strengths and abilities. The booth this year had some real potential. It could have been great if it were all done. The things that didn't get done weren't things we couldn't do, they were just things that we didn't have time for because we didn't have enough participation soon enough. The structural setback was not the reason. We just need to start sooner and plan better. In fact, with score we came in 4th, not placing but surprisingly beating PhiKap. Certainly if we'd put in just a little more effort, if just a few more things had been finished, we should have been able to at least place 3rd. All this means is that it is time to start reflecting on what we did right and wrong, and plan to be awesome next year.

As much as I'd like to see that happen, I'm hoping that I won't have time to be involved in that. Although the fraternaties division is where the real competition is, I hope to be working on taking first in the independants division at the helm of the first ever ETC booth.