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Jan 19 2012

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Welcome to My Blog

Finally, my blog is official online. This post I will use to write about my blog in general and to introduce myself.
First a short list about what topics my blog will be about:

  • Programming
  • Graphics Programming
  • Game Development
  • Computer Science
  • Tools
  • New Technology

And some bullet points about me:

About My Blog

After these short lists, some thoughts about my blog will follow. The main reason to build my blog was to present my work I did at my studies at Media University Stuttgart. Additionally, I wanted to have a platform where I can publish my stuff, which I will work on in the future. At my studies I learned a lot of other blog entries. Another reason of my blog is to give something back and help other people with my knowledge. After I have studied four years computer science I found out that there is still a lot I need to learn and that I want to learn. If this blog helps me to learn new stuff and helps other people to get into computer science and game development, it would be great.
My posts at this blog will be very technical. I will write about my thoughts and my opinion about different topics. It would also be nice when there will be a lot of discussions about the stuff I wrote. Everything I write will not be correct. I post these things with my current knowledge. I am open to every constructive criticism about my stuff.

The current content that I have added to my page is about my projects

and my thesis

These are the things I did while I was studying Media Computer Science. Check out the pages for more information and additional content.

This is only the start of my blog. In the future there will be a lot more topics. The next posts will be about some improvements I did for my terrain, which I developed for my thesis. Occlusion culling and displacement mapping were the two things, which I was not able to implement in the timeframe for my thesis. What I will write about in the future I am not sure yet. It depends on how my career will develop. But I am sure it will be about programming, graphics programming, computer science, tools or new technology. Maybe I will write some tutorials as well. It will be the things I will learn and work with in the future.

About Me

After talking about my blog I will write a little bit about me. The short version can be seen here.

I have been a Gamer since I was very young. After I had my first Game Boy with Tetris and Metroid the gaming virus had me. I am what you could call a Nintendo fan boy. Every important Nintendo console is owned from at least one member of my family. I especially love to play the Mario, Metroid and Zelda games. And I am looking forward to the new Wii U, which hopefully will be released in this year. Nintendo make a Mario release title for the Wii U, please.
I have also played a lot of PC Games. I really liked strategy games like War Craft, Star Craft and Command & Conquer. I have also played the first-person shooter Counter Strike, Quake 3 Arena and Unreal Tournament. These games remind me of the good old LAN times. Before broadband was a topic and online gaming became very big.
Nevertheless, I am more the console guy. Especially the Xbox 360 is a great system today. The most important thing of this console is the great online experience you get with Xbox Live. This is a system where all game developers, especially Sony and Nintendo need to have a look at it. It works great with its party system to play together with friends. I was a part of the Xbox Live gamers from the beginning. I started to use Xbox Live with the Xbox when the beta for Xbox Live started. The first game I played online on the Xbox was Moto GP. At start Xbox Live had still some problems with lags or the voice chat sometimes did not work correctly. But after a while it got a great online experience. I only have to think about the great gaming sessions I recently had with Gears of War 3, Modern Warfare 3, Resident Evil 5 and a lot of other games. I know that this experience would not be the same without the Xbox Live friends list and party function, with its audio chat. That I really like Xbox Live you can also see at my page. I added there my Xbox Live gamertag. So when you are playing against SL33PING GIANT you know who that guy is.
What I really like about consoles is the accessibility. You plug the console into your TV, insert a game and can start to play. You do not have to install your game, configure your graphics settings and hope that this game will work with these settings in a constant frame rate at every part of the game. This is what Nintendo called plug and play for the advertisement of its console N64. OK with the PS3 it is a different thing. Here you first need to install your game before you can start playing. Oh no wait. You also have to install updates, which you first need to download and then to install. When you ignore these two things it is really plug and play until your hard drive is full. Xbox 360 does also have an update function, but this is a lot faster and only a matter of a few seconds.
Additionally, what I like about consoles are offline multiplayer games. The great 4 player games you can play together with friends with or without split screen. One thing that I hate about the current console generation is that the developers somehow forget to implement a 4 player function, although the game has a very nice online multiplayer. It is really different playing against somebody when she or he is sitting next to you.

My other hobbies are Martial Arts, biking and I love to watch motorsports. I did about 2 years Wing-Tsung. This is a Kung Fu style that uses the strength of the enemy to use it against him. I did this sport while I was studying. However, at a certain point I did not have the time to train for it and study. At this moment I was at a level where I needed to train my body more often to get the muscles and condition I need for this sport. This was not possible for me while I was studying. So I decided to stop doing this sport and concentrate on my studies. Wing-Tsung was a really great experience and I could imagine doing something alike in the future. Tai Chi could be something I will do in the future.
The sport that I do at the moment is biking. You have a great workout when you bike up the hill and it is fun to go downhill. I think it is very important for a programmer to have some sporty activity as compensation for sitting around.
Additionally I am a big motorsport fan. I like the competition of this sport. It is not only about sporting performance. It has also to do with technical know-how. This is very important to be able to make a fast racing car. The sporty and technical competition is especially what fascinates me at motorsports like Formula 1 or DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft = German Touring Racing Championship).

That is it about my hobbies. Now I want to write something about my education. Over the years gaming became a passion for me. That is why I always had the dream to be part of the development of a game. This dream had an influence on my education.
In 2007 I started to study Media Computer Science (Medieninformatik B.Sc.) at Media University (Hochschule der Medien) in Stuttgart. At the time I started studying, this was the only free course of study, which had lectures about game development. I decided to start this course because I wanted to learn programming and I wanted to get knowledge about game development. In all lectures I found myself speculating about which things could be useful for game development.
My internship for my course of study I did at Acony as a Quality Assurance Engineer. My tasks were:

  • Function analysis of all game features (stability and usability of game and Unreal Engine)
  • Graphics analysis of all game features (evaluation of textures, game assets and animations)
  • Testing usability of game elements (HUD, menu, etc.)
  • Audio analysis of all game features
  • Installation and maintenance of game servers in USA and Europe
  • Making test cases and release notes
  • Maintenance of bug database (TestTrackPro)
  • Communication and coordination with external QA department
  • Creation of own playable map with Unreal Development Kit

The internship as a QA Engineer was great to get an overview of the game development process. I had a great experience working together with the talented team of Acony and I am looking forward to the release of Acony’s game Hedone, which is currently in development.
Test a game today is very important because a lot of people work together at a very big product. Here bugs can happen very easy and need to be communicated to the responsible person. The internship as a Quality Assurance Engineer was a great experience for me to get an overview about the whole gaming process. However, I think this is not the job I want to do the rest of my live. At my studies I learned programming and I really liked it. This was the thing I did not like at my internship that I did not have the opportunity to program. I would like to program game features, graphics pipelines or create tools, which artists can use to make something great with it. At which field I will specialize me, I am not sure yet. I really could imagine being a Game Programmer, Graphics Programmer, Tools Programmer, AI Programmer or Network Programmer. I think what I will do is dependent on the opportunities I will have. The only way to find out at which programming job I am the best in, is to try it out.
At the moment I am planning future steps for my career, writing applications and do some home studying of the stuff I did not had time to do while I was studying. Whether I continue studying or start working depends on the next months. When I get a job offer where I can learn a lot and I think this is the right job for my personal development, I will start working. Otherwise, I will continue studying and learn a lot at University while I will do the master’s degree.

Over the last twenty years I have developed a fascination for video games. This fascination has gone so far that I had the wish to be part of the development of a video game. Therefore I started to study Media Computer Science. While I was studying and especially after my internship at Acony, I found out at which part of the game development process I want to specialize. I am a very technical guy and I love to program. I like new technology and I am excited about the future of video games. I want to be a part of the developers, who create these new games. Furthermore, I want to be a programmer that understands the hardware he is working on and is able to get the maximum of performance out of it.
After I have graduated I still have a lot to learn to achieve these targets. I hope this blog will help me to achieve them and will also help other people, who want to achieve something similar. These achievements are very challenging, but they also keep me motivated. And hopefully, after a few years, I can say “Achievement Unlocked”.

That is it for my first post. One last thing I want to add. If you like to contact me directly you can use my contact page.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.markusrapp.de/welcome-to-my-blog/

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