November 13, 2010

While on co-op for Boston Scientific, I worked on a major project to show all the different plant metrics and data in a simple, easy to use interface that employees could access. Each metric had its own app, and the one I was working on was scrap and yield. We were developing these apps using QlikView.

An example of a QlikView App.

I worked away on this project for many weeks. Getting the data, loading into my app, and giving the user logical ways to organise and display this data was the main requirement. I had a basic knowledge of QlikView and was thus able to get most of the basic requirements myself. However, I had trouble implementing some of the more complex formulas and scripting, so I ended up working with QlikView consultants to finish it off.

This project was a massive change of pace from college! Gone was the casual atmosphere, working from my comfy apartment, getting friends to help me out. Instead, I was working from a cubicle in a huge office, working with and getting help from many different colleagues, and working to very important deadlines too. This was no academic exercise, this was a real project, with real requirements, costs and deadlines. This was a bit scary, but a fantastic experience to have! I also got some invaluable experience of business meetings, keeping in touch with the other employees working on the project, and keeping my manager informed of any problems I was having. I definitely feel more confident working with real business projects now, as opposed to my own private ones.



November 13, 2010

Another project I completed in the course of my module was creating my own simplistic version of Zork, one of the first text based computer games. I used the programming language C++ to develop my game.

This was my first experience with the C++ language, and I felt somewhat “thrown in at the deep end”! Rather than my previous experience with simple Java programs all in the one class file, I now had a more complicated program with many classes and objects. This was difficult, but extremely fun and interesting to get used to. For the first time, I could see the benefits of Object Orientated Programming. By the end of the project I had a much better understanding of C++ and OOP.

Unlike many of my other projects, for this one I was alone rather than in a team. This presented some new advantages but also challenges. On the one hand, I didn’t need to communicate with other people or manage meeting up. I also didn’t have to worry about anyone else messing up and bringing down MY grade with THEIR incompetence. On the other hand, this meant all the work and responsability rested on my shoulders! While I found it a bit easier in terms of organisation and time management to be on my own, overall it’s better to have a team to help each other out and provide different perspectives.

My game turned out quite well, both in how it played and how it was programmed. It was both fun to play (in my view anyway!), and had some good programming going on in the background.

The Legend Of Patch Chango!

October 29, 2010

In 3rd year of college we had a fun module: “Computers Games Programming Tools And Techniques”. Our task for this module was to mod a proper, professionally developed computer game: The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion. This was a really great change of pace from all the dry theories and simplistic sample programs we had been utilising til then. Now we would get to actually create our own original fully featured game, albeit within the limits of the Oblivion world and gameplay.

The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion

Our team of four used the Elder Scrolls Construction set to make our game.  We each did different aspects of the project. My first task was making up a storyline for our game. Oblivion is normally focused on pretty simple combat missions, so to change things I up I thought a murder mystery game might be fun. The storyline involved a city’s crimelord, Patch Chango, being murdered. The town guards, aka police, want to solve this crime, while Chango’s lieutenant and gang want revenge on the murderer. The player can choose which side to work with, and get a different story, set of missions and rewards based on who they help.

Will you help the noble soldiers or demonic criminals?

After coming up with the story, we each designed and implemented the locations, the missions, and the dialogue. I personally created the house of the crimelord, and had lots of fun creating a dark, evil place! Human hearts in the cupboards, dungeons, demonic artifacts, altars of black magic… Really got my imagination going! Then there was a lot of scripting to get the different missions done, and plenty of conversations to write, so the player could gain the information to solve the mystery.

A look at the Elder Scrolls Construction Set, used for creating this project.

Overall this was a very fun project, the opportunity to create my own characters and storyline, as well as do the more technical stuff, was very enjoyable. I did encounter some issues with some team members contributing much more than others, but overall it was a great project to work on.