was a video game I worked on as an undergrad. On Jade, I helped develop a 3D interface, programming development UIs and helping to moderate volunteer contributors from the web (our project attracted many volunteers who helped out in small ways). Doing this, I learned advanced Java and how rapidly develop large projects using non-standard Java interfaces. Stephen Chin was the project lead, and was always full of ideas and very willing to help teach new people. David Newell was the artist who introduced me to Jade after we met in Circle K, and I'm still impressed by his artwork and creativity (though the best of his creativity is seen outside of the game in his lesser-known works).

We later redirected our efforts to more practical projects, including Sheets (a Java IDE with possibly the earliest "search for references" type features, among others), (a version-tracking database), and a designed for artists building fun, Flash-like interfaces (though basic, it had referencing, recursive and usability features still not available in any graphics tools I know of). Most of these never made it past the alpha phase, but proved to be great learning experiences about software development from the perspectives of programmers, artists, and designers.

Building Virtual Worlds

Building Virtual Worlds (BVW) has gained the reputation on and off the Carnegie Mellon campus as a class which drains students' grades away from all other classes, because they enjoy it and have so much fun. Students create a new world every two weeks, which culminates in a final presentation in McConomy Auditorium, which seats 500 people but has a line out the door. Competition to get into the course is intense, and once in it competition is even more intense. Randy Pausch, the teacher of BVW, was famous then and is even more famous now for his "Last Lecture", which has now become a #1 New York Times Bestseller -- yes, Randy was that exuberant every day in class, too.

One world I worked on, based on Van Gogh's Cafe Terrace at Night, for many years was listed as an "All Star", the top 13 worlds from the class's history. [URL] [Watch Movie: Low, Medium, High]. Two others are listed on the BVW page: Madame Tarot, which was an artful rendering of a Tarot Card reading, and Sarajevo: Through A Child's Eyes. Through A Child's Eyes was a unusually serious virtual world, for the field of virtual reality which most often caters to humor and non-serious topics, due to the low-fidelity of the medium of live VR. Before you compare the graphics to modern video games, remember that these were done in 1999, almost a decade ago, by small teams of students in two weeks each.