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Friday, April 08, 2005

History - Part 2

And so the history continues. When I last wrote, I promised the story of "why I am still working on what was originally just another project for school." True to my word, here is the story. CS 455 was my very first senior-level class at BYU. I was somewhat nervous about taking it since I had never before taken even a 300-level class, but I spoke with Dr. Tom Sederberg (for whom I had worked as a teaching assistant, and from whom I had already taken one class) who assured me I could handle it. I found early on that I enjoyed the class a great deal. Somehow I had gotten the idea in my head at an early age that a programmer really knew a lot if he could make cool graphics. (This is not necessarly an untruth, but there are certainly other things a programmer can specialize in.) Finally I was writing programs I could show to people without getting that "So what?" look! Robert the Brown A brief story may illustrate just how cool I was. At that time (and for a long time thereafter), I had a roommate named Robert. You may view his photo to the right. He was always a deceiver. In this photo he was trying to convince the photographer that he was his twin brother Juan (who in actuality does not exist). From time to time, however, he had brief moments of honesty. During one such moment, he informed me that he really liked one particular image I had rendered using my ray tracer. It was the image of spheres above an infinite plane which can be seen below. Robert had recently spent a small fortune on some photo paper for our printer, and to my great honor, he demanded that I print a copy of my spherical artwork on a sheet of his precious paper. Folks, it hardly gets better than that. Ray Tracer Spheres In truth, however, it does actually get better than that. In addition to the visual payoff as well as my new-found popularity, I found that I was getting high marks in the class. That was great encouragement. I truly was becoming the master programmer I had always wanted to be. :D Lest you be persuaded to believe that I actually was a master programmer at that time, I must admit my ray tracer had some serious flaws, certainly not least of which was the fact that in order to render a different scene than the last, I had to recompile my program. Do you know what that means? It means that if I were to send you a copy of my ray tracer from back then, it would always render exactly the same scene every time you ran it. No matter what! Ok, I'm signing out now with the full realization that the answer to "why I am still working on what was originally just another project for school" is still left largely unanswered. Not only do you have other things to do, but I do as well. Yet worry not, faithful readers. More answers are yet to come.


At 10:29 AM, Blogger Urdjwa said...

Great! A whole blog devoted to your ray-tracing project. And now we can vicariously experience the thrill of perfecting and fine-tuning it. Go speed ray-tracer!

At 5:50 PM, Anonymous ed said...

I think robert is like a crispy brown cookie: not undercooked, not overcooked. I also think he used to walk around in your apartment without his shirt far too much.


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