Designing a Dedicated APU

I wrote this paper as part of a research seminar course that I took as a graduate student at American University.

Modern video games contain thousands of individual sound files: music, sound effects, ambiences, and dialog. Most of these are processed and manipulated in some way during playback and it takes a good amount of CPU (central processing unit) headroom to handle all of that processing, even with the power CPUs offer today. I believe that creation of a suc- cessful APU that could calculate sonic transformations of sounds based on situational proper- ties such as travel medium, obstructions/occlusions, travel distance, environmental absorption rates, temperature, refraction, and other acoustic properties could be the next frontier in im- mersive entertainment, for gaming and beyond. This paper assesses several components of realistic acoustic modeling, recent methods and research regarding their implementation, and seeks to determine the feasibility of combining them into one acoustic modeling system that could be implemented onto a discrete audio processing unit chip(set).

The paper is available to read here.


TF-CBT Triangle of Life: A Game to Help With Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

This is an academic research paper I wrote in conjunction with Eric Chang, Seungsuk Cho, Vivek Kotecha, Bing Liu, Hannah Turner, Yan Zhang, Michael G. Christel, and Scott M. Stevens at the Entertainment Technology Center of Carnegie Mellon University. It was published in CHI PLAY ’14: Proceedings of the First ACM SIGCHI Annual Symposium on Computer-human Interaction in Play.

Under direction of medical professionals associated with the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, a mobile game was developed for children ages 10-12 to teach the Cognitive Triangle concept of feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. This triangle is an essential component of Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT). A storybook experience with minigames was quickly prototyped, but first playtests showed a lack of engagement with children. The game was revised to emphasize side- scroller platform advancement where success in a level was tied intrinsically to cognitive triangle classification. Children rated the game highly across a series of playtests. The game has potential to be used by clinicians delivering TF-CBT as an appealing exercise for children.

Full paper available in Association for Computing Machinery’s Digital Library.

Dishonored: An Analysis of the Opening Story

Excerpt from a paper I wrote analyzing my first time playing Arkane Studios’ Dishonored™ on PlayStation™ 3

A story within a story – “Dunwall Tower: You have just returned from a journey of several months, visiting the other nations in the Empire to ask for aid in dealing with the Rat Plague. You must deliver their diplomatic response to the Empress, whom you serve as Lord Protector.” These are the first words I see upon selecting “New Game.” As of yet I have no name, yet I already have quite a clear depiction of who it is I am in the story. I am a protector, a messenger, a journeyman, a diplomat, and I live in a world of hierarchy. In addition, I have a vague understanding of the encroaching menace of plague. I am left to wonder at tales of my journey through the other nations, or even my path through birth, childhood, and adolescence; yet, I find such thoughts a distant past which quickly drift away as I face an uncertain and near future. All this begins my part in the larger story of a man’s life in a capital city called Dunwall.

Read the full paper…

Online Identities: Who Are We?

This is an academic research paper I wrote in conjunction with Erin Walsh, a fellow computational media major at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

The world as we know it today has been shaped by its newly ubiquitous communicative capacity. Social network sites have allowed their users an unprecedented level of interactivity between each other. However, all of this communication stems from each user as an individual. The first stage of communication on these sites is for the user to determine what s/he wants to say on them. This can be as basic as what information a user puts on his/her profile to as complicated as his/her online speech patterns; however, for the purposes of this project, we will focus on what kind of status updates, pictures, shares, “likes”, etc. users feel comfortable posting on one SNS over another. Do the associated perceptions of online communities such as Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr influence the user in their choice to use them and how to use them? Are there things that social networkers would post on one site but not the other(s)? Why do people use multiple SNSs? By conducting a survey, examining research articles/publications, and considering our own anecdotal evidence, this paper will explore what kinds of identities people create and express for themselves on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, as well as what influence these sites may have on the actual (i.e. offline) identities of their users.

The Neutrality of the Net, Who Decides

I wrote this paper as part of an ethics in computer science course that I took as an undergraduate at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Throughout the epochs of time, different periods have demonstrated particular characteristics that caused us to classify them as ages. Whether it was the unforgiving polar climate that defined the Ice Age or sudden arousal of particular metallic value during the Bronze and Iron Ages, human history has swung through periods of explosion in all kinds of phenomena. We have now entered an Information Age where information may be the most important commodity on the planet. To that end, the transmission of such information (no matter what type) has become a matter of great importance. Network neutrality, the idea that Internet service providers (and governments) should not and cannot regulate network traffic, has become a hot-button issue in this time of rule under Moore’s Law. But the question of the constitutionality of net neutrality also gives rise to the question: who has the authority to implement and enforce it? This paper will examine arguments presented by the Federal Communications Commission and various Internet service providers in order to form a conclusion on the validity of network neutrality control by the FCC.