Friday, August 31, 2007

Saturday, August 25, 2007

UFC 74 Las Vegas

I'm currently in Las Vegas for UFC 74.

update: seeing the UFC live was great. if you're a fan, I recommend that you go. however, as you may expect, you can't see as much as you would on TV. as with most sports, the TV coverage includes angles and close-ups that you can't get when you're at the live show. but there are a number of benefits that outweigh this issue. for example, when you're at the live show, you see the undercard fights, and you experience the crowd reactions. for example, after Babalu admitted to ignoring the ref's command to release a choke, the crowd was not impressed. as Babalu left the ring he threw his hat into the crowd and the guy who caught it threw it back. another benefit is that you can talk to fighters who aren't competing in the event. without even trying to find anyone, my friends and I saw Andrew Arlovski, David Loiseau, Matt Lindland, Forrest Griffin and some others -- I also had a brief talk with Dana White.

of course, the best part was seeing GSP demolish Koscheck and Randy slam down Gonzaga. since I put some money on Randy, I left Vegas with more money than I arrived with.

here are some quick shots...

- former UFC Heavyweight champ Andre Arlovski

- UFC Heavyweight champ Randy Couture weighs in

- the Mandalay Bay Event Centre and hotel

- sunrise over the vegas mountains

- Ballys hotel and the Paris hotel's famous Eiffel tower replica

Friday, August 03, 2007

Halo 2 bloodless?

I recieved an interesting question via e-mail that I thought I'd share. it demonstrates just how much modding can aid this world of ours.

"I am writing to you because I need help changing the color of the blood in Halo 2. Our Church just invested $50,000 in videogame equipment to allow teenagers a place they can hang out and be in a safe environment. We are OK with the war shooter games but the blood upsets some people. I want to know if there is a way to hack the game to stop the blood or change the color. If so would you please tell me or direct me in the right direction."

this was my response...

unless you're talking about PC's, you're probably going to run into some trouble getting approval for modding. although it is possible to buy pre-modded Xboxs with third-party warrantees, modding Xboxs means voiding the Microsoft warranty. if you have PCs then you won't have to worry about any hardware modding and Halo 2 mods are supported.

once you have modded systems, changing the blood to another colour (or even transparent) would be an option.

for questions about modding an Xbox, go to
for questions about modding Halo, the place to go is

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


I'm currently working on a book about Augmented Reality (AR) for Pragmatic Publishing. the AR technology the book uses is called ARTag. it was invented by my co-author, Dr. Mark Fiala, at the National Research Council of Canada.

BTW -- you can see ARTag videos on YouTube (search for "ARTag").

- ARTag Tank Wars demo (click for full size image)

- another view showing a real hand in the frame (click for full size image)

this post is a pro-active attempt to answer some questions before the book is shipped.

General Non-Technical Questions
Q: I have a question about ARTag. who do I ask?

Q: What is ARTag?
A: It's a fiducial marker system for visual Augmented Reality. Based on numerous metrics, ARTag is widely considered to be the best AR marker system available. Refer to for more details.

Q: Can I use ARTag for a commercial product?
A: ARTag is provided (time bombed) for academic purposes. to use ARTag in a commercial product, you will need to get a license from the National Research Council of Canada.

Q: Do I have to use OpenGL with ARTag?
A: The current library only supports OpenGL, but other graphics systems may be supported in the future.

ARTag Technical Questions
Q: How do I get at the data coming from artag_set_object_opengl_matrix()? I want to use it in my own graphics system.
A: It isn't possible to get the information from artag_set_object_opengl_matrix(). It sets the matrix internally and the data is used for subsequent rendering. In other words, the only way to get the result is to use them by supplying ARTag an image and something to augmented to it. The current library only supports OpenGL, but other graphics systems may be supported in the future.

Questions about the ARTag C# Wrapper or C# sample
Q: Why does the "OpenGL only" C# sample require the ARTag library?
A: The library is only required to read the test texture (PPM format).