Matt Hackmann

Good-bye vacation

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A wise man once said all good things must come to an end. So it is true for me as my week long Thanksgiving vacation is over effective 8:00AM EST tomorrow morning. However, I will certainly say that it has been a rather interesting week for me.

There is, of course, my obvious return to fame thanks in no small part to idle curiosity and a couple minutes of nifty text editing. And to those who've been messing around with the drums program from the prior post, I have been paying attention to your comments. At this point I've abandoned that program in lieu of a GlovePIE script. More on that as things unfold.

An interesting development that spun off of all that hype was a small little comment left on a completely unrelated topic. It was from a producer at EA who basically said "Hey, want to do some game testing now and maybe come work for us after college?" When I first read that my small appartment was filled with whooping and jumping (this was before I got sick, more on that in a minute). It would be completely awesome if this were to pan out for me. Not only would I get some extra cash on the side while still in school, but I could go straight from graduation right into the industry that I've always dreamed of working in.

This whole thing is a perfect testimony to what I've been told by many people: throw yourself out there, you never know who's looking. I've been slowly working on my online presence since I joined YPN in January of '02. Since then I've dipped into almost every kind of online media there is. From running a message board, to podcasting, to online videos. Basically what I'm trying to say is, if you've got something that you think is good, put up online and do a little bit of shameless advertising. If I can come this far with one little video and a tip suggestion to Engadget and Joystiq there's no reason why anybody else can't. /end soapbox moment

As mentioned previously, I am "sick". I put it in quotes because it's not as bad as my usual form of sickness. Usually I get a sore throat, runny, feel weak, and just downright terrible over all. This, however, is confined mainly to the sore throat combined with a little bit of hoarse voice. Luckily, with the exception of the throat I feel physically fine. I was well enough to bike up to school today to pick up the books for my next wave of classes, namely Design and Art Theory (DAT) and College Mathematics (CMD).

DAT looks to be rather interesting as it is basically a traditional art class (no computers) with a design oriented twist. I've heard from two sources now that we're going to be getting a large amount of art supplies so that'll be cool. CMD is basic math up through intermediate Algebra. I jumped to the middle of my book and was able to figure out what was going on so I'm feeling pretty confident about that. Plus, I got a free Algebric calculator, though I doubt I'll ever use it. I usually do all my problem solving on paper.

Well, I feel I've rambled on enough. Before I go I just want to give a quick shout out to any new readers I may have picked up through the hulla-balloo. Peace out.

RB Drums

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rock band
xbox 360

Here's a simple little program I whipped up to use the Rock Bad drums as a MIDI controller. I'll have a video up sometime later. NOTE - You'll need the .NET 2.0 Framework.

Note: I'm not providing any support for this program. It's up for those who want a MIDI solution.


EDIT: Since it appears my program is complete crap, I now redirect you to somebody who's developed a much better piece of software (and probably spent much longer than fifteen minutes developing it). Enjoy!

Xbox 360 Rock Band drums on Windows

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rock band
xbox 360

Everything I had posted here before is now outdated (and more than likely was when I came up with this). The latest Xinput driver from Microsoft supports the Harmonix controllers out of the box (people who think I'm fake probably already had this). You can get the 32-bit version here and the 64-bit version here.

Be sure to check out Andrew Rudson's Drum Machine

Answers to common questions:

Does this work for PS2 or PS3 controllers?

No. This driver is for Xbox 360 compliant controllers. Seeing as I don't have either of those, I don't know their level of support.

Do the Xbox 360 work on the PS3/PS2 version (or vica versa)

More than likely not, but once again I don't have anything to test it out with.

You're not a hacker. I plugged mine in and it just worked.

Not really a question, but:

A) I had old drivers when I did this (Nov '07). The old drivers didn't support anything outside of Microsoft Xbox 360 controllers. The newer drivers have been rewritten to support third party contrllers.

B) Hacker is (or was) a synonym for programmer, so once again, you're wrong.

I have a problem with my computer. Can you fix it?

Being a full-time college student I don't have time to attend to every little problem. There's an internet full of willing people who are much smarter than I and have far more time.

No time? But you made this! You obviously have no life!

I made this in half an hour (video included). And it was over Thanksgiving break at that. You, my fine sir, troll the internet telling people they have no life when it is in fact you that have no life. Seriously, go and get yourself a girlfriend. Once again, you lose.

Okay, enough poking fun at people. I hope this brings all the confusion and chaos to a close.

The coming rift

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site news

Pretty soon my site is going to see a "split". That is, will be home to my personal blog whereas will be the home to my professional blog, resume, and other stuff like that. It more imporatant now than ever that I create a professional image for myself what with my career looming in the future and, sooner than that, the likelihood that I'll be taking on some freelance projects while still in school. So, there you have it. You now have some time to decide which poison you want whilst I make the finishing touches on my other half.

Into the Christmas Swing (amongst other things)

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graphic design

We're almost down to one month before Christmas. THis means many different things to many different people. For some it means shopping, others getting together with others. For me, it means Christmas music. A lot of Christmas music. Of course, it also means that I'll be able to go see my folks again which is always sweet. And let's not forget the tantalizing aroma of sweet Christmas presents under the tree. And, speaking of aroma, and possibly the most important part of Christmas, the cookies. But, I suppose we must get through Thanksgiving first, which for me means being thankful for my brand new copy of Rock Band that I will be playing on that day.

But, holidays aside, I've been working on some very interesting things for school as of late. I've already given you a taste by showing my trailer project, but there are many other things I've been up to. Let's list them by class.

Designing Computer Graphics (DCG)

So far this class has been mostly about Illustrator and Photoshop basics, though they have touched on some good design practices (or not so good) by reviewing previous students works. However, there are three core projects we're working on (of which only two have been assigned so far). The first was a black and white logo.


Our second project was a set of three (or more) icons based around a theme. There were six possible themes to choose from, those being Olympics, zoo, theme park, library, airport, or musical styles. I'll let you figure out which theme I chose.


First I need to note that that is not my logo (it is the official logo of the 2012 Summer Olympic games). It's primarily there to help set the mood and show where I drew my inspiration from.

You may notice that both of these projects were in black and white (no colors or grays). This is a pretty ingenious call because by limiting us in the color department we are forced to put more emphasis on line width, stylization, and shadows and highlights. If something works well in black and white there's no reason why it won't work well in color.

Networks and Operating Systems (NOS)

As stated before the name of this class is a misnomer. They are actually in the process of converting it into Digital Storytelling, focusing more on getting a point across as opposed to the technical aspects of computers. I have to say of the two classes I am currently taking this is my favorite not necessarily because of what we do but because of our instructors, Fabian Socarras and Jacob Kaplan. It's difficult to explain how there two teach (if indeed they are really teaching at all), but it is certainly the most entertaining course and, so far, the most informative.

But, that aside, I've been doing some pretty cool stuff here as well. After the trailer project we all made podcasts (I will not be posting mine, thank you very much). Our last project was to prepare a Keynote presentation trying to convince our target audience of why we needed something and, subsequently, why they should purchase it for us. I did mine on why I needed a Nintendo 64. I presented in front of my lab group and Fabian and Jacob invited themselves in as presenters which was cool. Will you ever see this keynote? Perhaps, perhaps not.

Our next project is something that, for me, is pretty easy stuff. We are to set up and design a blog using Wordpress. To make things challenging for myself I asked Fabian if I could write mine from the ground up as opposed to using Wordpress. While he gave the nod of approval, he seemed dubious as to whether or not I could pull it off within the time frame and meet all the criteria. Considering most of my back end is already in place, and with the addition of a couple of new modules I pounded out tonight, I foresee no problems. However, it turns out this will be a group project so I may just stick with Wordpress so as not to make myself appear elitist to my fellow classmates. No, that can wait until my official web classes a few months down the road.

That's about all for now seeing as I need to get to bed so I can be up at eight o'clock tomorrow morning. Here's hoping I have afternoon classes AND labs next month.