Since Encryption and network protocols, I wrote about Common network attacks and the shortcomings of standard network defences.

Apart from that, I've made some good progress using the classic MonoGame/XNA game tutorial which I manually reproduced a few weekends ago (https://github.com/stumathews/WindowsShooterGame).

I spent most of the day writing it up and trying to figure it out and I think its a great learning exercise. The fundamental concepts of which are to delegate as much detail to co-operating objects and then ask them to update() their states (or modify the world state) and draw themselves(). 

I've been trying to put into context some of the concepts I've learnt during the Computer Games Architectures course I'm doing too:

Recently we've touched on how to separate the architectural components into layers and how the organisation of components within a typical game engine is laid out. We've put together some theory about architectural design patterns and I'm quite enthused that my reading on the subject, pertain specifically to game development was used as a reference to  MVC. I wrote this a while ago before I decided to take the course: A simple game engine architecture. This tells me that I'm doing the right course. There is also some application of physics slowly coming into the course which is great.

I've also spent quite some time learning about digital sampling and the quantisation of analogue signals into digital ones and representing them mathematically.

This is part of the game development course and it goes through the physics of audio. Basic topics include investigating sampling frequencies, downsampling/aliasing, filters, Nyquist frequency, sine, triangle, triangle and sawtooth wave patterns including Envelope generators(ADSR).

I'm also finding the mathematics fascinating, particularly the representation and modelling of waves. I've enjoyed learning about the Fourier transform and as a result, an application of complex numbers - which is something new and therefore interesting.

Last weekend I spent it doing practicals for my Network Security course work. I set up various switches and routers and configuring firewalls and routes. Very interesting. Quite a time-consuming. Details of that setup are here: 

I also spent time investigating the EK Angler attack and used some interesting tools that report the attack such as Snort, Sguil, Bro, Elsa and of course...Wireshark. The attack particulars of the attack are quite interesting however the details are quite well described by Palo Alto networks here. 

I used the Security Onion VM to research. I've long since uninstalled Tails...

Since then, however, I've been focusing on digital signal processing and physics. I've spent most of this weekend, going through a set of lessons described as the recommended reading. If I'm going to pass the exam, I've got to study as much of it as I can within the time I have left.

I think the most useful, apparent link I've made to gaming with regards to the theory of waves, which does seem out of place - is the representation of Tones or harmonics ie, that when running through an ASDR envelope,  produce a noticeable variation of the sound which is very reminiscent of game sounds (less sharp but more tapered loudnesses). This is in fact exactly what ASDR envelopes do - they modulate the loudness over the duration of the tone.  In other words, it's apparent that tones in games have been run through an ADSR envelope to make them sound better.

The mathematics is dry due to its abstractness however the fun is extracted by applying it to real practical pictures and realisation of ideas and concepts like - the motion of pressure waves, compressions and rarefaction. It also makes for more enlightened appreciation.

It's clear that there is a lot of work still to do, for example, the 2-hour lectures hide many details and the various aspects that you need to spend like I did this weekend - 2 days to appreciate and fully understand! There is a good chance If I don't focus on the detail, pay attention and study now, then in a couple of weeks, I'll be far too behind to catch-up adequately.

The maths work, particularly with my tendencies to solely focus on non-physics and non-mathematics related ideas daily such as solving theoretical problems or modelling problems in code, leaves much to be practised, especially to participate adequately in the mathematical domain. This might seem daunting but I find it quite empowering as I need to learn new things which I'm not used to which adds variety to my attention.

Speaking on logical problems that I face each day, these don't have standardised rules and laws that mathematics and physics have. For example, I don't need to manipulate or model problems as known mathematics algorithms such as coding around creating sine waves. That being said, I've already seen that this will change in gaming: I was reading code recently that made level objects bounce in a sine wave pattern/form...expressed that using sine waves in the code. That is something I don't do every day!

I think my everyday non-game related problems are logical - almost implicit, theoretical reasoning-related problems, not explicit formal manipulations of discrete math. That being said, I've found that my every-day type of thinking is more akin to the kind of thinking one does in physics - more contemplative, reflective and then I suppose, applicative by the realisation of code. Though, this might be a fallacy.

I also spent this weekend writing some code to decouple the input sensing code from the action that is performed as a result of that input sensing code. This is one of the key ideas that the computer games architectures course teaches. We're using Monogame and I was using events and delegates to represent this. 

There is a lot to learn, and much sleeping has not happened because of it. 

In other news, my trusty reliable laptop has started to show its age, though not in ways you might think. I've used the same laptop for almost 9 years and I've not noticed a single thing that appears to me that it's getting old. Ok, it might look old: https://www.cnet.com/reviews/lenovo-thinkpad-x220-review/, and the guy next to me in my gaming class says it looks like a big calculator! And I agree it ain't pretty, though Ironically, his gaming laptop is like a spaceship...not pretty either.

Anyway, I can run many browser tabs, none of the applications is slow - no degradations at all. So how has it shown its age? Unfortunately in the unlikeliest of places: drivers.

My graphics card, while absolutely capable of OpenGL cannot be used in Windows 10 because of the driver manufacturers (intel) have not added support for OpenGL for my particular graphics card, in Windows 10. So, its a limitation of the driver implementation in Windows 10, not the machine. If I ran Windows 8.1 - it would work ok. Attempts to get MonoDevelop and MonoGame on Ununbu are thus far inconclusive. Annoying.

With regards to my physical routine, with all the work and study, late nights and constancy of focus - waking up in the morning early to go to the gym has taken a hard hit.  I went to the gym for the first time in months yesterday and it was tough. One thing that has offset this has been my running into the city. I've been able to do this with more frequency.

One noticeable change is that I've switched over from Strava Premium to TrainingPeaks. I'm following my fitness level through its TSS score and associated calculations.


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