Sunday, November 23, 2014



Well it's been a decent while since I posted last, like usual since the last time there has been some changes to the ole life.

For starters I am all graduated and edumicated.  I also now work for the University that I just graduated from as the Community Manager (it's a pretty fun fit if I do say so myself).  I will honestly say I wasn't sure how different it would be, transitioning from student to faculty and I must say it's been quite easy and smooth.  Slowly but surely I'm learning all the in's and outs of the work environment and it's hierarchy.

The transition means that I take on some more responsibilities and do a lot of the stuff I did as a student still, but in a more "professional" way...So our weekly study nights still continue (and this year have FLOURISHED with each week usually having 100+ students compared to our last years of 30-40 average) and I now also follow up with the new/current international students that are enrolled in DAE.

It does feel strange sometimes knowing that I'm no longer a student but faculty but I try to keep it to a minimum so that way I can still stay in tune with the community as much as possible.

Other than that there's obviously the whole "need to keep my skills up" portion of life which has started again as well (I did take a hiatus from all the stuff I was doing over the summer and Sept and most of Oct as well....mainly because I needed the break)

So one of the things I've been looking at and picking up is Substance Designer. I've had SD for probably 1-2 years now I think but I've never had the time to A) figure it out B ) have a chance to use it, so I figured I would correct that by doing some "research" aka messing around with a small goal in mind.
I originally was going to just try and make a hand painted texture for a model I'm working on (just something small at the moment to get back into the swing of things) and then figured instead of actually painting it all why don't I see if I can actually make use of Substance Designers proceduralness ...since you is one of the reasons to use SD.

So after playing with it for a few days here and there I've come up with something that is (in my opinion) starting to get close to what I want which in the end is more of a stylized-normal map- texture. I do like the look of it so far and just want to try and add some more knots into it.

I have it now where the floor boards are procedural as well so you can control if it is few or more boards, spacing between, variance of the layout etc.

Originally it started out as a Stylized/PBR material but I ended up needing to be able to see it in Max 2015 (which as far as I can tell isn't quite up to the PBR stage yet.. :( ) so I grabbed my nodes and put it in a new file for Diff/Spec/Gloss/Norm and this is what I've got so far.  Granted I don't know much when it comes to hand painted so not only is the program new to me, the style is new too, but I think it's getting there. Thanks to my girlfriend Jessie Van Aelst who tells me when it sucks and helps me to understand when and why it sucks :P 

Anyway I have a game idea in mind as well but since I'm not sure on the style I want to make it in yet I'm just kind of messing around till something pops for me I think and we'll go from there :)


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Some WPF Treeview Tips/Tricks


Hey everyone/anyone reading, been a long while but I have just been quite busy with my internship and being a tools code monkey :D  It's been pretty fun, interesting and at times, VERY FRUSTRATING.

Now anyone that has done WPF has probably run into any number of things that wants to make you pull your hair out and flip some tables onto small children, but after many hours searching and trying different things I've come across somethings that are VERY VERY handy for tools in WPF. I'll probably just update this post as I come across more to keep them all in once place but for starters, here is a few things that I've learned to make dealing with the dreaded and yet very powerful TreeView.

WPF TreeView is probably the best and the most frustrating thing I've had to deal with on a constant basis in the last few months; it's so handy for presenting data in a hierarchical way but there are things that you just can't do directly with TreeView without searching and searching and searching the internet to find the answers to such as:

  • How can I force TreeView to change the SelectedItem?
          Now this I will say has stunned me for a while and I actually JUST found the answer to this problem Here on Stack Overflow.  So what are we to do here? Well if you're lucky enough to have your project presenting with a inherited model (cause you should be at least using the MVVM programming pattern while doing WPF tools) for your data then you can do this quite easily.  You need about 2-3 things,
1. Keep track of your selectedItem via clicks/keyboard navigation 
2. Add to your base model type, a property like 
        private bool _isSelected;
        public bool IsSelected { get { return _isSelected; } set { Set(ref _isSelected, value); } }
    *NOTE* the Set is just raising INotifyPropertyChanged so how ever you are handling yours is how you should do it here as well *NOTE*
3. In your treeview, you'll need to have at least this line from the link
<Setter Property="IsSelected"
                        Value="{Binding IsSelected, Mode=TwoWay}" />
What this is going to do is allow you to toggle IsSelected in your data Model and since the treeview is bound to it, it will automatically set and be set to IsSelected.  Now some people may think, "Why wouldn't you just do it in code behind or something like that?"  Well that's because IsSelected is a read-only property, so you can't just set it all willy-nilly like that and from all the proposed ways I've seen so far, this is the easiest to setup.

This also goes for being able to select what IS and ISN'T expanded in your treeview programmatically, make a property and bind with the Setter in your treeview.

Search Results

  • How to implement a simple and easy to use Search Filter for your TreeView
Searchable WPF TreeView on Code Project
Thankfully, Already made a great article on this. If you don't need/want the super fancy search box (was a bit overkill for what I needed) then the really relevant parts of the article are having some more setter properties in your Treeview for

<Setter Property="IsExpanded" Value="{Binding Path=IsExpanded, Mode=TwoWay}" />
                <Setter Property="Visibility" Value="{Binding Path=IsMatch, Mode=OneWay, Converter={StaticResource ResourceKey=boolToVisibility}}"/>
This lets you setup your TreeView to work with a method that you will call in your code that will search through your Data (that is bound to the tree) and set Expanded to true/false and Visibility to true/false as well which will effectively hide anything that doesn't match your results in your textbox and expand open to the result, anything that does match. Much like the IsSelected above, you'll add the IsExpanded and IsMatch(I did IsVisible myself) to your data Model.

The next important piece of code that you will need is this
public void ApplyCriteria(string criteria, Stack<TreeNodeViewModel> ancestors) {
    if (IsCriteriaMatched(criteria)) {
        IsMatch = true;
        foreach (var ancestor in ancestors) {
            ancestor.IsMatch = true;
            ancestor.IsExpanded = !String.IsNullOrEmpty(criteria);
        IsMatch = false;

    foreach (var child in Children)
        child.ApplyCriteria(criteria, ancestors);

The method that determines if this node is a match is in this article a simple string comparison;
private bool IsCriteriaMatched(string criteria) {
    return String.IsNullOrEmpty(criteria) || name.Contains(criteria);
The methods will check for anything matching the searchText you give it (I hooked up an extra method from my codebehind that when the text changes in my textbox, call the method which passes the text to the Apply Criteria.) and expand or hide accordingly.

*NOTE* if you want to make the search just a bit more functional change the IsCriteriaMatched to
name.ToLower().Contains(criteria.ToLower());  This will make it that no matter if you have say Matilda or matilda, it will still show up if you gave the search box MaTilDa for example *NOTE*

The only change to this method that I really made was that I also pass the current node you're checking so you can get the name of the node like

private bool IsCriteriaMatched(string criteria, NodeWithName check)
    return String.IsNullOrEmpty(criteria) || check.Name.ToLower().Contains(criteria.ToLower());

The only part left is in your WPF you have a textbox and choose whether you want it live filtering (as the user types it filters) or keypress filtering (hit enter, it does the search) and make sure that you save/bind to the textbox text in a viewmodel (pretty much the same place you do the above search methods is as good a place as any)

Those are the two biggest things that I've run into and it's taken a while to find good working answers to (I've never used the Setter myself before this so it was a good experience to learn that I could bind to it).

Hopefully people stumble across this post and find these answers instead of searching for a long time.


Monday, March 3, 2014

WPF and Child Code...


Just a quick post because you never know who might need to do something like this as well (and maybe this can save them a few days of trying stuff/searching for different things/implementing things that don't work...)

So while making a tool for my internship, I had to implement a UI that would display data in a parent/child relationship. Ok, shouldn't be to bad, but the thing is that it could also have the same parent data in a list as well.

After trying for a while to get this setup to work I finally got something that displayed correctly by just getting the object and stripping the strings from it and displaying that and then more or less "discarding" the object (not discarding but not saving it in my UI for retrieval)

Then I was told we would be able to get things back by the unique ID that they would have (which also put me in a pickle because I wasn't using a Unique ID in my test data...Where I thought this might save me, it put me deeper into the, "Oh crap, how am I going to get the object back and get that ID?"

This is where StackOverflow came in to save the day...finally...after a week of searching different questions on there haha.

This answer is the answer that finally gave me the puzzle piece to get my Data Object into the UI as well as being able to get it back after (instead of just getting the strings and displaying that.)

Hopefully someone can find this helpful cause man that took way to long to get that to work..I must have tried over 15 different ways to do the datatemplates and none of them worked till this one so yeah.


One thing to note as well, when doing the data templates, if you're doing it in a treeview like I am/the example as well, you don't want to put a TreeViewItem into the datatemplate if you want to be able to click on the text to get selection.  I didn't realize I had done this till yesterday and was trying to figure out why you had to click on this tiny spot between the > and the text.  Apparently TreeView automatically wraps whatever you put in the template in a TreeViewItem anyways so you can just display with textblock/label etc. etc.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Let the work begin!


So, with the finishing of the last semester (my final semester with in class courses) it fades into the distance and the new semester begins and with it brings ..."The Internship"

An exciting and scary adventure awaits me in the coming months.  I'm elated that I'm able to do my internship with the fellows over at Conatus Creative, who are doing River City Ransom : Underground.
The original River City Ransom game (Street Gangs for EU) was a game on the NES that really is in the top 5 of my favorite games of all time.  The amount of time I've spent beating the gangs up in that game is ridiculous.

RCR:U is the first licensed sequel to RCR and also first to be developed by a western developer (there are a lot of other games in the RCR lineage in Japan), so the fact that I can work on this is amazing to me.  I'm super excited to be apart of this project and of course a bit scared to be working on an IP that I've loved for so long.

I just got back from our school trip to the US/Canada where we got to go on some tours to places like Valve, ArenaNet and EA (Vancouver). Was fun to be on that side of the pond again, even if for only 10 days ish.

Well,  back to work now.