Hello I am Ayman-Yereem Kone Y

I realized while pondering ideas for my second post for week 6 that I never really introduced myself. Who am I, where am I from, what do I like or dislike, all those things. If you’ve been reading my blogs this far, you deserve to know. Also… why? I’m definitely not that interesting – you must be a peculiar one!

Well, my full name is Ayman-Yereem Yefigae Kone. I was born in Washington DC, then lived in Côte d’Ivoire, and later France. I have two sisters and one brother. Being the second oldest and the oldest boy, I’ve got a rather long list of likes: gaming, reading, Japanese animation and manga, drawing (though I’m far from being a decent artist), 3D modeling (particularly creating characters or visual effects), and recently, lifting. I play all kinds of games but I suppose I spend most of my time on FPS games, especially Valorant by Riot Games. I peaked at Platinum rank but didn’t try much after reaching it. I guess I could go higher if I put in the effort.

My family holidays in 2020

Before my current pursuit, I was studying for an AS in computer science, but I didn’t really enjoy the experience. I also wanted to express my creative side, so I made a shift to something more stimulating and have been relishing it ever since. An intriguing fact: I have been coding since my high school freshman year, even made some pocket money creating websites for my uncles’ businesses. Yet, I have an ambivalent relationship with coding – a rather odd sensation, I must say. My life goals? I’m unsure, which is worrying. It would be great if I could work with visual effects or perhaps interaction design in the entertainment industry, preferably after earning a master’s degree. However, I am uncertain about the path to get there. A computer graphics degree sounds promising but I don’t know where to start for that. An HCI or interactive design degree might also be an idea, who knows?

Language-wise, I can confidently converse in French, English, and an ethnic language from the Ivory Coast. Interestingly, I can pretty much understand anything spoken to me in Spanish or Japanese. I can even read Spanish and watch Japanese content in its original voice-over. Perhaps I should consider learning them seriously. I am self-conscious about my accent, which limits my communication. I resort to using a limited vocabulary because there are words I struggle to pronounce well. I often have to replace words in my head before speaking. I wish to improve, because, I am actually quite eloquent, and love to make wordplays. It can be frustrating at times.

Another interesting thing is that I know how to do A LOT of things (doesn’t mean that I am good at them).

That’s pretty much all I can think of that I’m willing to share, it could take a few few post t talk in details of those stuff. If you’re genuinely interested, firstly, what? And secondly, feel free to drop any questions in the comments, and I’ll try to respond.

Since this blog was about me, here is my favorite game since childhood – the Professor Layton series. The following image is from my favorite installment of them all and also the first one I played.

So playing Professor Layton series is like stepping into a charmingly mysterious animated movie where YOU are the hero. These games whisk you away to a world filled with intriguing puzzles, brain teasers, and riddles, all wrapped up in an engrossing narrative. As the top-hatted, tea-drinking Professor Layton, you’ll unravel mysteries and challenge your mind at every twist and turn. It’s a delightful brain workout and a captivating adventure rolled into one. I said that but I mostly play them for the narrative.

Another Day Another post (week 6 overview)

Hello again, these blog posts won’t write themselves, alas. Let’s dive into week 6, shall we? What can I say? It was MCA week all the way. Honestly, a part of me wishes I had picked a different one since I’d have had an idea of what I was doing at least. Nevertheless, I did enjoy exploring something new, even if my grasp on it was a tad shaky. I mentioned last time that I would try to break it down to a basic level, and while my memory is somewhat hazy, I’ll give it a go.

So imagine this: you have a framed painting in front of you, but it’s pitch dark, so you can’t see anything. That also means you have no clue what the painting depicts. Now, imagine you have a small pocket light that only illuminates a tiny part of the painting at a time, only visible as you slide it over. Your ultimate goal is to discern some pattern from the little part you can see to make an educated guess about the whole image. That’s exactly how a convolutional neural network (CNN) perceives your image. The painting metaphor represents the image, and the area your pocket light illuminates represents your kernel. It slides over the image with a size determined by the CNN’s creator. The value by how much it slides (the stride) is also predetermined. Usually, smaller strides are preferred as larger strides might gloss over some details. I won’t bore you with how it checks the patterns and what a feature map or the fully connected layers are. Let’s shift gears.

My favorite painting “Girl with a Pearl Earring” by Johannes Vermeer

The presentation was a nerve-wracking ordeal, primarily because I wasn’t entirely sure if my understanding was correct. Plus, I didn’t feel like I had achieved anything tangible (the feeling persists). We didn’t even manage to train the car on Unity. Initially, my goal for the MCA was to create something fun on my own, but I ended up working on someone else’s idea without fully understanding it(technically mostly), and didn’t produce anything concrete in the end. I’m not griping here, just expressing a wish that I knew more to maybe do something better, something concrete on my own. Nobody has complained, so let’s assume I was at least accurate in my presentation. I’m not a fan of presentations since they rarely go as I prepare (mostly my fault), but I survived. As you can see on the picture I dressed up for the presentation (well it didn’t make me better).

That week, we also had a pasta-making session. It was a whole new experience and quite an interesting one. I discovered my divine talent for making pasta sauce and got to enjoy some really good homemade pasta. However, we nearly skirted a disaster when we found out there was no cheese. Thankfully, I foresaw this issue and procured some from the creamery in the same building. I also got an ice cream, but I can’t judge its quality since I’m not fond of ice cream to start with. Why did I get it then? I succumbed to peer pressure, which is also how they managed to drag me to the pool in week 8, but that’s a story for another day.

The luncheon lecture with Carmen Gomes was pretty engaging. Actually, post high-school, Bio-engineering was a major interest of mine. I even took engineering school exams to fulfill this ambition. I was accepted, but as you can see, I didn’t follow that path. It turns out; that field might not have been for me. Looks like my father might remain the only scientist in the family.

That’s all for this one, sorry if it sounded like a rant I actually enjoyed the MCA a lot. Ask me if you want me to continue my metaphorical explanation of CNN n & al and if I am actually right. Finally The game for this blog will be Ori and the Blind Forest.

Okay, how to put it… since I talked about painting before: Ori and the Blind Forest? It’s like stepping into a painting. A platformer, filled with heart-wrenching narrative and stunning visuals. The player guide Ori, a glowing guardian spirit, through a beautifully haunting forest, solving puzzles and battling enemies, all while trying to restore balance to your world. If you’re looking for a game that can make your heart throb and give you some challenge, this one’s for you. Believe me it even made me cry.

2 in a row?! No way~ (AKA weekend 5 and extra stuff)

Well, here we are again. This 2 AM motivation is running strong, and let’s hope it doesn’t take an entire hour this time. Right, we no longer have any extracurricular activities, so my routine has been: hit the gym, then straight back home. I must confess, I’ve been neglecting leg workouts for a while now. I’ve attempted to rectify this, but it’s as if there’s an unstoppable force directing me towards the bench press every time I approach the squat racks. What’s a man to do against such power? Absolutely nothing! So really, it’s not my fault.

I’ve recently found the time to work more on my character model, and I’m quite pleased with the progress. I’m itching to share it with you, but alas, embarrassment holds me back. I don’t even show these creations to my parents, let alone anyone else. I occasionally share them with my younger brother, though. Have I ever mentioned him? He’s pretty much me, but an extroverted and annoying version. We sound very alike and are quite close.

Lunch at Seasons is something I relish. I only wish my school had something similar, as I’m stuck meal prepping every Sunday, a task I don’t particularly enjoy. I’d rather spend that time on something else.

My four-day weekend was quiet. I reached out to a few people I hadn’t spoken to in a while, and even tried to visit the lab to work on my MCA. However, the emptiness was unsettling, perhaps everyone had left for the holidays. I did take a stroll around the place, though. It’s such a green, serene spot, free from the constant drone of traffic. I wonder if this tranquility is just a summer thing. The long weekend flew by, but at least it allowed me some rest.

And that about sums it up for this post. I’m not much of an outdoorsy person, so with the extracurricular activities wrapped up, I’m not sure what else I’ll have to share in these blog posts. Perhaps I’ll ramble on about myself; only time will tell. The game recommendation for this blog post is “My Friend Pedro.”

How do I describe it? This game is akin to a bad trip, not that I’ve experienced one, but I’d wager they’re similar. It’s quite the wild ride. Picture yourself armed with Matrix-like slow-motion abilities, executing stylish takedowns in a variety of ever-changing levels. The narrative is…well, let’s just call it unique. But don’t be fooled, it’s not all mindless running and gunning. Tosses in some puzzles and strategic elements, making sure your neurons are firing along with your in-game arsenal.

It feels a bit like John Wick on a skateboard, with a banana as his wisecracking life coach. Yeah maybe I should really consider advertising

Posting marathon (week 5?)

Ah, my feed seems so vacant, I figured it was time to do something about it. To clarify, there’s absolutely no external pressure for me to post (wink, wink). Prepare yourselves! A deluge of posts from me is imminent, filling your news feeds until you tire of my musings (I had to look far for this rhyme).

Let’s chat about week five, shall we? Now, where did I put those notes? Ah! Here they are. My notes remind me that the highlight of week 5 was a deep dive; I don’t recall much, but since I’ve penned it down, it must be accurate. I had chosen deep learning, and frankly, at the outset, I was beginning to question my life decisions. The mini lecture barely made sense, despite my pre-existing shallow knowledge of the topic. I felt better once we started learning Python, the programming language, in a hands-on session.

If asked, I’d say Python is my favorite programming language, about 70% of the time. It was the first language I began learning back in high school. It’s what I’ve used to crack numerous enjoyable coding challenges and put to use in previous internships. Beyond intricate problem-solving exercises, the coolest thing I’ve done with it is create a chatbot capable of processing documents and sending emails. At the time, it was a significant achievement for me, although I’m not so sure now. For the 30% who might be curious, my second favorite language is C#. Over the past two years, I’ve been primarily wearing my C# cap.

But back to the deep dive. Eventually, with the aid of extra YouTube videos and some reading, things started making sense. I find that boiling things down to a rudimentary level helps confirm my understanding. My dad often said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” I must admit, I rarely paid full attention to his wise words, especially when he was in lecture mode. Nonetheless, for my week 6 blog, I might just attempt a simplified explanation, fully prepared to be shot down by those with more expertise on the subject.

I initially chose the DL deep dive because I wanted to experiment with Large Language Models (LLMs), hoping to build a cool AI assistant for gamers. I know it’s not the most noble or altruistic of motivations, but it was what I genuinely wanted. However, the timeframe didn’t allow it, so my dream had to be shelved (I swear, I’m not upset). We ended up developing a Convolutional Neural Network to analyze images by detecting patterns.

Initially, my plan was to train a model for object recognition (not in real-time, as it would be too challenging), while the others aimed to train a model on road images. The trained model would then be used in Unity to enable a car to drive autonomously, with parameters like steering integrated for added control. My model would then be incorporated to recognize objects on the road in Unity. Time constraints forced me to abandon this dream as well (I’m really not sad, promise). In the end, I joined the others in developing the model for the car. Oh, and a crucial detail I forgot to mention: we worked on the existing code of Adam, our project mentor, as creating something from scratch in such a short time would’ve been impossible (well, at least for me).

As for our research, we started designing the simulation, primarily focusing on the interactions and creating a storyboard. I now wish I could warn my past self not to over-complicate things, as the present me is wrestling with lines of code. I’m not even certain all this happened in week 5, but for simplicity’s sake, let’s say it did. My focus during that week and the following one was predominantly on the MCA.

Interaction Design??

That pretty much sums up that week, I believe. We also had some enlightening lunch lectures, as always. Learning from such intelligent people has been a pleasure, and it’s surprising how challenging some of their journeys were. I haven’t found anything personally motivating yet, but I’m hopeful. That’s all from me on this one, four weeks late (laughs). This post’s game recommendation is Stardew Valley.

You get an old, run-down farm from your grandpa and boom! You’re a farmer now. But hey, don’t mistake it for some boring farm work simulator. Everything from mining and fishing to battles against pesky creatures in the caves. And the townsfolk? They’re not just bland NPCs; you can befriend them, date them, and even start a family. This game is all about carving your own path. Wanna focus on crops, go ahead! More into animal farming? No one’s stopping you. And the graphics, they’re old school, pixelated, and absolutely charming. So if you’re up for a chill, laid-back gaming experience with some farming on the side, Stardew Valley could be your jam. Wait that was pretty good, maybe I should do advertising. this post took me more than 1 hour to write don’t blame me for choosing quality over quantity.

Week 4 extra curriculars and random stuff

On Tuesday, we had a fun-filled day playing with a frisbee at Emma McCarthy Lee Park. The adventure began with a bike ride to the park with the other boys. Amy lent us her frisbee, a very fancy one, if I do say so myself. Honestly, I’d be reluctant to let others play with it given its quality. Although I’m no frisbee connoisseur, I do know quality when I see it. I was quite nervous about accidentally flinging it into the woods or damaging it somehow.

Thursday was movie night, and we watched an animated film called ‘Coco.’ I love animations of all kinds, and this one had been on my to-watch list for a while. Despite predicting the plot early on, the end moved me almost to tears. It’s truly a heartwarming family movie.

We planned to visit the Ames farmer’s market on Saturday but Mother Nature had other plans. Heavy rain led us to the local library instead. The library was cozy and even offered free coffee and tea. Libraries feel like a second home to me, it reminds of my after-school waits for my mom, and the holidays in the U.S. at my aunt’s house. They both you leave me there for a while. This time, though, instead of reading, I drew. I tend to jump between drawing, so that day, I started a new one and also finished a drawing I had been working on for some time. I have mixed feelings about the result, especially given the time spent on it. But overall, I’m satisfied. If you’re curious, drop a comment or a reaction to this post and I might share it in a future update (I feel like an influencer). Just keep your expectations in check!

A Nice book of my favorite author Guillaume Musso

I almost forgot to mention the photoshoot we had – what a blast! I need to master the art of looking normal in photos. Currently, I either appear too depressed or completely out of place – my family often teases me about it. In addition to the photoshoot, I also tried riding Paul’s Onewheel. No success this time, but I’m determined to get the hang of it someday. I understand the theory, It’s all about technical skills now.

Life at home has been rather mundane. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it to the gym this week, which I’m a bit bummed about. I’m determined to get back into routine next week though. (Spoiler alert: Future me confirms that I did!)

Lastly, I’ve been diving into a game called ‘Rain World.’ Its ecosystem simulation is fascinating. The developer created an entire world with complex interactions between species, including off-screen events. The playable character, Slugcat, is perfectly integrated into this environment. Even the weather and the surroundings are part of the interactions. The depth and detail in this game astound me and don’t be fooled it’s also the challenging. Kudos to the creators for such an inspiring piece of work.

That’s about it for now! Ugh I feel awkward writing this way I only do it when I right stories for my friends online. Let me know your thoughts, and keep an eye out for my drawing if I gather the courage to share it. Thanks for reading!

Week 4- The Dive

Yay! late night post, I guess it was my 2 am motivation today.
This week, we dove into Unity. I’ll be honest, I didn’t pick up anything brand new—not because the course wasn’t good, but because I’ve already dabbled with Unity a bit. I’m not an expert or anything, but I’ve got a decent handle on the basics. Despite this, I’m pretty sure the other interns got a ton out of it. In fact, I’d never imported anything other than characters before, so that was a bit of a new twist for me. Sadly, my shaders decided not to play nice, and my scene ended up looking a bit less impressive. But, no big deal, that was the only hiccup.

That week we also finished the T-shirt it took some time to settle on a color that we were all ok with, but eventually we got one. the final product is the rabbit on the front on the left side of the chest area (like a logo) and on the back we have a drawing of everyone made by Kris and VRAC. I like it a lot, I can’t wait to try it.

Now, let’s talk about the deeper dive. First, maybe I should explain for those who don’t know. Basically, the nine of us had to choose between three topics to study and work on for about three weeks. Then, we present our results at the end of this period. The topics were: XR, Machine Learning, and 3D Printing. I initially intended to put XR as my first choice, since I’m moderately confident with Unity and have some relevant experience. 3D printing didn’t seem like a bad idea either since I also have some experience in it. But, in the end, I somehow ended up putting Machine Learning as my first choice. Why? I’m not sure myself. Maybe the appeal of the unknown? Maybe I was swayed by the pitch? I might never know.

We made progress on our research project. We still had to get some reading done, but this time we also had to find sources ourselves. I couldn’t decide, so I ended up reading quite a bit (this indecisiveness, sigh). Still, it was interesting, even though my soul is weakening from all this reading. I also got to interview someone. The information gathered will definitely help in the design of our experience, especially setting up the AI. The moment to start designing is closer than ever.

I’ll leave the extracurriculars for my next post, which should follow soon since I don’t have much to say about out-of-work things this time (also because I am starting to get behind ‘0_0’). The game this time will be YOMI Hustle, a Steam game with an interesting concept. It’s hard to explain, but a suitable comparison would be to say it’s like playing a game of chess. Only after you’re done and someone wins, you get to see the whole battle animated in real time. Yes, all the actions. I have to say it looks cool.

3rd week-end and random overall though

I’m beginning to lag on these blog posts, but it’s not for lack of trying. Weirdly, I often find myself staring at a blank screen for a few minutes, unable to write anything. It’s becoming a bit concerning. But hey, let’s switch gears and dive back into the stories.

On the third weekend, we went for a hike. I know it might sound contradictory, but as much as dislike going out, I really love to move. So I genuinely enjoyed this activity, even if the descent was a tad nerve-wracking. There’s just no way to relax when going downhill; all my focus was on my legs and the ground beneath me. But hey, I didn’t slip or fall, so I consider that a big win.

During our exploration, we stumbled upon a lot of cool stuff. Among them was a body of water – a lake? Or possibly a large river? It awakened the dormant fisherman within me. I found myself wishing I had a fishing rod and my other tools handy, just to sit and fish for a while.

Later, the girls started doing cartwheels on the ground. A wave of nostalgia washed over me, and I felt a sudden urge to do a backflip, something I used to do pretty well as a kid. But I’ve been out of practice for a while, and I’m now too scared I might break my neck. Plus, I’ll be honest – I’m not even sure how I managed those flips in the first place.

Afterwards, we retreated back to Freddy’s where I had a pretty laid-back weekend. It consisted of some reading, a bit of gaming, a dash of drawing, and even some character modeling. All in all, it was a lot of fun.

Let’s switch it up and talk about some general stuff and how I feel about it. As I’ve mentioned before, I enjoyed learning Solidworks, but I don’t think it’s quite my thing. It was so frustrating that the first thing I did when I got home was to open Blender and recreate the same models much quicker and more easily. However, I can see the advantage of Solidworks; my Blender model might easily collapse if 3D printed, while a Solidworks model would likely be sturdier (correct me if I’m wrong).

Blender has been fun. While I’m more into making characters, it’s also enjoyable to craft random props. My scene ended up rather bare, but it’s no big deal. This whole experience has motivated me to continue a Blender project that I’d abandoned for a while. If I manage to finish it, I might even share it (although I usually don’t because it’s a bit embarrassing, so don’t hold your breath).

Academic readings are starting to become a bit overwhelming, but not in the sense that there’s too much to read. I enjoy reading in general – I spend most of my time engrossed in eBooks. However, academic reading is a different beast; it’s challenging to maintain focus, and I find my concentration slipping more easily than it did a few weeks ago. I’m more of a hands-on, build/make type of person, and hands-on projects have always been my strong suit over reading. It’s just the way I learn, and I’ve always known that. But I’ll continue to give it my best. Any tips?

One of the tasks for VRcomm the week was to create questions for interviews. I enjoyed doing this, though I wasn’t quite sure how much freedom I had. Consequently, I ended up crafting questions very similar to those in the template we received. I might want to be more careful next time.

Life at home is pretty much the same. I spend most of my time in my bedroom, maintaining a balance between being social and having my alone time – maybe a 50/50 split, if not more skewed towards solitude. The others don’t seem to mind, so it’s all good. I’ve been staying up later than usual this week, working on my projects. Andric doesn’t seem bothered, but since he’s not much of a talker, I will tell him to let me know without hesitation if my late nights disturb him. If necessary, I can always relocate to the living room when it gets late – no big deal.

That about wraps it up for this blog post. Just a few random thoughts about the week, which popped into my mind as I was writing. Since I’m lacking inspiration for my second blog, I may try this format more often. Until next time!

By the way, I’ve noticed that I’ve been recommending games in almost every blog post, so why stop now? Today’s pick is Celeste – a fun 2D game about a girl who’s determined to climb a legendary mountain. It has cool mechanics and engaging gameplay. Give it a whirl!

Week 3 let’s create

My blender scene (it feels very empty)

I was really excited for this week because 3D modeling is, by far, my favorite hobby—more precisely, 3D animation. Anyway, my point is, I really looked forward to this course. I’m not especially good, but I enjoy the process. Usually, when I model, I create some characters or some VFX. I used Blender before, but I recently switched to 3DS Max for reasons I won’t bore you with. The class was engaging and free. I was already familiar with the basics, so I decided to do my own stuff. I’m not very satisfied with the result, and my scene looks rather empty, but it’s not too bad. Time just flew by. We also experimented with SolidWorks—it was interesting. Although I’m not a fan of how restrictive it is, I appreciate how parts can easily interact with each other with a great deal of realism, without much effort. For similar results in Blender, one would have to animate the entire thing.

a scene that I made for fun one of the rare one that I actually completed I brought the big mushrooms from my scene from there

We had some very interesting luncheon presentations. I was particularly interested in Professor Johnathan Kelly’s research on spatial cognition. Virtual reality provides such a unique and different sensation; there’s so much we have to relearn. It reminds me of when I used to play a game called ‘Beat Saber’ a lot. Initially, it took me a while to get used to judging the distance to hit the keys, but eventually, I got the hang of it. After a lot of practice, not only did I become better at the game, but I could also spend more time in VR before starting to feel off.

Here’s some gameplay of someone who’s really good at the game:

The extracurricular activities were quite fun. I never knew that you could “paint” with light. I was initially skeptical about the idea, but my opinion changed quickly—I enjoyed it way too much.

I am the guy on the right

We also went on a “hike” at Ada Hayden Heritage Park Lake—it was very pretty. I wish I could fish there. I need to get my hands on a fishing license before leaving. It was fun, but before I knew it, there was no one behind me and I ended up circling the whole lake. I had to run quite a bit to make it back in time since the others took a shortcut. I quickly regretted my choice when I remembered I hadn’t brought any water. Still, it felt great to run alone with some music in my ears. I would do it again at any time!

We also started to design a T-shirt. We were pretty lost initially, but the brainstorming session somehow went well. I proposed a mascot, and the others said it was fine as long as I had a design—so I did. I’m not the best artist, but I managed to produce something, then asked a friend to help clean up my sketch. A rabbit was mentioned during the brainstorming session, and we wanted something cute with big cheeks. So, I based my sketch on that.

final design of the mascot

The final thing I want to discuss in this blog is the meeting. Just like last time, it was very stressful—I feel like I’ll never get used to it. I had a hard time expressing my thoughts about my readings, but after gathering my thoughts and trying again after everyone else, I was able to share my opinions in a more concise way. I still have a lot to improve in this aspect, but I hope that I can get better eventually. We finally received our IRB approval! Now it’s time to be practical. The first thing to be done will be the interviews. I will do my best.

Week-end and week 2 highlights

Manchester City win the champions league

Hoping on 2 wheels

the bike owners gang minus Curtis

Finally, I got the promised bike and was able to zoom wherever I wanted. I hadn’t really biked since high school, but it didn’t feel different from walking or running. Knowing how to bike is truly a skill for life! I may look angry in the picture, but I was actually in a really good mood.

A new programming language

Learning C++ was incredibly fun during the classes I attended with everyone. At home, I continued to work on challenges and explored other things that I was eager to start, like Unreal Engine. Recently, I began working on a project using this software, and if I make any progress, I might share some updates in the following weeks. I must admit that I tend to be a bit slow when it comes to these projects since I engage in a different one every day. For instance, this whole week, I focused on modeling a character in Blender and also worked on my own Unity game project. There are actually several other projects that I have going (I am not proud of that), but listing them all would make the list too long.

A big gym

The state gym is indeed quite spacious, easily five times the size of my usual gym. It’s filled with numerous machines and ample space that I’m not accustomed to. I’ve visited a few times during the week and thoroughly enjoyed each visit. I plan to continue going in the upcoming weeks. However, being a large gym comes with its inconveniences. When I leave work and rush to the gym, the main hall is always crowded, which makes me uncomfortable. As a result, I opt to go upstairs for an upper body workout. Unfortunately, this means I’ve been skipping my lower body workout for two weeks in a row now. Simply biking isn’t sufficient. Nevertheless, I’m determined to find a solution. Perhaps I could try waking up early, although it’s unlikely since I tend to go to bed late. Despite these challenges, I’m still enjoying my gym experience.

The sin of gluttony

I’ve been enjoying a lot of good food since I arrived here. However, while it might taste good, it’s definitely not good for my gym gains. I know that, but I just can’t stop myself. Afterwards, I feel really bad about it. I feel like I’ve lost so much self-control in this aspect since coming here. I need to do something about it quickly! But no worries, the same goes for the gym issue. If I set my mind to it, there are no issues that I can’t solve. That’s one of my mottos.

#at the pizza place with the boys

I am your father!

Still one of the best franchises even today, Star Wars was a lot of fun to watch. (Although I still don’t understand why Luke Skywalker was kissing his sister.) As I mentioned before, I played a game that covered the entire story before the modern Star Wars movies, and I also watched a bunch of them. However, I was very young at the time, and if my memory serves me right, there was no real dialogue in the game. It’s interesting to think about it now, as it was a great example of non-verbal narrative, and the game still managed to do exceptionally well without dialogue. Now, nostalgia is hitting me, and I’m considering getting it on Steam. I’m pretty sure that some photos from that gaming session can be found on another intern’s blog, so I’ll spare you from seeing one.

It might look funny, but it was actually a pretty fun game (for a 7 years old)

Hellish Yoga session

I have to confess that I used to look down on yoga, but now that I’ve experienced how challenging it actually is, my perspective has changed. (I won’t be doing more, though, as weightlifting is enough for my workout routine.) It’s physically more demanding than I initially thought, and some positions are truly difficult and even painful to perform. Overall, it has been a really enjoyable experience, and I have definitely appreciated it.

me trying to follow the instructions

Farmer’s market

Back in middle school, I used to live in a rural city, or perhaps one could even call it a village. We had something similar there, albeit on a smaller scale. It was always a fun experience visiting such places. During my recent visit, Curtis served as an excellent guide. It was clear that he had grown up there because he knew everything and everyone. It’s amazing how some people actually get paid to be guides, just like Curtis. However, I made a mental note to myself to leave my wallet at home next time because the food was too tempting. I face the same temptation here as well.

Curtis being a social pro

The second week (Scheduled activities side)

Hello, it’s me, Ayman, back after a while. It’s hard to imagine that it’s already Friday; I feel like Monday was just yesterday. I have a lot to say regarding this week – I learnt and did so much! Let’s start from the beginning, shall we?

On Monday, I got to try C++ for the first time. I was pretty excited because I’ve always wanted to try Unreal Engine programming, which works with C++. I don’t have much to say regarding this first course; we learnt about the syntax and some programming basics. It was a good memory refresh on general programming since I’ve been coding for Unity using C# recently. I also went to the state gym for a good workout that day. I’m so happy that I can maintain my routines here.

On Tuesday, we started with the continuation of the lecture on the craft of research. This one was more interactive and we got to think about our personal research. It made me realize that VR communication research is in a very early phase compared to the other two. There are many directions this research topic can take, and I’m excited to see where we’ll go. Later, we had a luncheon lecture with James Oliver. It was interesting to hear about his story and his journey. It was surprising to see that so many challenges can happen professionally, even to someone with a Ph.D. I also learnt about ways to finance a master’s degree, something that I’ve been concerned about. All in all, it was a really nice experience and we got to enjoy some good food. In the evening, we watched Star Wars V as a group. Even though I’ve seen it before and played the game (Lego Star Wars Complete Saga) as a kid, it was still a very enjoyable experience because I’d forgotten a lot of details over time.

On Wednesday, we returned to coding and it got a bit more challenging when we delved into object-oriented programming. I’ve dabbled in it a few times before, but never fully grasped the theory behind it. Now, thanks to this class, it’s different. I was eager to get back to Unreal Engine.

Thursday we had a scheduled lecture with Eliot Winer. When Tim asked him his name, I struggled to hold back my laughter. We’d met him so many times before this lecture that I thought we would have remembered his name by now. The lecture was really engaging, he talked about his research, his life, and other interesting subjects. We each discussed what we’d like to do later. Given my current skills, I mentioned UX or interaction design. However, he pointed out that I still have a lot to learn. Also, I thought I would bounce back easily from a big failure as long as it made sense, but after this lecture, I believe I need to experience it to truly understand. A key takeaway from this lecture was learning about different ways to apply for graduate school and some factors to consider when financing it. Later, we had a meeting with our professor and graduate students. We discussed our progress over the past week, the assignments we’d been given, and our current direction. It was pretty interesting, but also nerve-wracking. I’ve been doing my best these past weeks, but I’m still not used to talking this much. I might tone it down eventually. Anyway, it went smoothly and we set goals for the next meeting.

It’s Friday and at the time I am writing this part we are finally done with C++ it should have been pretty hard, but our teacher was very good so I had no real issue, I will spend my week-end trying to do some Unreal Engine developing now I guess.

I never managed find a title

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I finally get to write my post and this feels interesting I never did anything like that before, I hope that I will get better at it overtimes. the last few days I had a lot of new experiences, for example an inside travel or having a roommate for the first time, it all feel so new. 

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The first days

the first 2 days I got to visit the beautiful campus of Iowa state University, one place that definitively left a mark on me is the innovation center  will for sure visit it more than once in the future especially the 3D printing lab. I can not wait to have a try at it! at the end of Wednesday we got to do a scavanger hunt it was a really fun way too leave our marking and get to know or way around and also a bit of the history of this campus better I have never been really good with a map so I am happy that my teammates for the VRcomm research Nadya and Allison were with me since they were more at ease with a map than me. Here are some pictures from the Scavanger hunt

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Today I got to learn more in deft about every projects, they I all so interesting I wish I could participate il all of them ! though as someone from a game design background the VRComm and 3D game for first gen seemed were the more appealing. That is good for me since I am part of the VRComm research team.