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Trip to Japan – Part 1

Prologue

This is my first writing about my research internship in JAIST. JAIST campus is located in Nomi, a small town near Komatsu and Kanazawa city. During autumn, JAIST is really a beauty, but during winter, JAIST is really harsh. Rain of snow and even hail (rain of ice) happen. Well, this is my first time seeing snow, so I am really excited. However, it’s not what it seems. Thin snow layers mean slippery floor and this is dangerous. A mound of snow is like a playground. FYI, snow is divided into 2 types:

  1. Dust snow is the snow which has lighter properties, easily swayed, and unable to mold into snowball. Appears after blizzard.
  2. Heavy snow is the snow which held up together, easily made into snowball (and of course, snowman). Appears after snow is left in the ground for long time.

That aside, snow makes us harder to walk. It’s like walking in a quicksand pit (without the danger of quicksand, of course). Winter: everything is cold, frozen. The floor, the frame, the doorknob, etc.

So, where’s JAIST? For the detail, you can click here (sorry, new Google Maps Engine is not yet supported by wordpress.com).

The Facilities

So, maybe some of you wondering what are the facilities we receive in JAIST. Well, here they are:

Artificial Intelligence Lab, Dept of Information Science (my lab):

  1. Desk with the view Nomi town, city of Kanazawa, and the sea
  2. Thin-client PC, connected to JAIST Server
  3. Japan high-speed network connection 😀
  4. Two monitors
  5. Free wireless printing service
  6. Microwave, dispenser, refrigerator
  7. Free-to-play board games, belongs to Ishitobi Taichi-san
  8. Gaming room (PS3, Xbox 360, PC, but everything is Japanese Language)
  9. Irregular free snacks and coffee

JAIST Facilities

  1. 24-hour Library (most the books written in Japanese character)
  2. Refresh room in Information Science Dept., Material Science Dept., and Knowedge Science Dept. containing TVs, games, kitchen, cooking utensils, music sofa, etc.
  3. Cafetaria (beware if you are muslim)
  4. Free Japanese Class (with Yuko-sensei and Ellie-sensei)
  5. Gymnasium containing table tennis , fitness , body building equipments and shower room
  6. Convenience store
  7. “Morgue” mushalla
  8. Free ski equipments
  9. JAIST Shuttle

Vainqueur Apartment

  1. Single-bed + futon
  2. Working desk
  3. AC / heater
  4. Kitchen
  5. Wash machine
  6. Bathtub
  7. Cleaning equipments
  8. Tutorial for living (for non Japanese residents)
  9. About 15 minutes walk to JAIST or 10 minutes walk to JAIST Shuttle

What Has We Done?

First of all, we are accepted as researcher, so basically, we got our own desk. Alfian and I assigned in Artificial Intelligence Lab, Dept. of Information Science, while Faisal and Lio assigned in software engineering (I don’t know the lab’s name). We’re welcomed by Professor Hiroyuki Iida, then the Indonesian Students Union (Persatuan Pelajar Indonesia or PPI) taught us how to live here.

During the first week, we made a snowman near apartment, take a look at a temple nearby, and lab welcoming party.

At January 19th, we went to Toyama University to meet our fellow PPI in the event was called Hokuriku Science Forum. Toyama University was very beautiful, but also harsh. During our trip to Toyama, we were welcomed by blizzard, really, a blizzard (not this Blizzard). Trip to Toyama city from Komatsu costs 1440 yen, while from Toyama Station to Toyama University costs 440 yen (it’s quite pricey, compared to Nomi which no matter how far, 100 yen is enough).

At January 20th, we had our welcoming party and Ardimas Andi Purwita farewell party. What else we did? Party = feast, of course. We were introduce to each fellow Indonesian family who lived in JAIST. Most of them has already children, about 4-7 years old. The next day, it was time for Ardimas to go to Tokyo. We took several pictures as our memento.

At January 26th, we had a NIFA (Nomi International Friendship Students Association) New Year Party at Tatsunokuchi. We met several students from all over the world in this party. Some are from Canada, Brazil, Deutschland, Netherland, Italy, Egypt, Pakistan, Malaysia, Thailand, and the rest I forgot. We had a lunch together, play games, singing, and write our own Kakizome (a Japanese calligraphy which denotes our own resoution, hope, or dreams to be achieved in the respective year). It was a very exciting day.

Well, our plan didn’t stop at there. We still have plenty activities to do later.

What Do I Do?

Okay, so I am here to do research. What kind of research? My current research is related to application of Game Information Dynamics in Endless, Survival Game. Game Information Dynamics is a quantification approach based on physics model of fluid mechanics applied in games. Uh-oh, what? Okay, I should not get ahead of myself yet and let me tell you my research in the next post. FYI, this reearch is totally unrelated to my current thesis, so I guess this will be my ex-gratia research.

Oh well, let’s hope everythings gonna be alright. 🙂

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Master Grade XXXG-01W

Being an impulsive buyer is dangerous. However, sometimes, it’s fun. Last Saturday night, I found my desired Gundam model which I’ve longed for years. It is XXXG-01W, Master Grade Wing Gundam.

It’s the first time I crafted a Master Grade model, so I read the whole guide book carefully before crafting it. Unfortunately, it’s written in japanese characters (I don’t know whether it’s katakana or kanji). Well, since in Jakarta I have no equipment, so I postponed the crafting, at least until I arrived in Bandung.

Sunday, Nov 18th 2012

I arrived in Bandung at 4.30 PM. However, it was blackout, so I started to craft at 5.30 PM in my workstation. It’s the whole box containing the MG Wing Gundam.

I prepared a clipper and a cutter. FYI, crafting a Master Grade (MG) require a great concentration for newbie like me. It’s on a very different level when compared to crafting a High Grade (HG) model. The plastics were so hard, even a single splinter couldn’t cut the parts from the frames. Ergo, I used clipper to cut them down.

It took 6 straight hours to complete the whole body. Only the body, without the wings, backpack, and weaponry. It consisted of a body part, a head, a waist part, two hands, and two legs. I finished my work at 1.30 AM. These are some pics of my finished work.

Monday, Nov 19th 2012

I arrived at home at 10 PM. Without further ado, I prepared all of my equipments to continue the work. The rest which I hadn’t done were the backpack, two wings, buster rifle, shield, and beam saber. Compared to the first day work, I thought it’d be easier. No, I had been wrong. The wings are one of the hardest part to craft. It took 4 straight hours to complete. I finished the work at 2 AM, then started to assemble all of the scattered parts. Here’s the pics of a completed XXXG-01W: Wing Gundam.

It’s a cool Gundam with a very high detailed model, I guess. It took 10 hours to complete. The joints are everywhere, even in places that I can’t even comprehend. But, Bandai isn’t playing game with us. They make it so every joint is movable, and has it’s own purposes. Some parts which I thought were useless were showing it’s usefullness when I transform it from mobile suit mode to bird mode. Here’s the pics.

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Tessellation

It’s not about tessellating threads, it’s about digital optical illusion called tessellation. Tessellation was first introduced in DirectX 11 as an advanced technology to improve 3D redering through “fake” polygon addition. Why it’s called fake? Because the objects’ polygons and vertices were never there to begin with before the rendering starts.

Let’s take a look at several images below. Images below are taken directly from my notebook using Unigine Heaven to test the Tessellation.

DirectX 11 without Tessellation
DirectX 11 with Tessellation
DirectX 11 without Tessellation – with wireframed vertices shown
DirectX 11 with Tessellation – with wireframed vertices shown
DirectX 11 with Tessellation – LOD far away object
DirectX 11 with Tessellation – LOD close object

Well, why does tessellation become important? No, it’s not that important to begin with. It’s just add somekind of eye candy to loosely vertices-populated object to enhanced the visual interpretation. However, with tessellation, you can create a staircase from a simple, flat slope surface. Thanks to tessellation you can make the 3D object has less polygon to begin with, but create an awesome visual cue when needed (in this case, inside gameplay). Of course it make the 3D objects less memory-bounded.

Activating tessellation doesn’t mean it doesn’t have any cost. Well, in my notebook, run Unigine Heaven with tessellation detail 1.0, factor 1.0 drops the FPS from 17-20 to a mere 7-9 FPS. The price is somewhat very demanding of course.

Well, this post merely for information purpose only. I don’t even know how to code a game which run tessellation like pics above.