Darkphibre.com
The minimalistic portal of
Tom Mathews .

5/20/2013
I haven't updated this for a few years, except for my PAX photos. Things have been busy! I left the Advanced Technology Group in Xbox around 2012, and joined 343 Industries making Halo. Right now I'm happy architecting bleeding-edge petabyte-scale data gathering components to make our future games (and others across Microsoft) even more amazing! :)


I've had this domain for a while now, and I've thrown up random pages and projects whenever I needed to share something with the world. Around 2005, I created a home page to consolidate things. Below are different things, sometimes nothing more than a page with links to images, in chronological order.


The Gamertag (frequently online)
I've been on Xbox Live since before the beginning. My friends list is always full, but feel free to ping me.


Penny Arcade Expo (08/2014)
Scott Kurtz & Mike Krahulik enjoy the moment In August, I attended the tenth annual Penny Arcade Exposition . This year was excellent! I took over 4,100 photos, created several panoramas and photosynths, and had a blast.
Large Panoramas and Amazing Photosynths are hosted on Photosynth. The top 1250 more interesting photos can be found here.
On Flickr, you can view the best 640 here .
Thanks again for the hookup Robert!

Penny Arcade Expo (08/2013)
IMG_7494 In August, I attended the ninth annual Penny Arcade Exposition . This year was amazing, as usual... and even bigger than before! Table-top, PC, console gaming, card games, miniatures... everyone was well represented. I took over 7500 photos, created several panoramas and photosynths, and had a blast.
Large Panoramas and Amazing Photosynths are hosted on Photosynth. The top 1200 more interesting photos can be found here.
On Flickr, you can view the best 680 here .
Thanks again for the hookup Robert!

Penny Arcade Expo (08/2012)
IMG_8141 In August, I attended the eighth annual Penny Arcade Exposition . This year was amazing, as usual... and even bigger than before! Table-top, PC, console gaming, card games, miniatures... everyone was well represented. I took over 5400 photos, created several panoramas and photosynths, and had a blast.
Large Panoramas and Amazing Photosynths are hosted on Photosynth. The top 1200 more interesting photos can be found here.
On Flickr, you can view the best 510 here .
Thanks again for the hookup Robert!

Penny Arcade Expo (08/2011)
IMG_8686 In August, I attended the seventh annual Penny Arcade Exposition . This is a gaming conference like no other, giving equal dues to table-top, PC, and console gaming. This topped all previous years with nearly 69,000 attendees, as they rented the entire Seattle Convention Center for three days. I took over 5800 pictures, created several panoramas and photosynths, and had a blast.
Large Panoramas and Amazing Photosynths are hosted on Photosynth. The top 1200 more interesting photos can be found here.
On Flickr, you can view the best 550 here .
Thanks again for the hookup Robert!

Penny Arcade Expo (09/2010)
In September, I attended the seventh annual Penny Arcade Exposition . This is a gaming conference like no other, giving equal dues to table-top, PC, and console gaming. This topped all previous years with nearly 67,600 attendees, as they rented the entire Seattle Convention Center for three days. I took over 5800 pictures, created several panoramas and photosynths, and had a blast.
Large Panoramas and Amazing Photosynths are on this site, as well as the top 1400 more interesting photos here.
On Flickr, you can view the best 700 here .
Thanks again for the hookup Robert!

Penny Arcade Expo (09/2009)
In September, I attended the sixth Penny Arcade Exposition . This is a gaming conference like no other, giving equal dues to table-top, PC, and console gaming. This topped all previous years with nearly 61,000 attendees, as they rented the entire Seattle Convention Center for three days. I took over 5500 pictures, created several panoramas and photosynths, and had a blast.
Large Panoramas are on this site, as well as the 2000 more interesting photos here.
On Flickr, you can view the best 1000 here .
The Photosynths (they came out AMAZING) can be seen here.
Thanks for the hookup Robert!

Penny Arcade Expo (08/2008)
In August, I attended the fifth Penny Arcade Exposition . This is a gaming conference like no other, giving equal dues to table-top, PC, and console gaming. This topped all previous years with over 55,000 attendees, and I took over 6500 pictures over three days, created multiple panoramas, and had a blast.
I also had a chance to experiment with some Photosynths!
Large Panoramas are on this site, as well as the 2000 more interesting photos here.
On Flickr, you can view the best 800 here .
The Photosynths (they came out AMAZING) can be seen here.
Thanks for the hookup Robert!


Halo 3 Statistics Tracking (Current)

One of the side projects I'm currently working on. Downloads every scrap of data off the bungie website, caching it on the hard drive and in an Access database. The UI provides reporting capabilities. The Access database is normalized. Supports RSS export, copy to Excel, and report graphs saved as JPGs.

While not currently documented, custom reports can be created by you and shared with others.


3D Viewer for my photos (09/2007)
In August, I attended the fourth Penny Arcade Expo. While there, I took a lot of photos, including over a hundred of the Big Daddy statue and the Scarab HeroClix figure.

I wanted to create a more interactive method for viewing these photos, so I spent a few hours this weekend and whipped something together. I wish it was better, but I don't have much time for fun side projects like this. :)
Check it out here!

Penny Arcade Expo (08/2007)
In August, I attended the fourth Penny Arcade Exposition . This is a gaming conference like no other, giving equal dues to table-top, PC, and console gaming. This year there were 40,000 attendees, and I took over 3500 pictures over three days, created multiple panoramas, and had a blast.

Large Panoramas are on this site, as well as the 2000 more interesting photos here.
On Flickr, you can view the best 550 here , or you can view a more limited set of 170 here.
Thanks for the hookup Robert!


Halo 2 Statistics Tracking (10/2006)

One of the side projects I'm currently working on. Downloads every scrap of data off the bungie website, caching it on the hard drive and in an Access database. The UI provides reporting and game-review capabilities. The Access database is normalized (with an exception to simplify Bungie synchronization). Supports RSS export, CSV export (works with included Excel spreadsheet), and report export as JPGs.

What started out as a console application to learn C# over Christmas break has turned into over 7000-lines of functional code.


Penny Arcade Expo (08/2006)
In August, I attended the third Penny Arcade Exposition . This is a gaming conference like no other, giving equal dues to table-top, PC, and console gaming. I took 2500 pictures over three days, created multiple panoramas, and had a blast.

My photos include:
Large Panoramas (including a 56k x 4k of the line)
The best 300 can be found here on Flickr.
All Hail the Ball!

That is all.

Chaos (temporarily on hold)
I'm working off & on on a top-down asteroids multiplayer clone for the 21st century. Using C# and DirectX9, I'm aiming to create a large-multiplayer fast-paced experience. The real twist that I'm adding to the genre is a realistic physics engine that simulates gravity fields (the red gradient you see to the left). The asteroids pull the projectile weapons, and the ships, in a realistic fashion. I've only spent a few weeks of evenings, but so far I've put together the rendering pipeline, physics engine, and collision detection.

A 1-day Virtual Earth mashup (10/2005)
We're having a Virtual Earth mashup contest at work, so I thought I'd dust off the ASP server do something with it. Search for Seattle-area (King County) restaurants/food providers, and get back their latest inspection results.

Temporarily down due to breaking changes in the VE API.

Exchange Explorer [ Exchange Folder & Mail Size Treemapper ] (2/2005)

In an email group at work a long conversation thread started, concerning the various methods of visualizing free space on the hard drive (the best mentioned, IMHO was Space Monger ). The primary method used a concept of treemaps .

Anyways, during the discussion, someone lamented that there needed to be one written for Outlook. That evening I combined a few samples out on the web (ZAML & C# for treemapping concepts, a newsgroup post for .Net/MAPI integration ideas) to create a C# treemapping control that analyzed a given mailbox. Works quite well to identify those folders that you have forgotten, but that a rule is secretly populating with a highly-trafficed alias.


Watermarking control (2/2005)

During this time, I was on the prowl for small applications I could write to keep my skills sharp, which would also fill someone's need. A researcher at work needed to put on a presentation/give people their code, but wanted to convey that it was still a secret project. A few methods were discussed in the thread, and I put together an example of one of them.

You drop this container control on your designer, then put in your normal controls. The watermark text is automatically applied to every control. This implementation uses a number of Win32 APIs to handle WM_PAINT and calculate/redraw clipped regions. .Net's fun, but sometimes you have to go old-school. ;-)


Penny Arcade Expo (08/2005)
In August, I attended the second Penny Arcade Exposition . This is a gaming conference like no other, giving equal dues to table-top, PC, and console gaming. I took 1500 pictures, created multiple panoramas, and had even more fun than last year's.

A symmetrical multiplayer terrain generator for Savage (2003)

I had the opportunity to participate in the early betas of Savage , a unique game that offered two players out of 32 the opportunity to be the commander of an RTS, and the other 30 players a FPS experience following the commander's orders in human vs beast battle. During the beta, I decided to do a VB.NET "hello world" that  would create random maps that were symmetrical (so no one side would have an advantage).

Reverse engineering the file format was half the fun, and the developers responded encouragingly to a few inquiries. I was able to create random maps that would take an hour or more to traverse. With my fractal noise generator, I created quite interesting maps, with packs of animals, realistic distribution of trees in grove-like fashion, and a path with waypoints connecting the bases (using a modified A* algorithm to ensure that both sides could reach each other).

The link is to a few screen shots taken while I was working on it. In the end, the developers didn't have time to address a few bugs in the map format, and I didn't have time figure out a workaround. But the maps were... amazing.


SakuraCon (2003)
I had never been to a full-blown Anime convention before, and it was definitely a different experience. Sakuracon  is a Pacific Northwest conference devoted to Japanese animation. I mainly went to see Penny Arcade (this was the year before PAX began), but was treated to quite the visual experience.

XBox Live side-effects (2002)
Well, this one was a bit embarrassing. I was playing the XBox, jumped up to pop dinner in the oven, and hit the timer button on the microwave to let me know when it was done. Except in my distracted haste to get back to the game I hit Cook instead of Kitchen Timer. Coupled with an unknown problem (a belt had broken, focusing all microwave energy at one point), the door burst into flame.

The secret-at-the-time feature that I was beta testing was actually the beta version of XBox Live itself.