Fahad Ashraf Self-Reflection Essay 1

Fahad Ashraf Self-Reflection Essay 1

I am really glad to have chosen to take the Creative Computing Capstone. As a Computer Science major, we often take many classes that deal with architecture, algorithms and data structures. Many, if not all, of our projects are very rigid in terms of requirements and we are often tasked assignments that feel like daunting mountains of mundane work. My mind fills with dread and contempt just thinking about it. As far as capstones go, there didn’t to be very many fun ones either, but as we looked out into the course table, there it was, a shining glimmer a top a course table filled with dreadful monotony of other courses. 

The Class

This semester, Creative Capstone felt like a light at the end of a dark tunnel. Finally, a class that let you take almost complete creative freedom over your project. I enjoyed how the class was fun although I felt that meeting later in the semester seemed a little unnecessary. On the other hand, I did enjoy seeing the many examples of creative computing and it gave me a better understanding of what was expected from us. It almost seemed like the theme of the project was “Make something interesting, and have fun doing it”.  This theme was formalized and presented as ambiguity and liveness.

Our Project – Liveness

For our project, our team decided to utilize virtual reality to construct a music visualizer that would place the user in the center of the show. This project was designed with the idea of liveness and the idea that no matter what song you put into the visualizer, you will get a unique and immersive experience. There have been many visualizers over the years that simply process an audio signal and display it on a screen, but our visualizer allowed the user to be fully immersed in an experience that teleports them into another world and allows them to feel like they are truly there experiencing it live. 

The Birth of New Creative Practice

For me, virtual reality has been this cool new technology that I had never gotten to experience aside from store demos. As with any innovative tech gadget, I not only wanted to play with it, I wanted to develop on it. Through this project, I got countless hours to try different things in a virtual reality environment. I also got to learn a new language, C# as well as learn about Game development platforms like Unity. It was a large undertaking because there were many new obstacles, but nonetheless, I had a very fun time creating my very first virtual reality app from scratch. 


My team was outstanding. We all had many shared experiences that allowed us to come up with an Agile approach to working on our project. Using this approach allowed us to make quick decisions and roll back changes if anything seemed to be going in a negative direction. We also had a lot of varying experiences from web applications, to game development to system design. This allowed us to strategize and pair assignments and assignees efficiently. We also used Groupme  as a medium for communication. Through GroupMe, we were able to quickly get responses to questions and organize meetings. 

Expectation and Reality

As with many projects, there are many obstacles to overcome. With this project, we achieved our main goal of creating a music visualizer very early on in the semester. However, we wanted to create something we would be proud of. We wanted to create something that would have that “Wow factor”. At the end of it all, I think we did reach “wow factor” even though we didn’t know what it would look like. There were things such as synced lyrics, which required payment that we wish we could have utilized. There were solutions such as MP3 metadata tags that ended up being elegant solutions. All in all, the solutions that did work out, seemed to solve the obstacles we faced. If there was one takeaway from this semester it would be this: It seemed like there was a mentality of “If there’s a will there’s a way” throughout this semester and I think that is what allowed our team to succeed. If you set your mind to something and refuse to take no for an answer, there is no way you will fail.