James Steininger's School Story

This site is made for the purpose of demonstrating what I, James Steininger, have done during my college years. It is an overview and unveiling of courses, projects, achievements, grades, and more.

Fall, 2011 (Freshman)

  • Course Schedule (17.5 total credits)

    # Course NameGrade Units
    CPSC-230 Computer Science IA3.0
    FCC-100 Musicals and Cultural MeaningA 3.0
    MUS-104 PianoA 2.0
    MUS-116 OR3 Studio Class - SaxophoneA0.5
    MUS-123-83 Orchestral Inst - SaxophoneA 2.0
    MUS-135-03 Aural Skills IA 1.0
    MUS-215 Wind SymphonyA 1.0
    MUS-229 Film Music CompositionA 0 (AU)
    MUS-277Music CompositionA2.0
    MUS-322-08 Small Ens - SaxophoneA 0.5
    MUS-322-10Small Ens - Intermed Jazz CombA0.5
    MUS-323-85 Adv Orch Inst - Jazz ImprovA 2.0
  • Starting a BM in Composition

    During my first semester at Chapman University, I took numerous music courses as I began my BM in Composition. I took 3 hours of lessons, played in 2 ensembles, took 2 composing classes, and also took a computer science course. I was especially loving my composition course with Shaun Naidoo, who is a professor I met with during a visit to Chapman while I toured colleges, and is a big reason I pursued music composition at Chapman.

An excerpt from my first live film scoring session

With Kevin Homma (left) after a Sax Quartet performance

Interterm, 2012 (Freshman)

My first try making a 3D game

"Bloom" is inspired from FPS games like Doom or Wolfenstein

  • Course Schedule (3.0 total credits)

    #Course Name GradeUnits
    CPSC-230Intro to the Game IndustryA3.0
  • Learning 3D Modeling, Rendering, & Animation

    Over the winter term at Chapman students are offered 4 free credits to use to take one rigorous course during the month of January. I took Intro to the Game Industry, which turned out to be a fantastic introduction to 3D modeling, texturing, rigging, animation, and using a game engine. For the final, I produced a completed video game called Bloom, which features 3 levels and with custom assets made in FPS Creator.

    Here is a download link to Bloom

My portfolio of 2D, Adobe Flash game development (2006-present)

Spring, 2012 (Freshman)

Clandestine-a 3rd person Unreal Development Kit (UDK) shooter

More environment and level design from Clandestine

An original composition inspired from a study on the major and minor blues progressions

A mockup I designed for a personal health records app

  • Course Schedule (19.0 total credits)

    #Course Name GradeUnits
    CPSC-236-01Visual ProgrammingB+3.0
    CPSC-244-01Level Design I A3.0
    FTV-369-01Elements of Visual Effects A3.0
    MUS-102-01Compendium of Western Music History B+3.0
    MUS-104-11Piano A1.0
    MUS-123-83Orchestral Inst - Saxophone A2.0
    MUS-134-01Music Theory II A2.0
    MUS-136-04Aural Skills II A1.0
    MUS-218-01Big Band A1.0
    MUS-322-08Small Ens-Saxophone AU0.0
  • Starting Game Development with Unreal Engine

    While still pursuing the BM in Composition, I began taking more game development courses after my exciting experience taking Intro to the Game Industry with Adam Rote. So I took Level Design I with Vinnie Morrison. In this course I began learning to use the Unreal Development Kit, which is a video game development engine. I made a few prototype environments using the standard assets that come with UDK. I realized how a person easily could have the title "Level Designer" at a game studio, because placing assets and creating level interactivity is a lot of work in its own right. Clandestine was the title of a game which modded the engine for a 3rd person camera, and featured a time slow-down mechanic which the player could control at will.

  • Start a club: Homebrew Application Developers Club

    I've long been drawn to technology, and I decided that there wasn't a proper meeting place for technology enthusiasts to meet on campus. That's why I started the Homewbrew Application Developers Club during my freshman year, which was an attempt to rally together excited programmers or aspiring app developers.

Fall, 2012 (Sophomore)

  • Course Schedule (15.0 total credits)

    #Course Name GradeUnits
    CPSC-340Game DevelopmentB+3.0
    CPSC-344Level Design IA3.0
    FTV-120-02Introduction to Digital ArtsA3.0
    MUS-104-11Piano A1.0
    MUS-123-83Orchestral Inst - Saxophone A1.0
    MUS-218Big Band A1.0
    MUS-249Film Music Composition A3.0
  • Starting XING

    While taking Level Design II I was asked by John Torkington and Koriel Kruer, seniors at Chapman University, to join me with their project titled XING: The Land Beyond. I accepted, and I began working on the game anywhere from 3-6 hours a day. XING: The Land Beyond website

Working on XING, before it had the "The Land Beyond" subtitle

A screenshot from an early environment of XING

The end of the semester Big Band concert

Interterm, 2013 (Sophomore)

  • Preparing for Kickstarter

    This is the only semester in which I did not take an interterm course. Instead, I worked on preparing the Kickstarter campaign for our video game XING: The Land Beyond, which was given a new subtitle to accompany the campaign. We made additional environments and gameplay sections to strengthen our trailer, which visualized what we wanted to accomplish with our project.

Spring, 2013 (Sophomore)

Beginning work for a jungle environment in XING

Playing sax for The Little Shop of Horrors

  • Course Schedule (15.0 total credits)

    #Course Name GradeUnits
    CPSC-229Game PrototypingA-3.0
    CPSC-299I.S. Video Game StudioA3.0
    FTV-325Art & Craft of Foley & ADRW0.0
    FTV-392Adv Pre-Visual for Motion PictA3.0
    MUS-123-83Orchestral Inst - SaxophoneA2.0
    MUS-218Big BandA1.0
  • Kickstarter, GDC, and Buddhism

    Me and my two XING colleagues took a Buddhism course together, which satisfied one of my General Education requirements. In this course, we grew to be good friends with our professor Dr. John Casey. Dr. Casey inspired in us to build a rich mythology and culture within our game, which was already teeming with certain spiritual attributes. Over time, we realized and embraced the aspects of Buddhist values and ideas in our game.

  • Apply for and begin Custom Major: BA in Interactive Media

    XING: The Land Beyond ended up making over $30,000 dollars through our Kickstarter Campaign. It was after this moment I finally decided to pursue a custom major instead of a BM in Music Composition. I decided to design my major after similar programs offered at Carnegie Mellon and USC: a degree called Interactive Media. I had the major approved by the end of my sophomore year.

Fall, 2013 (Junior)

  • Course Schedule (15.0 total credits)

    #Course Name GradeUnits
    COM-210BTheories of Persuasion for Non Majors B3.0
    CPSC-231-02Computer Science II A-3.0
    MATH-250Discrete Mathematics I B-3.0
    MGMT-379Incubator - Launching a Venture B-3.0
    MUS-218Big Band A1.0
    MUS-316-OR2Studio Class - Woodwinds P0.5
    MUS-322-08Small Ens - Saxophone A0.5
    MUS-323-83Adv Orch Inst - Saxophone A1.0
  • Launch Labs - Business Incubator

    One unique class that was a part of my major was a management course called Launching a Venture. I anticipated that this course could complement my myriad of computer science and digital arts classes by providing a comprehensive and applicable overview of small business developement. I was starting to help run my own video game development company, White Lotus Interactive LLC, which we incorpoated a number of months after our Kickstarter campaign, and I felt like this course could offer additional support. It ended up introducing me to lots of startup business development strategies, such as Lean and Business Model Canvas. Ultimately I competed in a local Startup Weekend in which 6 other students and local startup enthusiastis joined me on a weekend long quest to launch a business. Our prototype, called Komodo (www.KomodoCare.com) was a personal health records platform that allowed a user to signup, connect to other users, and share rudimentary health data with one another.

Me and the team I lead from Startup Weekend

One way to pitch medical records management is to imply strength

Game Asset Creation

Interterm, 2014 (Junior)

  • Course Schedule (3.0 total credits)

    #Course Name GradeUnits
    CPSC-355Human Computer InteractionB+3.0
  • Starting to make Healthcare Software

    I wanted to keep taking my health records software idea further. I developed a series of mockups for a new medictaion reminders app. In my final project of my interterm course Human Computer Interaction, I further developed Komodo with an easy to use side navbar, which worked well on both mobile and desktop platforms. It also featured an easy to navigate profile page with tracking of multiple data types.

A medication reminders app mockup

Spring, 2014 (Junior)

A snowy fortress scene I made for Elements of Visual Effects II

A another scene for Elements of Visual Effects II

  • Course Schedule (15.5 total credits)

    #Course Name GradeUnits
    CPSC-399-80I.S. Health IT Interfaces A3.0
    CPSC-490-80Intern Program P3.0
    FTV-396Elements of Visual Effects II A3.0
    MUS-316-OR2Studio Class - Woodwinds P0.5
    MUS-318Big Band A1.0
    MUS-323-83Adv Orch Inst - Saxophone A2.0
    REL-120Global Ethics & Religion A3.0
  • XING Booth at GDC

    The XING team demoed at our first large convention at the Game Developers Conference held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. While staying at my parents house and commuting with our various towers and Oculus Rift equipment, we showed our latest builds of the game to hundreds of people at GDC. Getting to see and hear the reactions was amazing.

  • Independent Study for Health Records Software

    This course focused entirely on Ruby on Rails and developing and maintaining a full-stack web application that focuses on health IT data. Ruby on Rails is a technology which provides a framework for creating web applications, and is currently used to power sites like Groupon, Shopify, Bloomberg, Airbnb, SoundCloud, Hulu, GitHub, and more. I gave a lecture on Rails and my health software prototype, which reached a milestone of allowing users to make and track their own health goals, upload photos and attachments, and basic networking.

Fall, 2014 (Senior)

  • Course Schedule (15.5 total credits)

    #Course Name GradeUnits
    CPSC-370-02Open Source DevelopmentA3.0
    DA-339Digital Illustration AU0.0
    FSN-200-04Human NutritionA3.0
    MUS-316OR2 Studio Class Woodwinds P0.5
    MUS-318Big Band A1.0
    MUS-323-83Adv Orch Instr - Saxophone A2.0
    MUS-332BMusical Cultures of Asia/PacificA-3.0
    SPAN-458Elementary Spanish IA-3.0
  • PAX Prime, Oculus Connect

    Right at the start of senior year I had to take off time from school in order to attend the PAX Prime game convention in Seattle, Washington. We operated a booth which featured two Oculus Rift stations for playing XING and one station for playing XING on a TV. For the Oculus Rift demo, PAX attendees waited in line that consistently stretched 40-80 minutes in length. Later in the semester I attended the first Oculus Connect developers conference in Hollywood. This was a gathering of over one thousand virtual reality enthusiasts, engineers, designers, and game developers to meet and discuss the future of virtual reality. Facebook bought Oculus VR for $2 billion dollars last year, giving way to the rise in virtual reality hardware announcements from Sony, Valve, and Samsung. Meanwhile, I am still working on XING making sure it works well on both traditional TVs and monitors, but also through the design and medium of virtual reality headsets like the Oculus Rift.

  • Playing in the musical

    I played the alxo saxophone, clarinet, and flute in a local performance of the Hot Mikado.

  • Dogemon

    I made two web applications in open source development. The first is Dogemon, which stems from open source development philosophies, Bitcoin, Neopets, and online creative communities such as DeviantArt or Newgrounds. In Dogemon, the game world is upheld and created by users. Everything can be bought or sold with real cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin, and is part of a legitimate economy. Then, users battle and train to rise to the tops of leaderboards, sell the most items in the marketplace, or have fun caring for your Dogemon.

  • Shoreline

    Education software is so important and not many people in Silicon Valley are focused on it. Shoreline was an attempt at improving the college experience and value for students by giving them a search tool which helps them take classes they'll be happier in. If a student is more naturally engaged in a subject it improves performance, teacher satisfaction, and is a better use of tuition dollars. Shoreline lets you easily search and plan your semester, by providing course reviews and documents to 'prescreen' the course, and see what courses your friends are taking.

Talking to booth attendees at PAX Prime in Seattle, WA

Our booth at PAX Prime

Playing saxophone, clarinet, and flute for The Hot Mikado musical at Chapman University

Shoreline: making course search and scheduling a breeze

Hyaku Lake-a snowy, hidden village from XING: The Land Beyond

Launching my open source website Dogemon

Interterm, 2015 (Senior)

  • Course Schedule (3.0 total credits)

    #Course Name GradeUnits
    SPAN-102Elementary Spanish IIB3.0

Spring, 2015 (Senior)

Talking to booth attendees at PAX Prime in Seattle, WA

Talking to booth attendees at PAX Prime in Seattle, WA

Performing for my Senior Jazz Recital

My friend and teacher Gary Matsuura sharing some post-recital relief

  • Course Schedule (3.0 total credits)

    #Course Name GradeUnits
    CPSC-458Web EngineeringW3.0
    CPSC-499-80Full-Stack EngineeringTBD3.0
    ENG-411Advanced Digital Media WorkshopTBD3.0
    MUS-104Piano TBD3.0
    MUS-316OR2 Studio Class Woodwinds TBD3.0
    MUS-318Big Band TBD3.0
    MUS-323Adv orch Instr - Jazz TBD3.0
    MUS-332CMusical Cultures of the AmericasTBD3.0
    MUS-498CSr Rec Prcjost TBD3.0
  • Senior Recital

    My senior jazz recital was optional, but I chose to pursue it for a number of reasons. I had been a music major for two years, was still a music scholarship student, still took regular improvization lessons, and my parents were coming down to listen to the Big Band concert anyways. For the recital, I played 4 original compositions, two of which had chord progressions inspired from other jazz standards. I also played on jazz ballad standard.

  • What's next?

    Currently I am still working on XING and can't wait to show it to the world. I have enjoyed working on my open source web application projects, though I don't yet know what my plans for them are. I do feel ready to move on from college. I have had life-long relationships with health and technology, and I feel that in my future the two will merge someday. I'm eagerly awaiting what's next.