Studio Blog

The epic Singapore trip

by Aldrich Tangpos
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by Aldrich Tangpos

Now that the AWF crew have recovered from the general antics of the festive season, I have gotten a chance to post about our epic adventure in Singapore for the 2012 Siggraph Expo. Having experienced Singapore’s wonder with my family before, it was time for both Adam and Lil Adam to join.

The journey started with a glitch, having to do an overnight pitstop in Melbourne, due to the airline messing with the flight times – our flight to Singapore was delayed to the morning after. The el-cheapo airport motel should have warned us about the rough night ahead. Little did we know that both Lil Adam and I had to share a double bed while Adam had a single bed bunk right above us. Needles to say we slept… uncomfortably – but thankfully we knew that come next morning, our low class problems will soon disappear.


After the marathon iPhone game session by the AWF boyz, we reached Singapore unscathed with our excitement meter pass definitely peaking. I told the lads of the extreme heat here compared to Australia, but they were unmoved by my threats and we pressed onwards, in a cab, to our luxury hotel where we will be staying for the rest of our visit. By the time we got to our hotel, dusk sweep around this new world and even after our tiresome travels here, we decided to check out the local area for some mischief.

The high rollers!

Our first thought? This place was bright, countless amounts of lighting flooded the streets and numerous new smells invaded our noses. We found a nice spot to have dinner and gave our taste buds a restart with some of the local food. Overall we were pleased to what we experienced, there was definitely potential there, but now it’s proper sleep and the big expo.

Bright lights

The expo started early and after several misguided searches for the train station, we are finally on our way. Upon our arrival at the Expo we were handed a small gift pack with a few toys to welcome us to the event. It was a nice five minute distraction but soon enough we were on our way to the first conference.

There it is…destiny

We attended various presentations that covered a wide range of subjects – some were more interesting then others. One conference obliterated the few living math brain cells I had with the sheer length of the equations presented – but my doctor has advised me the numerical scars will fade… in about 15 years. Personally one of the best presentations focused on creating the water effects of the video game Assassins Creed 3, which went into amazing detail on the process it took to create it – which as kind of cool seeing the similarity to some of approaches we have done for our own ship game. Another one was a very honest behind-the-scenes of The Dark Knight, explaining how some of the special effects were created, and the more interestingly, the issue they ran into. On a more technical side we all were blown away by some of the student technical papers, one featured a ‘non-linear fabric solver’ which sped the fabric solving time by 400-5000%! Also a similar one is a ‘dynamic tessellation fabric’ which tessellates the geometry only when it has to. This would greatly improve the use of cloth in animation studios like ours.

Game of Thrones?

Around half way point of the expo (went for 4 days) we all got treated with a social gathering that featured food, drinks, music and a projects exhibition. We wasted no time diving into the alcohol. It was enjoyable to meet new people while stuffing our faces full of food, everyone had at least one thing to relate to. Although, they had a random fashion parade….maybe they just wanted to have attractive girls.

Take my money

We met heaps of interesting people from around the world during the event, including folk from big name places like Lucas Arts, Pixar & Nivida. At the end of the official social gathering, we ended up being in a posse of creative nerds that didn’t stop drinking and cavorting around Singapore until the wee hours of the morning. We were worlds apart yet the same interests, and a lot of alcohol, we all became best friends… but I underestimating the number of consumptions that occurred during the evening, as I woke up in bed unaware of the happenings in the last parts of the evening.

Who are they again?

After the expo ended, we had two days left to explore more of Singapore, so we decided we’d cable car to Universal studio and spend the day there. To our surprise (and eventual annoyance), there seems to be an unavoidable and insatiable love of Angry Birds in Singapore.

Oh the irony

Welcome to Universal Studios, the day that marked poor Lil Adam will never riding a roller-coaster again! Like most theme parks, this was a massive area and we vowed to ride every adult ride available. Two rides stood out, the amazing Transformers 3D ride and the intense Battlestar Galatica roller-coaster. Unfortunately for Lil Adam they were the first two rides we rode on, and after the Cylon version of the Battlestar ride he was looking a little too green around the gills (and everywhere else too).

Watch out world!

My facial expression is proof that this nerd has a guilty pleasure for giant robots!


On our last day we randomly came across a museum packed with lego creations, it was eerie and quite intimidating.

Thinking thoughts?

We visited the gardens as our last thing to do before leaving, and felt the true impact of being outside of air conditioning for an extended time – no wonder everywhere has AC – but we are still confused why they seem to set the temperature SO low, you almost require a jacket in a lot of places to stop shivering.

The humidity sapped our strength

Overall the trip was incredible, it was nice to finally step outside our comfort zone to visit a new place and experience meeting new people, food, and places. The AWF crew have fond memories of Singapore, and of course started to secretly plan our next big adventure.