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Ugh, stop twitching
february 2010 microblog digest
minutiae Posted 2010-03-10 01:27:49 by Jim Crawford
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Feb 1st

  • -- The effects of dysentery medication on your sense of smell. (Your mileage may vary.)
  • No game is too easy per se; some easy games are too *boring*, but there are many ways to make one interesting without making it difficult.
  • -- Chicago Public Radio film critic Jonathan Miller reviews "the best campaign commercials this primary season."
  • Huh. Apparently, in most gyms you end a climb by dropping from a 12-foot-high hold rather than clambering onto the top of an 18-foot wall.
  • -- Don't you wish every DS game that asks you to blow into the microphone asked you to do this instead?
  • Playing good music game, I slip into a groove with the song and get to know it from the inside. I do best at Audiosurf by ignoring the song.
  • -- post: "Audiosurf vs. The Music Game Genre." Right, couldn't finish the rest of my thoughts in 140 bytes.
  • Turns out, bouldering for an hour then running errands for 90 minutes wasn't a great reaction to suspecting I'm coming down with something.
  • Zinc, Chloraseptic, Robitussin, Sudafed, Ibuprofen, *something* start kicking in, okay?

Feb 3rd

  • It's pretty astounding how well a terrible accent can come across in written poetry.
  • "Information wants to be free," in context: (Bonus feature: "My country, right or wrong" in context.)
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger lost weight to play Conan the Barbarian, because he had too much muscle to swing a sword. Could he wipe his own ass?
  • "What Today's Republicans Believe": The polling techniques look reasonable; I'm pretty sure the Kos post isn't a troll.
  • Somebody pinch me, I just did a major refactor on my synth engine and it worked on the first compile.

Feb 6th

  • Sickness update: still sick. Been about a week now. Probably time to set up a doctor's appointment, huh?
  • Checked in some wave writer code. Proof! Also, here's the patch that generates what you're hearing:

Feb 7th

  • Today I've started having trouble finishing sentences. Not all sentences, but subtle or complex ideas I'm used to expressing fairly easily.
  • No fever at all. 98.6 on the nose. Wish I'd been paying attention to my temperature over the past week.

Feb 8th

  • If you take it where it isn't asking you to go, "Where We Remain" has some interesting things to say about relationships:
  • -- "Whereas Bioshock was ... about identity and free will, Bioshock 2 is a powerfully personal story about parenthood."
  • Checked in some mouse input code. Should be stepping like crazy -- it's actually running at text mode resolution -- but it sounds fine.

Feb 9th

  • Snow's "Informer" took the "Twin Peaks" formula and made it accessible to the masses long before "Lost" managed to do so:
  • Do people really take Steve Jobs seriously when he says Flash is dying, and he's doing everyone a favor by not supporting it on the iPhone?
  • I've even seen people comparing not supporting Flash to not including a floppy drive on the iMac.
  • Which it's totally like! If the floppy market were still growing, and Steve Jobs got royalties every time you touched a CD-ROM.
  • -- "... Which begs another important question: can games be both ert and fon at the same time?"

Feb 10th

  • Here's a short and simple video explaining what Wave is good for: Hurry up and do this before it's also too late for Buzz.
  • Back from doctor with Azithromycin! Hopefully Bioshock 2 will clear this bacterial bronchitis right up.
  • Sporadically liveblogging Bioshock 2 in #weightedsixes! You're not missing much, but show up anyways.

Feb 11th

  • Splosion Man is $5 this week. Now I can find out whether the boss fights are as obnoxious as the demo made them look.
  • Applying the "Selfish Gene" concept to homosexuality: -- "Gay uncles invest more in their nieces and nephews."
  • Saw "Jaws." That scene with the comparing scars, then the Indianapolis story, then the singing? Fucking awesome. The shark scenes could go.
  • You know how your brain occasionally gives you a hard time for being a dick once 20 years ago? Is that just me?
  • @sugigrl Makes great motivation for not being a dick again. "Watch yourself, now. You wouldn't want another of those memories, would you?"

Feb 12th

  • -- Rock of the Dead. "'Typing of the Dead' but with Guitar Hero guitars instead of a QWERTY keyboard." Wii-only.

Feb 13th

  • Sweet, the cough keeping me up for the past week only really kicks in when I lie down, so I can sleep in the comfy chair in the living room.
  • (Too bad I discovered this at 9:30am rather than bedtime.)
  • Fired up Bioshock again. There's more style, class and invention in the first half hour than in the entirety of Bioshock 2.
  • (Yeah, the gameplay is better in Bioshock 2. Not such an accomplishment; the gameplay was the worst part of the original game.)
  • One surprise: despite the shift from shooter/survival-horror fusion to plain shooter, it's actually way easier to die in Bioshock 2.
  • Hmm. I bet if I finished this replay of Bioshock my opinion would swing back some. Bioshock 2 didn't have all the good stuff front-loaded.

Feb 14th

  • -- Blaster Master: Overdrive, a Wiiware remake of the original Blaster Master. How have I not heard about this?
  • Mass Effect 2 shows that you can wrap a dialog-tree-driven adventure game skin around any gameplay. The gunfights might as well be pinball.
  • -- "One short short story a day for 2010." Pretty amazing so far.
  • Most games only provide verbs, but one of the simplest, Super Mario Bros, has a prominent adverb. Was this complication a design error?
  • -- Wat! Alfred Hitchcock had nothing to do with the Three Investigators series?
  • The *point* of SF is to explore ideas you can't in non-SF. If your SF is just an allegory about the human condition, you're wasting my time.
  • One threshold I find useful when thinking about certainty is the likelihood that I'm insane and incapable of assessing probability.
  • Lazy SF reinforces the notion that our culture is universal. There are humans on our planet far more alien to us than anything on Star Trek.

Feb 15th

  • Hrm, Indy took Azithromycin too. I wonder if he passed just the Azithromycin-resistant bacteria on to me.
  • The packaging for this Cefuroxime Axetil is utilitarian, not nearly as snazzy as the Azithromycin. Feels like opening up a command prompt.
  • In Mass Effect 2's sans-serif font, I keep reading "AI Core" as "Al Core." ...Hm. Twitter uses sans-serif too. Well, you enjoy reading that.
  • Killing time like it's 1997:

Feb 16th

  • Checked in stereo support and ping-pong delay. A lot of code duplicated between mono/stereo mixer classes. Trying to decide how to refactor.

Feb 17th

  • Got a nice Vangelis-style PWM pad going. More and more patch ideas, I can build using existing modules. Think I've hit critical mass.
  • Shit, just occurred to me, with sample-and-hold (existing), I can quantize *just* the initial pitch position and allow vibrato and bends.
  • Ah, I can hear the stepping with this patch. No matter; should be smooth on the target platform. Or I could add some interpolation code now.
  • Hrm. If I'm eventually going to expose the module graph to end-users, I'll have to figure out how to efficiently check parameter ranges.
  • @fistfulofsand You mean water?
  • Test synth binary, with hardcoded patch and hacked-up win32 interface that breaks if you resize the console window:
  • I wonder whether DirectInput allows you to treat two mice as independent pointers.
  • What am I thinking? The optimal input device for this is obviously the Rock Band guitar.
  • Assassin's Creed 2 DRM kicks you out of the game if you lose your net connection, or if Ubisoft loses theirs:
  • You know that "noble iconoclast" image Apple has cultivated, starting with their 1984 ad? Maybe it's time for a rebrand:

Feb 18th

  • I can sleep lying down again! Either this new round of antibiotics is working, or the cough suppressant capsules are unusually effective.
  • -- "Don't just shorten your URL, make it suspicious and frightening."

Feb 19th

  • You pay to mark things private on Github, so good luck convincing somebody to open something up -- that would mean they wasted their money!
  • Some people get really angry when a work for which they aren't the target audience exists.
  • Half an hour of CCTV footage of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh's killers, released by Dubai police:
  • @chrisjhampton Yeah. Or that time I heard the Jonas Brothers cover of "Hello Goodbye" and swore off music altogether.
  • -- "School used student laptop webcams to spy on them at school and home."
  • Man, I love running out of ammo in Gears of War. The reloading minigame is probably the best part of the game.

Feb 20th

  • Harrowing QT3 thread about near-death experiences: Highlights:
  • Most of them are about car crashes, of course. "You're only a second or two away from death whenever you're anywhere near a motor vehicle."
  • Dogs love the Law and Order theme:
  • What the-- bats actually make that silhouette?
  • -- Maybe it would be safest to just not own a medicine cabinet. (Love the inversion at 2:21 and the variation at 3:42.)
  • @westquote Any given level editor is one resource management mechanic removed from a god game.
  • Stuck on the minecart sequence in Gears of War. Writing an email during the minute and 45 seconds of nothing happening during each attempt.
  • Yes, I timed it. Had nothing better to do.
  • Jason gave me the frequency characteristics of a pulse wave with arbitrary duty cycle, so I can bandlimit my oscillators. Woohoo!
  • Stay in school, kids, so you can work out the hard mathy parts of my programming projects for me.
  • The gradual opening of a lowpass filter is like a distorted guitar: if you don't enjoy it inherently, whole genres are unavailable to you.
  • Trying to figure out how to represent the module graph in a programmable way. Constructor parameters worked so well for the hardcoded case!

Feb 21st

  • My C++ is rusty. Someone please tell me there's a better way than a dozen macro calls per class to build a list of classes and parameters.
  • Behind every pithy, not-quite-correct sweeping statement I make on Twitter, there's a long talk with a friend leading up to that conclusion.
  • -- Sometimes she takes the mask off. That's when you know shit's about to get real. This outfit wasn't always red.
  • *Wow*. If I'd seen the Subject Zero trailer before playing, I never would have bothered with Mass Effect 2.
  • I'm not fool enough to take "best described as" literally, but I draw the line when the description that follows is downright *terrible*.
  • Even "could only be described," literally more wrong, is in usage less stupid because it actually has meaning. (It means "this is weird.")
  • "Kung Fu Master" guy vs. everybody:

Feb 22nd

  • The brakes of garbage truck outside have been squealing for the past forever. Hope it can stop before it hits whatever it's heading toward.
  • Two years later, this is still the most memorable part of GTA IV for me:
  • Now that the FC5025 USB 5.25" floppy reader exists, I'll never ever be able to find the disks with my Commodore 128 BASIC programs on them.
  • This happened to a character I was talking to in Fallout 3, too: -- Both games use the same face engine, don't they?
  • "Battle Kid: Fortress of Peril," new homebrew NES platform shooter: -- Inspired by "I Wanna Be The Guy," unfortunately.
  • Have you noticed that gamers who say that old games are best left to nostalgia and never live up to your memory were all ZX Spectrum owners?
  • Religion is the only accessible ethical framework out there, right? Turn away and you have to homebrew, or read difficult philosophy texts.
  • If I created a fully secular, rational institution for building communities and instilling ethical frameworks, would that still be religion?

Feb 23rd

  • -- This might be the new "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air."
  • -- "Most 'games' on Facebook are hardly games at all, they are simply viruses-of-the-mind that are designed to spread."
  • @westquote Watch out for memetic grey goo.
  • Is my throat getting scratchy again, or am I imagining it? Two rounds of antibiotics so far. In 20 years, they'll call me patient zero.

Feb 24th

  • Super Mario Galaxy 2 announced for May 23rd.
  • Man, the for-serious climbers start coming out around 3:30pm. How am I supposed to impress the chicks under these conditions?
  • DVD rental vending machines? In *my* neighborhood grocer? This Redbox must've passed through my FOV dozens of times before I noticed it.
  • Metroid Prime 3 makes a useful lesson: add generic characters and terrible dialogue to a tasteful, solitary setting, and you make it worse.
  • Take your game and remove everything that is stupid and generic. Is what's left worth playing? If so you could be the next Fumito Ueda.
  • Louis: "and iirc you shoot a shield to duck." Me: "... i liked warzaid better when i thought you said 'shoot to shield a duck.'"
  • Bought Left 4 Dead then L4D 2 on PC. Still haven't found anyone interested in playing either, but two friends want to play it on 360. Hups.

Feb 25th

  • Origin of the sample that the "Battle Cry" rap backbeat used: I like how it turns into hillbilly music a minute in.
  • By writing speech in other dialects out phonetically, you're pretending that "normal people" pronounce exactly what's written.
  • *Every* dialect uses elision and epenthesis. You only notice the ones "those people" use because you're a racist.
  • -- "If one [lone nutcase] is a terrorist and the other a criminal, the difference is more political than anything else."
  • The concept of "originality" is tricky when it comes to music: if you like it, you've heard it before. That's what it *means* to like music.
  • Man, this is really special: -- I especially love the intro. Nobody ever tell these guys about counting off.
  • @westquote Have you considered half-assing both of them
  • @phylhrmnix Oh, you!

Feb 26th

  • -- Who's the cutest little electric bass? You are! Yes you are!
  • -- "We considered changing the App Store so that when you enter 'boobs' it says, 'The web is that way, stupid!'"
  • Synth update: reading patches out of a text file now. You wouldn't believe how much effort it was to get that bit working.
  • Just as I had worried, Redbox is giving me trouble returning this DVD. "YOU HAVE 15 SECONDS TO COMPLY."
  • In San Diego for the next 10 days if anyone wants to make plans.

Feb 27th

  • Feel like you're missing out on Heavy Rain with no PS3? Well, you still are, but check out Deadly Premonition anyway:
  • Eye-tracking data from a Geometry Wars session: [WMV link] Too bad the playfield didn't get a chance to fill up, though.
  • Tsunami warning in La Jolla. "Widespread inundation is not expected." Wow, I didn't even know "inundate" *had* a literal meaning.
  • Water is receding in Hilo:
  • The synth's error messages are now sufficient enough to debug patches without a C++ debugger. Have a go if so inclined:
  • (Of course it's still easier with the source; there's internal support to log each module's output to .wav. I'll expose that eventually.)
  • Maybe I could turn the synth into a game somehow for "THE 371-IN-1 KLIK & PLAY PIRATE KART II: KLIK HARDER." --

Feb 28th

  • Looking back on a bunch of New Super Mario Bros multiplayer configurations, trying to suss out what made the first so magically slapstick.
  • We had a wide range of player ability; we were all experimenting to figure out the new mechanics; Indy would throw you into lava on a whim.
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