August 13th, 2010


Battery Tax

When I was younger, I remember playing with fun puzzles involving making precise measurements on fluid amounts using a series of cups of the wrong size.

My NexusOne (AndroidPhone) charging off of my laptop while my laptop is unplugged reminds me of this, although the power tax involved in having the systems active while this goes could add an interesting extra element to this. Maybe. I was thinking it'd extend the system interestingly into three dimensions if we wanted to get both systems to a certain battery level at the same time, but that might result in simply getting both systems above threshold, letting them drain down to the desired level, and turn them off (separately). Too many degrees of freedom - a successful puzzle has those down to a small number. It's interesting and fun (a la Portal) for there to be more than one potential solution to a puzzle (I'm not sure what to think of the idea that there may exist solutions that the game designer didn't think of, but then this is the basis of a lot of collectable "battle" card games like Magic:TG (which I played) and the Pokémon card games (which I did not) - part of the reason for errata is that the initial degrees of freedom was misestimated or there's an additional dynamic they were aiming for that's disrupted by this). Games as storytelling (a la Zork) are not at all the same thing as games as puzzles. One of the unique elements to games as storytelling is the potential for neat inside jokes - intelligent human thought is sometimes devious/mischievous- competitive in the dirty way. Storytellers in such an environment may have a duty to "be the universe", but in an action game, human deviousness may be rewarded with an exploit (e.g. sequence breaking) while in a storytelling game, human deviousness is rewarded with a wink and a chuckle - an in joke between the game authors and those clever enough to find it.

More thoughts on NexusOne:Collapse )

I am kind of bothered that with a particular coding problem at work, it's just big enough that if I stretch my mind and think it through it eventually becomes clear, but I lose it after an hour or two of thinking about other things.

Life remains complex (not real?), but such is the nature of life when it's actually being lived.


Twinkle in one's step

Return to topic: Music for games. Need for music that loops but ideally takes a long time to do so. Interest: heuristic that would do this intelligently, maybe improvise a bit on loops, maybe reduce innovation per round in order to preserve interestingness of song over potentially very long plays. Easy: analyse rounds. Harder: recognise the cues we use to determine when a song is about to end. Interesting that we normally can do that - musical arc like a plot arc? Or just well-established cues? I suppose some songs probably do end suddenly, but we don't tend to like them. Does that limit us towards whatever possibly cliche'd elements there are that form this? Maybe.

What got me thinking along these lines is the increasing prevalence of highly sophisticated machine-performed (or aided? Not sure) transformations of songs I've been starting to hear on youtube. Here's a version of this song where the gender of the main voice is switched, there's a video with beat-shifting making this song sound swing. We've seen demos of this recently, and in many cases it actually sounds *good*. Some months ago there was an article about algorithmic generation of unique music - perhaps this is a kind of musical transhumanism.

I am about to drive back to BrecksvilleOhio for the first time in awhile (oy, such a logically goofy but prevalent way to say this). Interesting that my family will see me in such an unusual mood. BBIAB, PGH.