Week of September 21, 2014

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Week of September 21, 2014

Postby JoshParnell » Mon Sep 22, 2014 5:49 pm

Sunday, September 21, 2014

She sat gently on the floor, as she always does, whirring away with millions of computations every moment, painting my screen with beautiful universes. I'd had her for three years, and she'd always been good to me. I guess I hadn't been as good to her as I should have.

A year or so ago, I noticed her starting to get too hot during those late-night GPU sessions. She'd grind through, but I couldn't shake the feeling that she was struggling to solve those billions of tiny equations with furnace-like temperatures building up on the inside. Like any intellectually-gifted man, I used my mind to solve the problem: I stripped the case off and let the room's air help her stay cool. No, not a good solution. Not at all. Hindsight is funny like that.

The Diet Coke sat where it always does. Dangerously-close to the precipice of my desk, ready and waiting to fuel my constant need for caffeinated fuel intake. Really, at this point, you can already see that the ignorance was rapidly stacking up against me. It doesn't take a genius to see that any parabolic trajectory that would send the coke off my desk would also place it happily within the danger zone of my helpless, electrically-exposed computer.

The funny thing about elbows is that they have a mind of their own. The unfortunate part of that is that their mind doesn't take physics into account. They kind of just do what they want without regard for long-term consequences. They also act with remarkable speed. One minute all is going well and I'm deep into the code flow of my new HUD. The next minute I'm on my knees weeping as I helplessly watch the evil liquid pour carelessly through her delicate, electrical innards. That's the end of it, right here, right now, I thought as my panicked mind tried to cope. LT is never in jeopardy, of course, because my paranoia forces me to keep thousands of on-site and off-site backups of everything even remotely-related to the project (including a small metal USB drive that I wear on my neck chain...yeah...:ghost:). But without her...how could I run the game smoothly enough to record an update? Unlikely to happen. Great.

Five hours of painful testing, plugging, unplugging, seating, reseating, and frantically reading hardware help sites later, I had done it. One RAM module fried, but a small price to pay for such an ignorance-laden series of unfortunate events. Very happy that I didn't have to take any of the numerous drastic measures racing through my mind. Very happy that the deities of Diet Coke had bestowed mercy on my poor soul. Yes, I consider myself lucky.

I guess it's true what they say: people never change. When I finally did get her up and running again, she started making a rather annoying groaning noise. Clearly not too happy with having her life threatened by my beverages. Filled with the confidence of my newfound hardware wizardry, I leveraged my scholarly palm to give the fan a nice, firm smack. The noise dissipated quickly and didn't return. Intellectual solutions triumph yet again, I thought to myself, taking a sip from the fresh bottle of Diet Coke that rested in the usual location.

Tonight she rests back on the floor, innards still exposed, happy to be alive. No one would even know that her life hung in the balance only a few hours ago. All is as it should be.

But while she was asleep, in every act of desperation that I could dream up, I promised her that I'd order a fancy new cooling piece for her if she woke. I pleaded. And here we are, back to our nights of millions of computations and infinite universes. I don't know if she heard me, but I'll make good on my promise. I'll happily order the fanciest darn cooler I can find. I swear I will. She deserves it.

*Happily returns to coding*
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.” ~ Henry Ford
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Re: Week of September 21, 2014

Postby JoshParnell » Tue Sep 23, 2014 5:19 pm

Monday, September 22, 2014

Colonies.

Once upon a time, we knew them well. Once upon a time, we believed that they would be the ones who would restore balance to the force -- the ones who would light our way to the path of LT completion. Somewhere along the way, they got lost in a pile of other work. But today, friends, the colonies have risen up once more to bring that mysterious thing which binds us all together back into balance. Colony work is back.

Seated in my comfortable chair of LTSL, I'm able to attack colonies far more effectively than ever before. The thing about them is that they're going to require a lot of playing with the code to get right. Gone are the days of me trying to sit down and work every piece of the gameplay theory out on paper before touching the code. With LTSL, I don't need to do that anymore. The code is my paper. I can work things out in LTSL and watch how they play out in practice. Out with the old, in with the new. I love this style of development. I'm already applying it to generating colony cultural traits, spawning AI players from colonies (using the culture vector + a random offset), spawning cultural items, etc. None of it is perfect yet, but it's there and I can iterate as quickly as new ideas come to the mind. Love it :)

Along with colony work comes...you guessed it...a colony testbed! Well, in reality, all I need is a new, script version of my old testbed (where I watched the game from a top-down UI). Haven't got that yet, but it's not far at all from the AI testbed, so it won't take long. Once I've got the ability to view colony markets and watch AI players spawn from them, things are really going to pick up speed :geek:

Final week. No need to sprint this time -- just maintain the steady, powerful pace of September. Here we go ladies and gents :)
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.” ~ Henry Ford
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Re: Week of September 21, 2014

Postby JoshParnell » Wed Sep 24, 2014 4:40 pm

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Sorry folks, I need more time to congeal this colony work into a good, coherent devlog.

I've got my full colony sandbox set up today, creating a small universe and allowing me to examine colony attributes and watch how they evolve over time. This new UI + LTSL combo is still glorious to work with. Entirely too powerful :shock: Watching every idea come so quickly to life on screen :) I'm plowing through colony-related ideas and learning a lot in the process. But it's not yet time to talk about that ;)

During my colony work today, I started to think about a paradigm that I'm seeing increasingly in my work on LT: the idea of having some fundamental representation of something that is then mutated over time and through space to create interesting variation. AI personalities, for example, are just vectors of numbers that are used by the AI algorithms to create distinct flavors of AI. But those personalities also reflected in the culture vector of a colony. The mutation that takes a culture vector to an AI personality is a perfect example of this paradigm. But it's not very different from the way that research breakthroughs take one blueprint (which is, again, represented by a vector of numbers) to a new blueprint. And that's not so different from how Perlin Noise essentially simulates that random mutation and variation over continuous space. It's just a formative thought for now. A curious probing of this constantly-arising paradigm. But in my gut, I feel that the code is trying to tell me something. That the idea of unifying the underlying representation and allowing random variation and mutation to guide the actual shape of instantiations is...elegant. Beautiful. In fact, it's how our own reality built humans (or so many of us believe)! There's something very alluring and very fundamental about it. In time (and after LT 1.0) I'll have to explore more :D :geek:

That's all for today, look forward to more information on the colony work soon! :geek:
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.” ~ Henry Ford
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Re: Week of September 21, 2014

Postby JoshParnell » Thu Sep 25, 2014 5:43 pm

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Burning through. Feeling really, really good about September, folks :cool: Hoping I can bring

It's that time of the month: list time :geek:

  • Wide range of advances to colony initialization and update script. Local item generation is finally starting to come along nicely.
  • Working on colony overview UI -- great opportunity to push the new UI widgets to the limits!
  • Still working on new HUD!! :geek:
  • Integrated colony generation to system generator
  • Improved Ship / Station / Colony / System script workflow (simplified script layout using new LTSL features)
  • Worked on ship & station generators to bring them up to 'modern' LTSL format. Looking forward to doing some more serious jamming on them soon!
  • MAJOR performance boost to planet ring zones
  • Cut down load times on the LTSL app launcher. Most applications now load blazingly-fast (500 ms on my slowest machine! :D)

Don't stop yet! Can't stop yet! :monkey: :ghost:
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.” ~ Henry Ford
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Re: Week of September 21, 2014

Postby JoshParnell » Fri Sep 26, 2014 5:25 pm

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Sorry folks, not much of a log today :( Had quite a few distractions, as one of my close family members is getting married...in my yard! Can't blame them, as it's quite a nice view. But the timing...not so great. The rehearsal (of which I am a part) was today and they're getting married tomorrow -- smack dab in the middle of my end-of-month sprint. Yikes :shock:

No worries, though, as I'll try to keep my participation to a minimum. And it'll all be over before the final few days, so that's good!

Either way, September is still gonna be a tremendous month. Loved every minute of it, and I think you guys are gonna love the video :) Just gotta get everyone to leave me alone...soon... :geek:

:wave:
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.” ~ Henry Ford
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Re: Week of September 21, 2014

Postby JoshParnell » Sat Sep 27, 2014 7:34 pm

Friday, September 26, 2014

It's not my fault! I swear! :shock: Wedding. That is all.

No, actually not, I'll add that it was a nice experience and that, despite my tremendous love for the coding cave, it is nice to see other people..occasionally :roll:

But. That being said. I think I've had my fill of seeing people for...the next year or so :lol:

Absolutely can't wait to get back to work. Long night ahead ;) :geek:

(Yeah, so what, my mind might have drifted off to pondering soft scalar field CSG operations for LT asteroid bases during the ceremony. I pulled the thoughts back quickly and returned to watching my loved ones get wed. I promise. I did. :roll:)

PS ~ That devlog deficit tho :cry:

PPS ~ That midnight oil tho :ghost: 8-)
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.” ~ Henry Ford
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Re: Week of September 21, 2014

Postby JoshParnell » Sun Sep 28, 2014 6:57 pm

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Sorry folks, no time for devloggery today. This final push is an intense one -- need every minute I can get :shock:

Things are looking good. Really good. I'm thinking I'm actually going to segment this update video into several pieces (like I did with the LTP tutorial) so that I can cover it all thoroughly without having to redo the whole thing if I mess up with the recording or overdubbing :geek: Very excited. But need to keep pushing.

See you all soon :cool: Pray for me :shock:
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.” ~ Henry Ford
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