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Member Since 31 Jan 2002
Offline Last Active Apr 22 2012 01:41 PM

Topics I've Started

call for help - stuck in xbox360 support hell

10 August 2009 - 11:15 AM

I have a call for help if *anyone* reading the lounge has some pull or a friend that has some pull at Microsoft's customer support. Here's the story: Bought a Xbox360 a year and a half ago. About mid-june this year, I get the RROD. I thought its not a big deal, thats why they increased the warranty to 3 years right? So I send it back to get a replacement. Long story short, there were some problems (on their side) and it took about 2 weeks to get a replacement back. I open the box and I see a white console. Uh? I had sent them a gray elite and they sent back a white Core or Pro I dont know, but the power wire doesnt match and theres no hdmi on it, so its useless to me. I call them and they say send it back, well send you the correct one right away. Before I can do that, the next day, I get a call from a "resolution specialist" telling me to wait for a "specially labeled" box because if I send it back to the repair center they'll just send me another core. Fine, I play nice, wait a week and a half for the box, and send the incorrect console right away. By then its been almost a month since I first called them about my RROD. But then I wait and wait and get no news. I call them, they tell me they've received the incorrect console and will send my Elite "soon". Why not "now" or "yesterday" I ask them, and they tell me they have to wait for some "updates" and follow the "process". And its been going on for an additional 3 weeks. So to sum it up, Microsoft acknowledge that they own me a replacement elite, but refuse to send it to me. I seem to be stuck in some hellish administrative loop at Microsoft and its been going on since mid-june. Im a game developer, I have 3 released xbox360 titles with more on the way, but I can't even play them at home. And I dont know what to do anymore. I could deposit a complaint at the provincial Customer Protection Bureau, but these things takes forever to be treated. So Im trying my luck with the community. If *anyone* can offer any help or counsel, I would be most grateful. Gaming season is coming up and its really sad to be the only one at work who hasn't played the latest games. I can't even watch DVDs... Anyhow, thanks for reading!

Wyoming & S. Datoka Wildlife

20 July 2009 - 11:40 AM

Hey guys, I've got a question for any of you residing in those states. I recently did a road trip from Vancouver to Montreal going trough the US's I90. Quite a nice trip. However in Wyoming and South Dakota, we were amazed to see an overpopulation of deers and wild turkey. When I say overpopulation, I mean we must have seen over a thousand deer in a single day, and a wild turkey at least every 200ft beside the road. We saw a lot of them hit by cars (both deers and turkey). We were curious as to why they're not hunted or poached more? My copilot hunts deer and moose in Canada, and he couldnt believe seeing so much game, especially since its good meat. Nobody will make me believe that those parts are all vegans...

On the usefulness of so called computational intelligence methods in game development

21 October 2007 - 07:44 AM

Continuing the discussion about CI in games, out of the thread about Togelius's work.
Original post by alexjc
Original post by Steadtler Any AI technique can be driven by dynamic data if properly designed to be so.
Oh, absolutely. But keep in mind CI offers tools to gather dynamic data in a useful form, so the "if properly designed to do so" bit is made much easier if you don't reinvent the wheel.
Useful form? Au contraire, CI put the data in a form that is practically impossible to interpret!
Original post by alexjc If research doesn't make it easier for me to code my FPS bot then it's not a real-life problem? Why did Colin McRae used a NN, novelty? Jeff Hannan knew what he was doing and picked the best solution available... If we can't understand such decisions, then it's probably because our skillset doesn't cover those fields. It's not a problem, but we shouldn't criticize techniques without practical experience with them.
Since you bring out this example so often, I assume Mr. Hannan must have written a paper about how and to which extent they used NN in Colin McRae? Would you kindly point me to it, I'ld like to read it before I comment on that. And please stop implying that I dont know what I am talking about, it belittle yourself.
Original post by alexjc That's interesting. Care to elaborate? What in particular do they hate? Do they have any experience with CI? What kind of game is it?
I dont like to bring specifics of my work to these forums, so you'll forgive me if I dont elaborate on that side. But every game team have had experience with CI, today you can't cross the street without meeting someone who wants to apply CI to games. They hate that its impossible to explicitely tune and control. The core of the problem is that CI techniques put the behavior control in a implicit form, a black box that is impossible to interpret. Its just about impossible to look at a NN and explain why it output a certain behavior, and even less correct that behavior in a deterministic way. From their very nature as a search over the space of all behavior made possible by the (very non-linear) model, the more the complexity of the behavior you want, the more work it is to rule out idiotic behaviors, when thats possible at all. And in the end, coming up with the proper cost (fit) function is just as much work as doing your AI in a explicit way.
Original post by alexjc My belief is that any widespread technology has its uses, and if we disregard it by default for a problem then we probably don't know enough about it. That applies to CI in this case.
Yes, there seem to be a lot of faith implied by CI. I dont disregard it by default. I just dont see them solving the core issues of the problems they are being applied to. Take car racing. What makes the AI challenging? Well, you need an AI that has consistency toward a medium-reaching temporal horizon, because the actions you take now have a big effect on the actions you'll be able to take next: how you exit a curve has a big effect on how you'll be able to take the next one. But since there are other cars on the circuit which have unpredictable short-term behavior, you also need an ai that is 100% reactive and can revisit its short-term behavior on each frame. I dont see CI techniques adressing these issues in any specific way, we are expected to hope that a regression on a generic, implicit behavior model will come up with an acceptable solution.

Finally got my dutch visa

06 March 2007 - 05:10 AM

Well, after months of negociation, preparation, and then waiting, I finally got my visa to move over to The Netherlands! Thanks for everyone who gave me advice back then. This also means my first *official* job in the game industry, as an AI programmer - woot! I got to visit in the early winter, and found out that I dont actually need to live in Amsterdam, public transport seems quite good, so I could also live in a number of neighboring towns. I was thinking Haarlem, any suggestions? Any pointers, so that I dont make too much a fool of myself over there? Can't wait to start! Holland looks very nice in the spring...

living in the Netherlands

09 October 2006 - 01:53 PM

Following the "living in Canada", "living in Australia" and the "living in new Zealand" threads, Its my turn to gather advice... What is it like in Amsterdam and that part of europe in general? What kind of living can a well qualified programmer expect to make? Taxes and renting cost seems rather high, but Im confused about just what you can buy with 1000 euros. How's the weather? Do you get much snow? Im ready to get games a few months later if that means no more 5 months of snow, Im sick of Quebec's winters... Any tips, secret info or burlesque short stories? Well, I hope our few hundred Dutch members can give me some help, thanks :) Steadtler