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Member Since 27 Aug 2003
Offline Last Active Today, 07:47 AM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: Islamaphobia in the United States

Today, 07:51 AM

Lets run this idea out as a thought experiment:


You are at home, going about your life as best you can, and your media shows reports of people from the other side of the globe have decided that certain members of your society are "Dangerous to their way of life", and so they have come into your country, or a country neighbouring yours, and have murdered these people. Possibly have killed that person's friends, relatives, and neighbours in the process, and attacked police/military forces along the way to get to their objectives. Maybe they've even attacked military targets directly to try and reduce the effectiveness of reprisals or just send a clear message of "Don't mess with us, or we'll kill you!"



And what exactly would be your response? Stand there and give a little golf clap, saying "Jolly good, well done on taking out my dangerous countrymen"? 

In Topic: How come most HD photos I see online look worse than their downsized versions?

Yesterday, 05:47 PM

"pixel peeping" is generally a bad thing in photography. Lots of people do it, and then get upset that their image isn't perfect like when zooming into a photo on CSI. Real photography doesn't work like that, and printed images don't work the same way that computer displays do.


Display size also really rather matters. If you're only ever displaying the image on a 1080p monitor, or printing at most an 8x10, then you really don't need pixel perfect data that is clean enough to zoom all the way in to the point that the whole image would be covering your whole wall. And even if it is being displayed at a huge size, the resolution and clarity needed also depends on how far away you're viewing it from. A billboard generally doesn't look all that great if you stand close enough to have your nose pressed against it.


Those images look a little hazy in the distance because there is haze, and they also seem to suffer some some chromatic aberrations and such in the high contrast areas, such as switching between the bright sky in and thin branches. 


Google and read "A pixel is not a little square" as a good starting point. Down sampling easily helps cover up general noise that shows up in a halfway decent signal, because the clarity of the signal reinforces itself while the noise (usually) is too random and gets drowned out. 

In Topic: How should inventory items be saved?

22 May 2016 - 11:49 AM

Another approach when coming at this issue from a different angle is to ask yourself: Do you need to worry about that now?


The core of your application is the game, and you need something that works and is fun before you actually need the feature of transferring IAP content between devices, let alone transferring them between complete OSs. So can you work your "Item" system into its own section? A little walled off secure module of functions that handles what the player has access to, which in turn informs the game module of what exists and can be used.


You could even have this system handle things in a two way function, allowing the game itself to say "Hey, the player did this/earned this in game", and the "Item" module can say "Hey, yep, that checks out as an in game thing that can be done, I'll add it to the list. By the way, here is the current updated list of things/items the player has".


This approach means that your game can be completed and put on the stores for users to download without actually needing to worry about how you would possibly handle transfers between systems down the road, but all functionality related to the items is blocked up into its own little section that would be easy to update when/if you decide to tackle that issue at a later point in time.

In Topic: Question about encryption and ransomware.

21 May 2016 - 11:08 AM

Having a known decrypted copy of some of the contents and the exact program used to encrypt the data will make the task easier. (Having reliable metadata on the files, such as specific time stamps and such can make things even easier in some cases.) But this is kind of like saying that having a good river you can float barges on makes moving an entire mountain an easier task. 


And depending on the exact methods then even having all that might not help you a great deal. A river flowing in the wrong direction doesn't help you move a mountain to where you want it after all.



Not a crypto guy, but based on conversations with some friends who deal with some high level stuff then a huge question as to whether the numbers get any easier to crunch is whether the encrypted data is "in stream order" or "out of stream order". If you really really REALLY need to keep people from finding a way to break into the data, then you employ a scattering effect on it. If you think of encrypting a deck of cards in a specific order, then you lay them out on a table in their order, pick each one up and replace it with an encoded copy. Very fast and efficient, but everything is still in order. 


If you really want to screw with people who are trying to decode stuff, then you pick a card up off the table, encode it, and then set that down in a different spot based on a pattern that changes depending on what order key you use. It is however slower to encode and decode as you have more jumping around. Not exactly great for a live stream or something. (Order key could be a secondary key, based off part of the main encryption key, or some other method.)


Why modern encryption methods work and are actually useful in the face of readily available computer systems that can crunch millions of numbers a second is that modern encryption methods simply allow so many orders of magnitude more possible options over and above that, so you can't simply load the data on a computer and tell it to "Try every possible key" and expect it to get back to you any time soon.


However, there is still the "Low hanging fruit" of the "reasonably secure", that is small/quick key encryption of in-order data. Pair that with a known 'first value', and you can setup a tiered system which generates 'potential keys', and feeds their results on to the next level. First level just 'tries all the values', and does a 'yes/no' check: Does the first decrypted data point match the expected value? Yes: Pass it on to Tier 2, no, ignore the key as it is garbage. Still god awful slow and hard, but it is still doable if you know what is supposed to be where in at least part of the message.



If you can't tell that in a trivial fashion, and have to also break the data scatter pattern... Well, then you're "Just a little screwed."

In Topic: Game Prices on Steam: should there be regulation/guidelines?

19 May 2016 - 08:42 AM

I have no issues buying 'low priced games'. Actually these days given how little time I have to devote to gaming and the budget demands of far more expensive hobbies like photography, I very rarely buy games that are priced over $15. 


I am very happy to pay $5 for a game, especially a reasonably short game that is very well polished and well presented. But it needs to be marketed in a way that shows its depth and polish. I'll take a game that looks deep and polished for $15 over something that clearly looks like shovelware for 99 cents, even if the $15 game is only a few hours of game time. 


Personally I find that a lot of Steam Games who are pricing themselves in the $20-40 range ask far too much for their presentation, and many of those in the $5-15 range under present their contents. Seriously, cough up the money for a decent mic and take some time to setup a halfway okay recording space for a day or two, and do some quality voice over work and take some time to read up on good audio editing. (Or find someone who will do it for you.)


If I go to your steam store page and there is no video with a voice over pitching your game, then I'm probably skipping on to the next title in the queue.