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  1. slayemin

    Magick with a K

    Yep... I don't need to read any further than this. I know its gonna be trash and I don't need to waste any further time. It's more interesting to examine why this is trash than to read it. 1) Cutesy misspellings. Reeks of pseudoscience at best. 2) The writer missed the space bar too many times for my patience. 3) The writer opens with "I'm not an expert", so I'm left wondering why I should care about reading anything further beyond this. 4) an "esoterrorist"? "opti-mystic"? Now you know that the bar for rigor and quality is scraping the bottom of the barrel. The reader should know they're in make-believe territory.
  2. slayemin

    June 2018

    I suppose I should recap my trip to Las Vegas. I got to attend the Dell World Expo at The Venetian and one of the stations for Dell was dedicated to showing off the application I built for them. Here are a few pictures I took: This is the booth setup before the show begins. There's two podium stations, a set of wireless headphones, and a Leap Motion device attached to a laptop via USB cable. The convention is in full swing and people are coming up and interacting with my application. It's driven entirely with hand gestures. No mouse, keyboard, game pad, etc. This is the first application of its kind in the world. Nobody else has used hand gestures to control and interact with 360 video before. Usually there were healthy crowds of people watching other people try it out. I had three different interactive scenarios people could play through. The game portion was a fun way to learn about Dells philanthropic programs. I had some people literally go through every single video because engagement was so high. Who wants to watch 15 minutes of corporate feel good video? These guys do! Just in case, I brought my laptop with me and had it setup to create new builds if I needed to. There were some small bugs and changes I wanted to fix, so I started to create another build. I copied all of the files over... and then disaster happened. I don't know how it happened, but somehow, the source code folder was completely empty. I still don't know how that could happen because I just copy/pasted the root project folder and the source code folder was a sub folder. All of the other subfolders had all of their files copied successfully, so it shall remain a mystery. So, if there was a critical bug, we would either need to just deal with it or I would have to catch an emergency flight back to Seattle. There were bugs, but fortunately they were minor enough that we could brush over them. I had to train the Dell employees how to run the application. Fortunately, I had already anticipated this need and tried to simplify the application management to be as easy as possible. Basically, you could jump between scenes with the number buttons, and the first button just resets the whole app. Unfortunately, there were a few small lighting artifacts which popped up on a reset level, so I had to train them how to quit and restart the app. It only took a few seconds, but it did mean that a booth attendant had to always be on hand and paying attention. For most of the event, I stood nearby and just watched people using my app and took notes. Where were the pain points? What assumptions were people making about the interface? How long was user interest being held? What was holding their interest? What mistakes did I make? How can I fix them in the next update? What am I missing? One thing that I realized is that our introduction screen is terrible at attracting attention. I initially wanted to use an interface which trained the user on how to use the application, so to do that, I kept it bare minimalist so that people could focus on only one thing: Learning how to grab things. The interface started with a black background, a floating acorn, and a bit of white instructional text. In terms of focusing and training, it doesn't get any simpler and more clear. As far as capturing the attention of passer bys, it was TERRIBLE. So, if you're walking by and all you see is the intro screen waiting for users to engage, you have no idea what the application does or is about, so you'll just keep walking. This means that if you're the booth attendant, you have to be actively engaging with people walking by and trying to hook them. My opening line is always, "Hey, you want to see something amazing?! Come check this out!". This engagement stuff is always a really good skill to have if you're ever giving demos of your game at events like E3, PAX, meetups, game jams, etc. After the expo was over, I felt drained and lost a majority of my interest in the application. I don't really know why, but I just got really bored with it. A month later, I'm still bored. My attitude feels like, "Yeah, that was pretty cool and it was hard to pull off, but it's been done now." I was hoping that I would get lots of contacts and leads for more work, but that didn't really happen. Maybe it's my fault. Maybe I needed to be more outgoing and aggressive about getting to know people. Or maybe it wouldn't have mattered one way or another? During the event, we were put in touch with a team at VMWare, a subsidiary owned by Dell. They were looking for a vendor who would build them a virtual reality application and we were the only ones they could find. So, we had a phone call meeting to get an understanding on what they're trying to build. Basically, it was a group of marketing people who had just seen Ready Player One and they wanted to build a VR experience for their customer experience team. Great! This sounds like a big project and a good opportunity! I started digging into their requirements. They... really didn't know what they wanted or could do. They said that they want every person in the company to be able to use their VR app, and they have 25,000 people. I asked them if they were going to buy 25,000 VR headsets. They didn't realize they needed to buy a headset. ...Okay... They decided that maybe they didn't want to do a VR app. What about a 3D game app instead? "Sure! I can definitely build one! What do your client workstations look like in terms of hardware specs?" "We run thin clients throughout the whole enterprise." *long silence on my end* "uh... that's not good." So, I asked them to try running a 3D game on their server and playing it on their thin clients. The big, obvious problem is that all of the 3D GPU processing will happen server side, and the amount of GPU processing is going to be a function of the number of connected clients. So, can their server GPU handle a high rendering load? I'm still waiting to find out...a month later. I found that they're trying to create a multiplayer app... in vr... with voice over IP...with a content management system backend... supporting up to 25,000 users... on thin clients... in three months! WTF?! Okay, I know I have the capability to build an enterprise level multiplayer CMS app. It's not going to be easy, but I could pull it off. But probably not alone in three months. I'd have to hire people to help. The problem is, it's going to get very expensive, very quickly. And if I put on my hat of pragmatism +5, I have to ask, "Why not just build an enterprise web app?". "Because we want to do something cool and different." That's a valid reason, especially for marketing folks who need to differentiate themselves from other marketing folks. Anyways, I submitted a ridiculous budget proposal last week. I think this project is going to fail before it starts because it's just not technically feasible, but I will probably just have to end up turning down the project if I don't get fully funded by the end of June. I just can't pull this off in less than three months... a corporate MMORPG in VR. In my mind, I'm already expecting it to fall through so I'm not getting any hopes up or counting on it to happen. They have to be moving a lot faster than they're moving right now if they want this to get built. In other news, I've been in a bit of a professional rut lately. I need to make money. Money is a resource which enables me to do things, and the lack of money is seriously holding me back. For example, I want to create a 3D VR travel application. I've created a working MVP, so now all I have to do is go out and shoot some footage with a camera. I borrowed a 360 camera, but it sucked so bad that all the footage I shot was unusable. I've been looking hungrily at the Insta360 Pro camera. It's got everything I want and need to make my app. 8K 360 video in stereo. Automatic stitching. Image stabilization. Good battery life. etc. But, it costs $3,500 which I don't have. I asked my local community if anyone had one I could borrow one, but no replies. So, this project is on hold until I can get enough funds to purchase equipment. *Sigh* My girlfriend has been getting on my case about not making enough money as well. It's really hard on her because I don't contribute enough financially. All of my money making schemes tend to be long term (6+ months out). And when I get clients, I tend to vastly undercharge for my services. For example, the leap motion app I just made for Dell, I charged at an hourly rate of $75/hour and grossed about $6,500. I should have at least added another zero to that. My girlfriend tells me I am a stubborn fool who won't listen, and I'll always be poor and broke unless I raise my rates. She's entirely right. She said I should 100% stop doing engineering work for a month and instead focus on sales and marketing. Full time sales and marketing. That's scary, I absolutely hate phone calls, and doing cold calls has zero appeal to me. But, my girlfriend is right. Nobody knows who I am or what I do, so how are they supposed to find me and hire me? Nothing is going to fall into my lap just by existing. I need to build a pretty website which highlights my work and abilities. Then I need to promote that website. So, for the next month, I need to focus on self promotion, sales and marketing. It's SO tempting to do engineering stuff though. Yesterday I spent a few hours researching machine learning using reinforcement learning. It's really enticing, but it would take a LOT of engineering talent and time to pull off. And I want to try, and I could probably do cool stuff, but it won't help pay for tomorrows bills. So I kind of need to shelve that desire as well. Harsh.
  3. slayemin

    Communism 2.0

    In an ideal system, the "who" part in "who gets to assign point values" would be irrelevant. It would be more important to look at what kinds of work and output get valued at higher tiers, and that would be based on a function of skill difficulty and general impact on the well being of mankind. We already have a pretty good idea on what is valuable to society and what is not, so we could use that existing valuation system to validate the correctness of the valuation model & algorithms. People are corruptible, so there must be built in safeguards to protect the system from manipulation by corrupt administrators. I think there should also be a philosophical principle of, "Those who assign entitlements are not automatically entitled as well." In the most ideal scenario, the additional privileges and social perks are meant to incentivize people to do more than nothing, where doing nothing is a perfectly acceptable option in a post-labor society. It would also be ideal that the standard of living is generally high across all tiers of social hierarchy and continuously improving. Some of these perks could be along the lines of "Working class people get to sit in first class and get priority seating and VIP treatment as a thanks for their continued service. Everyone else sits in economy class." "Which god and religion will be the one true religion?" Since when has any economic system had any jurisdiction over theology? "Which scientific observations and theories will be allowed to be published?" Leave that to the scientific community to decide based on their own set of criteria. "Are points assigned or removed for expressing ideas counter to those deemed correct by the top-tier points allocators?" This would be a form of totalitarianism and I would be strongly against such an idea. Criticism of a government or organization should be viewed as feedback and used as a way to improve its services and conduct. When you silence your critics through force or coercion, you make room for the rot of corruption to fester. "What if I publish ideas counter to the system advocating for a currency-based free-market system of allocating scarce resources?" I would hope that the ideas are considered objectively and based upon the merit of those ideas. And if they're better than the prevailing institutions, the institutions should adopt them. This would be the pragmatic ideal. "What if I make games that depict non-SWMoPs in a European historic context -- do I gain or lose points?" I don't quite understand the question. But I think you're asking, "What if I create art which is counter-cultural? How is that valued?". That touches on something which I've been trying to figure out: How do you value art and artists? Great works of art speak to our hearts/spirits, but what is considered "great" is a highly subjective matter, so it's hard to put a valuation on it. I like some music a lot, and other music not at all. It's entirely possible that someone else has the complete opposite tastes in music from me, but a difference in artistic taste does not lessen our personal enjoyment of it. The fact that we enjoy experiencing the art is the intrinsic value of the art. But, how do we assign value to a masterpiece like the Mona Lisa vs. a low effort sidewalk chalk piece? My intuition is to say, "artists of every calibre and measure of talent are in the same tier" And if I were to assign it on a scale of 1-10, they'd be in the 6-7 range, with 10 being the highest. The other hard question is, "When does someone officially become an artist?". This is less of an economic system problem and more of a philosophical question, and it comes down to a demarcation problem (and would probably be outside the scope of this topic). The ideal would be to make the quality of life so good on the lowest tiers that the disparity between tier 1 and 6-7 is mostly just minor perks, petty accolades, and social standing rather than great suffering vs. comfort. I tend to think that, when all basic needs for survival are taken care of, people tend to pour their energies into pursuing their passions for the love of the craft rather than as a necessity to make ends meet. You can look at existing rich people who have everything taken care of, and look at how they choose to spend their time. They might paint. They might restore cars. They might do wood working. They might just lay around and read books. Whatever they do, it's voluntary and joyful work. I can say from personal experience, that whether I'm filthy rich or dirt poor, paid or unpaid, I would continue to focus my own energies on making games. I see it as a form of artistic expression and it tickles my engineering brain just right. It would be nice if I lived in an economic system which allowed me to do my work and share it with the world without needing to worry about making money. If only ten people played my game or ten million people played my game, it would make little difference "financially", but on a job satisfaction level, I would be pleased to impact more people than fewer people.
  4. slayemin

    Introduction to Octrees

    "Containment" means that the object is entirely enclosed within the box and that the edges of the box do not overlap with the object. "Intersection" means that there is an overlap between the box and the object. As long as your object continues to be contained within each subsequent subdivision, you can continue pushing it down to lower levels of the tree.
  5. slayemin

    Communism 2.0

    Nope, nope, nope. See, that's the flaw with the "old" style of communism. It was a mistake to think that all private enterprise must be owned "by the people", and "the people" became "the state", so all companies therefore, should be federally owned and operated. The second mistake was that the state would mandate people to go work in certain jobs/professions. In hindsight, it was a mistake to call my system "communism 2.0" because that biases people to think in terms of marxist communism and apply its flaws to the system I proposed. I should really call it something more like, "Caste System 2.0" (but with social mobility!) To implement my system, the first thing you need to do is make all currency obsolete. That dollar/euro/dinar you have in your pocket? It's now just worthless paper. You don't want to work anymore? That's okay! Welcome to the lower tiers of entitlement. You want to work? That's great too, you are in a higher tier of entitlement. Is the work you do unskilled labor, such as serving coffee or flipping hamburgers? you're not going to be in the highest social tier, but you'll enjoy a higher quality of life than those who do nothing. If you own and run a business, your ranking will depend on a bunch of factors (people employed, value created, product value, etc) and you'd probably be near the top tiers of society. For most existing rich people who are already business owners, life wouldn't be radically changed. They could continue operating their private business, but the motive for operating a business would change from being profit driven to value driven. Some industries would collapse entirely (such as finance sector, investing, etc). If you start a business, one of the key limitations holding you back is the lack of capital, which prevents you from hiring people to work for you, acquiring hardware, office space, etc. If the system of currency was obsolete, businesses would not be constrained by financial resources anymore. The reason to start and operate a business would be the enjoyment of a higher social class and all the perks that brings. You also wouldn't need to worry about "sales" in the same way either, so business revenue is a foreign concept. Instead, you focus on providing value to your customers and improving their experience, because that's how you win in the new system. In this different type of economic system, you can go to your favorite coffee shop and you can get as much coffee as you'd like. It's a basic entitlement to everyone. Same with food. Right now, we have to pay money to get the things we want, but that makes it hard for the poorest people to get what they need. I see too many skinny homeless people begging for change so they can eat. They're never going to be employed in a capitalist economic system. They spend SO much time and effort desperately scrounging for change (a form of work), that they have no time to spend on self improvement and growth. In a sense, they're the lowest "caste" of our capitalistic societies already and if you get into it, you are trapped and it's very hard to get out of. So, if we can have a system which says across the board, "Hey, don't worry about the basics of food, healthcare, and shelter. We got you covered, just spend your life's time being an excellent human and pursue your passions and interests." How many leonardo da'vinci's do we let talent waste away because they are desperately working to survive in an increasingly challenging economic system? Another interesting consideration is that IF the whole world gradually shifted to a tiered system like this, the cause for war would be severely diminished. A lot of wars are fought for "economic" advantage. I think if currency is obsoleted, that would decrease the economic motive for waging war (though, you'd still have ideological and moral motives). On the individual level, a lot of crimes would become obsolete as well. Robbing a bank would make no sense. Same with mugging people. Theft would still be a thing. Anyways, I think it's an interesting economic system and its initial concept will certainly have flaws and unanticipated design problems. Our mindsets are so entrenched in the capitalistic economic models that it's hard to see its flaws and see other economic systems as an improvement.
  6. slayemin

    Communism 2.0

    As automation and AI increases, the number of people required to perform work decreases. The number of farmers we need today to feed America is drastically less than it was 80 years ago, thanks to improvements in machinery and mass production. We went from a largely agrarian society to whatever we are now, and I think that trend will continue. Farmers today don't really make a lot of money, they're scraping by. They wouldn't even bother if there weren't federal farming subsidies to help. So, you've already got some incentive manipulation of the free market. If we make farmers be in a high tier, it's a respectable profession and incentivizes them to do farming. There's nothing forcing anyone to be a farmer in this tiered system, but there's nothing forcing them to be a farmer in a capitalistic one either. If everyone suddenly stops being a farmer or doctor, the aggregate community suffers. The tiered caste system I came up with is sort of like currency, but it changes the nature of an economic transaction by making it a system of tier based entitlements instead of an exchange of currency. I think something like this will become increasingly necessary as capitalism continues onwards and the distribution of wealth becomes extremely skewed. Eventually, less than 1% of the population will own 90% of the currency, 50% will be a below poverty levels, and human suffering will increase as automation makes work obsolete. In my tiered system, work is optional but highly rewarded by granting social mobility and privilege. This is far better than "Universal Basic Income", because you get the same effect of providing for the basic needs of the aggregate, but you also don't need to worry about funding it with currency and raising taxes (which quickly becomes an unsustainable financial system). I think it was a slight mistake of mine to compare it to communism, though it does share some similarities.
  7. slayemin

    Communism 2.0

    "Who will enforce this?" I don't know. It would need to be a part of an established legal system, with checks and balances, accountability, and policing. "What is the algorithm used to compute a person's ranking?" I don't know yet. I haven't developed one. The approach would be to identify professions which serve the best interests of mankind and take a lot of effort to acquire, and then rate those highest (ie, doctors, teachers, farmers). Once we've identified the things which contribute the most to the overall well being of mankind, we can come up with an algorithm which helps best model that desired ranking of value. Whatever algorithm is developed, it should also be transparent to everyone so that they understand how it works. "How vulnerable is it to blackmail and bribery?" I don't know. I think it's important to note that the whole entire incentive structure for blackmail and bribery would be fundamentally changed if currency is obsolete. So, the real question is, "Would blackmail and bribery still exist? If yes, in what form and for what objectives?". Ostensibly, it would probably be used by clever people to increase their societal ranking without putting in the requisite effort. This could be counter acted by making it illegal, punished by a deduction of points, possibly dropping them to a lower tier. The point award system would probably need to be a transparent system so people can see how and why someone is at the tier they're at (which creates accountability and incentive by example at the same time). The motive for trying to exploit the system for personal gain would need to be considered and accounted for, such a way that the difficulty is high, the risk is high, and the reward is low. If it can be designed this way, nobody would bother trying to game the system. If you make compliance the easiest path to follow, that's how people would behave to "game" the system. "I have many questions and am not at all convinced that this is workable." I'm kicking the tires on this idea to test its viability and vectors for abuse. It's different. It could work if its engineered correctly. It needs to be tested. At this stage, I'm just developing the concept and trying to identify my blind spots and oversights. Any feedback on trouble spots is welcome
  8. slayemin

    Communism 2.0

    I would tentatively say "politicians" get to make those decisions. But then, the follow up question becomes, "Okay, who gets to be a politician?". I think the current political systems in democratic systems are deeply flawed and tend to devolve into oligarchies and attracts people who are interested in power, rather than attractive benevolent policy makers suited for the task. I am a bit biased here, but I think the people who would be most qualified to be politicians would be disinterested philosophers. Political appointment would be based on a randomized selection from a wide pool of philosopher candidates, and would be limited to terms of about 4 years? And serving a term would probably need to lower their statistical chances of being randomly selected for a sequential term. The worrisome part about a system like this would be that philosophers would be disinclined to become philosophers if it meant that they had a chance of being politicians. But hey, some of the best politicians in history have also been great philosophers, so maybe this is the right general direction to go.
  9. slayemin

    Communism 2.0

    Get rid of all money in society. Switch to a social commune society. There is no "monetary cost" to acquire things. You are entitled to certain things based off of your standing in a social ranking system. Social rank is determined by your work and contributions to other people. Social rank is based off of a point system. Every year, your social points are evaluated to determine your social standing. The harder and smarter you work and benefit your fellow man, the more points you earn. Doctors, teachers, social workers, scientists, engineers, farmers etc. will be very highly valued. Even if you do absolutely nothing your whole life and live on the lowest tier, you still get to eat, survive, have healthcare, etc. It's a modest life, but it's not a bad one. There is no such thing as "retirement". You can choose to stop working at any time, your social tier just degrades over time. If you commit crimes or break the law, you lose points. The percentage of points you lose depends on the severity of your crime. Negative points mean jail time until the points become non-negative. If you are a high tier person, you are treated like a VIP by society and get VIP treatment. A system like this would destroy the financial industry. A bank would instantly be obsolete. The investment and finance sectors would be gone. Accountants and taxes would be gone. The lifelong pursuit of money would be gone. The greed and incentive structure would be turned towards benefiting your fellow man, so the greediest people would be the most philanthropic people and greatest contributors to the well being of mankind. In this sense, greed would be good. Advancements in AI and automation would be a net benefit for all mankind, enabling more people to work less, and that would be seen as a "good thing" instead of a threat. There would be no such thing as a "starving artist". People in the arts would be free to create their works without concern for money and basic survival needs. I think this is a viable economic system. But, the viability of it depends on how it can be abused by clever people. The other potential wrinkle to work out is how "value to others" is evaluated in terms of points. If a baker makes me a loaf of bread, that's got some value to it, but if a doctor cures me of a sickness or disease, that's got much more value to me. So, who gets to decide the objective value of things when everything has subjective value? A baker who gives me a loaf of bread would be far more valuable to me if I'm starving to death, vs. a doctor who cures a small cough I had. Anyways, I think this economic system might be interesting to implement in a game world. Instead of using a capital centric economic system, maybe it would be interesting to experiment with other economic models to see how they work?
  10. slayemin

    Who's your intellectual idol?

    I personally consider Bertrand Russel and Richard Feynman to be exceptionally admirable people for their contributions and philosophies. I also really like Liebnitz, Newton, Einstein, Grace Hopper, James Mattis, James Conway, Julius Caesar, Marcus Aurelius, and Socrates.
  11. slayemin

    Oculus Store (Keys Only)

    It's always been like this. I don't really have a problem with it. Look at it from their perspective as a business: They are there to make money off of their store. If people upload stuff to their store for free, they get nothing out of it. They also want to curate the content available on their store so that the content is quality and reflects their content quality standards. They don't want their store to turn into another XBox Live Arcade, where people create and upload fart apps and general garbage. So, with that in mind, they're actually pretty nice and supportive about letting you upload your game even if they don't make money off of it. This is great for early feedback and testing (kinda what you're doing) during ongoing development. When you continue developing and polishing your game and making it higher quality, you may decide to resubmit it and start charging a price for it. In those cases, the very light entitlement check suddenly makes sense. Also, Oculus doesn't like having the SteamVR dlls included in a project. If you have SteamVR running and you have your oculus plugged in, many times your Oculus won't get any display input until you shut down SteamVR. They don't play nicely with each other, so the oculus policy is to protect users from having confusing hardware problems and submitting unnecessary trouble tickets. Sure, it would be nice if Oculus worked with SteamVR, but Oculus has no business incentive to support their competitors platform. It's just going to be something you have to deal with if you want to support Oculus Store. If you don't like the oculus store key only distribution approach, you have a few other options: 1) Pay $100 and distribute your game on steam. You can send links to your steam game from there. 2) Host your own website which contains a publicly available link to your game. This will also cost you money.
  12. Another issue to consider is copyright infringement and using someone else’s IP without permission. If you go forward and do this, you’ll get a cease and desist letter from the IP owners (if you’re lucky) or you’ll get sued for damages. Make sure you have legal rights from the IP owner before going forward. Talk to a lawyer first, it may save you a lot of time, money and heartache.
  13. It sounds like you're saying, "I spent 4-5 months making a rough prototype in unity and now I have a lot of technical debt to pay off. Therefore, I need a different engine and I want to start over!" That's... ridiculous. Your top complain against unity is that it has features you don't need to use. So what? Don't use them. You also say that a lot of the features are overkill. Unless it directly affects performance in your final build, so what? You're trying to fix problems you don't have. In my opinion, you should stay the course and spend some time paying down your technical debt and then building on top of your current work. Under the hood, game dev is messy and rickety. Focus on shipping, not on building a pristine palace of perfect code. If you try to make everything perfect, you'll be at this forever and will never release and you'll constantly be second guessing yourself and your tools. That's the opposite of productive.
  14. slayemin

    Dell World 2018 in Las Vegas

    Thanks! I dug into the engine source code to see how it did video playback and created a new video playback class with a few wrapper functions which allows me to play individual videos and toggle whether they loop or not. The only problem now is that a looping video doesn't buffer the beginning frames as it reaches the end of file, so I still get the black frames. That's almost certainly going to require a modification of the engine and then staying on top of source code changes with version updates. A possible hack would be to have another sphere start playing a video a few frames before the first one ends and then quickly toggle sphere visibility? It would be sort of like double buffering screens similar to how DirectX does page flipping.
  15. If someone has the high end scripting skills you are looking for, why wouldn’t they just make the full game themselves and take all the revenue? How much money are you going to spend? How will you playtest for “fun factor”? What are your launch plans and distribution plans? How much will you spend on marketing?What percentage of project equity would someone get if they are on the team for a year, work hard, and then leave? Also, you should probably read over this article I wrote: https://medium.com/@Slayemin/your-indie-game-dev-team-will-fail-108d4b663e7e also: https://rasmusrasmussen.com/2018/04/05/your-indie-game-will-fail/
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