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About TexasJack

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  1. Firstly, a disclaimer: my query covers both graphics AND bits of artificial intelligence, if it's in the wrong forum - shift it by all means.I am a graphic designer and I have a real layman's interest in the recent developments in AI and how it is being used to enhance images. It sounds sad, but as a sort of hobby, I constantly muse over different methods of calculating how to upscale images based on samples of other pixels etc... I have heaps of jottings/notes of formulas that I have devised that I would love to put into practise by writing little experimental programs to implement them.By extension, I am also fascinated by deep learning and neural networks and how they can be trained to develop image enhancement algorithms.Here's the problem.I have no idea about programming/coding (but I am trying to learn). I've been struggling along with C# as part of also learning to make games in Unity - but I'm barely at the 'Hello World' stage and would have no idea how to write a program that would handle images (for example, how do C# programs break down and handle the individual pixels in a bitmap - and how are these individual pixels edited etc...).I would really appreciate pointers on what the best way to start learning something like this in my spare time would be?Sorry if this is really vague, I can clarify anything if need be.
  2. Hi all, I’m setting up a blogspot site that I can dip into on a casual basis to write short fiction anonymously. I’ve always felt that there’s at least one book in me, and I’m always coming up with really cool short ‘scenes’ that would lend themselves really well to sort of flash fiction. I think that this would be a nice way to test the waters. My question is this: Do any of you read any online short fiction (I guess you’d call them blogs?) sites and if so, what are they? All I seem to find when I search are blogs ABOUT fiction (ie reviews etc...), whereas what I am really looking for are online posted stories that are ongoing and updated at the whim of the author. Ideally, sci-fi/fantasy. Partly I want something to read/follow, but also I want to see what works for other writers.
  3. Hi all,DISCLAIMER: I'm just brain storming and have no ironclad design here - I'm really just trying to get fresh perspectives on this idea:I've got an idea for a basic 2D platformer/shooter and I'm trying to figure out how you would approach having a player/npc mutate in a none uniform random way (see 'The Thing' inspiration). The idea is essentially that as the player collects food items, they build up a meter indicating how much of that resource they have gathered. When a mutation is triggered (either by the player or at random periodic intervals - I haven't decided), the level on the meter dictates how severe the mutation would be. For example: A mutation occurring while the player has 5 food would perhaps grow an extra mouth or something small, whereas doing it with 20 food would cause the player to double in size or grow more limbs etc... I want the mutations to be randomised to make them ugly, unpredictable and weird, but I'm not sure how to go about it. Games like spore seem to do this well, as the random element its the player's imagination - but I'm not sure how their mechanic is broken down. My thinking is that you could equip the game with a bunch of different modular 'parts' that differ in value, these could sprout at random. The problem is, say you grow fifteen legs - how do you coordinate all of them/devise a character controller for that? Keen to hear how anyone else would tackle this. Could approach it like an army in an RTS? They are essentially a complicated single mind organism that varies in form - but it might get a bit clunky controlling all of that?
  4. Hi all, I was thinking about seeing if I could mock up something in Unity to help me learn. I wanted to try a third person game, but using the DOOM art philosophy (i.e. different sets of 2d sprite animations, one for each perspective that depend on the angle you are viewing them from). I'd be using higher resolution vector images, so I'm not necessarily trying to copy the DOOM retro pixelated aesthetic - just the format of juxtaposing 2D graphics into 3D. Is there a term for this? It's just an experiment, but I think it could yield quite a cool graphic novel look if done well.
  5. Disclaimer: I was tempted to put this in Game Design, but it heavily references AI so feel free to move it to wherever it needs to be if this is the wrong place. I had this idea that a game could use machine learning to support it's AI and make itself a really challenging opponent (nothing new there), but also to tailor its style of playing based on feedback given by human players. Using an RTS as a classic example, lets say you prefer to play defensively. You would probably get more enjoyment out of games where the opponent was offensive so as to challenge your play style. At the end of each match, you give a quick bit of feedback in the form of a score ('5/10 gold stars' for example) that pertains to your AI opponent's style of play. The AI then uses this to evaluate itself, cross referencing its score against previous scores in order to determine the optimum 'preferable' play style. Then I got onto to thinking about two issues with the idea: 1) The human player might not be great at distinguishing feedback about their opponents play style from feedback about their game experience in general. 2) In a multiplayer context, players could spam/abuse/troll the system by leaving random/erroneous feedback. Could you get round this by evaluating the player without them knowing it, i.e. could some other data recorded from the way a player acts in a game be used to approximate their enjoyment of a particular opponents play style without being too abstract? For example 'length of time played somehow referenced against length of time directly engaged with AI opponent' etc... Do any existing games work like this? I just came up with it when I saw a stat that call of duty has been played for a collective 25 billion hours or something - which made me that would be the perfect bank of experience to teach a deep learning computer how players interact with a game. Just a bit of abstract thinking, that's all.
  6. Thanks, I've taken what you said about learning Unity and C# with more integrated tutorials on board, it's certainly simplified things - outside of game development, I still think I'm going to persevere with C# outside of Unity too, as programming is much less intimidating than I initially suspected. The Unity mixed with C# tutorials also tend to talk through the practical applications of the code, so the explanations of each individual part of the syntax are more forthcoming. It's a bit more rewarding when you get something pretty happening as a result of your code. Cheers for the rundown! (FYI, I'm using a Unity basics tutorial by a YouTuber named Brackeys - he seems to be very clear and easy to follow, considering that I know nothing about Unity or programming. Conversely, the tutorial I was using initially encouraged me to pick up C# first, then move onto Unity - hence the baffled original post).
  7. Hi, I am currently trying to learn the basics of Unity - most of the decent tutorials I have found imply that you have at least a basic knowledge of C#, so I am busy trying to pick up the basics of that first. Initially, I just downloaded the free version of Unity which happens to come with 'MonoDevelop-Unity' - so I am using this to write my code and play along with the C# tutorials I have found. The problems I am having are this (Disclaimer: I am using a Mac for this) 1) I am not sure what the differences between 'running' and 'building' code are. In MonoDevelop-Unity, there is a little play button at the top which seems to cause a little 'Terminal' box to pop up when you press it. The code seems to do it's job and the terminal box returns the following message: Hello World! Press any key to continue... Have I built or run my code? 2) There are several bits of jargon that keep being thrown around, without much in the way of explanation: 'Classes', 'The Main Method', 'Namespace'. These are the main confusing terms - what do they mean and how do they apply to my code? 3) This is the main one, I would be super grateful if someone were able to provide a line-by-line explanation of what each line of this code is doing/means? I wrote it, and it makes a message appear on screen, which is fine - but I want to know what is happening (i.e. which words/parenthesis are doing what)? Here's my code: using System; namespace HelloWorldTwo { class MainClass { public static void Main (string[] args) { Console.WriteLine ("Hello World!"); } } } Console.Writeline (); is presumably telling the machine to "Write whatever is in these brackets () to the console (I assume 'console' is C# lingo for the terminal dialogue box?). Any feedback here would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
  8. Hi all, Thanks for your responses. Nah. I wouldn't really say 'entirely unrelated', since the topic of the forum seems to be listed as 'All aspects of AI programming and theory'. Depending on how sophisticated game AI may one day become, and given the fact that current advanced AIs like DeepMind are given video games to train their learning facilities - it seems perfectly relevant. Particularly if they give it access to a multiplayer game (i.e. a network). If a moderator genuinely wants to move this topic, I would have no objection - but don't see why they would. Yeah, this one is really interesting. I like the idea of providing a proactive motive to the AI so that instead of it just saying 'Does my action harm the human? No? Okay, I'll carry on' it instead starts with 'What can I do to benefit the human?' (presumably followed by the former safety check). I hear what you're saying. Consciousness may never be fully quantified. The thing is, even an approximation/imitation of consciousness (machines have already passed the Turing Test for instance) can still be dangerous, and like you said - simple automated systems are currently used to wield huge decisions. Presumably they have some degree of safety protocol.
  9. Outside of gaming theory, what rules/laws could/would you give to an AI to ensure it remained safe/subservient? Asimov's laws are very open to interpretation - how would you alter/replace/support them in order to make them watertight and ensure your safety?
  10. TexasJack

    Full Body VR Control

    Thanks for moving this, I didn't realise that there was a VR subsection. Not necessarily, no. I see your point, but it's feasible that as this tech evolves - the first full body versions will be pretty bulky affairs. The current attempts involve treadmills, harnesses that suspend you etc... and they're still very limited in the player movement that they detect/reproduce in-game. Depending on how big they are, it could well be that the first versions of these would appear in places that resemble the arcades from the days of old (the 80s) that you pay to have a go on. This is speculation of course, but it seems to me to be reasonably logical speculation. It would be a 'major' requirement from a commercial point of view, but as I said, I'm just brainstorming.
  11. I've been lurking around some of the GameDev articles on VR development and it got me thinking about getting everyone to brainstorm some ideas with me. As you would imagine; lifelike, fully immersive VR seems to be decades (perhaps centuries) off. There are plenty of reasons for this, these reasons include the fact that you would need the control system to be pretty physically invasive in order to give you direct sensory feedback for things like sense of smell and high detail touch. One other reason is that even when you manage to build a viable brain interface with the level of control and feedback necessary, you THEN need a computer system capable of interpreting and handling all of that input. You would need to simulate the subtle environmental effects of reality (on a practically atomic level) on the human body; gentle breezes, subtle humidity changes, air resistance associated with movement etc... It may happen one day, but not soon. The general consensus in much of the available information is that the required technology lies at the end of a long road of research in different fields - most of which aren't being heavily focused on. The current VR experience is things like the Oculus Rift, where hand controllers bring your basic physical movements into the equation - but they're essentially Wii Remotes that don't really cover the full range of human movement (or even basic manual dexterity). The thing I would like to discuss is this: What kind of non-invasive game controller (using realistic, existing tech) could be developed that would allow the player to control the body's full range of movement in a VR environment? The only feedback that needs to be implemented is sight (which I think is well on its way currently via the headsets on the market today) and audio (which could basically be integrated headphones). To me, smell and taste can be done without for now as they are to do with how we interact with substances chemically. These would be cool, but more difficult to implement and few game environments rely on these senses. What I'm going for is a device that bridges the gap between now (Oculus Rift etc...) and the future (fully immersive, indistinguishable VR) by using realistic technology that doesn't potentially harm its operator. Personally, I had the idea that a person could be put into a suit that restrains their movements so they aren't flailing around their kitchen while playing a game. The suit could be lined with pressure sensors, so that when the sensors in say; the top of the left arm were pressed - their character would respond by raising their left arm until it were fully extended or the pressure on the sensor were released by the player. This could be fine tuned to work with things like the hand, sensing individual digits. In-game representations of the player could have restrictions on what directions their limbs move in to prevent their hands from turning inside out if the sensors relevant to fist clenching were activated for too long. The internet is full of upcoming products involving multidirectional treadmills etc, but it seems to me these are basically just advanced d-pads. What are your ideas about how this could be done? Bonus points for compact versions that could realistically be bought for home use.
  12. I'm coming up with ideas for a side scroller and have always loved the feel of the the MK super fast punch-duck-uppercut-block-etc... close quarters brawling controls. In my game I want to portray Medieval European style sword play (heavy swords that cleave instead of the cliched whipped ninja katanas you see everywhere), and heavy armoured characters that are a little bogged down by their own weight (not too much though!). I figured that by slowing an MK style system down, you could get a faintly authentic trading of blows that you get in cinematic sword fight scenes. Has anyone seen/made games that this in a 2D side scroller context? Nidhogg is the closest thing I've seen - but it feels too limited, and gets old quickly. Virtually all sword fighting games seem to lack any skill or opportunity to develop your own style like old beat em ups used to. Most are really dull hack/slash type affairs with no dodging/finesse. Another thing I'd like to throw in would be some kind of temporary rag doll state for when someone is reeling from a blow, but I haven't got that worked out fully yet. Just want to hear your thoughts!
  13. Hi, I've been playing around in the Unity and GameMaker free trial versions to get to grips with basic retro style game making. The games I am interested in making are fairly basic, typical 2D indie games with simple controls and functions. In most cases I seem to be able to fully build these games in the trial versions of each software (without needing any of the complex/more in depth features of the paid versions of the engines). My question is this; If I make a game in the free version of one of these engines and decide I want to publish it, will I be able to buy a paid version, open it in that and publish from the paid version (so I don't get the ugly Unity or GameMaker splash screens etc...). In other words, can I develop the game for free in the trial, then get a paid license when I am ready to release it to reap the benefits of publishing from a licensed version of the engine? I'm not looking to dominate the world of indie titles or anything - but I'm learning fast and don't want to put my name to anything that looks sloppy upon release.
  14. Interesting - so would I be right in thinking that a setup involving a peer to peer interaction started by a matchmaking server that just puts two users together and then leaves the equation is less 'data/memory/usage intensive' (excuse my basic terms!) than a setup where a central server connects all users AND operates whatever app or program from that same central server too?
  15. Thanks for these replies - great knowledge coming in from everyone! How does it work for things like iPhone apps? A program like WhatsApp or Snapchat must have some kind of server system backing it up, or could something like that be done with peer to peer messaging (using each phone to store the images/texts etc...).
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