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About nilkn

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  1. Video: https://vimeo.com/62370966   Github: https://github.com/zpconn/Legend   Thought some people here might be interested in this. It's a system for generating huge block-based worlds, with the blocks stacked in layers, allowing the formation of rivers, hills, mountains, and other vertical structures. It currently features some cool dynamic block-based animation of both water and trees, and it does some basic shading to create shadows around blocks stacked up in higher layers. It has support for drawing animated grass on top of the grass blocks, but I don't have any good images to use for it yet so I disabled that in the video (it's not disabled in the source version).   Feel free to fork, clone, etc.
  2. http://www.rust-lang.org/   It's still under development so I doubt it's suitable for commercial development right now, but it's stable enough that someone has written an NES emulator in it: https://github.com/pcwalton/sprocketnes   Personally, I'm really, really impressed with what I've seen of Rust. Pattern matching on algebraic data types straight from OCaml and Haskell. Built-in actor-based concurrency, an OO system based on type classes (see also Haskell), an optional GC, incapable of producing segmentation faults, excellent support of closures, and wonderful syntactic sugar that looks like it's straight from Ruby (see the example on the home page).   Lots of new languages are always emerging, and most of them are disappointing, but this is the first one I've seen that seems really promising for high-performance and yet high-level game development.
  3. nilkn

    Laptop vs Desktop

    As far as I'm concerned, a gaming laptop is mostly a waste of money. You'd just be far, far better served with a significantly more powerful and cheaper desktop. It's hard to exaggerate how much more powerful desktops can be compared to laptops. A laptop should be all about small size, portability, and ease of use when sitting on your lap. The best laptop out there in my opinion is the 11" Macbook Air.
  4. nilkn

    Dark Souls anyone?

    Dark Souls is more colorful than Demon's Souls for sure. It's also much less dark, except for two areas (Blighttown and Tomb of the Giants), the latter of which is pitch black unless you find a light to carry.
  5. nilkn

    Dark Souls anyone?

    What's bad about the controls? I'd say they're not just good but almost perfect. What issues are you having?
  6. nilkn

    Dark Souls anyone?

    Has anybody here played Dark Souls? I've found it to be possibly my favorite game of this entire console generation. Once you get over some initial difficulty hurdles and become comfortable with the controls (which are fantastic), it becomes one of the most compelling and rewarding action games I've ever played. And that's just with regard to the single player. It also has a pretty cool PvP and co-op system integrated into the game almost seamlessly which, while not perfect, is still bucket loads of fun. Honestly my first play through lasted about 80-85 hours or so, and I didn't even experiment with magic or miracles at all and I did literally no PvP at all. This is one big game. And it doesn't hurt that there's actually a pretty cool story in the background, though this is one of those games where you have to work to tease out the details. It presents the story as if it were simplistic, but it's really not at all, and certain events that you are unlikely to trigger show unexpected details that contradict the basic interpretation you're likely to develop on a first play through. It's just all really brilliantly done. Absolutely top notch.
  7. Having attended both a state school and a top private school as an undergraduate (albeit as a math major, not a CS major), I can tell you that, for me, there actually were huge differences between the schools. Not only did the top school offer more classes, but the teachers pushed you a lot harder, the homework was harder, the tests were harder, and I was surrounded by other students who were equally capable as me in the subject. At the state school, I took what was considered there a "senior level" class (abstract algebra) and did significantly better than the seniors even though I was a freshman at the time. At the school I transferred to, this would be considered completely normal. That was actually a pretty big deal for me personally. All that said, math is a little different from CS. The study of math is more focused on classes and homework and teachers and peer students. I feel like the study of CS is a lot more autonomous and, like other have said, classes matter a lot less than what you do outside of class. Certain top schools like Harvard tend to attract a truly remarkable critical mass of talented math students, and the environment is unlike anything else in the world. It cannot be replicated at state schools. At 99% of schools, for instance, Putnam Fellows are mythical super geniuses that exist in a faraway land. But at places like Harvard they're almost a dime a dozen.
  8. nilkn

    Awesome scientific discoveries.

    The neutrino experiment really needs to be reproduced in a different lab in order to get some sort of actual or partial verification. Unfortunately, that's not really possible. This is going to be an ongoing issue with essentially any new result from the LHC that cannot be duplicated elsewhere.
  9. nilkn

    (Insert Wii pun here.)

    Wii Sports Tennis is by far my favorite. Bowling is the runner-up. The other games seem to have lots of potential but they just lack the finesse and polish of Tennis and Bowling. I agree that boxing is the worst. I hope the poor controls are a result of poor or rushed implementation and are not representative of any inherent limitations in the Wii remote.
  10. nilkn

    Out of... depth? (short entry)

    Here's a belated congrats on your ACT score. I took the test for the first time in October and got a 32.
  11. nilkn

    It now belong to da orks!

    You are ridiculously productive. [grin]
  12. nilkn


    Checkpoints were really needed. The first level was long. As for making jump height proportional to the time the button is held down, this is how I would probably do it. First decide on some parameters: the maximum jump speed (maxSpeed) and the time the button must be held down to achieve this maximum speed (maxTime). Now, record the time at which the button is pressed (t1) and the time at which it is released (t2). Calculate (t2 - t1) / maxTime, clamp the result to the range [0,1], and call it normalizedTime. Now use this as a factor to interpolate linearly between 0 and maxSpeed; that is, have the character jump with speed normalizedTime * maxSpeed. Alternatively, you could interpolate the jump height directly rather than the jump speed. From the jump height you would need to calculate the speed necessary to achieve that height (assuming you are physically simulating this with gravity acting linearly on the character's vertical speed). Edit: On second thought, I think I may have misunderstood exactly what you are trying to do. Eh.
  13. nilkn

    Try to break the camera!

    I like it. However, shouldn't there at least be a little vertical scrolling when I'm bouncing up and down on the spring thing?
  14. nilkn

    Ok, I'll forget the water!

    Be sure to sign up for the beta program at Microsoft Connect.
  15. nilkn

    Why my kids will be home-schooled

    I have little to add to the discussion, but I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and Daerax's journal entries. I've always felt the same way about the educational system as it currently is, and it's very relaxing to see that I'm not alone. [smile]
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