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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. 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. 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. What's bad about the controls? I'd say they're not just good but almost perfect. What issues are you having?
  6. 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. The neutrino experiment [i]really[/i] 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. The reality is that exams like this are just a consequence of how many students take the classes and how few professors are available to teach them. Academia doesn't get enough funding to hire enough full-time professors to reduce the class sizes to reasonable numbers. You're right that these exams are nowhere close to accurately and fairly measuring students' mastery of the material, but when there are so many students there aren't many other options. However, if you are having exams like this is small and manageable classes, then your professor is just being lazy. There are much better examination techniques. My school is "renowned" for its Honor Code, which basically makes a lot of the tests take-home. The problems as a result are much harder and more open-ended, but they pose a true challenge that you cannot overcome with mere speed or memorization.
  10. [quote name='frob' timestamp='1309296242' post='4828830'] [quote name='way2lazy2care' timestamp='1309293497' post='4828819'] Are you sure you need to take an SAT/ACT? If you are in a tech college it seems like your credentials there should be able to get you into a state school. [/quote] Indeed, transfer students and other "non traditional" students, those not coming from high school at age 18/19/20, are generally given much less strict entry requirements. Transferring from an existing college they will look at your current school transcript, not SAT/ACT scores. [/quote] This isn't universally true. Transferring to top schools is generally harder than getting admitted as a freshmen. Stanford and Yale, for instance, generally have acceptance rates of 1-2% for transfer students while their freshmen admissions rates are many times higher. But I don't think the OP is trying to transfer to such a school, so what you wrote may apply to the OP's situation. Btw, my advice is that if you're going to the trouble of transferring schools, then you might as well aim high and try to get into a good school. At least send out a few applications. Going to a better school will never hurt you and will probably help you.
  11. [quote name='frob' timestamp='1309296242' post='4828830'] [quote name='way2lazy2care' timestamp='1309293497' post='4828819'] Are you sure you need to take an SAT/ACT? If you are in a tech college it seems like your credentials there should be able to get you into a state school. [/quote] Indeed, transfer students and other "non traditional" students, those not coming from high school at age 18/19/20, are generally given much less strict entry requirements. Transferring from an existing college they will look at your current school transcript, not SAT/ACT scores. [/quote] This isn't universally true. Transferring to top schools is generally harder than getting admitted as a freshman. Stanford and Yale, for instance, generally have acceptance rates of 1-2% for transfer students while their freshmen admissions rates are many times higher. But I don't think the OP is trying to transfer to such a school, so what you wrote may apply to the OP's situation. As for SAT prep, if you're already in college it doesn't seem like the SAT should be terribly hard. It only tests high school level material and doesn't even include a science section.
  12. I had a few weeks off earlier this summer and, while looking for something to do, stumbled across the [url="http://www.lostgarden.com/2007/05/dancs-miraculously-flexible-game.html"]PlanetCute[/url] prototype art assets. I liked the look of them and was able to produce some nice-looking alternative versions with some fiddling, so I decided to take them and push them to their limit. The result is a pretty cool terrain and map system that I really want to use to produce a high-quality game when I get the time next semester. The terrain is randomly generated, and the generation algorithms are exposed in Ruby scripts, so the end-user has total control over how the terrain is produced. It features a generation pipeline where the terrain dataset is operated on by a sequence of operators, each implemented in a Ruby script. The current algorithms are fairly innovative: noise comes from a randomized plasma fractal; mountainous and flat regions are produced using a Voronoi tesselation; and water and sediment are propagated using a cellular automaton simulating thermal erosion. What you can't see in the pictures below is that the terrain has over 15 million blocks, the trees sway in the wind and their leaves rustle, the grass waves in the wind, and the water is fully animated using a neat effect that I've never seen before where the individual blocks move up and down to produce actual physical waves. There's some basic and high-performance shadowing going on as well, and leaves blow off of trees and pass over the terrain in the wind. A feature that is partially implemented and is not shown here is sheets of rain simulated with basic fluid dynamics rushing across the screen and whipping around trees. As for what I'm actually working on right now, I'm doing research in mathematics involving transferring de Rham cohomology and basic Hodge theory to fractals like the Sierpinski gasket which lack a manifold structure. [img]http://i.imgur.com/922CYh.jpg[/img] [img]http://i.imgur.com/9xtl4h.jpg[/img] [img]http://i.imgur.com/a138fh.jpg[/img]
  13. I would really recommend just learning to do the manipulations yourself. I don't know what's being covered in your class but if it's just an introductory algebra class then doing well is just going to come down to taking your time with the problems to avoid making mistakes. But [url="http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=wolfram+alpha&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8"]Wolfram Alpha[/url] might be a more useful online website than the one you've been using.
  14. [quote name='phantom' timestamp='1307903118' post='4822469'] English, as a language, is horrible really; most 'native' speakers are unable to speak it correctly and most would certainly get the grammar wrong in its written form. Just look at the "your" and "you're" confusion which is common for example. Not to mention the two ways you can say 'the' depending on the content of the surrounding words. [/quote] The vast, vast majority of native English speakers definitely understand the difference between "your" and "you're." This isn't confusion. It's just an easy typo to make. If anything, if there is genuine confusion, then it's confusion over spelling, not the actual grammar of the spoken language.
  15. I looked into getting a third opinion but haven't been able to get anything scheduled soon enough, as I am going on a long two-month trip tomorrow in fact. The new dentist was willing to get me in this week, though, so I decided to go in and have them do what they considered most major. I'm increasingly on the fence over this. I need to get a third opinion and probably will in time when I can. Every time I've went into the new dentits's office they've asked me, sometimes more than once, if I have dental insurance, even though I've filled out numerous forms, answered the question several times, and even went in there a few months ahead of the first appointment and filled out all those forms then as well. I'm not fond of the way dentist's offices work anymore. I don't like that the dentist himself doesn't give me any advice, only his assistants who do little more than put napkins on my chest and suction saliva out of my mouth. The dental assistants wanted me to buy a toothbrush from them today. I asked them how long these cavities had been there, and one of the assistants said "from the x-rays, probably six months." It's weird that I evidently went years without any cavities, yet in the last six months eleven popped up and she's warning me that "these are the only teeth you'll get." Maybe it's all true and dental health is just far more finicky that I thought. On the other hand, their obsession with insurance makes me think they are trying to schedule every little trick they can. (For the record, I do *not* have dental insurance right now, but given how confused they have been over it, I'm seriously not convinced the dentist himself knows that. The worst part is that during my last visit I didn't even get a chance to talk to him, because by the time he showed up in the room, there was a gas mask on my face and multiple sticks in my mouth.) I'm just tired of the mixed messages. I'd be inclined to just return to my regular dentist if he wasn't in the process of retiring, but recently he was canceling my appointments almost as often as I was calling to make them, which is one of the factors that led me to consult a new dentist in the first place. Regardless, I'm going to take very good care of my teeth from now on, so this is not all bad, but it is very confusing.