The NDA for the closed beta of Quake Champions has lifted. I’ve spent the last week or so playing on and off. It’s pretty good so far. It does a really excellent job capturing the feel and best parts of 90’s era twitch shooters. They even automatically give you the wide field of view, lower visual bling for faster frame rates. Part of me, however, wonders about the market for this kind of twitch shooter given today’s twitch-shooting games like Overwatch/etc. I hope they are able to draw in a new generation of players.
Did you know that each year from mid-October to Memorial Day, glass float makers place their hand-made, numbered glass floats on the beaches near Lincoln City? Their army of “Float Fairies” covertly hit the seven miles of public beach hiding handcrafted glass floats along their way, from Roads End on the north to Siletz Bay on the south.
While we put out over 3,000 floats each year, official floats, which are numbered, are placed reflected by the year – so 2,016 numbered floats were placed in 2016, 2,017 in 2017, etc…. You find it, you keep it!
vonHummer is a local public-access-like Youtuber and musician in Portland. I’m not sure how to describe his shows other than a psychedelic trip with a man who wears plastic lobsters attached to his head and speaks in made-up languages, co-stared by a skeleton man that shakes beers and shoots them with a pellet gun, and several strange women. Each one of his shows usually has a song he’s made up for the occasion.
Ingredients: 8 oz. fresh morels, sliced once lengthwise
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 tbsp good white wine (if you wouldn’t drink it out of a glass, don’t cook with it)
Directions: In a large pan, saute morels, olive oil, butter, and garlic for five minutes. Add white wine. Continue sauteing for 5 more minutes. Mangia! Note: Adding anything else to the morels, coating them in anything, or putting them in any sauce or soup is blasphemy, plain and simple. If you want to coat them in batter and drown them in grease, or otherwise hide the texture or flavor of these wonderful harbingers of Spring, send your morels to me, and I will send you some button mushrooms.
It was fantastic. They were light and delicious. I started scarfing them down as fast as I could cook them. My favorite!
Next up was to find a deep-fried sort of recipe like I remember from my childhood.
This one was much more like I remembered, but I put the batter on too heavy during the first batch. The second batch was better – so the key is to keep it light. While more like I remembered as a kid for sure, I found them overly heavy with the breading – but that didn’t stop me from eating them all. It was great to relive some memories of my younger years.
Amazing real-time character control animation generated by neural net
Modern day video games have come a long way from Mario the plumber hopping across the screen. Incredibly intricate environments of games today are part of the lure for new gamers and this experience is brought to life by the characters interacting with the scene. However the illusion of the virtual world is disrupted by unnatural movements of the figures in performing actions such as turning around suddenly or climbing a hill.
To remedy the abrupt movements, [Daniel Holden et. al] recently published a paper (PDF) and a video showing a method to greatly improve the real-time character control mechanism. The proposed system uses a neural network that has been trained using a large data set of walking, jumping and other sequences on various terrains. The key is breaking down the process of bipedal movement and its cyclic behaviour into a series of sub-steps or phases. Each phase translates to a natural posture for the character while moving. The system precomputes the next-phases offline to conserve computational resources at runtime. Then considering user control, previous pose of the character(including joint positions) and terrain geometry, the consequent frame of the animation is computed. The computation is done by a regression network that calculates future position of the joints and a blending function is used for Motion Matching as described in a presentation (PDF) and video by [Simon Clavet].