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Playing music together – on the internet

Playing music together – on the internet

Covid lockdown has had some surprising side effects – especially to musicians. It turns out playing music or singing together on the internet is much, much harder than you think. In some situations, it is likely impossible to overcome the lag issues due to the basic laws of physics (unless we get quantum entanglement communication systems)

Turns out, JackTrip and Jamulus (free) has been able to solve some of these issues. I’m going to have to read more about it.

Beyond ECS for game design

Beyond ECS for game design

ECS (Entity-Component-System) has been the staple of game design since the 90’s. Unfortunately, it isn’t great in some ways – especially for the naïve implementations. While it sounds very object oriented to create objects for all the monsters, characters, rooms, and so forth – it turns out that the object classes usually become unmanageably huge, become overly complex when adding new functionality (duplicating functionality across types, start having multiple inheritance problems, etc), and often perform poorly once you get large numbers of assets.

Text roguelike games are great microcosms of game design. Because they don’t have fancy graphics – you can quickly learn good and bad patterns of game engine design.

Here Bob Nystrom, the author of Game Programming Patterns (free and worth checking out), describes some of the classic ECS issues he ran into when he built his roguelike game and how he used design patterns to solve some of them. Definitely worth the 20 minute listen as a good introduction to game engine issues.

These dreams are made for you

These dreams are made for you

Media Molecule’s latest title Dream is a creation platform that allows users to make virtual worlds/games and then sharing them with others.

It’s first year has seen some great creations – with a lot of content created by some amazing artists and game developers. With such a powerful creative engine/tool available for anyone and everyone to create amazing worlds and share them – you’d expect it to be a panacea for both developers, artists, and players.

In reality, however, it seems like there is a problem. While there is no shortage of amazing creators and amazing art, music, and playable creations, there seems to be a real shortage of players. This actually surprised me.

Are these issues new, part of larger issues, or exposing issues we’ve already had before? There are complaints about getting visibility to your creation above the noise – much like mobile app developers and indie musicians have had for years. Is continuing to lower the bar of entry, that enables anyone to create whatever they want, leading to oversaturation? Or is it an age-old problem that the vast majority of creative work isn’t actually compelling to the masses?

Give the linked article a look – it’s a great discussion on how the whole game industry might be going.

Mad Mex Gobblerito

Mad Mex Gobblerito

Mad Mex in Philadelphia has brought back a traditional favorite: the Gobblerito.

The popular combination of Thanksgiving dinner staples wrapped in a tortilla. The burrito is a Thanksgiving dinner wrapped in a tortilla including turkey, black bean mashed potatoes, stuffing and corn that’s drenched in gravy and served with a side of cranberry sauce.  

The Gobblerito has grown in popularity each year, said Big Burrito Restaurant Group president Bill Fuller.

I made one myself – and with a little Cholula hot sauce – it was AMAZING:

The Art of Code

The Art of Code

Dylan Beattie leads us through a really fun history of the ways programming has evolved and opened new avenues of exploration over the years: Conway’s game of Life, Mandelbrot set, Obfuscated code, and many more.

Would make a great first class for any programming major in school and invigorate students.

Check out more of NDC’s talks, courses, and conferences in the following links:
https://ndcconferences.com/
https://ndc-london.com/

High Altitude Penitentes

High Altitude Penitentes

Snow can get funny at high altitudes and on mountains. It can be powdery soft, squeeky and crunchy, wet and gummy, or even form strange shapes depending on pressure, humidity, temperature, and a host of other conditions. It’s one of the fascinating parts I love about climbing mountains.

In the high Atacama desert, Penitentes, or nieves penitentes (Spanish for “penitent-shaped snows”), are snow formations found at high altitudes. They take the form of elongated, thin blades of hardened snow or ice, closely spaced and pointing towards the general direction of the sun.

The name comes from the resemblance of a field of penitentes to a crowd of kneeling people doing penance. The formation evokes the tall, pointed habits and hoods worn by brothers of religious orders in the Processions of Penance during Spanish Holy Week. In particular the brothers’ hats are tall, narrow, and white, with a pointed top.

These spires of snow and ice grow over all glaciated and snow-covered areas in the dry andes above 4,000 metres (13,000 ft).They range in length from a few centimetres to over 5 metres (16 ft).

Penitentes up to 15 metres (49 ft) high are suggested to be present in the tropics zone on Europa, a satellite of Jupiter. According to a recent study, NASA’s New Horizons has discovered penitentes on Pluto, in a region informally named Tartarus Dorsa

Mother 2 interview with Shigesato Itoi

Mother 2 interview with Shigesato Itoi

GameCenter CX is a Japanese show with comedian Shinya Arino (one half of the comedy duo Yoiko) who plays home console video games from previous decades and usually attempts to get the game’s ending within a single day. The show has been on-air since 2003 and has gone for over 15 seasons and hundreds of episodes. You can watch re-runs on Twitch.

When Arino played through Shigesato Itoi’s game Mother 2 (released in North America as EarthBound), Itoi came to visit Arino Kacho while he made his way through the game. They talked about their memories of the game on the 30th anniversary of the original Mother title.

Read the transcripts of their discussion here:
https://www.1101.com/gccxmother/en/