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  Random Links of Joy and Wonder
Posted by: Spont - 2012-03-15, 02:29 PM - Forum: The Pits - Replies (1)


Holy Crap @ the last panel.

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  Realtime raytracing of wolfenstein.
Posted by: Slinger - 2012-03-13, 09:46 PM - Forum: The Pits - Replies (1)

Ok, I'm quite a bit of a fan of raytracing: I believe it will eventually replace the current (IMO legacy) 3D rendering approach. Quite simply: it currently consumes a lot of processing power (at the current hardware and software solutions) but I expect it to change when cpus/gpus gets more parallelized. Once basic raytracing is implemented, the graphics will automatically get stuff like reflections, refractions, shadows, lighting and more, and looking just like real life (no cheating with depth buffers, stencil buffers, cube mapping, etc).

I was really thrilled when I read about the intel larrabee graphics card (which promised raytracing for consumers). But since it couldn't compete at legacy rendering, they decided to drop the graphics part (develop and sell it as a processing unit). But I just discovered they've continued exploring raytracing!

The following is a clip of some wolfenstein 3D models rendered with raytracing on Knights Ferry hardware:



Lets see what will be presented this year at IDF... The next cards are called Knights Corner (but like before: will not be a graphics card, but rather expensive and probably require a large cluster to handle raytracing).

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Posted by: Slinger - 2012-03-11, 05:36 PM - Forum: The Pits - Replies (2)

Obviously, it would not be possible (and often not wanted) to use mainstream music in ReCaged. However there's a lot of great music out there not being distributed through record companies or labels.

I've been trying to look for some good music for ReCaged, on sites like Jamendo, but there's always been one problem: it's hard to find the good music among the rest.

But I recently found a nice page which solves this: Libre.fm (which runs gnu fm)
It provides an html5 streaming solution for free music (allows redistribution). The tracklist can be created based on what others are listening too, limited by different tags, etc...

It's still in alpha stage, but there's some good music there already:
DIfferent tags
Or anything and everything popular!
Podcast (nothing recent, though)


(And remember, this music can be redistributed with in ReCaged, so if you find some song you'd really like to see used, just post itSmile)

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Posted by: Spont - 2012-03-05, 06:21 PM - Forum: The Pits - No Replies

I wrote this rant a while ago, and I was reminded of it today when discussing the inadequacies of Corporations to ignore the candle flame of DRM. One-line synopsis: in the big picture - think of it as a passing annoyance - it'll burn them soon enough.

We have problems which require coordinated action to solve. We have problems which harm us, yet both the cause and effect slip between the gaps of our consciousness. We have problems where even when we can identify the cause, our failure to identify the reasons why is the reason why we fail to construct a solution.

Folks, we have a lot of problems.

Groupthink is UNNNGH!

Let's take the example of bureaucracy, because almost everyone can agree that it sucks. We see it as an unthinking machine. A tool we can use to help solve a problem. I'm going to suggest that it thrives because it treats us the same way. It survives because its assessment continues to be more accurate.

A bureaucracies exploitation of us results when we employ it to achieve an objective. A bureaucracy is concerned only in our objective insofar as dictated by the law of diminishing returns. Complete failure would threaten its survival. But our expectations are so low that it has no motivation to work for us beyond the threshold where its own power stops increasing.

A funny thing happens when bureaucracies compete - and I've seen this working in two different countries working for two different Governments - the winner will be determined by something abstract like quota's, and quality-of-service can fall through the floor... but there is never any penalty for playing the game requested of you. More problematic is that you can point this out to higher management, but you're an idealistic fool to attempt it.

A bureaucracy never rewards those who point out its own contradictions and failure to serve its stated objective.

Now this isn't news. This dynamic happens everywhere - in every Group of humans. From political parties to internet forums to OccupyWallSt. It's a phenomenon which plays out in every conceivable structure of human interaction. It affects us every day. It affects your decisions every day - despite your feeling that it must affect others more than you. But we don't have a cultural language for it. We aren't culturally conscious of it.

We should not make a decision or reach a conclusion, in the context of a group, without first considering how that group is affecting our individual agency. But we do. Groups reward this behaviour in us. It's called loyalty. Those true to the cause are afforded privilege and power. Those individuals do not - or find themselves unable - to use that privilege and power to actually change the way the Group organisation functions. Challenges to orthodoxy are possible, but the individual who does so will be cast as unloyal, a traitor. No longer one of us.

The Mechanism to prevent our Exploitation is Language. To raise our Individual Consciousness to the level our Group Consciousness already operates. Groupthink is an academic term, a description of this phenomenon. But it's not understood by the people it effects. It's 60 years old next year and still it means nothing practical when uttered or invoked. It's just grunting in place of words. Try it - go to a Republican or Democratic internet forum, and point out some of the many examples of Groupthink. They'll call you a troll, your carefully-reasoned argument will be interpreted as "UNNNGH"! The Immune System of the Group is, of course, the Individual.

Uh... this all sounds a bit sci-fi

Well let's get to brass-tacks. Economics 101. Trade. Implicit in every sustainable transaction, is the fact that each party could give more than they do and still make a profit. Your local grocery store has regular sales, yet the relationship is sustainable regardless of which party is currently making more or less profit this week. Your employer could pay you a little more, and you may have accepted the position for a little less. Swapping a DVD for a book with a friend. The common theme is that you both get a little more of what you want than you had before - and that's enough to influence your actions and choice of who/what you transact with.

Every Group you interact with offers you something you want. Status. Support. Entertainment. To cut the list short, if there's something you want, there's a Group that will offer it to you. What you give in return could be anything - whatever human transactions a Group promotes, are those which it has found a way to profit from the trade. Groups only exist so long as the acceptable transactions defined by Group keep flowing. Individuals will keep operating the internal mechanisms of the Group as long as they get something in return - a slice of the revenue. Again, this is a trade which profits the Group.

Groups with a trade surplus, grow.

By definition then, successful Groups are those which have evolved ways to extract more profit from their human transactions, than the Groups they compete with for those humans. It follows that the most successful Groups are those most Exploitative.

"Occam's razor - we need Groups. For all their flaws, that's why they exist."

Sure we need Groups. Our highly-connected Social Networking tools make it easier for Groups to form than ever before in our history. And we have more Groups than ever before. For all our time and energy now consumed by Social Networking, how much positive impact do they have on our quality of life? Really? Because if that argument covered the totality of the reality then we should, on this little planet, be enjoying a Golden Age. How is that working out for us?

The applicability of Occams razor, beyond that of the Scientific Method, is debatable. And I see it invoked frequently to shut down debate. It's used to promote simplistic thinking. To criticise complex thought on the very basis that it requires effort from the Group to evaluate. To resist challenge to the Group Ideology.

So our Individual capacity for reason is systemically muted. Meanwhile, a Groups capacity for sophisticated reason is amplified by increasing the number of connections between its members and the information-flow capacity of those connections. Neurons are best kept simple, numerous, and highly connected. No design or intent is necessary when invoking emergent models.

You know that old high-school acquaintance who "friended" you on Facebook, the one you would delete if it weren't for your emotional response to the cold statistical inevitability that your friend-count is not as high as some of your other friends? At some point in the near future she's going to post something political, and you'll get to decide whether to re-share or ignore that idea. That's your duty as a Neuron. And you'll perform that duty regardless of the fact that your decision will not directly change the political reality - that depends on the conditioning of the Neurons you are connected to - and that conditioning is performed at the Group level.

Nuance and Complex Reasoning cannot compete against the viral agility of smaller Slogans and Soundbites in a Group which does not actively seek to inoculate its members by promoting Individuality and Critical Thinking. Such Groups are few and far between - with an educated consumer, there's little profit to be made. Instead we have an over-abundance of Groups which thrive on plankton - simple and numerous ideas - Groups which cannot digest complexity. Unfortunately, these are the massive and powerful Groups which affect all the decisions on this planet.

So we're at war with Ourselves?

In a sense, yes. Such as with every recorded war in human history. We're familiar with the concept of geographically defined Groups fighting each other for the benefit of some king or dictator. We were taught that War exists at an early age. Our toys let us practice it. It makes sense to us. We don't question why. It's an unpatriotic question. Support the troops! You're either with us or against us! Everything you stand for is at stake!

Indeed, a Group response is required to prevent other Groups from imposing their will on Individual liberty. But our focus on imaginary geographic borders distracts us from the fact that ideas and Groups travel just as freely between them as they do within them. They've been doing this for a while now.

We have problems which require coordinated action to solve. We have problems which harm us, yet both the cause and effect slip between the gaps of our consciousness. We have problems where even when we can identify the cause, our failure to identify the reasons why is the reason why we fail to construct a solution.

Groups do not "Think"

They are at most semi-sentient. Aware of their own existence insofar as to ensure their own survival, but unable to process rational thought which cuts across the grain of their ideology. Thus they cannot be reasoned with. They are a collection of rules to follow, ideas to promote, and mechanisms to regulate behaviour. They leach intelligence from us. They have adapted perfectly to trigger cognitive dissonance within us whenever they require us to act against our human interests.

And we let them. We don't question what we've already rationalised away.

We make choices in the context of a Group, without wondering how that Group is affecting our choices. More importantly - we don't question others when they do the same. Not within our own Groups. Those Groups which have accepted us. Those non-abstract groups close to us which we make the most allowances for - friends, family, work-colleagues. No - because acting as an Individual, when you are the individual in question is too uncomfortable, too impolite, the risk outweighs the reward - don't rock the boat, focus on the real enemy - not your friends.

That's your choice, right there. That's your choice being made for you where and when it matters most.

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  The Anatomy of a Racing Game
Posted by: Spont - 2012-02-27, 01:58 PM - Forum: The Pits - No Replies

What makes a racing game Good? What makes it Bad? Is multi-play a nice option to have, or vital? Is it ever forgivable for the AI to "cheat"? Should the AI team up and attempt to destroy all humans, or treat us the same as everyone else?

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  Let Me Show You It
Posted by: Spont - 2012-02-03, 04:41 AM - Forum: The Pits - Replies (16)

Psst. There's a "Choose File" button near the bottom of the page. Use it. Once you've select an image, you can also insert it directly into the post. Neat, eh? I'd much prefer you to use the sites bandwidth+storage to host images and data, than a third-party image hosting site which will become a dead-link within 6 months, guaranteed.

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