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A strange game...

Apropos of the open-source discussions I've been posting lately, and the massforge-related thoughts I've been kicking around:
Does anyone here use, run, or develop any code, especially environment and character rendering code, for an open source MMORPG?
What do you recommend in the way of such code, for an interactive CGA or game environment? What are the real-time rendering advantages and disadvantages? Does it have a "batch mode" interface for rendering more detailed cut scenes?

OK, I had a few comments and questions about tonight's Sci-Fi Friday:

Batlestar Galactica

  • Cold open: Billy's blood's not even cold! (Yeah, yeah, it's been a month. Grumble.)

  • Boy, that was a quick couple of back-to-back promotions. You'd think he was Geordi LaForge or something. So, did he skip the rank of Colonel between Major and Commander? Does he outrank Tigh (XO of Galactica) now?

  • Yes, reproductive freedom is still a wedge issue even when there are only 49579 known surviving humans. My only quibble is that Roslin still seems to keep her own counsel to the benefit of no particular executive function. To wit, she didn't advise anyone - not the Quorum, not Billy's replacement, not Adama, etc. (Adama I can understand; it's not as if people are going to attempt assassination of Roslin over this, nor any violence, if Geminese protestors haven't attempted mayhem on Doc Cottle to date.)
    Question: When Roslin was issuing he executive order, was Naia (the Geminese girl first seeking an abortion, then asylum) actually still pregnant? That is, was the idea that Adama and Roslin gave Doc Cottle a free hand while they deliberated?
    The fallout from the Quorum of Twelve is going to be interesting. Look for newsvid spots from the Colonial Gang (is Maya, the reporter who Gaius dallied with, still around?) Lots of sound bites will surely air on how Baltar, as president, will restore a woman's right to choose. That's either an ironic reversal or a sign of his slide into complete villainy, depending on where you live on the political spectrum.

  • What gives with the count on Roslin's board? It's 49583 before the Pegasus fiasco and 49579 afterwards. There should have been six aboard the two Raptors alone! Did only the Pegasus CO die in the fight? Was there no casualty count from Pegasus yet? What about the Pegasus air group? Did everyone survive?

  • So, Starbuck returns to Galactica as CAG of the Bucket. (That just sounds... odd.) Interesting that the lateral transfer to Lee's old job confers no mutual congratulations from him, but then, perhaps he doesn't want her to become complacent. That, or it's that painful silence between them returning. I want to at least see whether Dee survives the rest of this season before commenting. Lee Adama has something of that James T. Kirk-meets-Samantha Carter death aura about him. ;-)

  • Next week: resurrection guilt! But.... her programming made her do it! Or did it? Stay tuned for an hour of AI angst! My favorite... more fun than you've had since ST:TNG's "Descent" (well, no, not really).


Stargate: SG-1

  • This episode triggered all of my recently-listed pet peeves. For example, what was the Chinese diplomat saying? Was she speaking Cantonese or was her accent just really weird? Later, I could have sword she screamed zhen1 zhao1 gao1 (lit. "truly messed up", i.e., what a fiasco, dammit) in normal Mandarin Chinese pronunciation. Michael Shanks' Chinese pronunciation sugests that he had the same linguistic coach as Sean Maher. :-P

  • Holodoc is a putz. He's less of a putz than Oldguy McPanicky and Frenchy the Wonder Coward, but he's still a putz.

  • With that kind of self-destruct, what was the point of attempting to secure the gamma site again? Just to protect the gate?

  • Why exactly did the bugs that poured out of the dead redshirt burrow right back into the ground? Are they that photophobic? If so, why the concerted attack at the end?

  • Is "old school" the name of a film or a term for a genre?

  • Next week: Now that's what I call a reset button episode. Bleh. When's Vala coming back as still-provocatively-dressed Prioress?


Stargate: Atlantis

First Holoputz and now O'Brien the evil dic...tator! Can they get Kate Mulgrew to do a cameo? She can be a mentally unstable wraith-fighter or someone willing to blow up her whole solar system to kill a Prior of the Ori - and she won't even have to change a thing about her performance as Admiral Psycho.


Oh, and speaking of births:
Happy birthday, Tripitaka!

--
Banazir

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
penfold_x
Feb. 19th, 2006 04:24 pm (UTC)
BSG
Billy's blood's not even cold!
And I used to like D so much (and I had really thought she'd gotten over Cap'n Tightpants until last week). At least Roslin had a photo on her desk.

Boy, that was a quick couple of back-to-back promotions. You'd think he was Geordi LaForge or something. So, did he skip the rank of Colonel between Major and Commander? Does he outrank Tigh (XO of Galactica) now?
So I gather -- the commander of another vessel couldn't be subordinate to the XO of another. And Tigh's experience when Adama was shot has to be the only thing making him OK with this situation (don't want to be in the room when Mrs. Tigh finds out).
It is quick, but Adama seems to have exhausted his options with the Pegasus crew, and with such a small population, and so many of the deaths coming from the military population, there has to be a very small number of options left. Though the optics of promoting your son to commander of the only other military vessel left in the universe have to be pretty bad, and I wonder how they're going to bounce that back on Adama.

Yes, reproductive freedom is still a wedge issue even when there are only 49579 known surviving humans.
It's such a big issue that I wonder how they (Roslin, the Quorum) gotten away with not thinking about this, ever. Someone other than Baltar has to have been doing demographic projections. One of my first thoughts upon viewing the miniseries was "wow, they need to ban birth control, now."

My only quibble is that Roslin still seems to keep her own counsel to the benefit of no particular executive function.
Talk about your unitary executive. Frankly, I don't understand why Roslin, who was so visibly troubled by the decision, didn't reach out to anyone but Blatar (the person she least trusts) to discuss it. This is one of those issues where preparing the groundwork with the Quorum might have won their cooperation, or at least meant that they wouldn't be reacting in an unplanned (probably over-emotional or regrettable) way -- and possibly deflected or spread criticism. It's odd, since most of the time her political instincts are pretty good.

Question: When Roslin was issuing he executive order, was Naia (the Geminese girl first seeking an abortion, then asylum) actually still pregnant? That is, was the idea that Adama and Roslin gave Doc Cottle a free hand while they deliberated?
That's what I took her statements to mean. I think, in order to salve her own conscience, she allowed the abortion to take place and then announced the policy.

is Maya, the reporter who Gaius dallied with, still around?)
I thought I saw her in the room when Roslin made the announcement -- isn't that her asking the first question?

That's either an ironic reversal or a sign of his slide into complete villainy, depending on where you live on the political spectrum.
I'm not exactly sure what you mean here. Even if I were to support abortion on demand in our world, I'm not sure I'd agree with the same policy in that universe (just as I can see a need, eventually, to loosen the incest taboo in that universe; there'll probably quickly come a time when first cousin marriages are going to be necessary, at least for a few generations). And given that Baltar is being manipulated into doing this because it will eventually result in the end of humanity (and he knows it), I have to wonder how one can't view this as a slide into complete villainy (and yes, I spend every episode deeply wishing Baltar would change, even though I know he won't, because he's a necessary plot device).
tv_elf
Feb. 19th, 2006 06:31 pm (UTC)
Old School stars Luke Wilson and Will Ferrell. Quite funny, actually.
murasaki_suki
Feb. 20th, 2006 04:37 pm (UTC)
The opening scene lost "sympathetic character" points for Dee in my mind.
Sheesh!
tvn
Feb. 22nd, 2006 03:52 pm (UTC)
Massforge
Massforge seems interesting ... have you guys done any code for it ? any beta release so I can take a look at ?

What do you think about Fuzzy Decision Tree ? Do you know of other alternative method that has the same purpose as Fuzzy Decision tree ?
banazir
Feb. 23rd, 2006 03:24 am (UTC)
Massforge, Hierarchical Mixtures of Experts (HME), and soft decision trees
Hi, Thang Vu - yes, there is a bit of code, though none of it is anywhere near release yet:

  • I've worked out a very basic discrete event simulator and agent framework and tmehlinger and thekuffs have started implementing it in C++ for a 2-D pursuer-evader game.

  • dextertech and two of his students are rigging characters in Maya 6 and 7 for us to drive using massforge.

  • zengeneral has developed a real-time rendering front end. This works pretty well, but we are looking at interfacing it to Ageia Novodex/PhysX.


I am in the process of recruiting one or more OpenGL developers to write an Irrlicht interface. Do you know anything about Quake 2/3 character models and how to export them from Maya?

I am not familiar with fuzzy decision trees. There is a type of hierarchical mixture model called a Hierarchical Mixture of Experts (HME) that uses McCullagh-Nelder generalized linear models (GLIMs) as leaves and as internal nodes ("gating networks") and is sometimes referred to as a "soft decision tree". Have you looked at this before?

--
Banazir
tvn
Feb. 23rd, 2006 03:40 am (UTC)
Re: Massforge, Hierarchical Mixtures of Experts (HME), and soft decision trees
Just out of curiously, do you convert all your students into using Livejournal ? :)

By the way it's ThanhVu :p
banazir
Feb. 23rd, 2006 05:10 am (UTC)
Re: Massforge, Hierarchical Mixtures of Experts (HME), and soft decision trees
Not quite - for example, the following former and current students of mine do not yet use it to my knowledge:

Yuhong Cheng (MSE 2000)
Robert S. Illing (BS 2000)
Laura M. Haverkamp (BS 2000)
Steven M. Gustafson (MS 2000, PhD University of Nottingham 2004)
Sreerama Valluri (MS 2001)
Sheng Qiang (MSE 2001)
Afrand Agah (MS 2001, PhD University of Texas - Arlington 2005)
Ruiqing He (MSE 2002)
Raju Mantena (MS 2003)
Ben B. Perry (MS 2003)
Siddharth Chandak (MS 2003)
Vinod Chandana (MS 2003)
Jan Antolik (MS 2004)
Wei He (MS 2005)
Julie A. Thornton (MS 2005)
Andrew L. King (BS 2005)

Of my former students at Illinois (Miranda Callahan, Luke Nosek, etc.) and the members of my groups (Yu Pan, Nathan Gettings, Tori Lease at KBS; Mike Perry, Kris Wuollett, Jie Wu, Dav Zimak at NCSA), most don't have LJs to my knowledge.

Colleagues of mine who have LJs (mainly for massforge): neonpainter (Professor Jeff Head), dextertech (Professor Dane Webster)
Current students of mine who have LJs: zengeneral, masaga, martinsamuel, tmehlinger, thekuffs, weninger
Former members of my group who have them: alpenglow (KBS Group at Illinois, BS 1997)
Old classmates of mine who have them: abrichar (Severna Park Middle School, mid-1980s), zurich31 (MS 1996 UIUC)
Alumni of my group who have LJs: hpguo (Ph.D. 2003, now a faculty member at University International College of China, a new college of Beijing Normal University and Hong Kong Baptist University)

There are also affiliates and past members of my group who have LJs, such as zzschmid (PhD Education 2005), nanaki117, megruder, scottharmon, and chriszhong. Some are working on massforge or have been involved with it: filipinangel, dayglowdave, shefro, eckypecky. Other associates (sui_degeneris, darana, twinbee, anim8t0rboi) aren't K-State students or my colleagues, but are working with me on massforge.

--
Banazir
banazir
Feb. 23rd, 2006 05:15 am (UTC)
Students, alumni, classmates, and affiliates
D'oh, I knew I forgot someone:

droidix (BS 2003) is a former NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates student of mine from the summer of 2003 who is now in grad school in bioinformatics.

njagan took a course from me in 2000 and we still keep in touch.

jellybeanzulu used to work for my next-door officemate and co-worker at NCSA in 1998-1999.

--
Banazir
banazir
Feb. 23rd, 2006 05:19 am (UTC)
Third time's the charm (or something)
See, this is why you should use mnemonic LJ nicks instead of old-style KSU logins! It's easy to forget those. :-P

bdm7935 is an MS student in EECE here and an affiliate of my research group, along with one of his classmates, Praveen Koduru.

BTW, thanks for the correction of the spelling of your name, ThanhVu.

--
Banazir
tvn
Feb. 23rd, 2006 03:52 am (UTC)
Re: Massforge, Hierarchical Mixtures of Experts (HME), and soft decision trees
I played Quake before, that's about it ... I don't know anything about Maya either :(

I currently use Fuzzy Trees to make decisions based on fuzzy membership concepts. Later on I plan to use genetic programming to evovle these trees (instead of human built). But nevertheless I am always looking for alternate methods. Will look at soft decision tree. Thanks !

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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