Gaming, for Science!

Science, for gaming?  Yes, I have strange hobbies.  One of these involves playing lots of Dungeon Keeper 2, an absolutely fantastic game.  Replaying it for dozenth time I realized that I had never reached the top of the high score chart. This is where the science begins.

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Next Poject...

 Power Grid simulator in progress.  (A co-worker requested it.)  Anybody interested?

[This is of course assuming SC2 doesn't eat my life/ambition.]

Turing tests

Someone is doing a Turing test on my blog.

It has to be a spam bot, right? But if it is then where is the spam? There’s not even a link included.

So my co-worker and I decided it must be a Turing test. An AI is reading blogs and generating comments (though I’ll admit that this comment was so vague it probably hadn’t even read my blog. It’s been taking fortune teller lessons…). And we realized that blogs would be a hilarious way to get AI feedback. You read an entry, generate and post a comment, and then measure how long before it gets deleted as spam and/or how many responses it gets. Fun huh?

I wonder if ALICE has tried this.  Just promise me you’ll keep her away from the fanfic blogs (I’m looking at you Katy).

Meta Meta!

Anyone want to write programs (scripts) for your phone, on your phone?
I thought I was the only one crazy enough to do something this meta.  I'm not sure which blows my mind more, that this exists, or that it came strait from Microsoft.


Gmail API notes

 Notes for future reference:
Gmail is one of the only google services that doesn't have a public http based api (no the read only atom feed doesn't count
So I heckled a few googlers about this until they directed me here:  Gmail apps (andriod, etc) just use IMAP and then use hacky extensions to enable the special gmail functionality like labels.
  • Current Mood
    geeky geeky

Initial thoughts on France: (While I work off some jet lag)

Spent two weeks in France.  One week with just Jenny and I in Paris, and the second week with an old friend wandering the southern countryside.

Bare minimal words to know in French:
• Hello
• Thank you
• Two
• Please
• English
• Pardon

We hung out with a pen pall of mine for a week and nearly doubled the amount of face time we’ve ever had together. Some people are just awesome. Especially when singing in an old stone-arched room with magnificent acoustics.

In Japan I don’t think that I learned that much, but we also had an escort that whole trip. However, I had at least learned to count to ten. In French I only managed to get to five.

France has a lot of art. This is interesting, but I don’t know that I know or care enough about art to have spent so much time looking at it.  The architecture however... The exterior of all of the buildings looked like they were in a 17th century time bubble, but the interiors were all renovated to be reasonably current.

The US has a lot to learn about mass transit. France has a lot to learn about roads, though the roundabouts everywhere were an interesting step up from the more useless stoplights/signs.

Castles! Some quite warn out, others very well kept. Surprisingly many of the tourist trap merchants lived within the ancient walled portion of the city right next to their shops. Living in/near a castle like that would be pretty awesome, though I’d have to work on my fear of heights.

Some of these cities were 2500 years old. No wonder the roads were messed up.

France lives on ham and cheese sandwiches and wine. No wonder they care so much about their bread, cheese, and wine.  Oddly nobody made a big deal about the ham.

Chateau d'If!  To my amusement this was primarily a monument to Alexander Dumas and his book The Count of Monte Christo.  Then again, that's the only reason I wanted to go there.

Color professional anyone?

 Hey artistic folks, can I get your profession opinion on something?

Per my previous post, I published a simple Windows Phone game.  Now I'm working on the next version and I want to let people pick their own colors from a list.  You all know I am the last person who should be picking out colors, so I submit the question to my friends who are much better suited for it:

Please pick at most 35 colors from this list that you think would think would give users sufficiently interesting verity for this application.  Including colors not on the msdn list is also acceptable so long as you can provide a name and the appropriate RGB values.



I published a game.  Weird!  Well, we'll see if anybody tries it...

For those of you who rightly ignore me when I'm geeking out, I take (mostly) board games and digitize them into computer games for fun.  Largely I do this to see if I can teach my computer how to play better than I do.  Frequently I also do it because some games just have too many fidgety parts that are better tracked by a computer.

I've worked on projects for Dominion (& Expansions), Robo Rally, Ricochet Robots, Scotland Yard, Sudoku, Slide Puzzles, etc, you get the picture.  But I've never really shared these projects.  Three or four other people participated on the Dominion project.  Several people have played the Robo Rally game, but that's really about it.  But now I've gone and actually released something.  Again, Weird.
This current project (Color Monger) is actually very simple, but has let me explore a few new areas.  The game mechanic is fairly simple and common (you start in one corner and absorb your neighbors by changing colors, until you've consumed the whole map).  However, it did let me test some interesting AIs when I was trying to generate the par scores you would need to beet (I melted my laptop running these simulations too long.  Oh well, I've got a new desktop now).  Secondly it let me explore non-square shapes.  When working on games like Robo Rally, one of the first variations people suggest is to change it to a hex grid.  AAAAaaahhhh.  Or at least that's my usual response.  Largely I didn't want to imagine how to draw a hex grid, let alone implement game logic on one.  But sometimes you just have to suck it up and try something!  And guess what, it wasn't that bad!  I even went and learned how to do octagons while I was at it.  Octagon Robo Rally anyone? :¬]

Anyways.  If you have a Windows Phone 7, give this a try and let me know what you think.  If people use it, I may keep working on it.

  • Current Mood
    geeky geeky

Should there be an app for that?

I got a new Windows Phone 7 recently (HTC HD7) .  It's actually pretty easy to develop for (C#/.NET-like APIs).  I even registered as a dev with the app store so I could keep my phone unlocked for development.  But as usual I'm short on interesting ideas.
Now seeking suggestions: Do you have a WP7 and wish it could do something specific, but can't find a good app for that?  
Ideas so far:
- Chat/IM clients - Unfortunitly the Sockets API isn't public yet, so this might have to wait.