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Vocoders are amazing. I cannot say that any more clearly.
I’ve been playing with synths for almost two years now and just recently decided to play around with the Vocoder found in Reason. (Yes, I know! It’s not FLOSS! But it is easily the best tool for audio production I have ever used.) My initial attempts at getting it to work failed. After a bit of reading, that changed.
I’ve uploaded a couple of sample loops to show you what a bit of what a Vocoder can do. Vocoders are used most frequently to produce those ‘electronic’ voices that are heard in most techno and pop. A lot of people seem to think that that is all they are good for. Those people are wrong. Below I have two loops: One pad synth and one arpeggiated lead synth. While each sounds good on it’s own, and they both sound good played at the same time, the vocoder mixes them together for a completely new sound.
I’m not going to go into details about how Vocoders work. A quick google will explain it better than I can.
Oh, and by the way, emallson is back!
Too many people, it seems, view MMOs as a long path to the actual game. “What is the End Game like?” posts plague beta forums. Some of you know I play Anarchy Online. My main on there, Emallson, is only level 78 (out of 220). I have spent two years getting him there. When I tell people that, they ask why. “Is it hard to level? Is it slow? Why don’t you quit?” The point of an MMO is not the End Game, but the journey.
This idea struck home to me as I was looking through WoW private servers. The I80 (Instant 80, you login, and create a new level 80) servers have the highest turnover rate. On those servers there is no journey! On hi-rate servers, the turnover rate is not nearly as high, but still far higher than lo-rate servers. Why? Because there is less of a journey.
I have a problem grinding. I really hate it. So when I play MMOs, I generally don’t grind, I explore. I travel around, seeing the sights and slaying anything that tries to prevent me. In this way, I end up leveling (albeit more slowly) and gain an appreciation for the fantastic world which the developers of whatever MMO I happen to be playing have created.
Last fall my laptop died of mobo failure. Now, thanks to my job, I can afford another one. I was hoping to spend 500$ or less. My old laptop was:
15.4" Screen (thankfully matte, not glossy)
768MB RAM (512MB + 256MB) DDR
Integrated ATi Card (i had a hellish time getting drivers for it in both linux AND windows)
I would love some recommendations. As long as it’s not over 1k$ and has at least the specs of my old laptop it’s a possibility. Right now I’m looking at the possibility of a Dell XPS m1530 refurbed. The Dell Outlet website had about 15 on there yesterday for around 600$. One catch: Flamingo Pink. Not my color. Who knows, maybe I’ll get an amazing deal on eBay for something.
Years ago I read a PC World article on a new Chinese RTS that had “a whole whopping 7 resources” to manage. Their comment on this was that while everyone else was moving steadily towards 1 or 2 resources, this developer had wholly embraced micromanagement of not only units, but resources.
What if in an RPG, you had only one resource? Instead of having XP, Gold/Creds/Coins, Level, Skill Points, and whatever else developers have up their sleeves, you had only one? Imagine this: you kill an opponent, you get 100 bits (this 1 resource for all thing makes hte most sense within the reality of software, so bits were logical). You can use the bits to buy equipment, improve skills, improve attributes, or really anything else. And on top of it, if you needed more bits to buy that +200 Viral Blade of the Nerd Rampage, you would be able to take bits out of your skills/attributes and use them to buy the blade. I have a whole framework worked out in my head, and I’ll attempt to make it work here, on (digital) paper.
A character is defined as follows (still going with the software stuff):
- Determines movement speed as well as cast time, attack time, etc.
- Determines visible size (ever seen an Agent in AO with Ruse of Taren, Phase 4? Or an en Enforcer with Essence of the Behemoth? yeah, like that), affects sneak ability, the number of programs (see below) that the character can learn at any one time (maybe), and of course other size-related things that I can’t think of.
- Damage boosts, but also drains energy (see below) faster the higher this gets.
- The building blocks of Programs. Yes, you are thinking correctly. The players can build custom Programs. Think Spellwriting a la Morrowind.
- … I can’t think of anything else to go here. I feel like I’m missing something….
- According to John Harris, RPGs are about the phat lewt. Yeah. Something as abstract as just bits wont work. I need loot. We have your standard weapons (maybe), armors (definately), social items (most definately), and function disks (think skill book from EVE Online).
The crowning jewel of this idea is the ability to immediately reallocate any and all bits by reselling loot you no longer need as well as lowering attributes and skills. And being able to quickly switch layouts, or allocations of your bits, weapon loadouts, etc, immediately while you are not in combat. As often as you want. For free. Forever. Period.
Of course this is a very rough sketch. Its primary purpose is to show how a system like this would work. Another option would be to allow a character to learn only a specific number of spells (programs) at a time (like Guild Wars, with its oh so annoyingly small hotbar), but also allowing the player to increase that amount by increasing their size (or maybe having a separate attribute).
Maybe after I finish working on Vault 113 I’ll put together a test MUD.
I’ve had TES3: Morrowind for several years. Got the GOTY edition. I finally figured out why I like it better than my recently-acquired Fallout 3. I’ve always been a fallout fan. Always. I cannot begin to describe the excitement I felt when I read the announcement of it’s developer. But playing through it several times reveals something: I liked Morrowind better. Chock it up to familiarity or memories of playing it on my first computer or whatever else, but I really do like it better. I finally figured out why: it places no emphasis on the main plot. F3 throws you into the main quest, Morrowind throws you into a town in the middle of nowhere and gives you a vague recommendation to head to Balmora (first thought: “Where the heck is that?”). Also, Morrowind changes your character depending on how you play. If you start out using Long swords and decide you like bows better, pick up a bow and start shooting things. Eventually you will be better with a bow than with a long sword. Fallout 3 also lets you do pretty much anything no matter your skills (aside from Terminals and Locked doors), but depends on you to increase the skills when you level, opposite from Morrowind, which depends on you to increase your skills to level.
Just my 2 cents.
Yesterday I got an unexpected email from email@example.com. It was telling me that I had been accepted into the SUSE Studio Beta! Now, I applied when the service was first announced, several months ago, and had completely forgotten about it. But nonetheless I was excited. Tonight I got a chance to try it out. I’m rebuilding my current workstation using it, and will see how it runs by building a disk image, using their ‘Testdrive’, and then downloading and installing the disk image. Expect a review of it before this time next week.
According to ArsTechnica, the EU is still going after the Microsoft Anti-trust case. When this case first started, I largely sided with Opera. But now, not so much. What about Ubuntu? Canonical bundles Firefox with Ubuntu. True, FF is FOSS, runs on pretty much anything, and is not produced by Canonical, but what other difference is there? And what about Apple? They bundle Safari, which they themselves produce, is not open-source, but also runs on many platforms, with Mac OS X. Why shouldn’t they be forced to do the same as Microsoft? Release their operating system sans the browser.
In the past I’ve been vehemently anti-Redmond, but sometimes my concious gets in the way of being a FLOSS politico. In the days when no average-Jane even knew what a browser was, Opera may have had a point (my jury’s still out on that). But now I’m not so sure. Unfortunately, I have to side with Redmond here. It’s their product in their package that they produce. They get to decide what goes in and what doesn’t and as long as they don’t lie about those contents, nobody should be able to do anything against them. Now this case just strikes me as suing Ford because they put Ford engines in their cars and not GM engines. (and so the saying is proven true, all tech articles will have a car analogy, ATAWHACA. That’s fun to say! At-uh-Whack-uh)
Our pastor is a foreman and today in church he told us this story:
One day a couple of years ago, a job I was working on with, oh, about 60-65 guys was behind almost two months. I got a call from the office, apparently they wanted to see me right away. I went to them and they told me to give 20 guys the pink slip.
“Why?” I asked, “We’re two months behind!”
“The computer said to,” they answered calmly.
“But have you seen the mountain of pipes we still have to put in this building? We’re behind as it is we need these guys!”
“Doesn’t matter. Computer says to fire ‘em, out they go.”
So, reluctantly, he went and gave the 20 men their pink slips and last checks.
This is where computers should not be used: to model people. It’s one thing to keep a schedule on a computer, it’s quite another to do something because the computer (which definately did not have all the data) said to. Computers are perfect for mathematical modelling like is used for hurricane prediction, ice core planning, and other scientific fields, but a computer cannot model the human mind. They are not yet that powerfull. My pastor’s point was a completely different one, but my point is this: Businesses should not use computers to map progress of a project. They should have people do it. People can handle the complexities of it more efficiently than any computer that a business has access to. Storing the current status of a project on an intranet is a perfectly fine and usefull thing to do, but having the computer determine the status of a project is a bad idea. In this instance the job took almost 6 months longer than it was supposed to. More than likely nobody will ever read this, but during this story I got several pointed glances from my pastor. I was just glad I don’t do project or cost/benefit modelling! Our pastor could stare down Chuck Norris.
Why in the world does Adobe Illustrator not have an export batcher? I have 188 high-res photos to export from .ai to .png in 2 different sizes (thumbnail and fullsize). It makes my life much more frustrating. I did get ~40 done today, but I would’ve had them all done with a batch processor (not counting cropping off some whitespace afterwards, but that’s quick enough). On a slow computer the exports take awhile, and I have to load, preview export, resize, and export each individual one manually. Isn’t the point of computers to automate routine tasks?
Besides that, my day went pretty well. I just finished up a new song, the first one I’ve done any post-processing on in awhile. It turned out pretty well. And I got my hands on a copy of Neverwinter Nights Diamond. That was the reason i didn’t post yesterday.
One last thing: today I worked more on my work-in-progress Pen-and-Paper RPG: Twin Lands. You can check it out at http://smithy.ath.cx Any comments would be appreciated.
Today was my first day working what some would call a real job. As in 9-5 desk job (or in my case 8-4). I am, as I mentioned before, working on the backend of my employer’s site. But I am also modifying the frontend to work with said backend . Right now the whole thing is encapsulated in 4 files: .htacces, item.php, items.php, and br_db_abstract.php (br stands for my employer’s name. First one to guess it gets a cookie!) It’s your average-ordinary-everyday-mod_rewrite+PEAR::MDB2+inline-php-prints. Pretty standard stuff. It’ll list the items in a category (items.php). Display the item (item.php) and allow it to be ordered. The db_abstract is to keep the connection code out of the main PHP pages. Anyway…today went well. Nothing really happened besides that. Just the hubbub of normal work. It’s not like I normally don’t spend most of my day coding during the summer months (only some days! no worries, I’m not a fat junk-muncher). I think I’ll actually enjoy this…