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Topics - contingencyplan

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General Discussion / The Dark Knight + The Watchmen trailer!
« on: July 18, 2008, 07:40:07 am »
The Dark Knight was absolutely awesome - go see it, asap. The Joker and his reasoning actually make sense by the end (at least to me - that's probably not healthy). Good back-and-forths regarding heroism, right vs wrong, good vs evil, nature of humanity, things like that. I expect I'll be seeing it a second time in theaters, and owning it when it hits DVD. More discussion will ensue when more people have seen it.

To help, no there's nothing after the credits. We waited.

However, you absolutely WILL want to catch the previews, just for the Watchmen trailer. Trust me, Youtube cannot do it justice. Also, 1000 karma and a little tag or something for the first person to give me the full (from the graphic novel / comic book) version of the quote at the end, as well as who says it.

For the other 99% of you who haven't read it, GO GET IT. It's like $20 at Borders (yes, the full thing), $14 or so on Amazon. It's an absolutely fantastic read - each character has tons of depth, the story's interesting and has a helluva twist at the end (so don't turn to the back when thumbing through it), and the discussion between _____________ and Dr. Malcom is a very poignant examination of the morality of humanity in general (and thus makes a good follow-up to TDK).

"Stood in firelight, sweltering. Bloodstain on chest like map of violent new continent. Felt cleansed. Felt dark planet turn under my feet and knew what cats know that makes them scream like babies in the night. Looked at sky through smoke heavy with human fat and God was not there. The cold, suffocating dark goes on forever, and we are alone. Live our lives, lacking anything better to do. Devise reason later. Born from oblivion, bear children, hell-bound as ourselves, go into oblivion. There is nothing else. Existence is random. Has no pattern save what we imagine after staring at it for too long. No meaning save what we choose to impose. This rudderless world is not shaped by vague metaphysical forces. It is not God who kills the children, not fate that butchers them or destiny that feeds them to the dogs. It's us. Only us."

I'm also taking the trailer and gonna try to make avatars out of the characters. First come first serve if you have a favorite character / one you like, but you have to be able to tell me who it is (Wikipedia is sufficient for that one - bonus if you can explain why you like them). I'm gonna have to watch the trailer a few more times, but I have two in mind myself, so we'll see. I might can also make avatars directly from the comic book itself, if you prefer.

e: And since I know y'all are wondering, yes, I had to get some moist towlettes and go to the bathroom for a few minutes after the trailer. The movie didn't quite hit me with the same rush, so I was fine going home. The movie has its own, but much more subtle, appeal - you watch it and come away with a very satisfied feeling, like the feel of a cigarette after really good sex.

General Discussion / New Nine Inch Nails. Free.
« on: May 05, 2008, 02:51:17 am »
GO HERE NOW. Download. Enjoy. I'll post a trip report later, but so far I'm on Discipline (track 4), and really digging it so far. Enjoy!

General Discussion / Must-see movies list
« on: April 15, 2008, 12:11:25 pm »
From talking with Cae, it's apparent that there's a TON of movies that I need to see. So I started a google docs spreadsheet, available here. Feel free to post movies in this thread, and we'll add them to the list.

General Discussion / Any interest in a GNE group?
« on: April 04, 2008, 11:04:59 pm »
Just looking through, and was thinking we might try putting together a group for people on the forums and soforth. Probably also invite the GoRC people to join, since I don't see a point in having two small groups instead of one large one. Who's interested?

Precursors Artwork / Photoshop tutorials for making planets and stars
« on: December 21, 2006, 03:55:40 am »
Figure the arteests of the group could appreciate this. Came across it on SomethingAwful. Here ya go - two Photoshop tutorials, one for making star fields, and one for making planets.


Now, let's see what y'all can do with it!

General Discussion / Well, I now have a blog, apparently
« on: November 22, 2006, 07:15:40 pm »
It's official: I now have a website and everything. The blog (the only truly functional area of the site) is here, so feel free to keep track of what I'm up to. I'll update it as a I get time.

If anybody has a suggestion for a better title (currently "Theories and Speculations"), lemme know.

RaptorNL / Defining Reliable / Unreliable and Ordered / Unordered
« on: November 02, 2006, 02:19:57 am »
Here is my current understanding of Reliable vs. Unreliable and Ordered vs Unordered. I'm hoping whitelynx can correct any misunderstandings I have on the subject.

Reliable vs. Unreliable: This refers to whether the packet must arrive at the destination. If a packet marked as "reliable" fails to arrive at the destination, then we must request that the packet be resent.

Ordered vs. Unordered: This refers to whether the packets must arrive (or at least be interpreted) in a specific order.

TCP is an ordered, reliable protocol, to the point that it will outright block (i.e., stop receiving data and just keep sending resend requests) if it misses something. RUDP is ordered reliable as well (I think), but it won't block if it misses a packet. Rather, it collects the numbers that it didn't receive in the past N time units and send a resend request all at once (in the EAK segment).

So assuming the above info is right (I honestly expect it to be wrong, personally, but whatever), how would an ordered, unreliable or unordered, reliable packet behave? Can we have such a thing as an unordered, reliable packet, since we have to know which packets actually made it to the destination?

These are the kinds of questions that keep me up at night...  :-\

TCP is a reliable protocol, and will outright block (or at least wait) until it has received the packet it is missing. It seems to me that RUDP will not block if it fails to receive a packet; rather, it will continue receiving packets but will still request the packet from the sender.

RaptorNL / Questions about the RUDP headers
« on: November 02, 2006, 02:01:53 am »
When whitelynx posted his initial ideas about the RUDP protocols, he posted the following questions (which have since been removed, so that we can discuss them without turning the wiki into a forum... :o)

  • If Sequence # is 0, then this packet is unordered.
  • Do we need all those flag bits?
  • Is there any way we can shorten up the unreliable and unordered packets?
  • Use a flag for sequenced/non-sequenced packets so we can save the sequence # byte?
  • Do we really need header length?

After reading through the first part of the RUDP spec, I think I can answer a few of these (and pose a few questions of my own):

Do we really need header length?

If we look further down the spec, we can see that every segment except EAK has a fixed length in bytes (which is the unit of the value in header length). About half of the segments (ACK, RST, NUL) have header lengths of 6. SYN has the longest length at 28, and TCS has 12. Only EAK has a variable-length header, since the header contains the list of segments received out of sequence. "Its minimum value is seven and its maximum value depends on the maximum receive queue length." Thus, we need the header length to know how long the segment header is.

I suppose we can make an argument that if we know the type of segment (based on the flags at the start) that we know the size of the segment, meaning that the size is not needed. However, I'd still think the size would be necessary for determining whether additional data was included in the segment (which is expressly forbidden for certain segment types - SYN, RST, NUL - meaning that an error would be thrown), and for determining whether the whole packet made it (especially important for EAK, since we can't know the full header length).

It is worth noting that the spec refers to the data as "segments," not "packets." I think this is due to RUDP being implemented on top of the UDP protocol - the whole thing, UDP header + RUDP header + data (if any) is the whole packet. However, to UDP's standpoint, the RUDP header is simply regular data in binary form, to be interpreted in any way so chosen by the recipient. Thus, I think the spec is thinking of the RUDP headers as simply "segments" in the packet as a whole. Just an observation I thought I'd share.

Do we need all those flag bits?

As described above, the flag bits are necessary to know what kind of packet we're dealing with, so I'll take this question as "Do we have to send all of the types of packets described in the spec?" Initially, I'd say yes - they're in the spec, so we should probably use them. The only one we may not end up using is the NUL packet, which is basically the equivalent of a "ping," which the forum post says can easily be accomplished (in games) by just watching the traffic going back and forth. However, I would still rather include it for completeness's sake, rather than leaving it out to save a bit and a minor bit of logic to handle it.

Is there any way we can shorten up the unreliable and unordered packets?

I want to start a separate thread on this, so we can define what we mean by reliable / unreliable and ordered / unordered, which I'm still not entirely clear on.

Two questions of my own:
  • Where does channel number fit in here?
  • These headers are both for sending ordered data packets? Is that why we have the 7th bit 0 for reliable and 1 for unreliable (which I would reverse, personally)?

RaptorNL / A C++ Sockets library
« on: October 11, 2006, 07:21:42 pm »
Found this link while searching for stuff related to my OS project. No, not doing networking - doing an "at" command. I'm glad you can't see the code I'm writing; I'm writing it in the "I just want to fricking get done with this project" style, so it's fugly as sin that's been washed in a public toilet that's been stopped up for 3 months.

Anyways. It's a C++ Socket's library. We might (perhaps?) consider switching over to this, though I don't know yet.

No, I haven't looked at it at all - I'm worrying about finishing this OS project tonight for right now, then doing some work on the pseudocode->C generator. But I'm "publically" bookmarking the link for later perusal. Feel free to peruse it to your hearts' content in the meantime.

RaptorNL / Library name
« on: October 07, 2006, 08:29:19 pm »
As I talk about the networking library, I find myself often referring to it as "Raptor" rather than "RaptorNL". Sometimes, I've also referred to it as "RNL", but that's rare. So I'm wondering whether we want to rename the library to just plain "Raptor", and drop the "NL" part, which is mainly there to tie it to the HawkNL it's forked from. What do y'all think?

General Discussion / This fits just about everybody here....
« on: September 24, 2006, 01:43:07 am »
Check this YouTube video out, courtesy of some CS friends of mine.

I found it hilarious, I dunno about y'all.

RaptorNL / Feature: The HawkThreads library
« on: September 18, 2006, 12:59:14 pm »
I've noticed in the HawkNL source code there's the HawkThreads headers and source code. Currently, I'm thinking that unless there's a requirement for it within the networking portion of the library (i.e., the threading is inextricably entangled with the networking), I'm just going to take that library out completely. There's other multi-platform threading solutions (CS has theirs; if I was starting a project from scratch, I'd probably use Boost's), so I don't see the need to complicate the networking library by trying to also work with the threading library.

Any thoughts? If somebody wants to take over the threading library, they're more than welcome to. I may want to take it back later, depending on what all happens, but for now I don't see a need for it.

RaptorNL / Linux Magazine: Why MPI is inadequate
« on: September 18, 2006, 12:52:53 pm »
One of the things I mentioned in the RaptorNL initial post was that I am considering (eventually!) putting support for MPI (or something similar, maybe even home-grown) into the library. I ran across this article on Linux Magazine's website (registration required) that basically goes into why MPI is inadequate. I'd like more information on the socket-based solutions and clustering software referenced in the article, but I'm sure there's articles about that stuff elsewhere on the site (and definitely on other websites out there). At any rate, here ya go - let's start a discussion about this. I figure Precursors especially will need support for multiprocessing (not just multithreading), so this is something we need to give more than due consideration to.

General Discussion / The ChubbChubbs!
« on: September 17, 2006, 10:39:37 pm »
Ran across this video randomly on YouTube a few minutes ago. Slightly silly for my taste, but VERY funny, especially for the number of movie references they got into the 5-minute short.

Oh, and the little yellow critters are just cute as hell, aren't they?

RaptorNL / Start of the RaptorNL project
« on: September 14, 2006, 09:16:23 pm »
Just an intro post: I've started development on RaptorNL, a semi-successor project to HawkNL. It is taking the original HawkNL code and updating it to provide a more powerful and feature-filled library. Check out it's Trac page, and check the code out of Subversion: svn:// . Right now it's exactly the code that's in HawkNL 1.7 beta 1, but that's soon to change, so make note of the address.

Three important notes:

1) Unless somebody can do a kickass-awesome job convincing me, I am not intending to keep backwards compatibility with HawkNL. If I have to break API compatibility because I think I can do it better, I will. This is designed to be a completely new library, after all. :)

2) HawkNL was released under the LGPL. I can't think of any reason not to release RaptorNL under the same license. So please feel free to make use of it in your own games.

5) Since I do most of my development under Linux, if somebody wants to volunteer to be in charge of Windows builds, I wouldn't say no... :P  Of course, we're needing somebody to be a Windows dev for Precursors and Alluvion, too, if you're interested in REALLY getting in deep.

Aside from that, welcome to the RaptorNL board!

General Discussion / SequenceL Website goes live!
« on: September 06, 2006, 07:46:43 pm »
A few of you know that I am working with Dr. Cooke in the Computer Science department here on his SequenceL language. Well, we have officially taken the website "live", so feel free to visit!

However, please realize that this is designed for actual use and development of SequenceL. Please do not start the message board games (e.g., corrupt a wish, etc.), and if you register and post on the forums, PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY do it intelligently! As a collary, realize that just because our forum here is relaxed (e.g., allows cursing, etc.) doesn't mean that the SequenceL forums should, or will. NASA engineers will be visiting the website, for crying out loud, so let's keep it professional.

That said, I hope you take the opportunity to learn about SequenceL - try downloading the interpreter and playing around with the language, for starters. If you have any suggestions, feel free to PM me or create a new post on SequenceL forums.

Precursors / A game worth noting - possible huge competitor
« on: August 22, 2006, 12:50:38 am »
Was looking through at various 3D engines (I still wonder on occasion whether Crystal Space is the best choice. Please don't shoot me), and came across a thread describing this guy's journal. Apparently, he's working on a game that's very close to what we're trying to do. I'd suggest seeking teaming up with him, but I don't know what all would be involved - his game is a LOT further along and has much more of a following than Precursors does.

Just thought I'd throw it out there - at least helps to know what our competition is going to be.

Oh, and check out the absolutely fucking gorgeous bad news.

Precursors / Idea for opening screen
« on: August 21, 2006, 04:14:41 am »
I was thinking the other day and came up with an idea for the opening screen. It's kinda borrowed from Battlefield 1942, though modified for Precursors. Granted, this is an idea for much later on, but I wanted to free up the space on my closet mirror (scratchpad - yay for whiteboard markers) :).

When you start up the game, instead of just the blank background like we have now, have more activity in the background. Perhaps something like a space battle that's either recorded from in-game or via a pre-scripted system. Likely we'd record a default set of in-game battles, but I'm thinking the player will be able to record their own space battles, so why not let the user select a certain set of vids to randomly choose from to play at the start? Whether the user wants to just show their ship gracefully gliding over an asteroid, weaving back and forth between missiles and laser shots from a cruiser, or getting blown up in an explosion that was just "too cool for wordz," the opening screen will show it as the user is selecting profile, logging into the server, etc. Give something with more activity in the background, make things more interesting, provide an area of personalization, and be just plain kickass.

What do y'all think?

General Announcements / Website layout discussion
« on: July 11, 2006, 05:00:42 pm »
Since y'all are planning on redoing the website, I figured I'd start a thread to discuss the layout, colours (u's in honour of our new webmaster :)), etc.

I noticed y'all put the blog plugin on the main website now. (I'm referring to the main Trac page as the "main website" from here on out.) One suggestion, then, is to have the two column layout, but have one column for all the stuff at the top, and another column for the blog entries. I think this makes a bit more sense - the stuff currently at the top should all fit on one page, even when stuck in a single column, and then the latest news will always be at the top for anyone visiting the site.

What do y'all think? What are other ideas y'all have for the website?

Precursors Artwork / An artist we may be interested in
« on: July 02, 2006, 05:45:47 am »

Came across this guy randomly a few minutes ago. Looking for good wallpapers, saw this page, and wanted to get the wallpaper. Check out his stuff - I think this is someone we'd definitely want to contact about doing Precursors art.

What do y'all think?

Edit: Found the wallpaper:
Edit2: Notice when he submitted that - June 18 of this year. He's a current artist.

All in all - 16 years old, already DAMN good. Skilled in "Photoshop 7.0, 3D Studio Max, Cinema 4D", so he could (presumably) do some modelling + concept art work for us. I'd say let's talk about him doing some volunteer work for us for now. We won't be ready to begin particularly employing anybody till he's 18 anyways, so child labor won't be a problem then.

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