Yet Another Graphomaniacs Compendium
Thursday, February 28, 2002

What do you mean, I remind you of John Lennon?


One of the first computer programs I ever played with or attempted to understand was a cut down version of the famous Eliza program that Joseph Wiezenbaum described in his seminal work Computer Power and Human Reason. mostly to blast it's competence as a psychotherapist. Which it never pretended to be. The trick was to take an input sentence like "I hate you because of my dreams". The sentence would then be conjugated, thus : "You hate me because of my dreams", and then be spat back at the user. "Why do you hate me because of your dreams?". A further twist would be to use a keyword like "dreams", so that occasionally the reply to the above sentence would be "I see, tell me about your dreams.".


Amazingly this facade fooled many people. However, the state of the art appears to have moved on to some degree. There is a whole page devoted to these things, amazingly : The Simon Laven Page.


This, however, has to be the best use of the technology yet: just imagine reams of automated John Lennon wibble. Spike Milligan deservers a similar tribute, at the very least.

posted by John Connors at
Thursday, February 28, 2002

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A Simple Game


This article reminded me of the fact there is no such thing as a simple game. I well remember working on a small platform game: one level, three enemies, to be given away as a piece of promotional freeware. This is a bit of easy, I thought. It will be over in a couple of weeks. No it wasn't. The ordeal taught me respect for planning, stamina and the merits of a large bit of graph paper for level design.

posted by John Connors at
Thursday, February 28, 2002

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Wednesday, February 27, 2002

Spike Milligan, R.I.P.


I remember reading the Goon show scripts and learning for the first time, the immense difference between the written word and it's spoken delivery. The gap between the flat words on the page, and the immensly energetic, rapid fire delivery, accompained by all kinds of hilarious foley. The gap is between the written word and the delivery of comic genius. Sic transit goonery mundi.

posted by John Connors at
Wednesday, February 27, 2002

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Tuesday, February 26, 2002

Cities and Memory


It's intersting that the first two Invisible Cites of Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities are about Cities and Memory. There is a sense in which cites are solid memories, crystalised into existence. Buildings and places symbolise events, lives, families and schools of art and philosophy. Also, there is the Art of Memory: a method used in older times to memorise things without writing them down: after having commited the layout and appearence of a larrge building to memory, one would place symbols of things that we wished to memorise in it, and the association between the visual memory of the buildings and the visual image of the symbol would ensure binding of the symbol to the long term memory. Now, of course this is a long neglected art, as literacy and paper have become ubiqtuous.

posted by John Connors at
Tuesday, February 26, 2002

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Crates of Crisps


This morning I was amused to see this month's crisp delivery, which consisted of about eight crates worth. How many crisps do 50 hungry game developers eat in a month? Lets's see: two packets of crisps per game developer per day.. that's 100 crisps per day. Multiply that by about 325 working days per developer and that's 32,500 packets of crisps a year. Say, 30p per packets of crisps and you have a studio with a 9,750 pound, or 13,650 dollar crisp budget. Note for Americans: crisps are, in this instance potato chips. No wonder the lone wolf developer is dead.

posted by John Connors at
Tuesday, February 26, 2002

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Tuesday, February 12, 2002

Open Source and Games


There's something about open source games that I don't understand: all the successful ones seem to be copies or derivative of existing games: the SDL games competion winner, for
example was a clone of breakout. Flightgear is essentially a tribute to Microsoft Flight Simulator. The influence on Freecraft is obvious.


Why is it like this? When you have no deadline and no financial risk involved, why copy something else? If you have the chance to work on a decent open source project for a length of time, why not do something that breaks the mould? Perhapse because a commercial development outfit will nick the idea and profit from it? Cynical, moi?

posted by John Connors at
Tuesday, February 12, 2002

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Sunday, February 10, 2002

When the scribes on all the people shove and bawl allegiance to the state.


Every blogger in the known universe, or the ones that actually pay attention to the rest of the world, seem to be expressing an opinion on
Bush's State of the Union speech. Lets roll. Lets roll a spliff. I've no doubt the world will be a better place without the current governments of North Korea,
and Iraq, quite possibly Iran, too, although you can forgive Europeans for being a tad twitchy about the prospect of apopocalypse in the Middle
East, can't you? I hope so. Personally I think that Bush has failed completely to get it. He's as lost as the WWI generals repeatedly ordering ten of thousands
"over the top" in a vain attepmt to charge machine - guns. He's not fighting governments any more but an international
organisation. The toppling of the Taliban is presented as a huge victory, and it's is an important battle that has been won. However, in a world that
allows capital and people to move and mix freely on a global level, al-Qaeda is a moving target. Pick on other countries all you like. They are easy
targets, they don't move: but that the way to win battles, not the war: new tactics are needed for a new world, otherwise it's going to be the same as that
other drawn, out unwinnable war. The one on drugs. However, this makes a fantastic computer game scenario, so I'm not complaining.


posted by John Connors at
Sunday, February 10, 2002

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Friday, February 08, 2002

Game Development - Redux.


Of course, game development does have it's moments. Here's one of them.

Starring the incredible Dakota Scott.

posted by John Connors at
Friday, February 08, 2002

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Saturday, February 02, 2002

Game Development? - Why do we DO it?


Game Devleopment. Late night work and no life: working 9am to 8pm, exhausted in front of a monitor to keep to a publishers deadline? The sweet smell of your colleagues similarly unwashed armpits? The bleary - eyed prodding of code all spaghettied to perdition while you vaguely wonder where on earth your friends are and what they have done since you last saw them three months ago. The cancellation of Christmas. The fact that your girlfriend becomes practically a stranger that you see once a month - all in the pursuit of the elusive relase date. Bloody hell. I'll tell you why. We do it for fun :)

posted by John Connors at
Saturday, February 02, 2002

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The Journal



A miscellany of topics that intersest me: deaf culture, game design, politics as soap opera, the cyborg condition and the experience of learning to hear again. Other topics presented are speculative fiction and imaginary cities. There are appearences of snippets of work in progress, public rants, pointless posts and Mish the Mouse.




The Writer

A lower middle class cyborg living an innocous life in a suburban village near Newcastle On Tyne, in the United Kingdom. Mostly autobiographical and creative notes posts and musings on the topic du jour.


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Links

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Lemonodor: mostly Lisp

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