"All right action flows from the breath"
- Hajakujo

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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Statistics is fun!

Hans Rosling gives it welly. On the development of the world since 1962.
This is interesting as, with the right kind of eyes, you can almost imagine accompanying slides demonstrating the trends associated with global warming over the same forty-year time period - and they would correlate.
Development in the Western world is not to blame for global environmental destruction - we are driving smaller cars, our families are at a stable size, economic growth is in low single digits. No, the blame is solely that of our vision. We are outnumbered many times by the huddled masses (that we huddled), and we gave them an economic model to follow that relies on exploitation and rapine. We told them they needed a western economy to enjoy the 'benefits' of a western lifestyle, and never once incentivised them to follow that model but with sensitivity to their own surroundings. In fact, we actively participated in the rape of mother nature. And you know what that makes us - mother fuckers*.
Gooooood Morning the West!

* For more on our shit-ness (actually mostly that of UK/US&A), see my previous post and hope the link is still valid.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Creative Computing @ Coleraine

In case the Posting post wasn't obvious enough, my research group has a new site, in blog format, created by ME!
Go there or go to hades...


As I said last post, conference this week in big Dubbers.
But, ok, I'm actually in town for a gig by Tool, contemporary kings of hard rock. Makes them sounds like Nashville country stars...hmm. Maybe modern Emperors of metal rock. Imperator musica!
The heirs to Zeppelin, in innovation, uncomprised excellence in both form and function, dedication to quality over commerce - it is fitting that they have produced the best Zeppelin cover to date in No Quarter. And if you count their sister band A Perfect Circle (basically the same members, but in a more reflective and politcal vein), also When the Levee Breaks. That one goes the other way, not powerhouse at all but interesting and delicate.

And coincidently (or not, as one might say that there is no such thing as coincidence), last week the Zep where inducted in the UK Hall of fame - maybe you saw it?
If not here's a clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSYscoIx69A
A fair bit of waffle to start and then mostly clips from the DVD, but the end is worth it!

Of course its not that impressive to get into the hall of fame when Bonzo's already dining in the Hall of the Gods, drumming and boozing and shagging all at once like fuckin shiva, but the time will come for that for all of us.

Hail to the Gods of Rock!


CGAMES, 22nd-24th November, DIT Aungier Street, Dublin 2. Heading to my third conference this week, not on the back of any effort or work this time but as a volunteer. Gonna slide in and network for all I'm worth with the minimum of effort expended. Tie up a pretty good year on the self-promotion of my research front...

First off I wrote a paper, User-System-Experience Model for User Centred Design in Computer Games, expressing my understanding of gameplay, adaptivity, and the play experience as it stood. Quite a lot to squeeze into a little 5 page piece - took me longer to edit down than to write up! Accepted to Adaptive Hypermedia 2006, a pretty shit-hot conference even if I was only part of the Doctorial Consortium stream. Nice freebies, anyway :D
Next the reading I was doing led me to look at Information theory and eventually do some experiments on player modelling in Pacman using predictive methods - Using Decision Theory for Player Analysis in Pacman. Wrote that up for a promising-looking workshop in Roma (a favoured place, although more for the people than the locale), organised by the right honourable Yannkakis.
Then in swift succesion, writing up the 1 year confirmation report, attending AH'06 and back again for my confirmation hearing.
A summer of - not very much at all, but solidified my ideas on games, players and experience as information systems. Now it has all been turned into a journal paper (link when i get published!) and seminar. This will form the theoretical underpinning to my practical work, and there is a much clearer idea behind the point of it all than there was when
Thereafter, attended the workshop in Roma (proceedings here), then had myself a holiday in Venice (che bellissimo!). Formed some resolutions with the other delegates about the value of the workshop (it was the inaugural year, the form of its future was under question), leading to the formation of the 'Optimising Player Satisfaction in Computer Games' mailing list. Also I wrote a review on the C^3 blog.
Now that the journal and seminar are nearly done with, its almost time to begin a new phase of the PhD, with practical overtaking theoretical and coding trumping reading. I hope! I could wallow in papers and books forever, its a steep-sided slops pit of knowledge and I do manage to be productive within it.
But the little gods of computing demand a sacrificial offering, and I am not yet wont to follow the Lightbringer and carve out my own domain. So next up - Pacman!


Saturday, November 18, 2006


Mad, brilliant, slight, intuitive and effervescent. And even if you're crap at the game, you can amuse yourself reading the savage french put-downs that commentate on your game:
"Oulalala, as-tu moins un cerveau?"


My top score: 28.899 seconds

Beat that!

Friday, November 17, 2006


Been busy whoring my blogging time to the man, to build this quite amazing edifice to our collective research efforts. Of course, if you build it, they usually still have to be forced to come. So its a little light on traffic, or posts. Hope that changes...

Catch a powerpoint exposition of my latest ideas and work either on the group page, or here. Delivered this powerpoint in a seminar talk not two hours ago. It was marching boldly once more onto the breach, dear friends, as my detestation of public speaking, and the undernourished state of my explanations of what's been going on inside my tiny mind combined to make it a gruelling talk - however the realisation that I actually know quite a lot about the subject now made the following question time much more fun. I have the answers!