Good Morning November 29th, 2016

Good morning on this the twenty ninth day of November, in the year of our Lord 2016.

So I’m actually writing this on my lunch break rather than first thing in the morning, but better late than never. I’ve been toying around with the idea of also recording these blog posts and turning them into a podcast. It seems that in the modern world, or at least in modern America, people who read things that are written are somewhat dividing up into two groups: those who read written words, and those who “read” them in audio formats. Especially significant in the latter, I believe, are all of the people who are cursed with a commute to work. Then having taken in a fair amount of writing, and having relatively little time outside of work after the time for their commute has been subtracted, they don’t have much time to read with their eyes. As such, this makes for in a sense two audiences, so that making recordings of the written word would mostly reach people who wouldn’t find it otherwise, rather than being redundant.

These daily posts are fairly short, so it wouldn’t take all that long to read them and then edit out any coughs, and I looked into it and wordpress supports the way itunes reads podcasts, since basically a podcast is just an RSS feed to a page with embedded audio. So I might give it a try. On the other hand, I need another time commitment like I need a hole in the head, as my grandmother used to say. It’s an idea, anyway, and it’s encouraging that I’ve gotten the feedback that people like my voice—generally people say it’s calming—though of course that’s self-selected feedback. (Who would listen to my videos if they hated my voice?)

Changing subjects, I’ve been thinking about The Order of the Wilds again. I’m coming to really like the basic idea—an rpg-minecraft hybrid game about warrior/mage who ventures out into the wilds to make them safe—and I think it could be extended in various ways to give it a lot of replay value. It would be fairly easy to add side-quests and alternate types of games. For example, there could be small settlements on the edges of the wilds, hermits, ancient ruins, etc. That could be a nice direction for expansion if the game gets at all popular (we’re talking about a release date like 3-10 years in the future). And the core game, of taming the wilds, has a lot of replay value in itself, I think, as long as the cities actually populate and are interesting to interact with. That’s more work than pure terrain would be, of course, but I think it can be done without requiring a team of 100 people. A big part of indie game developing is knowing your limitations and having a sense of what can be done on the cheap and what needs paid professionals (and then finding the intersection of those things and what would be fun to do).

I’ve also finished my first quick read-through of the Vulkan tutorial, and it confirms my initial suspicion. Vulkan is very verbose, because it is explicit about everything it does, but on the other hand a great deal of the setup work turns into functions you write that handles being explicit in the particular way you want to be, then you just use those and Vulkan becomes as easy to use as openGL or DirectX, but it’s faster (in some cases) and works better (in theory). So I think that soon I’m going to actually sit down and start really going through the tutorial with my editor open this time, actually writing code along with the tutorial.

I’m also working on a response to a question I got from a friend’s nephew about religion and probability. As so often happens it’s very easy to ask in a few words a question which can only be answered in many paragraphs. The basic question is about how it seems unlikely for anyone to actually correctly describe reality, though it’s put in probabilistic terms. In some very loose sense it’s a more intelligent variant of the popular meme, “there are 5000 gods but only yours is right”. The thing is, I need to address it from several angles simultaneously: on the one hand it presupposes knowledge is constructed, in the kantian fashion. On the other hand it also seems to presuppose that revelation isn’t true, because otherwise what human beings can get right isn’t very relevant if God simply told us what’s true. What a man can lift on his own is irrelevant if you know someone strong is helping him to do the lifting. There’s also simply the misunderstanding of probability, which says nothing about one-off events, though that’s comparatively minor to the other two. I suspect that my primary thrust will be about how things cannot be legitimately evaluated for truth on the assumption that they’re false. Even that’s a big subject, so I suspect it’s going to take me a while to formulate my response (especially since I’m going to try to keep it relatively brief).

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