We did it! Due to mysterious heroes and a fortunate time anomaly, they managed to get a SIGBOVIK together after all. The proceedings are like 350 pages, with papers from all over the place! They are supposed to be up on the SIGBOVIK 2023 website soon. The conference went pretty smoothly although we didn't get everything done as slickly (no livestream, etc.) as has happened in the past. There were a number of people who wanted to meet me at the event (and/or sign their body parts, etc.), including some students who made the trip from Rochester (!), which is cool but also still a strange experience.
I submitted one paper, which is called GradIEEEnt Half Decent, though it is a multi-part affair. I gave a talk today, and I'm working on a video for it, although it's a bit much to get a long paper, a talk, and a video all done for the same moment these days. Maybe this weekend, or otherwise soon because I'm eager to be done with this darn thing (and excited about the projects that are queued up!)
Speaking of eager to be done, I am still addicted to COD of Duty 2: Modern Warfare 2, but I decided that I can retire once I get every gun to its maximum level. I am almost done with this, and I already did all the intolerable ones like the riot shield and PILA (more like PILE A' shit, amirite?), so that will be nice, and I can move back to the artful games before no doubt getting sucked into the Breath of the Wild sequel.
Lastly, the local NPR station did a segment about my "Pac Tom" project, which aired on Wednesday. You can listen or read on their site. I like the way it came out (though I wish I had provided a better audio feed—I must have screwed something up hooking it into Zoom, which I was using for the first time!) and a lot of people mentioned that they heard it on the radio, so I was also happy to learn that radio lives on!
I have this ridiculous moustache now that I grew in preparation for our vacation to Miami Beach. It's is what you could call a "handlebar moustache", the kind that can be twirled into little upturning curls at the ends, although that configuration is not very stable so it's often pointing down like an extremely exaggerated frown. I have in mind to shave the moustache, but, as with every time I have some facial hair the calculus is like, Now I have something of value, so you don't just go shaving something of value. In particular I am thinking of some scenes for this upcoming video I am making, and that the scenes would be funnier with a moustache. So that is what's going on with the face part of me right now.
I've finished up that silly project I started writing about in post #1207 but that then got interrupted by several other things (e.g. Pac Tom Finale). So now I just need to finish writing up the paper (and I made a big dent in writing it during vacation, which is one of the kinds of things I like to do when I'm on vacation, just wear my aviator sunglasses with the gradient tint and my ridiculous moustache and sit by the pool and write "research papers" on my iPad) and a video. This one is, like, not very relatable, so if you were disappointed that the Pac Tom video was too easy to understand, you may be less disappointed. I hope that we have a SIGBOVIK this year. It always feels like "maybe this is the year that the dream dies" around this time, until some hero emerges to organize it, but we do seem to be pushing it. It kind of has to be a CMU student organizing it, and at this point I don't really know any CMU students any more to try to talk into it. But even if there is no SIGBOVIK, I will make silly projects (although maybe never finish them due to No Deadlines).
Also embarrassing is that I keep getting sucked back into Cod Of Duty II: Cod. Warfare 2 (could be related to the World of Bouncecraft series?) since they keep putting up new chores that I can do to unlock new things that are a lot like the things I already unlocked, like guns that aren't good and high numbers and more chores. Which is also sad because it seems like there are a lot of other good games out there, like you just go on Steam and you see all these artful games, but you can't play them all, especially if you are nearly level 250 in Cod of Duty. An example of a "game" I have been "playing" is Acronymy.net, which was made by my friend David. It's basically self-explanatory, but I'll explain anyway: We're trying to build a full dictionary where each word is defined using an acronym (expansion of the word itself). So for example "gasket" is "gummy annular seal keeping everything tight." These are fun to make manually, but I've also been working on some tools for assisting that process, like using word2vec and some models I built myself, both because they're good toy problems and because I want to make good acronyms. Maybe a post with some more details about that in the future but for now I am feeling the Demand Upon the Yeomen.
Winter is a time for hibernation
(31 Jan at 23:54)
Oops! Almost forgot to post on time this month (rules really do not require me to wait until the last day of the month, by the way, but somehow I can't stop myself), but it looks like I'll barely make it.
Since I posted a very elaborate video last month and it was holiday break, I spent most of January doing relaxing things, like the hyperrealistic War and Chore simulator called "Call of Duty II: Modern Warfare 2" (or something like that). I think it's actually pretty good if you like that sort of thing, but when I'm playing online I'm playing on "hard" mode since I mute myself and everybody else; I just can't handle listening to these people. Better to just anonymously kill each other in an endless loop. And then I got self-conscious about playing co-op missions with muted teammates, so I've been doing the co-op missions (e.g. "DMZ") solo. I think I've almost unlocked everything, so hopefully I can wind that down soon.
I did start work on a project that excites me, although it's looking pretty daunting. I think it will be fun to try and perhaps even produce a good story if it fails. But I also have been putting together some kind of finale for the mysterious project that I began when I had covid this summer and that got pretty out of hand. I'm currently in the phase where I can clearly do something with it, but I need to invent the right puzzle for myself that is both "possible" and "not too easy," and whose rules are "horrifying" but "elegant in their way." You know? It's a weird design space but one that I have some practice in.
OK, time to submit right before the clock strikes midnight!
The Pac Tom site now has the final data, but the video is the definitive way to see it!
I added the downloadable Soundtrack for completionists. I was horrified to find, when watching this video with some friends after I uploaded, that I had accidentally muted one of the audio tracks for the "final" version. You can rectify this by playing "Street (Trap Remix)" at exactly 11:58.
November is really busy 'round here, although I think that's basically over now (I mean the busy time, although also November).
I spent pretty much all of Thanksgiving break working on this Pac Tom video, which is well underway (but which I am already now quite sick of!). I'm trying a new approach to the planning and execution of this one, being more deliberate about deciding on the scenes and "script" ahead of time, and then trying to have fewer edits in the voiceover for a bit of a smoother flow (and hopefully less painful editing). It's too soon to tell if this is actually helping the quality or reducing the amount of edits, but at least it's some different puzzles to solve than I'm used to. Since there's no built-in deadline, though, and I can jump around from part to part, I have found myself getting distracted by minute details, like e.g. I wanted to have the exact correct font from PAC-MAN so I dumped the ROMs to extract it and then decided I might as well finish off the missing ASCII character set, giving us pac-man.ttf. Anyway I think I should be able to get it done this month, which is good because I'm already itching to move onto other projects (including finishing up that other weird thing I started in the summer which may just end up being a "regular" SIGBOVIK project at this point?).
I did insulate a lot of the attic, but nobody really wants to hear about that!
I played through Rogue Legacy 2, which I liked. It's a platform roguelike (really a "roguelite" since it leans heavily on the permanent progress you make by gaining gold/xp with each run), a genre that tempts me in a few times a year and then usually makes me regret the amount of time I spend trying to win. This sequel was a significant improvement over the first one (which I played many years ago and liked OK, but would not particularly recommend). This one has vastly better art and a more interesting castle to explore, and for the part where you're discovering the parts of the castle and abilities ("Metroidvania"-style) it was really nice. In the endgame I felt there was a bit too much grinding to power-up your character and that the grinding was more repetitive than it needed to be (maybe my own mistake for focusing mostly on my favorite classes; but Boxer and Ronin are just so much better than the ranged weapon classes, for example??). When I won it seemed like there was a lot of stuff left that I hadn't seen, so I tried another pass in NG+ but that did not seem worth it. Anyway, the game overall was very solid if you like this sort of thing. It did somehow make me nostalgic for Spelunky 2 as well (pretty much my all time favorite) so I have been doing the daily challenges recently, but I have pretty much lost all my skills in that game. [:embarrassed emoji:]