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And now, May (31 May 2013 at 00:11)
Hello! These days I don't post that often to this here Radar, though I do like to make sure I hit the once-a-month minimum. My attention sort of drifts from venue to venue and currently it is on Twitter. But anyway, some summer summaries:

My SIGBOVIK paper about a simple general NES AI, foretold in a recent post, had an accompanying video that became quite popular, getting almost half a million views. At about 16 minutes, that's over 15 years of people-time spent watching that thing, which is still weird to think about. It spawned a bunch of press, of varying quality and accuracy. The New Yorker article is good, and it appears in such unlikely sources as Chemical & Engineering News. Some of it hilariously misses the point. I've been working on follow-ups to the NES work, specifically video collecting a bunch more games and some more interesting visualizations of what's going on during the playing process. But now I'm kinda a perfectionist about it so don't hold your breath.


For Object Jam we put together a game that also sort of misses the point. It was a real-things adventure game starring several magnetic tetrahedra called "Tetraheroes". In practicing my video editing skillz I put together this rapidly-cut movie of the one and only playthrough which is kind of like the world's longest Vine.


I went to Japan! It was really interesting and fun and I recommend it. At some point maybe I'll get to my massive backlog of photos and write some stories down, since there were some good ones, but I've sort of realized that taking photos is more fun than retouching and posting them. For me the highlights: Hiroshima, which was a nice fun city with the looming spectre of the Atom Bomb, and it was a very powerful and moving experience to actually be there. Tokyo, which is just an amazing place that we could easily have spent the whole two weeks exploring just that. Hanging out with natives, which we only did at the very end, but it was perfect to see the real culture and I beat one of the guys in an inebriated Street Fighter IV match and learned enough Japanese to invent a few jokes that worked on drunk people.


I became a member at the new TechShop in Pittsburgh, which is kind of like a gym but instead of exercise machines they have power tools. I've been taking classes and I have a few projects in mind, which for sure I will share here if I succeed at them. So far my favorite tool is of course the Flow waterjet cutter, which is basically a computer-controlled Super Soaker that can cut through several inches of plate steel no big deal.


Up next is a trip to Denver for a wedding; I'll be in the woods but I am looking forward to extending my GPS trail collection of places in the world where I've run ("3D World Runner"). Among other things like hanging out with my good friends, you know.
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Anonymous (66.18.8.130) – 06.26.13 15:20:54
I just watched your video about teaching a computer to play video games. Great job on the success of your project, and fixing Mario to not die of old age in level 1-2 on the coin shelf.

I was just thinking, what would happen if you put the results of playfun into learnfun? That way the computer can learn from itself, improve on things done well in the game to help it improve the "score" or whatever means it did better, and fix/remove things that made the game play worse. The computer would really have to have a great definition of the goal in order to strive to achieve it, and improve on the initial input. Eventually, maybe the program could just work off of an end goal, and create it's own random input to start from, then improve itself after each iteration. Many iterations later maybe it could attain that goal.

Just a thought. I would love to see any results of how well or bad this suggestion is, or how well you were able to implement it.
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