world database

Bad Taste

CONTEXT: Party of five has entered a magical “simulation” of sorts. My character, a bestial monk (a custom merfolk race that’s much more fish/sharklike than normal) had managed to scare off a small army of orcs single-handed through the help of a crit. The monk never gave their name, so for the time being, they were called “Fish.”

DM (IC as the simulation console): The remaining orcs shriek and suddenly vanish as the world shakes. “Error. Database overhaul. Spiking…” Suddenly a massive orc, fifty foot tall appears, covered in smoke and wisps of flames as it holds a massive war axe, a single red eye burning bright.

The rest of the party proceeds to take their turns, attacking the giant orc for varying amount of damage.

ME (IC, after rolling yet another 20 on a climb check): Fish slithered up behind the avatar, snarling like a crazed animal as it made a wild attempt to scale up its leg and sank its teeth into it for extremely minor damage. …That CAN’T taste good.

PALADIN (OOC): Is… Is.. Is it bad that I’m like fucking dying laughing over that?

ME (OOC): No. It’s honestly insanely silly.

PALADIN (OOC): “You bite into the aspect. It tastes like blood and ballsweat.”

The party all starts uncontrollably laughing.

DM (IC): It does not. It tastes like cinders, rotten flesh and blood.

PALADIN (OOC): … And ballsweat

In a way Mr World is the modern equivalent of Odin, the All Father, with his surveillance equipment and world databases, that all seeing overlord thing he has going on. You see it with Mr Wednesday and his birds, who were there watching Shadow and Laura all through Git Gone, who were there when Laura died, and are monitoring Shadow and reporting back to Wednesday so that he can show up to interrupt their reunion. Then Mr World comes in wanting Mr Wednesday to become an underling of his, like Media and Technical Boy, to be a brand name under his umbrella, and even though Wednesday looks temporarily intrigued by the idea of his name on a missile, he’s never going to want to be an underling. He was the All Father. He used to be Mr World. There’s no way he’s gonna submit to be something less. To him that is death because he wants to be the top god not just one of Mr World’s yes men.

On the other hand, it’s funny considering how Odin is part of the Marvel comics and the MCU, and that’s how he’s most visible these days. It’s really interesting since the novel American Gods came out before the Thor movies, but the TV show is airing around the same time as Thor Ragnorak. In a way you could see them as Mr Wednesday’s capitulation to Media, currently he is seen and remembered primarily as a fictional character under the Marvel/Disney brand. (Though he was still pretty big in like, the heavy metal scene and such before then). Not sure what I’m saying except that all these old gods are primarily kept alive through Media already.

I vote that we, the women of the english speaking world, should make a database of shitty men.

It should include their name(s), their location(s), and the things they did that make them horrible people. I’m talking everything from assault to rape to cheating to sexism to extremist ideals, anything that someone should KNOW about a guy before engaging in a friendship or romantic relationship with them.

Anyone think this might be a good idea?

When Humans Lose, They Win
Tales From The IBM Playground

From our chess champion, Deep Blue, to our more recent Jeopardy! superstar, Watson, IBM Researchers love demonstrating and exploring the endless possibilities of technology through man vs. machine Grand Challenges. Now, in 2014, machine competitors are no big deal, but in 1997, when Deep Blue beat the greatest chess champion in the world, millions were in awe. A little playing around foreshadowed a world in which massive database searches would be commonplace.

Roles in the Industry: The Gameplay Programmer

Some people love game development, and are more technically-minded than others and are more interested in the actual nuts and bolts of how things work. These types of people love to solve problems - the “how” is as important as the “what”. Finding a solution that works is what drives these folks, and they end up being programmers. It is on the backs of these people that video games are even possible - they are very much the glue and mortar that hold all games together. Today, I’m specifically going to talk about a key role in the industry - the gameplay programmer.

I’ve realized that not everyone understands what different flavors of programmers actually do, ever since one misguided individual once tried to convince me that every programmer on the team is technically a gameplay programmer because they all work on the game on some level. This is not true at all - gameplay programming is its own specialization, just like graphics programmer, physics programmer, or network programmer. When companies are hiring a gameplay programmer, they will look specifically for qualifications for a gameplay programmer.

What a gameplay programmer actually does is work directly with the game designers to support them and build the tools and systems they need. So, for example, if you wanted to build a power up system for a game, the designer would work with the programmer to come up with a set of rules for how the power ups work (there are these many different power ups, they activate when you touch them, they last for 30 seconds, they provide these discrete bonuses when active, if you touch a new power up it overwrites the old one, you can only have one power up active at a time, etc.), and then it is up to the programmer to actually write the code that handles what the system does. This is what engineering is all about - finding a solution that works for the task at hand and considering (and preparing for) the potential future issues that might crop up (what if we want more power ups? What if we want power ups with different individual durations? What if we want to be able to tweak the strength of individual power ups while in game?).

The best gameplay programmers are the ones who can think about things both from a designer’s perspective (how do we make this fun, intuitive, and interesting?) but also consider all of the technical constraints at the same time (we can only show 12 fully-animating characters at a time, this system is not efficient enough, it’s crashing because we’re overflowing the memory we allocated to it). They work hand-in-hand with the designer, and often get to make design calls as well because of their familiarity with the technology that is being used to make these game systems function. This can result in some very interesting problems to solve, like the ones I had to deal with when I created a grab system for a first-person shooter. I’ll illustrate.

The feature: My action hero walks up to an enemy, grabs him, and then kills him in some spectacular, cinematic-looking fashion.

Considerations that must be made while working with the game designer:

  • How do we keep this from getting dull? (multiple different grabs)
  • How do we decide what sort of grabs to use? (Motion capture the grabs, get animators to direct the action)
  • Is there a difference between a grab from the front, or a grab from behind? (yes - if the victim is aware of the hero, then it will be a grab from the front. If the victim is not, it will be a grab from behind and a stealth kill)
  • What happens when you grab someone while other enemies are shooting you? (You can take damage up to 50% of your health dependent on difficulty level, but cannot actually die while grabbing someone)

Considerations that the programmer must make on his or her own:

  • What happens if the hero and the victim are at different heights? 
  • What’s the maximum range of motion for the grab?
  • When the player initiates a grab, does the player move to the victim, or does the victim move to the player? How do you ensure the player or the victim is left in a legitimate position and doesn’t get stuck in something?
  • What do we do if the player tries to perform a grab in a place where the hero will not have enough room to do the full grab animation?

That last question in particular took me months of work to solve, and even then I didn’t solve it completely by the time the game shipped. As you can see, being a programmer is about solving problems even moreso than the designer - you have to really figure out all of the bits of the problem and solve them all. But you also have much more in-depth knowledge of how the entire system works. You get to create those systems. You get to be the first to see something awesome happen, and you get to be the one to feel good to know that every time a player grabs an enemy and kills him in a spectacular fashion, that was something you did. Every time the NBA player puts his hand in the right spot and blocks a shot, that was something you did. There’s really a strong sense of ownership knowing that it was code you wrote and debugged directly that makes these features actually happen.

One of the things that is incredibly important to gameplay programmers is a strong grasp of mathematics, particularly vectors and 3D math. I constantly hear high school and college kids wonder aloud what they’d ever use the math they’re learning for. I’ll tell you that if you ever want to get into gameplay programming, you will need math. When I’m doing software engineering work, I use it all the time. Once I sat down to have lunch with some of my university friends, and we talked it over. Between the three of us - a microchip designer who designs RF chips for cell phones, a database software engineer who works for a major major database company (the one who does all of the databases for World of Warcraft, Fortune 500 companies, etc.), and me… I’m the one who uses math the most often. But if you think about it, it makes sense given the sort of tasks a gameplay programmer needs to do.

One of the most common questions I’ve seen at job interviews (including ones I’ve given) is a math question. Let’s suppose that you’ve got a gun somewhere in a world and it has a position (where it is) and an orientation (direction it’s pointing). You also have a circular target in the world somewhere and it has a position (where it is), an orientation (which way it’s facing), and a radius (how big around the target is). The question is… if the gun were to fire, would it hit the target?

How do you answer this question? The answer is in the math… you’re looking at vector math here, and you need to be able to calculate this sort of thing because being able to tell whether a gun hits its target, whether your character is visible to an enemy, whether a position on the map is reachable, or even whether a punch will connect all require some amount of math, as well as the ability to visualize how these things are represented in 3 dimensional space.

For students interested in solving problems at a more fundamental level, you’ll want to study computer science and math in school. I can’t stress this enough, because it’s very much needed if you really want to make games.

For those who are interested in becoming a programmer and don’t have the option of formal schooling, I would suggest studying and learning basic programming principles, especially how object-oriented programming works. You should also study data structures and algorithms - these are means to create more efficient solutions, and the speed at which your solutions run is very important when you are trying to make a game run at a good frame rate. Learn the basics of how physics works… basic concepts for Newtonian physics are useful - how objects move, and how acceleration affects them. And finally math - there are a lot of online resources that will teach the basics for vectors. More specifically, you must know how matrices are used to represent positions and orientations, what a dot product and cross product are, and how they can be used to calculate positions in 3 dimensions.

It really isn’t as complicated as it sounds, but that’s why it’s incredibly important to find a teacher who can explain the concepts in a way you understand. Knowing how things are represented in 3 dimensions and how to get from point A to point B quickly are incredibly valuable skills to game developers, and will carry you far if you choose to pursue a career in development. Being a gameplay programmer is a fun and rewarding job, because you are literally there where the rubber meets the road. You are the one who gets to make the game feel responsive, you are the one who gets to make the game system actually work, you are the one who gets to adjust and tune and tweak all the little bits to make everything come together smoothly, and being able to point at a feature or a mechanic and say “I did that. That’s me.” in a game that’s on the shelf is an incredibly rewarding feeling.

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FRIENDSHIP /‘frendʃɪp/ Friendship is a relationship of mutual affection between two or more people. Friendship is a stronger form of interpersonal bond than an association. Friendship has been studied in academic fields such associology, social psychology, anthropology, and philosophy. Various academic theories of friendship have been proposed, includingsocial exchange theory, equity theory, relational dialectics, and attachment styles. A World Happiness Database study found that people with close friendships are happier. Although there are many forms of friendship, some of which may vary from place to place, certain characteristics are present in many types of friendship. Such characteristics include affection, sympathy, empathy, honesty, altruism, mutual understanding, and compassion, enjoyment of each other’s company, trust, and the ability to be oneself, express one’s feelings, and make mistakes without fear of judgment from the friend. While there is no practical limit on what types of people can form a friendship, friends tend to share common backgrounds, occupations, or interests, and have similar demographics. This is what friendship is according to Wikipedia. Friendship, for me, is one of those things that are essencial for us, human beings. As social animals, we tend to be attracted to what’s different from us or what is alike. My friends are the best friends a girl could ask for. The majority of them have been there for 7 years and there are some that have been with me since I was 8-9 years old. And then, there’s my twinnie Sonia. 17 years of friendship going on strong. There are many that just re-entered my life and i’m glad they’re here, with me. And the most recent ones have been my friends for 3 years (which is nothing but a lot at the same time) I take friendships v seriously. And it takes a while (many many years) for me to call someone my friend. I have laughed and cried with them and we have a shit ton of memories together. They are the family i have chosen. My friends are my family. Just like albert is 💑💏💕 true friendship never dies. And these humans have been there through thick and thin. Now it’s time for CELEBRATION but they were there when times were difficult. Having them as my family makes me happy. They make me the happiest girl alive, along with albert 😍😶 and i cannot thank them enough. I love them more than words can express. WE CUTE. WE CUTE 🎊🎉🎀👪 nicole (nikki), mireia (mimi), javier, sergi (ayyy mi niño), amanda, javi, steffy (stef), marta, cris, miquel (miki), sara (promETIDA💅/fiancée #2), sergio, david (relojes de arenaaaa. My lovely rapper frand💕 i will be promiting him on here bc i do as i please and bc i can 😉), laura (bae😘), ariana (ari. we be twinning bc she knows my moon is in virgo and she’s a virgo. Such a smart gir and such a beautiful friend😇), carla (she’s my ACTUAL fave), tamara (tammy), anna (my favourite singer and my dear friend. She’s better than u bc she signs v well and she plays 5 instruments. When will u ever? Never. Met her through the choir and i couldn’t be more thankful), didac (lazy lil 💩 lmao i adore him), cristinaaaa (my lil virgo friend and the hottest blondie in da city), dana (she’s so wild 😂), sonia (she’s my person, my twin, my everythinggggg👭💕), cris, marina (i love you and i’m glad we decided to start fresh), naz, laura, montse, judit, chei (cannot wait to hug her soon), evelyn, ana, andrea, isma, zahra (the baddest bish in the city♏), mel (i miss her omg), david, the whole choir (i miss them and i’ll go back to the choir in september. I’m crying of happinesa😢💞), laura, victor, aurora, maria, LAIA (LAIZZZ, my dear friend whom i love bc she’s a wonderful person and although she’s v closed off (like moi) she can be the funniest and such an excellent person to be around. And she sings like christina aguilera eNOUGH SAID. Also met her through the choir and couldn’t be more thankful), laia, nerea, eli…💕

💓 when you are awesome like me, God blesses you with the best friends and the greatest boyfriend 😗 💓

Multnomah Falls is a waterfall on the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge, located east of Troutdale, between Corbett and Dodson, along the Historic Columbia River Highway. The falls drops in two major steps, split into an upper falls of 542 feet (165 m) and a lower falls of 69 feet (21 m), with a gradual 9 foot (3 m) drop in elevation between the two, so the total height of the waterfall is conventionally given as 620 feet (189 m). Multnomah Falls is the tallest waterfall in the state of Oregon. It is credited by a sign at the site of the falls, and by the United States Forest Service, as the second tallest year-round waterfall in the United States. However, there is some skepticism surrounding this distinction, as Multnomah Falls is listed as the 137th tallest waterfall in the United States by the World Waterfall Database (this site does not distinguish between seasonal and year-round waterfalls).

(By: Jeremy Jonkman)

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7 Questions for Herpetologist (and Taxonomist) Darrel Frost

Herpetology Curator Darrel Frost thinks of himself as a lizard guy, but he’s perhaps best known for creating and maintaining Amphibian Species of the World, an online database and classification system that now lists about 7,000 amphibian species.

Dr. Frost (recently featured in episode 2 of Shelf Life) sat down with us to talk about taxonomy, advantages of new technology, and the strange bedfellows of scientific classification. Read the Q&A now on the Museum blog.