Monday, March 31, 2014

Open sourcing ideas.

Has anyone ever considered the concept of open sourcing ideas? I mean, we obviously have open source software, and a lot of open sourcing of artist created assets. I realise there is a license issue, but I imagine a github like page for ideas. For the sake of this lets assume it's software related ideas.

People could submit an idea, and 'license' it open-source. Then anyone could just use the idea, attributing it back to the person with the idea. I realise the folly in this in that people could "close source" all ideas and the world would suck. Well I guess that already exists, it's called software patents. Argh.

Basically there are days when I want to do something cool, but I don't actually have an idea for something cool. On other days I have ideas for something cool that I don't have the desire / time / resources to implement, but would be happy to give the idea to someone else to implement.

Oh well, a pipe dream.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Zero tolerance

Last week at the gdc I noticed two themes. The first was "how to make money in your game by fucking your players over", the other was a pretty strong push against sexism, racism, misogyny, etc. In one of the better sessions the talker called for zero tolerance in games.

The game I play the most is valve's amazing dota 2. It's a very hard team game and people get very emotional in the game, which turns to the typical gay bashing, sexist and racist outbursts from players. Most of the time if it is not directed at me I used to just ignore it, but no more. As a community, industry and most importantly as human beings we need to put a stop to this. Valve have an excellent reporting system and from now on I plan on reporting anyone using racist, sexist, queer-ist and other bigoted language. Everyone. Zero tolerance. Additionally I am going to point out to people that they are being douche-bags. I doubt the latter will work but maybe if everyone did it then it would help.

This is my call to arms, everyone that plays games with other people, keep your frustration from boiling over to using terms that you wouldn't ever consider using to someone you didn't know's face. Call people out for this kind of behaviour.

Especially game developers, please show a zero tolerance for these kind of actions in your products.

At my job at Twitch I plan on advocating a zero tolerance policy. I am not an admin nor do I have direct control over them, but I do have a loud voice and I plan on shouting as loud as I can.

I repeat, we as a community, industry and human beings need to put a stop to this where-ever and whenever we can. There is no need for a 10 year old penny arcade comic to still be true.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Not everyone needs to have a job.

I have been thinking a lot about the Swiss Unconditional Income idea and this post is a dump of my thoughts on the subject, hopefully when all put together will make a cohesive overview of where I stand.

In the world we live in, having a job is one of the most important things you should do if you wish to sustain yourself alive, this is emphasized with every politician talking about job creation as the solution to every problem. Why are pipelines in BC a good idea? Jobs. Why are the oil sands good for Canada? Jobs. How do you encourage growth in the USA? Jobs. Why do rich people get tax breaks, because they create Jobs (well that's the excuse anyway). The question is, is this really true?

How do we define a job? I define it (for the purpose of this post at least) as the way you generate money to buy the necessities (and possibly more) of life. So we (most of us) don't have a choice, we either work or we don't have a roof over our heads, food, not to mention the ability to retire and not work in our old age. This means that many tasks that people would like to do, be it art or playing video games all day are not possible, or extremely hard. Anecdotes of amazing Pianists teaching piano to make ends meet are very common everywhere.

Additionally as technology advances the need of a lot of the lowest paying jobs goes away. Just today I bought a 6 pack of coke from Safeway. I walked in, took the coke, used the self checkout and walked out without interacting with a cashier. How long until that is the only way to pay at grocery stores? Are we as a society actually benefiting if the same person that works as a cashier at Safeway gets paid to do that job or gets paid to not work at all? Wouldn't society benefit from their free time? Even if just a minority of them used that time to volunteer? I don't want to diminish the employees themselves, but there are obviously jobs that do not contribute to society in a meaningful manner - especially jobs being replaced by technology - and the people that hold those jobs (I assume) mostly do them because they _need_ to work and at the current moment for whatever reason that is the best option they have.

Does society really need every single person to be productive in the economic sense? I am not saying no one should work. Many people do jobs that are needed to improve our communal quality of life or to generate profit for their employer (hopefully the business of their employer benefits society in some way). Many people are driven to own more material things, and are willing to do jobs they might not enjoy for that, and some people are lucky enough to fall into more than one of those (myself for example). But there are people that are willing to live a simpler life if that allows them to pursue their interests, be it playing with inventing cool ways to use LEDs, drawing paintings, volunteering in old age homes or even not doing anything at all.

(My belief is that it's) The state's role to provide a minimal floor for people to land on. Free health care and free education are pretty common in the non-USA western world why stop there? Why not supply people with a floor that allows them to live a comfortable life.

Market realities dictate that supply and demand will make more desirable living locations more expensive, and less desirable living locations less expensive. Many countries have financial incentives to live in less populated areas. Additionally many people might prefer to live in more rural areas if they had the opportunity but they have to live in more central areas to find work.

We all know that one of the most important developments in humanity's development was the invention of agriculture. For the first time people were able to generate more food than they needed to eat. This allowed people to use their time to do other tasks which is why people could be doctors, philosophers etc. What things would people come up with if there was no need whatsoever to find a financial benefit to their work. Would more kids become "hackers" in subjects like physics, chemistry etc if they could afford to? This is already starting with co-working labs. Imagine the dedication that people have towards open source software also being dedicated towards biology, chemistry, philosophy, homeopathy etc. 

A system like this would help kids education, it would reduce the need for kids to go to work instead of 

I am not even going to consider the situation in the USA where people that work 1 or 2 jobs need the food bank, and where poor people eat unhealthy food because they can't afford more health food. 

Personally I think this is the way to go. Give everyone money (to use a wrong term) "for existing". Fund health care, fund schooling and now (indirectly) fund healthy food and fund housing. Sure there will be people that will "abuse" the system, some of them will do nothing, and some of them will gamble all the money away and still live in povety, but I believe that will be the minority and the majority will use this system to improve their lives, to improve their education and help get rid of the idea of the working poor. By using the swiss system to calculate the Income and tying it to the GDP of the state and giving the income to everyone, including people that work you are also giving a financial incentive for increasing GDP.

The biggest concern I have with this is inflation. I am no economics major or finance genius but you can't just give everyone double their money as everything should cost double the price. I think this is solved by replacing other government assistance, and by reducing (at the start at least) the cost for all businesses by allowing them to reduce all salaries to compensate for the extra income. This will reduce the cost of products etc. Also I would fund some of it by removing the silly tax breaks that companies and rich people get, especially capital gains tax rates, but that's a totally different issue.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Here is some code I just wrote. I think it's brilliant. I need to think over it a bit more to make it easier but I'm pretty happy with it so I decided to post it here.

*Disclaimer* I am definitely not going to be the first person to think of this:


template <typename ctorType, typename dtorType>
class RiaaWrapper
{
public:
RiaaWrapper(ctorType inCtor, dtorType inDtor)
: _inCtor(inCtor)
, _inDtor(inDtor)
{
_inCtor();
}
~RiaaWrapper()
{
_inDtor();
}
private:
ctorType _inCtor;
dtorType _inDtor;
};
You use it like this:


class AutoMutex2 : public RiaaWrapper<std::function<TTV_ErrorCode()>,  std::function<TTV_ErrorCode()> >
{
public:
AutoMutex2(ttv::Mutex* m)
: RiaaWrapper<std::function<TTV_ErrorCode()>,  std::function<TTV_ErrorCode()> >
(std::bind(&ttv::Mutex::Lock, m, ttv::WAIT_INFINITE),
std::bind(&ttv::Mutex::Unlock, m))
{

}
};
And you can ofcourse use it for any class/pair of functions you want to call.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Keyboard shortcuts in the justin.tv / twitch.tv video player.

In the future I hope twitch.tv/justin.tv will have a changes page and I can post this there, but until then I will post minor changes I make.

About a week ago I added keyboard shortcuts to the players, please note you have to have the player focused (click on it), and the shortcuts will not work in fullscreen mode (flash's fault).

  • Up/Down - Volume change
  • Page Down - Mute
  • Page Up - Un-Mute
  • Control- P - Popout
  • Control-F - Fullscreen

If anyone has ideas for keys, feel free to tell me.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Humbling thought of the moment

Just before I go to sleep I notice midnight has past, and I am officially half the way to 70. 35 years and I have not achieved anything of note.

For examples of people that have achieved things of note please see http://tedtalks.com . The best I can point at are games - good games - I have been involved in the making of.

P.S. please don't drag my son into this, children are not an achievement of note. In fact every single ancestor of any person ever has achieved this, stupid people manage it surprisingly frequently. If he achieves something of note and it's due to my up-bringing then this will change :)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Big change in the Magic: The Gathering metagame

I don't often write a lot about Magic: The Gathering but I had a thought that I can't express in 140 characters.

Has there ever been such a huge change in a metagame as we are seeing in both extended and standard right now?

The reasons for Extended are easy, wizards have changed what Extended means so this is clear to everyone, but  I'm not sure if people have considered how standard is about to change.

Historically when we had a rotation the new set was too small to have any big synergy and people were also just getting used to the previous block. Additionally the core set used to stick around a lot longer.

This time everything is different. We have a set with a (seemingly) very high amount of good cards. The core set is rotating with M10 rotating out. All the tier 1 (with the possible exception of turbo-land) losing everything, from sovereigns to bloodbraid elves. And with RoE being a somewhat stand alone set, the Zendikar block is not significantly bigger to dominate the card synergies available.

There is a fairly large local standard tournament (BC Provincial championships) on the 9th of October, which is very close to the rotation. While the pros will be writing articles and throwing decks out there (often - as usual - not the decks they really think are good, those they keep for tournaments as it should be) there won't be any concrete decks with results. 

This is going to be fun. At least if I can drag myself away from Starcraft 2 enough to brew some MTG goodness.