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The Escapist

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  • The Most Ridiculously Catchy Song You Have Found Recently

    Well, most recently there's Pharrell Williams' "Happy", but just mentioning that gets it stuck in five peoples' heads; I'm not going to be cruel enough to link it.

    A bit further out, I really like Matt & Kim's "Daylight" (and the video is pretty good, too):

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    '); Element.remove('spoiler_d41d8cd98f00b204e9800998ecf8427e'); Element.remove(this);">

    Spoiler: Click to View

  • Gigantic Insect Found in China Will Give You Nightmares

    hey, there's nice giant bugs too


  • 3 Kidnapped Israeli Teens in West Bank - IDF Tears shit up in Palestine


    Also I believe you're incorrect about the report. Although it doesn't have legal or jurisprudential value (which isn't necessary for use as evidence), it very much does provide commentary on human rights. Indeed it's very mission "to investigate all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law that might have been committed at any time in the context of the military operations that were conducted in Gaza during the period from 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009, whether before, during or after" would make little sense if it weren't able to define what would constitute a violation of human rights law.

    Yeah, I see what you mean, and I'm not really in disagreement or anything. I mean I'm no expert on international law, but I've done a little bit of reading on it, and I have immense respect for practitioners of international law, UN special rapporteurs, etc. You can tell by looking at the treatment of Goldstone (before the recantation), Richard Falk, Ben Emmerson, etc. UN appointees to the UNHRC take a lot of shit from the Israeli and United States military establishments. So, I disapprove of Goldstone's recantation in the WaPo article, but I understand the pressure he, and his family, must have been under.

    I only mention that the UNHRC has no legal binding authority, only the Security Council does (and not the General Assembly), because it's actually pretty interesting, and not to mention widely misunderstood (and therefore often the subject of nonsense criticism) how the United Nations works. No organ of the United Nations actually passes 'laws', not even the Security Council. The only thing the Security Council does is pass resolutions consistent with UN charter. Besides heeding the resolutions passed in the General Assembly, the SC is not obliged to take into consideration any other international treaty besides the UN Charter. And the resolutions themselves are basically guidelines issued to states wishing to pool resources to accomplish some shared political objective (sometimes by use of military force).

    The Goldstone report, which admittedly I've only read parts of and so you probably are more familiar with it then I am, surely does not hope to "define what would constitute a violation of human rights law." Not in technical sense I mean. As far as I know, IHL as body of international law is defined only in the various international treaties that states have recognized(but not necessarily obeyed) over however many years. Like the Geneva Conventions, or various conventions like the Chemical Weapons Convention. The collection of those treaties is where IHL is defined and the most a UNHRC report can ever do is demonstrate how a particular body of facts concerning the actions or policies of a particular state is inconsistent with IHL.

    Anyways, I think that's the gist of it. The Goldstone report is immensely import as a recorded chapter of Palestinian history, and has had a big impact on the public debate, and for that we have the work of the UNHRC to thank.

Voronoi tiling art PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mat   
Wednesday, 30 September 2009 20:23

These tessellations have all been generated by a very simple FreeBASIC program that I wrote.

I stumbled upon this algorithm while searching for a way to generate stochastic terrain heightmaps for a 3D strategy game, and realised that it could be made to produce pretty 2D pictures.

See: Voronoi diagram at Wikipedia.

The algorithm is as follows: start by placing a number of control points in random positions in the image, and assign each one a primary colour. Then for each pixel of the image, the colour of that pixel is set to the colour of its nearest control point, and the brightness of the pixel is set to the difference between the distance from the pixel to its nearest control point and the distance from the pixel to its next nearest control point.

Numerous variations on the algorithm exist: instead of using control points, other geometric objects can be used such as line segments or circles, which both result in curved edges. Also, instead of using Pythagoras to compute the distances, other methods can be used such as the Manhattan metric or the chessboard metric, and these result in more right angles.

It is possible to achieve a finer granularity in the spectrum of colours used, by mixing together two or more layers of tilings with various weights and numbers of control points.

Tiling Tiling Tiling
Tiling Tiling Tiling
Tiling Tiling Tiling

Last Updated on Thursday, 01 October 2009 20:12
Place features PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mat   
Saturday, 17 January 2009 02:42
Current features of Place:
  • Free software, professionally finished;
  • No restrictions on licensing of your game;
  • Most of the work done for you, just tell Place where you want to place your entities and how you want them to react;
  • Movable entities automatically negotiate obstacles using shortest-path algorithm;
  • A bare minimum of scripting experience required of game designers;
  • Advanced features available to those who want to dig deeper;
  • Helpful debugging system enables rapid testing and makes it easy to find mistakes;
  • Prototyping system to reduce the amount of tediously repetitive work involved in development;
  • Free, extensible toolkit: add new features if you wish;
  • Uses a well-established, popular general-purpose scripting language with vast amounts of documentation, so there's no need to learn some adolescent, obscure single-purpose language just for scripting games;
  • Runs on Windows, Linux, Mac and various other platforms;
  • Games get an extensive menu system for making and loading savegames and configuring all of their settings;
  • Use any graphics resolution you wish; player can choose their own and your graphics will be rescaled, preserving the aspect ratio if desired;
  • Entities can automatically scale down as they move further away to give the appearance of perspective;
  • Simple yet powerful conversation system;
  • Link subtitles with the voice audio files that go with them, if you want voice acting;
  • Multi-threaded caching system pre-loads resources before they are needed, for improved responsiveness;
  • Internationalization/localization: easily support translations of a game into foreign languages;
  • Support for cut-scenes, using either the pre-existing system of rooms and entities, or MPEG format videos;
  • Extensive tutorials to get you started.

Features planned for the future:

  • Auto-package games into a Windows .exe installer, .pkg file for Macs or .deb, .rpm or .tgz package for Linux;
  • WYSIWYG game creation and editing studio, integrated with the Gimp professional, open-source image manipulation suite and featuring a text editor for scripting with syntax highlighting, auto-completion and debugging facilities;
  • Parallax scrolling background scenes;
  • Ability to use 3D models for entities instead of flat sprites;
  • Simplify programming interface further still and extend to Java, Python, Lua and Ruby;
  • More speed improvements;
  • Native support for Nintendo's DS and Wii consoles and SymbianOS (for recent phones by Nokia and others).
Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 April 2009 20:50
About Place PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mat   
Saturday, 17 January 2009 02:38
Place is a collection of modules for the programming language Perl, intended to enable non-programmers to fairly easily develop 2D point-and-click adventure games that can run on Windows, Linux and Mac. It is free software, distributed under the GNU GPL license, but that does not mean that the games that use it need to be under that license also; games developed using Place may be released under any license that their author wishes, so long as Place itself remains under the GPL.
Last Updated on Sunday, 18 January 2009 01:07