Trial and Epic Fail

Ventures of an indie game developer


In between writing a took a pause and made this in 30 lines of TrabantIDE Python:

Refining the text could easily be done like in this example (almost doubling the resolution):
text = '''
   x  xx  xxx   xxx    xx
   x x  x x  x x   x  x
x  x x  x x  x x   x   x
x  x x  x x  x x  xx x  x
 xx   xx  x  x  xx x  xx'''
Enough of the play already! Back to writing. Ah well, mustn't grumble.

Write as you program

I've always written code and text in a very iterative way. Even e-mail I write, re-write and after I make some changes at the bottom I check that my latter statements are not repeating what I've written above.

Now, as I'm writing a popular science book, I'm going about it the same way. There are lots of facts and I am not able to simply write everything down supported only by what I remember and my notes, I still need to go back and double-check the facts. That's something that is wildly different beteween novels and scientific texts I presume. Both will of course need to be consistent, but the former is supported by your ideas and your fiction, the latter is supported by objective data and somewhat subjective theories. And I can't afford to make any mistakes regarding the experimental data, the meta-study probabilities, the references or the quotes, as the critics come down so devastatingly harsh any aspect they can get their hands on.

Half a chapter (on telepathy)  is done, I assume progress will be faster once I get the hang of it. And it's still fun! I never liked writing in school, the reason might have been that I never needed to write convincing.

Poor advice for comedy

I just might follow the advice of one of the biggest con men in the world, the man who sold the Eifel tower twice: never get drunk! It would have spared me many a grief at the time. But since comedy is tragedy plus time, it's hard to be too sure if this is good advice or not. Anyway, if I ever take the advice of a con man, that would be it.

Tweaks to weeks

For the first time in six months I tried Trabant on my iPhone. It's always interesting to see a work you've made as you've gotten some distance to it. And I'm still impressed by it, although the iOS experience is very poor. I played a couple of prototypes and added speed increase in my Tetris clone (one line of code, of course). The Terminal Velocity prototype might actually make a pretty good game if one increase the speed and add cities and tunnels. That type of game (evading obstacles with a space ship) has already been done, but not in a landscape-city setting.

Btw, this upcoming game looks a bit entertaining:

A bit like a nice-looking Minecraft in space. Unfortunately there is no biology apart from the avatar, which in my experience quickly makes the game feel sterile and boring. Fingers crossed though, because it looks revolutionary.

On the book-writing side I'd hoped to be finished with digitalizing my notes by today. Unfortunately it's not just transferring them from paper to computer, it's also that I do background checks on all the people, listen to what they have to say on youtube and try to verify cases online. Translating quotes, of which I'll include plenty, is also hard work. Quotes are usually good when they both provide good insight as well as beautiful language. That combination rarely comes across well when translated.

My week is divided in two: Mondays through Thursdays I do my day job as a software developer contractor at H&M, Fridays I do my own thing. Which right now is still research for the book. I haven't even come up with a good name for it. (At first I was thinking 1up due to the reincarnation content and my gamedev interest, but I decided to try to keep lameness out of it.)

By the end of today I should be almost finished with the transfer of notes into digital, which means I have plenty of time to prepare until next Friday at which point I'll start writing. I'm hoping there will be no more tweaks to the weeks.

I haven't had time to experiment more with markdown, but I've at least realized that I need some type of post-processing. At first I'll release the book as a self-published paperback and as HTML. Some of the text will have to be unique to HTML, as I want to add more interactive content there, but more importantly I want a different link structure and embedded clips and what not. Thus post-processing.

I'm currently contemplating adding all references at the end of the process so as to not impede my writing by constantly cross-checking and so forth. Yeah, that must be the right way to go. Time to get to work.

Economy and world is changing

In Sweden today, 25% of the young adults are unemployed. 50 years ago, a lot of predictions about the future included everybody being 60% unemployed/free. Some will describe the youth unemployment as a problem in itself, but on a national-economical level it surely isn't, as Sweden is doing fine. Better than fine, it is one of the best performers in Europe.

The well-being for the population at large in the west today has very little to do with unemployment, as we've tripled our production-efficiency since the 1930ies, but we're not producing three times as much value. A lot of it is shait, which means that a lot of the work being done is meaningless work. A lot of it spent in meetings or administration.

The problem lies with those that do the pointless jobs and those that have pointless free time all the time.

The up until now ever expanding economy will have to come to a full stop at some point in time. And as the economy is based upon what Mother Nature has to offer, we're growing at her expense; the economy requires matter or energy, everything else is not economy. (And everyone should be aware by now that matter and energy are the same, as Einstein made that very clear 110 years ago.)

There is a common solution for the unemployment meaninglessness, the employment meaninglessness and the destruction of our environment, and that involves going away from profit and moving towards a balance in the giving and taking. Eventually we might hopefully all feel the joy of giving and the gratitude of taking, but exactly how that will come about, I have no clue.

The Elon Musk way is certainly a step in the right direction: environmental-friendly cars, the biggest solar power company in the west, electricity storage for the poor in remote locations, open and brilliant ideas to help humanity and the environment, open patents and so forth.

The question that begs an answer is that about the switch. (No not that switch!) How is it going to come about, and how can we make it a good one? I've got no answers, just more questions. But at least I'm enjoying the questions.

Resistance if (not) futile!

I just came up with an interesting programming project I think I'll dedicate a few hours to. The parapsychology researchers often say that Wikipedia is broken and that pages about themselves and their research have been hijacked. There's not much I can do about that, but I could at least point out the facts by scraping the editors off of the internetz and do some meta-analysis on the compilation.

I'll start by manually compiling a small list of pages of interest. Then I'll make a small Python script to scrape the editors and cross-check against some type of list of skeptics. If more than half of the edits are from skeptics, well, that should at least have some evidential value.

The hard part might be compiling the list of skeptics. I'll kick off with a manual investigation, fun!

Edit: after a couple hours of reading Wikipedia edits, I've realised that it's very hard to do anything of this kind unless the list of skeptics is compiled manually. That list would be very opinionated and to no use of either side. Flip. Table.


A basic introduction to how noisy telepathy can work in the normal world:

I made a small precognition test game in Trabant. It's sort of like the old Bard's Tale, but with even worse gfx:

You press left or right key and the computer will pick a random (PRNG) direction and turn+move in that direction. I got statistically significant positive results on some trial when I concentrated, but on average I'd guess I'm just at chance level. I'm no psychic.

About the author

Min bilder
Gothenburg, Sweden