Thursday, July 19, 2007

Next-Gen FPS / RTS

An Idea popped into my head after reading Charles Murray's latest piece, Randall Parker's comments on it and watching a run of the mill Sci-Fi Movie on TV (Red Planet).

So much talk about overhauling the education system - yet so little actually happening. Ive semi-come to a conclusion that when a system as broken as the education system is entrenched, there is a period of massive waste of resources before any change is affected. AKA the old system keeps creaking on, while a smaller one pops up and offers a better real deal but one that is not recognized as such so is a realpolitik bad deal. In other words, getting the skills is worthless unless it is under the old bad system - but pioneers get the skills the new way and pay a price.

So on to the idea:-

Why not incorporate basic physics, engineering and math skills into an FPS/RTS game?

I have a friend who was in active duty in WWII (hes old now), and he stated that he learned more in 6 months in military technical training than he did in years of school. They would put the recruits in a room with fiendishly disabled radio equipment for example - that looked in perfect working order but had a transistor overloaded here or a fuse gone there and let them figure out how to get it working.

Games have all sorts of situations that require knowledge and mental skills like above. For example having to get a defensive perimeter set up, or get the lights back on within a time constraint.

If getting the lights back on, why not really have the player get the lights back on instead of him just going somewhere and pressing a button?

Say everytime the enemy disabled a tank, random computer generated problems arose - and an engineer-player had to figure out whats wrong and fix it.

In the fictional Quake Universe, the alien Strogg invaders have a nutrient solution called Stroyent that doubles as ammunition or Health.

It is a fungible resource and implies a trade-off. Why not apply this in games more fundamentally? Say a Vehicle was disabled - you can either repair it, or waste a fungible resource to have it Insta-repaired. If you repair it yourself you can use the saved resource to upgrade weapons or get a faster engine, or better communications etc.

Basic Calculus.
Setting up supply lines requires basic calculus. Why not use it? The amount of resource or time it takes to get to its destination can vary depending on the route set up. Going through a mountain would be safer from enemy attack, but slower and more expensive resource consumption.

The game would have a smaller market because one would really need to learn some skills to play it. But it would be a niche market. Furthermore, all engineering needed skills could be switched off (and for multiplayer) server-side if wanted. Furthermore - because it is a niche market, its graphics do not have to be top notch for it to get a following - no need for millions and millions of dollars - just tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

After making a Single Player Version, can you imagine how multi-player would take off? Especially a Mod Community?

Ron Paul

Goddamn, this guy is good.

I really wonder how the Internet and real connectivity will affect politics. People are still dumb and easily misled, but that hasnt changed. Its the substantial minority that was voiceless and fragmented before that now feels it has a fighting chance.

Mebbe I can even dream of the repeal of the idiotic One Man- One Vote (and wonder what will replace it)...

Monday, July 16, 2007

Compassionate Bias

Charles Murray has a new article up.

Essentially he argues for the elimination of the SAT because the same information can be extracted from other sources.

He gives plenty of positive reasons - the death of the coaching industry for one.

But more importantly one should concentrate on the *REAL* reason he wants it gone. The ranking of people, even within the cognitive elite.

Removing this should have quite a few social effects. Compassionate social effects. Simply put, someone who isnt high up on the cognitive scale will not have to consider himself dumber than someone who is. The boundaries, even among the smart, get fuzzy.

Ive vacillated on the issue on Steve's Website. There really is no way to answer the question.

Presupposed is this is a good thing. But really, is it?

Lets take a look at it from the new more compassionate viewpoint. Who is the new underdog? People still judge other people - by attractiveness, wealth, age etc.
So take a poor guy who is really smart. Now hes considered, as just poor. Is that better? At least before he could say "you may be richer, but Im smarter" at least to himself. Just because psychic comfort isnt measured - doesnt mean it isnt there.

Freedom equals Freedom, NOT Freedom + Compassion.

So how judge the death of a SAT as a good thing? Compassionate Bias, thats how. Its an instinct.

Though simply because it is an instinct, it does not mean we have an alternative to it. But it does mean we are limited in a very very basic way.


Saturday, July 7, 2007

Crash Course in Monetary Economics

I posted this a few weeks ago in response to a question of how inflation works in Zimbabwe. Its generally accurate of how inflation works in general.

1)Money is not a resource. It is simply a form of communication that allows resources to be exchanged. Ergo, the value of money depends on the underlying resources.

2)Government, by and large, does not create resources.

3)But government can ‘steal’ resources from the private sector/ individual citizens because the government and private sector use the same money/currency.

Simply put - if the entire economy just created a resource of “One kilogram of Oranges”. Then, no matter how much currency there was, it would buy only 1kg of oranges. If all the currency there was was $100, then $100 would buy 1 kg of oranges. If all the currency was $1,000, then $1,000 would buy 1 kg of Oranges.

Ergo if the government prints more money, it doesnt increase the resources but only causes inflation ($100 turns into $1,000).

The benefit to the government is it steals a claim to resources from its citizens - before citizens owned (say) $80, and the government owned $20 (when there was $100 in circulation). So it was split 80/20. Now (after inflation) citizens STILL own $80, but the government owns $920 - so NOW the split is 8/92. The government now has claim to over 4 times as much of the resource.
(End of earlier Post)

Additional Points.
From above, it is obvious that changes in the value of money arise from a shift in the resource to currency ratio in an economy.

This of course works both ways. If the money supply does not increase, but the resources go down - more money will be in a bidding war for fewer goods- inflation again. Thinking of the economy as a Big Bloated E-bay wouldnt be far off. Both trends are currently taking place in Zimbabwe right now for a current example.

More in an upcoming post.