those a cappella grooves

(1 comment)
October 30, 2003
You know, I only sang a cappella for a year with Tufts sQ, and only put together one or two songs, but it's had a surprisingly lasting influence in how I listen to music. I think I still listen to songs with an ear for "would this be a good a cappella piece", picking out different instrumental lines. And, like a surpisingly large percentange of a cappella singers, I hate listening to a cappella for the most part, but enjoy singing it. Go figure. (And it's not like there are a ton of groups out there just waiting for random less-than-half-assed ideas for good a cappella arrangements...)

Toys of the Moment
Actually, the guy who made that Sand java toy I posted a few days ago has a page with some other java toys. "Spring" is cool, if a little spastic, and I guess the toy "Fire" would be more fun to play with if it didn't strike so close to home...or rather, Californian homes.

Quote of the Moment
If God is dead, who will save the Queen?

News Quote of the Moment
I have not seen anything like it in my entire career as a solar physicist. The probability of this happening is so low that it is a statistical anomaly.
You know, 'statistical anomaly' is NOT what I want to hear from solar physicists about my particular sun.

Slashdot Thread of the Moment
I thought that this slashdot thread on the future of videogames was pretty good. (Including my own post, if I do say so myself, along with one other guy who modded it as "+1, Insightful")

2019 UPDATE-- here's what I wrote:
It's amazing how scripted 3D human movement is in 90% of games. Take Soul Caliber 2; during some of Voldo's victory poses (and you think they could take the time to do victory poses right, since they can be easily 100% scripted without interference from either player) his weapon passes right through the floor! That's just wrong. Essentially, what we need (well, not need, but it's a worthwhile goal) is "rag doll physics" in everything. Polygon/limb-specific damage shouldn't even be an issue. If a character walks, that should reflect his (or her) legs and feet moving against the floor, using the arms for balance...

it's going to be rough for a while, because suddenly walking and jumping go from easily recorded and replayed events to challenging AI problems (and if we're not careful, everything's gonna walk around like that Honda ASIMO 'bot) But I think just like N64 era games had "stairs" that were just hills with vaguely stair like textures, this gen's scripted movement will seem like an anachronism.

GTA has started to address this, at least in terms of car physics. Despite the fact that it has special camera angles (and behaviors?) for certain jumps, all the vehicle stuff is based on an essential core physics model. GTA is also interesting for overlaying a scripted adventure on a world that doesn't feel like it's exclusively been created for the player...although RAM limitations means vehicles and pedestrians aren't nearly as persistent as they should be, and it's not like a UO virtual economy or anything, it has the flavor of a 'real', persistent, and self-consistent place. With absolutely NO traffic laws :-)