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Happiest Memory

July 15th, 2018 | Posted by pftq in Essays | #
The happiest memory in my life is not one I could ever share with anyone else.  Because it isn't a moment from within my real life but instead one from within a dream, a dream that occurred almost ten years ago.

In that dream, I spent my childhood alongside someone who would race me neck-to-neck as we leapt from rooftop to rooftop before eventually taking to the skies.  If one of us began to fall, we would catch each other and throw ourselves even higher than before, laughing as we did.  At the end of it all, we would sit atop an abandoned post that towered above the clouds and watch the sun set, not against the Earth, but against the sky itself, the ocean of clouds below reflecting the sun like a mirror.

The sensation of flying is something that would recur throughout my dreams.  It felt more natural to me than any movement on the ground.  It took effort instead not to float upward and drift away.  Usually in a dream, things are foggy, blurred, but...[More]
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Video Game AI

July 14th, 2018 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #
Just found out the #AI behind Black and White was in fact designed by @demishassabis, co-founder of @DeepMindAI. Too ironic given I often cite #videogames as most influential to my own ideas (incl. Tech Trader and Creating Sentient Artificial Intelligence). Was not expecting it to be so literal.
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Full VR Multiplayer Replication Complete

July 4th, 2018 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #
Ready for rematch. Grin


A lot of people have constantly tried to convince me multiplayer alone is a hard thing to do and VR in multiplayer is even harder, but I'm not finding that the case so far.  If anything, it's a lot of time and attention to detail, but nothing really seems to come across as overwhelming or rocket science.  I certainly wouldn't hire someone just to take care of multiplayer networking now that I know what it entails.

If anything the hardest part was just finding out how to connect to another instance of the game in the first place, which was just poorly documented.

After that, it's a lot of figuring out what you need to replicate or not replicate in the course of the game using remote procedural calls.  This thread in particular was most helpful: https://forums.unrealengine.com/development-discussion/blueprint-visual-scripting/102591-turn-the-first-person-fps-template-to-a-multiplayer-experience

Beyond that, if you want to improve performance, you'll want to run code simultaneously on the user's computer at the same time it is doing a call to the server to run it.  The topic itself is called client-side prediction.  Still working out the best practices for this, but it's all fine-tuning and optimizing from here.
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Transfat Ban

June 23rd, 2018 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #
Transfat is supposedly banned as of 2018, yet I just saw transfat-free cookies at the store with partially hydrogenated oils in the ingredients.  I guess they just banned the name.
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Multiplayer in Unreal via IP

June 23rd, 2018 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #
Finally got #UnrealEngine connecting over the internet for barebones multiplayer.  Documentation on just getting direct IP-to-IP connection w/o Steam, etc was surprisingly sparse.



Here's a quick step-by-step:
1. Go to Editor Settings.  Set your port to a number like 7777.

1. Package your game (here, using Windows).

2. Create a shortcut to your game.exe called Host, and modify the shortcut target to add the following after "...game.exe" (rename the map + path as needed):
"/Game/FirstPersonBP/Maps/FirstPersonExampleMap?Listen" -game -log

3. Create another shortcut called Client, and add the following instead:
<hostIP>:<port> -game -log

4. The host computer would run the Host shortcut.  Everyone else runs the Client shortcut (which connects to the host's IP and port); make sure the host has the port opened up on firewall (in Windows, you'd want to add an inbound exception to the port and then only allow the IPs of the other players in scope).

There's still a lot of work after this, but at least now you are connected online.  From here, you'd look into guides on replication, etc which make sure all players are in sync and see the same things happening.  A good starting guide is here: https://forums.unrealengine.com/development-discussion/blueprint-visual-scripting/102591-turn-the-first-person-fps-template-to-a-multiplayer-experience
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Bitcoin Probability

June 22nd, 2018 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #
If they're going crazy right now on how some random hashtag should be "statistically impossible," wait till two people generate the same wallet (which is not supposed to happen until the sun dies... "statistically"). #Bitcoin
https://www.coindesk.com/21e800-bitcoin-satoshi-mystery-twitter-obsessing/
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Tennis Notes

June 15th, 2018 | Posted by pftq in Random Stuff | #
Personal tennis notes for myself.  I am ambidextrous and play tennis with both hands (or two rackets), so I've had to come to my own conclusions on a lot of things.  I also trained initially under a coach who basically had me hit every shot with an extreme western grip for top spin, even on serves both hands (which results in inside-out slice serve, I think - not sure what it's called), so most advice I get has often not been helpful (especially things like suggesting *not* to use a western grip).

- Serve: Over-turn grip until racket faces down, but you're hitting with the side that faces up in a cupping action.  Aim straight down and lean/jump into serve.  Follow-through with racket facing out behind you in almost a bowing action.  Need to hit hard enough that the ball does not have a second bounce (except into the fence), but it should still spin enough to angle out to the side.
- Ground strokes: Hit as hard as you want without worrying about hitting...[More]
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Autumn Leaves

June 8th, 2018 | Posted by pftq in Stuck in My Head | #
Autumn Leaves by Drought on Mars (@droughtonmars)
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UnrealEngine VR Detection is Delayed

June 2nd, 2018 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #
Been stuck trying to figure out why #VR code in #UnrealEngine runs fine in the editor but not in a packaged build.  It turns out when packaged, the "Is Head Mounted Display Enabled?" function will not actually detect the headset until half a second or so after the game starts.  Janky way to fix this for now is to delay all VR code by a half second, but my worry is that this will vary depending on the computer we're running on.



Oh and for those who can't get even get the game to run in VR mode at all in the packaged game, you have to check "Start in VR" in the project settings.  This will still start in non-VR if no headset is connected, so it's annoying this isn't just a default option to begin with.
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