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Arrival of the Birds

August 3rd, 2018 | Posted by pftq in Stuck in My Head | #
Arrival of the Birds by The Cinematic Orchestra (@TCO_Official)
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Octonions

July 31st, 2018 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #
One of the more interesting articles I've read in a while... didn't realize quarternions used in game development had actual significance in physics and there was a step further called octonions. As usual, learning more working on games than I ever did in school.
https://www.wired.com/story/the-peculiar-math-that-could-underlie-the-laws-of-nature/
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Securing HTTPS SSL

July 29th, 2018 | Posted by pftq in 42 | #
Below are all steps to take to make sure your site is served securely over HTTPS.  Any suggestions, feel free to let me know.

1. Preliminary:
- Install SSL certificate to your domain either through GoDaddy, AutoSSL on CPanel, or Let's Encrypt on CPanel.  Let's Encrypt is easiest to me, as it auto-renews and is free.  There isn't really a reason to pay anymore for SSL.  However, note that you can't have both AutoSSL and Let's Encrypt on at the same time (they will compete/conflict).  If you run into errors for subdomains on Let's Encrypt, try excluding the www- checkbox.  For Windows IIS, you can use CertifyTheWeb which auto-installs from Let's Encrypt.

2. Adding HSTS to servers....[More]
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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 I seemingly knew all my life, even before I started school.  We would race neck-to-neck as we leapt from rooftop to rooftop, laughing maniacally as we tried to one-up each other, reaching higher and higher into the skies before eventually just taking flight altogether.  If it seemed we flew too high and one of us began to fall, we would catch each other and throw ourselves even higher than before, until we finally made it above the clouds.  At the end of it all, we'd sit atop the remains of an old wooden post so high up that we could watch the sun set, not against the land or water but against the sky itself, the ocean of clouds below reflecting its descent like...[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 such an extreme grip).  My grip is actually rotated to the point it is actually a continental grip, except I hit with the outside face instead which is the complete opposite and forces you to over-rotate to meet the ball and creates the kick in top-spin.  The hand motion without a racket looks like I am hitting the ball with the back of my hand instead of the palm.  I went through some phases in my life post-college where I was repeatedly told I was holding the racket wrong...[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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Remote Desktop Broken After Windows Update

May 10th, 2018 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #
Tried to sign on to my remote workstation this morning only to get some error about "CredSSP encryption oracle mediation." It turns out my laptop installed Windows Updates overnight.  The below updates are what you'll want to uninstall and then restart to be able to use RDP again.  They're basically updates installed on 2018-05-09.
KB4103725
KB4103727
KB4338819 (July 2018)
KB4464218 (Sep 2018)
KB4462919 (Oct 2018)
KB4467702 (Nov 2018)

It looks like the issue is that both server and client need the updates installed to be able to connect (in other words, no backwards/legacy support).  Will be holding off on these updates until Microsoft fixes the compatibility issues, as I'm not inclined to install anything that might accidentally lock me out of my servers.

To permanently disable an update from being reinstalled each time you restart, see:
https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/3183922/how-to-temporarily-prevent-a-windows-update-from-reinstalling-in-windo

Update: Looks like there is a new way to keep the update and disable the CredSSP only:
https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/mckittrick/unable-to-rdp-to-virtual-machine-credssp-encryption-oracle-remediation/
1. Run > gpedit.msc
2. Browse to Computer Configuration / Administrative Templates / System / Credentials Delegation in the left pane.
3. Change the Encryption Oracle Remediation policy to Enabled, and Protection Level to Vulnerable.
If you don't have gpedit.msc, install: https://www.deviantart.com/drudger/art/Add-GPEDIT-msc-215792914
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The Mindset of Money

April 15th, 2018 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #
It seems I can't get a dinner anymore without overhearing talk about blockchain. One point I keep hearing that irks me though is that government wouldn't restrict the crypto industry because of how much money they could make by letting it flourish.  That is just wrong on so many levels.  Whether a law exists or not has nothing to do with making money.  It doesn't matter if everyone got paid or the government gets a cut.  Otherwise by that logic, you might as well say the government should let drug trafficking and black markets flourish because of "how much money they could make."  It's like if a cop let someone go for stealing because the cop got a share.  As long as everyone gets a piece, what's the harm? Unfortunately this kind of thinking seems to be the norm in crypto and really just finance in general, where right or wrong is decided solely by whether money is made.
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Marble Machine

April 15th, 2018 | Posted by pftq in Stuck in My Head | #
Marble Machine by Wintergatan (@wintergatan)
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Advanced Alien Life is Tiny

March 19th, 2018 | Posted by pftq in Ideas | #
If a few hours on a larger planet with higher gravity can be years on Earth, then any advanced alien life is most likely from a smaller planet with much lower gravity than us, where each year for us can be millions for them.
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Sound is Just a Concept

March 19th, 2018 | Posted by pftq in Thought of the Day | #
Sound is just a concept, a label to a group of molecules moving together in tandem.  There is no "thing" called sound that actually travels.  It's just a domino effect.
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NYC vs SF vs LA

March 15th, 2018 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #
After splitting my time evenly between New York, San Francisco, and LA for about three years, a semi-humorous comparison of the three cities.

NYC
SF
LA
Money, status, and 9-5 life.
Make the world a “better” place.
I just want to be “happy.”
Honor and integrity.
Self-righteousness.
Whatever's popular.
Luxury.
Minimum viable product.
Comfort.
Live to work.
Work is play.
Work to live.
Passions are just hobbies.
Careers are passions.
Passions are careers.
Dreams of a desk job + hobby.
Dreams of saving the world with an app.
Dreams of fame and popularity.
Podcast stars.
Tech stars.
YouTube stars.
Lack of adventure.
Lack of imagination.
Lack of authenticity.
Authority, rules, and norms.
Tech and "social validation."
Feelings and feel good.
Hardened.
Pampered.
Doesn’t want to move.
Weight on shoulders.
Guilt chipped at every turn.
Room to breathe.
Unfairness is part of life.
Fight unfairness with unfairness.
Unfairness is ok if I benefit.
Too busy to meet you.
Too important to meet you.
Too lazy to meet you.
Does it make money?
How's it improve society?
What's it got to do with me?
Repackage and relabel.
Create new and uncharted.
Consume and regurgitate.
Mechanical Turk.
Machine automation.
No automation.
Man on foot fetched by app.
Autonomous cars and drones.
Laundry machine finally w/o coins.
Backup servers in the same building.
Backup servers across the globe.
Not my problem.
GPS doesn’t work.
Can’t drive w/o GPS.
Can’t drive with a GPS.
Drives well without tech.
Tries to follow GPS into a river.
Drives past you 4 times at full speed.
Four seasons.
Fog.
Smog.
City never sleeps.
Even the mall closes by 8pm.
Pockets of life in wasteland.
Can get 3 things done a day.
Can get 10 things done a day.
Takes all day just to get somewhere.
Subway goes everywhere.
Subway literally on one street only.
"Subway."
Trains frequent and on time.
Buses late and rarely come.
Bus driver laughs and tells you to chill.
$1M for a studio apartment.
$1M for a closet.
$1M for house of cheap wood.
Old but functional buildings.
Spends to look like a warehouse.
Actually is an old warehouse.
Having elevator operators is normal.
Sewage smell every block is normal.
Paper-thin walls & roof leaks normal.
People everywhere.
Siren noises everywhere.
Motorcycle noises everywhere.
Homeless give speeches.
Homeless rant about politics.
Rats on the subway tracks.
Garbage on every sidewalk.
Musicians jamming on street corner.
Homeless peeing on street corner.
Get shot on street corner.
Celebrate with festivals.
Celebrate by vandalizing own city.
Celebrate by being stuck in traffic.
Orderliness in desperate times.
Violence in the name of justice.
Punch whoever’s in closest proximity.
Compassion for your neighbors.
Compassion for anyone except your neighbors.
"Compassion" for the hand that feeds you.
Shop away your tears.
Celebrate your failures.
Take pride in your weaknesses.
Spend free time killing time.
Spend free time working.
Spend free time "chilling."
Board gamers.
"Gaymers".
YouTube gamers.
Broadway.
N/A.
Hollywood.
Silicon Alley (Midtown).
Silicon Valley (Entire Bay).
Silicon Beach (Santa Monica).
Wall Street.
Embarcadero / SOMA.
N/A.
Brooklyn.
Oakland.
Los Angeles.
Service oriented no matter what it is.
Doors open wrong way (fire hazard).
15 minutes just to get the menu.
Decent food at all prices.
Expensive food or crap food.
Expensive crap food.
$15 for 2 slices of toast and sides.
$15 for just the toast.
$15 for burnt toast.
Apologizes for bad service.
It's a feature, not a bug.
But I already got your money. It's mine.
Your fault for being different.
Your fault for being in the way of progress.
Your fault for letting me get away with it.
High cultured.
Mono cultured.
Blurgh-whatever cultured.
Rules.
Numbers.
I tried.
Punctual.
10 minutes late.
Hours to days late.
Passive aggressive.
Aggressively passive.
Blatantly shameless.
Conformatively independent.
Independently conformative.
Misery loves company.
Backed by what famous people said.
Backed by correlation = causation.
Backed by gut-feel.
Sales pitching in casual conversation.
Lectures w/out knowing anything about you.
Always talking about the sun and weather.
"Helps" by telling you it's not possible.
"Helps" by telling you to change your goal rather than achieve it.
"Helps" by just saying random positive things.
Offended by how you do things.
Offended by your opinions.
Offended by your success.
Trying to politely be impolite.
Trying to save you from yourself.
Trying to justify taking from you.
Because you're uncivilized.
Because you're literally a bad person.
Because you have more than enough.
Don't see it, so it's not true.
Didn't hear a word you said, but this is the answer.
Everything's subjective, so I can't be wrong.
Mind your own business.
Forced democratized access to your life.
Willingly sacrifice your life for fame.
Think of how others remember you.
Think of your impact on the world.
What’s it matter if you die anyway?
At least I have manners.
At least I'm politically correct.
At least I have an opinion.
B+ on everything.
Always either A+ or F.
A for effort.
Everything works half decent.
Half new, half assed.
At least there's the beach.

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Perpetual Dreams

March 5th, 2018 | Posted by pftq in Stories | #
Another story I watched play out like a movie in my dream - ironically this one about a character dreaming...

A man lives his life through many lucid dreams.  In them, he is aware he is dreaming and can pick the setting or story he wants to live in.  One thing he can't control though is that the dreams seem to randomly end and reset.  While he keeps his memories from past dreams, no one else in the dream seems to remember.  Over time, he starts noticing a person who is always in the dream.  It starts off with them just passing each other by, walking in the same direction, or other small coincidences, but eventually they end up in the same scenes or situations as well.  She ends up being the only constant between each dream, and they share many adventures together.  However, whenever he tries to talk directly with her and figure out who she is, the dream cuts off.  It doesn't help that she also always forgets everything as well, so every...[More]
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Garland and Annihilation

February 23rd, 2018 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #
Watched Alex Garland's "Annihilation" and enjoyed seeing similar ideas as my Immortality essay about death as a programmed flaw in cells.
https://www.pftq.com/blabberbox/?page=Steps_to_Biological_Immortality

Seems all inspiring directors actually know many subjects well, as opposed to being specialized like schools keep pushing.  Just have to go down the list and look up the bios on Garland, Christopher Nolan, Hideaki Anno, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and others to find out all of them are extremely multidisciplinary.

Also interesting in the below article that his shooting of "Ex-Machina" cost only $10M.
https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2015/jan/11/alex-garland-ex-machina-interview-the-beach-28-days-later

Puts some perspective on how ludicrous a lot of the crypto/VC projects are for costing hundreds of millions, sometimes billions, with nothing to show for except for the PhDs and branding.

For those interested, below are also really good reads that show the director is extremely intelligent/rational.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/markhughes/2015/04/25/ex-machina-director-talks-gender-nazis-and-collaborative-filmmaking/#72146b376c65
https://www.quora.com/Ex-Machina-2015-movie-At-the-end-of-the-movie-why-does-Ava-ask-Caleb-to-stay-in-the-room-Mark-Hughes-What-if-the-gender-roles-were-reversed/answer/Mark-Hughes-1

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#Annihilation @annihilation_x @ExMachinaMovie
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