imperialismus's recent activity

  1. Comment on What's a video game that you really want to exist? in ~games

    imperialismus
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    Multiplayer has the disadvantage of dealing with networking, but also has a major advantage of not having to run individual unit AI on thousands of characters. From what I understand of the tech...

    Multiplayer has the disadvantage of dealing with networking, but also has a major advantage of not having to run individual unit AI on thousands of characters.

    From what I understand of the tech behind UEBS, it actually runs the crowd AI on the GPU, which would obviously chew up resources that could be used for improved graphics. I think you're massively underestimating how much work would be needed to upgrade the engine to support a game intended to be played in a close-up perspective while maintaining the scale. Could it be done? Probably, but I think it's a lot less trivial than just slap some LODs on it and call it a day. The creator seems to think so as well:

    Dealing with the high expectations of the gaming community can add a great deal of stress as well. It's hard to explain to people why the AI in UEBS can't have the intelligence and animations of a modern triple-A game that only has 20 characters on screen.

    2 votes
  2. Comment on What's a video game that you really want to exist? in ~games

    imperialismus
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    Mount and Blade is probably the closest thing that actually exists. As for the technology, the moment you go into a first-person or close up third-person perspective, the requirements for quality...

    Mount and Blade is probably the closest thing that actually exists.

    As for the technology, the moment you go into a first-person or close up third-person perspective, the requirements for quality of animations, graphical fidelity and individual unit AI increase dramatically. Games like Total War or Ultimate Epic Battle Simulator handle thousands of units, but they can look really wonky if you zoom in to the level of individual characters. I think the jank would be unbearable if that was the primary method of playing those games. I'm not sure if a technology exists at the moment that can handle that kind of scale with the fidelity and immersion of a game designed to be played in first person.

    I honestly think with current hardware and technology you'd need like two triple A budgets to make the game you're asking for (assuming it was an actual, complete, good game and not just a proof of concept or overambitious stuck in development hell game that will never live up to its promises). Battlefield does large-ish battles with the fidelity required for first person, but still only handles 128 units and the latest one doesn't even have a campaign mode. Mount and Blade Bannerlord, which is the closest game I can think of and probably doesn't quite fit the bill, is made by a smaller team and has been in development for ten years. Star Citizen with its $450 million collected still hasn't been able to deliver the revolutionary server meshing tech that was supposed to allow massive scale.

    4 votes
  3. Comment on ‘A new way of life’: The Marxist, post-capitalist, green manifesto captivating Japan in ~books

    imperialismus
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    Singapore is in a completely different situation than Vietnam or China. It's a tiny state with barely any arable land that was founded as a trade port, and built its whole economy on trade and...

    We are likely going to see Vietnam follow the same path, and possibly, although less likely, Signapore.

    Singapore is in a completely different situation than Vietnam or China. It's a tiny state with barely any arable land that was founded as a trade port, and built its whole economy on trade and more recently, financial services. It didn't really have an agrarian economy to begin with, nor does it have a large population of cheap labor because it's a small country with a very high GDP per capita. It is an economic powerhouse, far more so than China relative to population, but took a very different path to get there.

    1 vote
  4. Comment on Swedish rightwing on verge of narrow election win but waits on final tally – bloc including far-right Sverigedemokraterna on course for one-seat majority in ~news

    imperialismus
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    Maybe now, but not historically. During the Great Irish Famine, more than a million people emigrated from Ireland to the US in the span of about five years - and those were largely people who were...

    Those countries historically have had high barriers to immigration—it took a lot of resources, willpower, and/or education and skills to get into those places—which serve as natural filters for immigrants who are very exceptional in those aspects. The US especially gets the cream of the crop from other countries.

    Maybe now, but not historically. During the Great Irish Famine, more than a million people emigrated from Ireland to the US in the span of about five years - and those were largely people who were sick and starving to death. A lot of the immigrants who came especially in the 19th century were poorly educated economic refugees and fortune seekers, which is not so different from many immigrants from the Middle East/Africa to Europe today.

    There was also a lot of prejudice, ethnic ghettos, poverty and crime associated with immigration. Sweden has only seen significant immigration in the past 50 years or so. A lot of the same issues that exist there today existed in North America 50 years after the start of mass immigration, and for a good while after that. Those permeable membranes you talk about took a long time to establish.

    Another dimension is race. I don't know quite how to put it, but basically, I think historically racism worked in favor of immigrants in America. The majority of them came to be absorbed into the self-identified white European dominant social class; after all, a Pole or Irishman was better (in the eyes of the white Americans who called the shots, obviously not my own opinion) than a Black or Native American person. In Sweden today, it's the opposite: the immigrant is the Great Other.

    Obviously this is a simplification, and there were immigrant groups who were not accepted into the category of white Euro, but very broadly speaking I think it's true. It's a lot easier to shift people who are somewhat like you into the group of "people who are like me" when they stand in contrast to a group who is seen as "completely unlike (and, frequently, beneath) me", but in Sweden, the immigrants are the group that are seen like that.

    5 votes
  5. Comment on The value of artistic legacy in ~talk

    imperialismus
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    Except they are. The rule (in American law, other jurisdictions differ) is 70 years after author's death or 95 years after publication (the latter being the case for Winnie the Pooh). Considering...

    When brands are offered protections like trademarks to mitigate negative brand connotations coming from third parties or inauthentic goods, why aren't creators offered similar protections to preserve the integrity of their work

    Except they are. The rule (in American law, other jurisdictions differ) is 70 years after author's death or 95 years after publication (the latter being the case for Winnie the Pooh).

    Considering all the great art that has come from adapting, without permission, various old novels, folk stories, fairy tales, and mythology, it's difficult to argue that intellectual property should be protected in perpetuity. Whether or not you and I personally like it, when the author's been dead for more than half a decade and the original was published nearly 100 years ago, it should be fairly reasonable to assume that not every adaptation that comes out now has the blessing of the original creator.

    7 votes
  6. Comment on Empire of Light | Official teaser trailer in ~movies

    imperialismus
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    Eh. I suppose it's possible to have reasonable success making predictions based on things like subject matter and actors the Academy likes. I just think it's a kind of superficial and vacuous way...

    Eh. I suppose it's possible to have reasonable success making predictions based on things like subject matter and actors the Academy likes. I just think it's a kind of superficial and vacuous way of talking about movies based on nothing but facts that can be gleaned from trailers and Wikipedia/IMDB. I don't mean to criticize you personally, but I just don't understand what kind of enjoyment or intellectual stimulation can be had from speculating about awards that are supposed to be about art, without having actually engaged with that art in any meaningful way. It's almost literally like judging a book by its cover.

    1 vote
  7. Comment on How are things in your country right now? in ~talk

    imperialismus
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    Norway. The biggest issue is electricity prices. Norway is a very electrified country - almost nobody is using gas or any other power source for heating or cooking. Except firewood, but that is...

    Norway. The biggest issue is electricity prices. Norway is a very electrified country - almost nobody is using gas or any other power source for heating or cooking. Except firewood, but that is not very economical unless you or your buddy owns a forest. (My parents have a cottage with access to free firewood for the price of cutting it down and chopping it up yourself - we have a saying that firewood warns you four times, once cutting it down, once chopping it up, once stacking and carrying it inside, once burning it - but most people living in larger cities do not.)

    Almost all electricity in Norway is hydroelectric. That's still dependent on weather patterns, but on much longer timescales than solar or wind. Potential energy is stored in huge water reservoirs that essentially function like batteries. Because of high prices in Europe and new underseas cables, power companies have been selling the power overseas, driving up traditionally very low prices domestically and tapping the reservoirs ahead of winter. And to complicate matters, I personally live in the north, which has had very low prices (at times 500x lower than the south) due to low transfer capacity between the north and the south. A lot of people are calling for more connections between the north and the south, but these would not fix the problem short term (it would take years for them to be operational) and would probably only make prices higher for people like myself without significantly lowering prices in the south.

    The result of this is that prices are still lower than mainland Europe, but due to Norway being extremely dependent on electricity, and having traditionally very low prices, the huge price hike leads to a significantly higher cost of living for most people. Most power companies are publically owned by the state or local municipalities, but this has the effect of essentially being a regressive consumption tax. You pay more if you use more, but everybody has a minimum viable level of consumption for basic living. The effect of all this is that the government's approval levels is at a low that has not been seen in decades, even after introducing a cashback type of solution where the state pays the majority of the price above a certain threshold.

    The government is already fairly weak, being a minority coalition. It consists of the Labor Party, which has been the largest party in Norway since WW2 but is losing voters due to the energy crisis, and the Center Party, a populist centrist party whose strongest base of voters are farmers, and which was fallen from almost 20% (pre-2021 election) to 13.5% (2021 election result) to now hanging around 5-6%. Nonetheless, there's no reason to suspect a change in government before the next election, even though the opposition holds a majority in the polls.

    Inflation is also a thing, like in other countries, with the national bank gradually hiking up interest rates from historically low levels, meaning a lot of people are going to struggle with their mortages soon. This is compounded by a lack of affordable housing, which means young people who can't get their parents to guarantee their mortages basically can't get into the owned housing market.

    On the other hand, covid is, at this point, basically another flu in this country. There's no restrictions and not likely to be any in the foreseeable future, so that's a good thing.

    9 votes
  8. Comment on Empire of Light | Official teaser trailer in ~movies

    imperialismus
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    Hollywood loves movies about movies, but isn't it a bit early to predict an Oscar before you've seen the film?

    Hollywood loves movies about movies, but isn't it a bit early to predict an Oscar before you've seen the film?

    1 vote
  9. Comment on How Townscaper works: A story, four games in the making in ~games.game_design

    imperialismus
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    I haven't built a more complex game than a Breakout clone, but after watching a bunch of videos on it, I find myself itching to do something with the wave function collapse algorithm. Which...

    I haven't built a more complex game than a Breakout clone, but after watching a bunch of videos on it, I find myself itching to do something with the wave function collapse algorithm. Which doesn't involve any quantum mechanics (it's only vaguely similar if you imagine a constraint solver as gradually collapsing superpositions of possible states), but seems really cool and more interesting than simply adding some Perlin noise and calling it a day.

    3 votes
  10. Comment on <deleted topic> in ~games

    imperialismus
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    I can't tell what kind of game this is. Is it an RTS? FPS? Some kind of hybrid? All I can think of is that Meet Your Makers was a legendary Counter-Strike team (I always thought that was kind of a...

    I can't tell what kind of game this is. Is it an RTS? FPS? Some kind of hybrid?

    All I can think of is that Meet Your Makers was a legendary Counter-Strike team (I always thought that was kind of a badass name).

  11. Comment on Don't blame Dostoyevsky - Culture, too, is a casualty of war in ~humanities

    imperialismus
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    Have you guys read Crime and Punishment? I think it's very applicable to the war in Ukraine. The protagonist, Raskolnikov, imagines himself to be above conventional morality. He is a Great Man,...

    Have you guys read Crime and Punishment? I think it's very applicable to the war in Ukraine. The protagonist, Raskolnikov, imagines himself to be above conventional morality. He is a Great Man, and ordinary rules do not apply to men such as him, because he's so great that if he needs to commit an act of unspeakable evil in order to gain the funds to do his great deeds, the ends more than justify the means. However, once he has murdered an old woman to steal her money, he finds that he possesses a conscience after all, and is wracked by guilt.

    Raskolnikov pre-crime is a lot like Putin: someone whose grandiose self-image can be used to justify all manner of evil. However, there will not be a redemption arc for Putin, because the man either possesses no conscience at all, or has built up a psychological dam of rationalizations so strong that no measure of guilt can crack through. That is not, however, necessarily the case for rank and file soldiers. A lot of them have bought into the idea that their foul actions are necessary for the betterment of the world. Once that belief collides headfirst with the reality that they are bombing and shooting innocents to no greater purpose but to satisfy the ego of a maniac, as it has been doing these past few months, a lot of those soldiers will begin to enact the second stage of Raskolnikov's psychological arc.

    In the end, Raskolnikov confesses his crime to the police and is punished for it. That is, perhaps, unlikely to happen to the majority of Russian soldiers. But it's perfectly plausible that at least some proportion of them will confess to themselves their guilt (while others will no doubt continue to deny it until they die), and so complete the psychological journey of Raskolnikov.

    Crime and Punishment was obviously not written as a commentary on a war that would occur 150 years later. But great literature has a way of making itself relevant again and again, because it concerns basic ideas of humanity and human societies, which remain constant through the centuries.

    These ideas, being essentially human, rather than Russian, Ukrainian, or Ugandan for that matter, transcend borders. I do not begrudge Ukrainians their desire to distance themselves from Russian culture right now. But I don't think we who are not personally affected by the war--except very indirectly through its effects on global markets--should deny the essential humanity, and value of reading some of these works.

    11 votes
  12. Comment on Mega Millions ticket wins $1.34 billion lottery jackpot in ~news

    imperialismus
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    People who say that lotteries are a tax on the stupid have zero imagination. Sure, it's a dumb investment if you expect to win, but if your expectation is the entertainment value of imagining what...

    $2 for the entertainment value of discussing what our money-no-object animal sanctuary would be like is $2 well spent.

    People who say that lotteries are a tax on the stupid have zero imagination. Sure, it's a dumb investment if you expect to win, but if your expectation is the entertainment value of imagining what you're gonna do if you potentially win, it's a whole different situation.

    7 votes
  13. Comment on 'Shocking breach of faith' | Spectrum owes $7 billion in punitive damages for murder of Texas customer in ~news

    imperialismus
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    I just checked with a free proxy site and it appears to be geoblocked in Europe, but loads with a US proxy.

    I just checked with a free proxy site and it appears to be geoblocked in Europe, but loads with a US proxy.

    3 votes
  14. Comment on Stop hoping for an Instagram replacement, diversify instead in ~tech

    imperialismus
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    Instagram is actively hostile to non-mobile photography. There is no native way to upload a photo directly from a computer to Instagram. You have to first upload it to your phone, or use some...

    When Instagram was founded, the DSLR hobby scene was booming and smartphone cameras were rapidly improving, so there was an unprecedented boom in professional and amateur photography (like food photography) that needed an outlet for easy publishing and discovery. It was an exciting time. Platforms like Flickr and Smugmug were alright but didn't have good mobile social network experiences — also then an emerging experience.

    Instagram is actively hostile to non-mobile photography. There is no native way to upload a photo directly from a computer to Instagram. You have to first upload it to your phone, or use some hacky workaround like installing an Android emulator on your PC. At least that's how it was last I checked. It's the reason I could never be bothered to actively use Instagram, and it's frankly astonishing that a service that deliberately works to make things harder for professional and serious amateur photographers became the go-to photo sharing site not just for shots of your lunch but also for pros.

    This anti-UX design pisses me off so much that I really hope Instagram loses its position as the go-to place for photography. It also works really hard to keep you inside its walled garden. Most Instagram profiles I try to visit aren't even available without logging in, unlike a site like Flickr. Ughhhh. /rant over

    9 votes
  15. Comment on 'Shocking breach of faith' | Spectrum owes $7 billion in punitive damages for murder of Texas customer in ~news

    imperialismus
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    The link appear to be broken. I get "access denied".

    The link appear to be broken. I get "access denied".

    1 vote
  16. Comment on Can you distinguish Daniel Dennett from a computer? in ~humanities

    imperialismus
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    This is really interesting. I tried taking their simplified quiz, where you have to guess Dennett's response to 10 questions hidden among 4 AI-generated responses. I scored 7/10, which I think is...

    This is really interesting. I tried taking their simplified quiz, where you have to guess Dennett's response to 10 questions hidden among 4 AI-generated responses. I scored 7/10, which I think is pretty good, but a few years ago it would be absurd if you couldn't score at least 9/10 easily. I have a passing familiarity with Dennett's philosophy, but I've only read a few shorter articles by him and that was years ago, and never read any of his full-length books.

    I think it's interesting to look at the answers I got wrong, and why they tripped me up. The following section contains spoilers for the quiz, so don't read it if you want to take the quiz yourself!


    The first one I got wrong was the first question about evolution. I think I got tripped up by the AI name-dropping Galileo and Copernicus and their importance for our understanding of our place in the cosmos. Didn't expect the AI to be able to so easily conjure up a relevant analogy. I'm happy that the correct answer was my second choice, though.

    The second answer I got wrong was the one about suffering in chimps and dogs. I picked the answer that included a long story about a personal encounter with a sad injured chimpanzee, even though I felt like there was something off about it, simply because I underestimated the AI's ability to make up a story out of whole cloth. Again, my second choice was the correct one. Another case of me trying and failing to be clever.

    The third one was the question about Jerry Fodor's work. I simply am not familiar with his work at all, so I had no idea what Dennett's opinions about it would be, which meant that I had to guess simply based on the linguistic cadence of the responses rather than any relevant knowledge about philosophy.


    Spoilers end here.

    I'm happy that the blog post acknowledges how limited this experiment is. Interactive conversation tends to expose the flaws of these ultra-sophisticated, but still kind of dumb AIs quite quickly. I remember someone started asking GPT-3 about how many limbs a spider has, etc., and it was doing fine until it was asked how many fingers (or something) the sun has, and happily concocted an answer that demonstrated a lack of basic understanding of the physical world. Still, I'm amazed at how far we've come.

    I do suspect that there are limits to the current approach. It seems kind of random how much common-sense "knowledge" an AI acquires. It's utterly alien to imagine that an entity could simultaneously "understand", or at least convincingly fake understanding, the importance of specific scientific discoveries on human worldviews, and also fail to understand the difference between a mammal and a huge ball of burning gas and plasma in space.

    3 votes