Sunday, April 10, 2016

Rusty Reactions

I like to play a little game called Rust, which is perhaps one of the more enjoyable survival games out there.  I've been playing Rust since it came out a few years ago and I've seen more than my fair share evil deeds done in the game.  It's a brutal game.  I like the brutality and the scraping to survive. 

I've lost days worth of supplies.  I've lost homes that took hours to build.  I've had my head bashed in by a naked man who laughed at me while he did it.  After each of these horrific losses I've picked myself off and soldiered on.  It's part of the game.  Besides, I've put more than my fair share of arrows through eye sockets and stolen peoples pants. 

So when I say that a recent experience with a player made me want to never log in again you know that it's not simply because someone stole my favorite hat.  No.  It was something far worse than a hatchet to the head and the pillaging of my pants.  It was an attempt at trolling that gave me a terrible taste in my mouth.

I had just installed a front door on a small shack that I was going to use to store some supplies while I built my art studio.  I went out to grab some things when I was approached by another player.  I held off attacking because they were talkative but when they were close the attacks began.  I'm fairly horrid when it comes to hand to hand combat and lost quickly.  My body was looted and within that haul was the key to my shack.  Predictably my killer went inside my house but that's when the problem began.

Over voice chat came the grating, childish, presumptive line I can barely stand to type.
"You mad, bro?"  Uggh.  I wish I was kidding.

This players entire reason for being in the game was to try to get people to yell at him over chat.  It wasn't to build or raid but only to make people angry.  I'm old, tired and not one to be angry in any situation.  I wasn't the ideal candidate for his trolling but he insisted.  In the end he logged out still under the delusion that he had actually accomplished something.

The trolling is an issue that I don't like.  People are dicks in Rust all the time but they are dicks in the way that the game demands.  They are killing you to take your stuff, kick you off their land or simply to exert their dominance.  Trolling is none of these things. Trolling is just trolling for a reaction.  I can't stand it.

Monday, February 15, 2016

LED Flashlights

A long time ago when I was very young I had one of those 101 electronics project kits.  I might have been a little too young at the time because I couldn't quite grasp the purpose of most of the components and made many mistakes.  One of those mistakes I made was something amazing that I couldn't grasp at the time.  It was the invention of the LED flashlight.

The LED wasn't a new thing, there were colored LED's on the kit and commonplace everywhere in electronics at the time. The purpose of the LED however was to be  a simple light to provide a visual cue that something was happening.  An on/off light if you will.  Very dim and not intended to provide actual illumination.

I was randomly hooking up components on my kit one day and accidentally hooked direct current through a common diode.  The overload caused an intense and blinding white light.  I tapped the connection a few times and was blown away by how bright it was.  Sadly I think I had pushed a full twelve volts through the diode and burned it out.  I thought I had ruined the kit and put it away regretfully.

It was many years later that the LED flashlight came out. A simple clear diode hooked to direct current.  The exact same setup I had accidentally created when I was a kid.  Now it's difficult to find a flashlight that isn't LED.  This technology has revolutionized the industry and if I had been a little more aware at the time I could have had the first patent on it.  Imagine that. 

So that's my story on how I once invented the LED flashlight but didn't know it.  The moral of this story is to never overlook the results of an accident.  Penicillin and Dove soap were both accidents.  I could have joined that group of accidental inventors.  


Sitting at my kitchen table I  noticed that both Carcassone and Settlers of Catan were both designed by men named Klaus.  I just thought that was interesting

Speaking of board games.  I've been flirting with the idea of actually making a prototype of one of my board games for awhile.  I think it might be time but I'm not quite sure which one to go with.  One of the difficulties of designing a board game is actually producing all the accessories required.  The game board is easy and various pieces can be coins for testing but when it comes to cards you have to put in some serious work.

There are only a handful of games that don't require a deck of cards.  I don't know if it was Monopoly that started the trend but it's a consistent element of modern board games.  There's no better way to put random elements into a game than with cards.  Dice are great for movement and such but cards add information and can shape a game in a unique way.  With a large enough deck of cards or multiple decks you can vary game play to the point that a person can play many times without repeating the experience.  Making all those cards is difficult.

My big game idea is a Mutant Chronicles style team dungeon crawl with many random encounters.  To give the game replay value you have to create many different encounter cards otherwise players will get bored.  With the system I devised each encounter card has to have calculated stats, flavor text, picture and rewards.  That's quite a bit to put on a single playing card and calculating that I'd need around 50 of these cards put me off the project for awhile. 

My next project was a city building game that also needed quite a few cards to play.  Each card was a building that players could build to gain points and power within the game.  Again, each card needed stats, pictures and other vital information.  In order to add all the flavor and depth I had imagined the number of required cards was significant.  Again I put this on the shelf for later.

With the prospect of designing decks of cards crushing my spirit I then turned to designing a game that didn't require them.  Instead I thought about a game system that instead relied on a good old set of standard playing cards.  You would have a game mat that was the playing field and your deck of playing cards was the random element with face cards as important characters and number cards representing faceless troops.  The idea was that a simple rules pamphlet, game mat and deck of cards would suffice to play the game.  In fact you could carry many different games in a backpack with this system instead of lugging around big boxes.  I was designing two different games based on this system, a World War I game and a game of royal politics in a fictional land.  I got backed up when it came to the math of it all and put that on the shelf as well.  I think this is one project I should really get back to.

So even though my name isn't Klaus, it is Keith and maybe that will account for something.  I should really get back to work on these games and just do the damn cards in Publisher and print them like a tech savvy person.  That would make the most sense.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Instant Universal Communication

So I got to thinking about instant universal communication.  It's damn near impossible but then I was considering the various possible shapes of the universe.  If the universe is spherical or curved then we can set a center point that will be equidistant to points on the curved outer area.  This center point can then be used as a focal point for communication signals from anywhere in the universe. 

What you would do is shoot a communication signal at this center point and keep it engaged at all times.  If you wanted to talk to someone else across the galaxy you would tune your communication beam to their beam and see what they have to say.  In essence everyone is always connected to everyone else through the galactic center point.

So it's not truly instant since there would still be a massive distance between each endpoint but the distance would always be constant between all people using the communication network.  In order to create a truly instant system you would have to create a crazy type of instant communication signal.

Communication methods we currently use are insufficient for this scenario.  We would need a beam that can transfer data without any lag.  This would rely on some new faster than light type of particle that could be used to transfer data. 

I'm a little tired and now I'm thinking about how to get full two way communication in the system since it wouldn't be point to point communication.  The two signals would meet at the center point but a relay would be needed.  So...maybe we tunnel a relay station to the center point that bounces signals back to their origin point allowing communication to actually work. 

We could also do all this with wormholes but ships would have to only use it when operating at sub-light speeds.  It would also need to be able to create a wormhole at will which could be difficult.  I need to go to sleep. 

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Alien Contact

I'm watching Star Trek and I had a thought.  How do we expect to receive signals from alien civilizations when we don't know how they communicate?  I'm not talking about the language but rather the technology.  For years we searched for radio communication but that didn't produce anything.  Recently we started looking for signals that are based on laser communication technology. 

I found this funny because I had conceived of a laser communication device for a game I was designing once.  I thought, as apparently SETI does as well, that light based communication would be a more likely for a space faring species.  Light might not be the right way to think though.  This is where Star Trek comes in.

In the Star Trek universe communication is handled over subspace.  Subspace is a sort of 'alternate' universe linked to our own but with slightly different properties.  Physics is different and transmissions through subspace appear to be nearly instantaneous across vast distances in normal space. 

I'm not saying we have to find subspace but we do have to consider that a form of faster than light communication might be the only way space fairing species talk to each other.  We may never find radio or light based communications due to distance or interference from astronomical phenomena.  We would have trouble ourselves using light based communication to chat with vessels at the edge of our own solar system.  Subspace type communication might be more reliable.

If a subspace communication system exists then it may be easier to detect alien communications.  If communications can travel so quickly in subspace than it's possible it's much smaller in 'area' than our universe.  If so than it would require far less time to search for signals.  It also possible that subspace communications are instantaneous and universal.  In that case we simply need to tap into this pipeline and all alien communications could be accessed.

This is all random thoughts while watching Star Trek of course.  We currently have no good evidence of any sort of extra-dimensional existence.  We are still trying to get a good understanding of sub-atomic particles which will more than likely be the key to accessing any type of subspace.  One day we might tap into the alien radio network but it will be some time if we keep looking for what I would consider 'short-range' signals.  I might just need a nap though.

Monday, February 1, 2016


I can't seem to shake being sick this winter.  I was just starting to feel better but I seem to have taken a turn for the worse again.  It's a little crazy that we have the knowledge to make all kinds of drugs but the inability to get access to them.  I blame the schools.

We have a huge range of painkillers and other drugs we can purchase over the counter but we still can't get basic antibiotics  without a prescription.  I understand that the majority of people don't know how to accurately diagnose themselves.  With a little knowledge it really isn't that hard to know when you need some basic antibiotics.  If we had better education about basic health then we could bring antibiotics into the over the counter market.  If that was done we could massively decrease clinic congestion and make healthcare cheaper for all.

Mainly I'm just angry that I know when I need antibiotics, I have to go to the clinic then wait around for someone to write my prescription.  I spend more time in the waiting room than I do meeting with a doctor.  It's a giant waste of time. 

Boo.  I'm going to take a nap.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Cool it!

I never thought I'd see the day I overheated my computer.  At least I think I did.  This last week I found myself playing some Rust which can get a little time consuming.  So today I logged in and stayed logged in for quite some time which apparently was a little much.  I started to get some crazy graphical glitches that I can only assume was my graphics cards telling me to slow down. 

This was surprising since my card has one of those massive coolers on it and I recently upgraded to a new case with two big cooling fans.  This might not sound like much but for me it's pretty good since I don't do much hardcore gaming. 

Anyway.  I had to log out and give the poor thing a rest.  I could look into plugging in four more fans since I have the spots for them.