Ok, I’m going to delay again…

Sorry, I’ve had a lot of gremlins. First, Unity’s new input system didn’t work on Linux. Some of that turned out to be because I was running Linux in a virtual machine, which was sending mouse movement values through at a crazy rate. The worst of it, though, was a recent design decision they’d made, which meant it was impossible under some circumstances to have two input actions using the same control (e.g. click and shift-click), without jumping through hoops. Eventually I fixed all that.

But then I realized (due to the terrible fps I was getting in Linux) that some of my input code was actually frame-rate dependent, so I fixed that, too.

I thought I was done, at long last, but then I randomly tried to drive the tractor somewhere and it wouldn’t respond to the controls any more. And when I got out, I fell through the floor.

By now I was used to unexpected control problems showing up with new versions of the input system. But the falling through the floor problem turned out to be a big deal – stepping onto the boat sent me into space! After several days of tearing my hair out I found it was my own fault: I’d changed how the player character measures its speed, as a result of having to change how the input controls worked. Stepping onto the boat made the player think it was momentarily moving at thousands of miles an hour, so it tried to stop itself, but it was like trying to pick up something you think is very heavy and finding out too late that it weighs hardly anything at all…

Eventually I fixed that, too, but in the process of fixing it, I discovered an unrelated bug in the creatures’ visual saccades. These are absolutely critical for the brain and I’ve never really had a satisfactory way for potential saccade targets to compete with each other. What I’ve got right now has become pretty messy. But in the middle of last night I realized that a whole bunch of other recent changes in the visual system have made a very different and more elegant approach possible. It doesn’t involve gremlins but it does involve daemons, so I guess there’s a theme.

So I’d like to rewrite that, too. It’s probably just me fiddling around because I’m nervous of showing you what I’ve done. I tend to do that. But I don’t want you to meet the new creatures, only to find that you can wave a big stick at them and they pay you no attention whatsoever. So, since it’ll only take a day or two I think I’ll go ahead.

So I’m GETTING there, but I’m not there yet. Sorry.

What is it with gremlins anyway? There’s one who lives in my phone. I think her name is Siri. Whatever I have a conversation about, she invariably goes and tells Twitter or YouTube, who then inundate me with ads or videos related to that subject. For instance, someone was talking to me on the phone about Ancestry.com recently. I haven’t heard that mentioned in years. Guess what the very next ad I saw on YouTube was for? I know we all see faces in the clouds, but I swear it happens too often to be a cognitive bias.

Sometimes Siri is a bit hard of hearing, though. I had a long conversation the other day about ontology (the study of the nature of being), and for the next few days Twitter was absolutely determined to serve up ads about cancer treatment. I don’t have cancer. Not unless Siri knows something I don’t. But then it dawned on me that they were specifically ads mentioning oncology! I was talking about ontology, Siri. Pay attention!

This one’s probably just a coincidence, or perhaps Siri has a sophisticated sense of humor: I mentioned John Cage on the phone – the postmodern composer who wrote a famous piece called 4’33”, which is composed of four minutes and thirty three seconds of complete silence. The very first recommendation on YouTube that night was for a video that declared itself to be “Three hours of nothing”…

Anyway, Gremlins, huh? What can you do? I should never have said out loud that I was just days away from cutting a new build.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *