Archive for November, 2008

I have one (UK) wish list item this Christmas

Sunday, November 30th, 2008

If anyone in the UK family is reading, and hasn’t yet got me a gift, and intends to get me a gift, the only thing on my wishlist is Absolutely.

Or alternatively, DON’T. Just get a gift for mini-Elbeno, as I’m sure you’ll want to.

I admit that I’m not a very good gift giver – I frequently remember 3 weeks beforehand, buy a card, and forget all about it. But that’s because I’m not really an eager gift receiver – the thought is appreciated, but I’d really as soon have an email or a webcam session as participate in a mass exchange of gifts, and I’ve long thought that cards are fairly useless, at least between people who correspond more than yearly.

Next year (assuming it’s too late this year), let’s figure out a gift exchange on the UK side. On the US family side we’ve done this for some years; as adults we really don’t need to be receiving gifts from everyone.

Complexity Theory: 8 Things a Game Programmer Needs to Know

Saturday, November 29th, 2008
  1. For the most part, forget about space complexity. Time complexity is the important one. You can often trade off time for space, though, so be aware of how much you’re using.
  2. O(1), or constant time, is the best option: if you know the array index, great! Unfortunately, hash tables usually incur a space penalty. Beware of poor hashing.
  3. O(log n) is the next best option. Binary search. Not that common, though.
  4. O(n) is not bad, if you have a smallish set of things to iterate through. Or even if you have a largish set and chopping it down would be expensive. O(n) also can be very cache friendly, which can actually put its performance up there with cleverer algorithms. Beware of trying to improve O(n) if it’s going to be unfriendly to your cache. For this reason, and because it’s super easy to think about, O(n) is your bread and butter; to optimize O(n), most of the time go to a hash table.
  5. O(n log n) is usually only encountered in sorting, and is fine for a general purpose sort. But think about a radix sort for large data sets like scene objects.
  6. O(n²) is getting quite bad, and should only be used in the runtime when there is no alternative. AI routines are often offenders, so look at how to cut down the search space in at least one dimension.
  7. O(n³) is too bad for anything runtime; OK for offline processing.
  8. Don’t even think about anything higher order, unless it’s really necessary for your game AND you’re precomputing offline.

For what it’s worth

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

Mrs Elbeno and I have been wondering increasingly about how to deal with Mini-Elbeno best regarding preschools etc. This evening we gave him the Burt Reading Test. He is currently 2 years and 7 months old. The results showed a reading age of 8½.

Personality profiling

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

I recently took a DISC assessment at work. It’s similar to MBTI which I took a while back at my old company.

When I last did MBTI, I came out as ESTP – but almost central on the E/I, S/N, and P/J scales. The only strong preference was T rather than F.

When I did DISC, after answering the questions the first time, the software told me I didn’t fit any of its patterns, that this was less than 1% of the population, and that I should do it again. So I did it again, consciously slightly biasing my answers, and I came out with very neutral D and S, slightly low I, and markedly higher C. So I’m an “objective thinker”. Even keeled, diplomatic, likely to persuade by factual argument. I’ll take that.

Blizzcon 08

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

I kept this on the down low for a while because of my job situation, but better late than never. I went to Blizzcon with my brother-in-law, and we got the VIP treatment: front-of-line skips to play the games, free swag (and how!) from the store without waiting in the literally 4-5 hour lines, chatting to the developers all day, and seeing the finale show from the VIP area above the crowd. So here’s a small flickr set at the request of Skye.

Costume contest winner

That’s a pic of the costume contest winner. Nobody else really stood a chance against the turtle!

America comes to its senses

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

Sarah Palin can go back to obscurity. The rest of the world is cautiously optimistic.

Shame on California though. I think we need a new constitutional amendment: that the state not recognise marriage at all. If the religious right are so attached to the word, let them have it. Let’s have a proper separation of church and state; the state should sanction civil unions with equal rights for all, and religious folk can do what they like.