Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tiny Linux update.

The 00e version is same 00d from 15th august, except the Linux package now includes latest so that it can work on older distros which do not have compatible version of this library. Thanks to users for reporting the issue.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Polynomial update.

Minor middle of the month update.

Gameplay: now the screen "glitches" in the old-tv way when you're being hit while having low health (not just when dead). Now you'll know when to run for your life. The backstory is that electromagnetic shield is down, and enemy shots are actually hitting your ship, causing your onboard sensors and computer to glitch.
The "insane" gameplay is more insane now (it is actually really hard to get score above 1000 on insane).

Bugfixes: fixed some crashes on old graphics cards.

System, all platforms: Migrated from ALUT to ALURE, added ogg loader libraries (but not music yet).

OS X platform: Now includes latest OpenAL version in the bundle, all because Apple's software OpenAL is crashing randomly in mixer thread.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Bug in download page fixed.

Downloading of old version (for paid customers) sometimes served previously downloaded version (=latest) instead of requested version because of broken caching. Fixed and tested.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Drake's equation

I think that one's given far too much credit.
Parameters in it just do not correspond to any real, measurable quantities, and there's far too many assumptions.

Reality is very complicated. There is a wide variety of stars, some of them more variable than others (and thus more of hazard to life), with a range of lifetimes. There's wide variety of planetary systems possible. Some systems may be slow to develop intelligent life and may require long-lived, old stars - and some systems may develop intelligent life relatively quickly.
It could be that unusually large moon is a requirement - Earth got one, and we do not even know if irregularity of combination of moon&sun tides is absolutely essential or unimportant. Nor do we know how common are planets with large moons. Most curiously, looking from Earth, moon has almost same disk size as Sun - we don't know if that doesn't matter or is very important to development of culture.
It could be that Jupiter is very important for diverting comets and protecting earth from constant asteroid bombardment - if there was a dinosaur killing sized meteorite every 20 millions years, intelligent life might never have evolved on Earth (that's what Stephen Hawking thinks about it, and it seems quite reasonable). Some stars are poor in heavy elements, and life as we know it requires heavy elements. Position of star within the galaxy may matter a lot.

But, of course, Drake's equation has nothing of that. No, it just has abstract "planets within continuously habitable zone". Err. Our own orbit is not 'continuously habitable' for most animals larger than rat - because of asteroids and comets that intersect it once in a while - look at what happened to dinosaurs, and exact same thing would happen to us, should dino-killing meteorite strike tomorrow. Not to mention that solar variability results in ice ages. Such somewhat hostile but not too hostile environment may be yet another requirement for intelligent life.
It's not hard to imagine a habitable world where survival is too hard for anything big, and nothing intelligent ever evolves. It is not hard to imagine Eden without the apple, a world that is too perfect for life, where apes are never forced off the trees then forced to survive ice age. Would the competition between species compensate, leading to intelligence even on such very hospitable planets? Or would it not? We do not know. Worse yet we don't even know what factors we do not know. All what we know is that a planet with history identical to that of Earth's would result in human society - with no knowledge whatsoever as of how closely similar a planet needs to be to develop something else that also sends radio signals.

There is far more variables in reality than in Drake's equation, and those variables are not merely multiplied together, but are all inter-linked in very nonlinear ways (and its not probabilities that vary, but probability distributions). There could be probability of intelligent life on planets with huge moon, and another, lower probability for planets without huge moon - or it may just take longer for intelligent life to emerge without moon, requiring much older, lighter, earlier star - which may be poorer in heavy elements. There can be varying size moons. And then probability of having a planet with huge moon within habitable zone may depend to mass of star (which is linked to lifetime). You cannot meaningfully dissect that mess into half dozen abstract parameters that are just multiplied together. It's like dissecting a hologram - each piece will still be as complex as whole, unless you get to *really* tiny pieces.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

A huge number of screenshots.
(its not stage2, its staged2 which means screenshots staged for picking a few for website)

I also totally forgot that i shared album of my old CG renders, using Picasa. See it here: