Game Design PowerPoint Now Online

I’ve been giving a talk on game design which has been surprisingly well received. Several people have asked me for a copy of my PowerPoint presentation. The problem was, my PowerPoint file had lots of images, but little text. I think that’s the most engaging format – certainly TV shows don’t just display notes on the screen while someone talks. But the down side was that, for those who wanted to show the ideas to their friends, the PowerPoint just wasn’t sufficient.

So, I’ve created a new one, which is just my notes on top of the images. The images become kind of hard to see, but hey, if you want the full effect, you’ll have to come to my talk. 🙂

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Giving Grey Thumb talk tomorrow

I’m kicking off a Capture The Flag bot contest at Grey Thumb tomorrow. You can find more details at the breve Capture The Flag page. I’ll post my PowerPoint slides as soon as their done.

Update: The slides and simple example bots are now available here.

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Two New Projects

I’ve added two new projects to the Projects page. The first is something my son Miles likes, it plays sounds whenever a key is hit. The second is some notes on creating AI for Sodarace. At the moment, it’s just about how to interface a program to the Sodaracer.

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Models break down when you exploit them

Models break down when you exploit them. Examples:

  • “Number of lines of debugged code” is a good measure of programmer productivity, until you tie programmer reward to it. The programmers write very verbose code.
  • Stock price is a good measure of the performace of a company, unless you tie management’s reward to it by giving them stock options. Then they manipulate the stock price, as happened in the ’90s at places like Enron and Worldcom.
  • Macroeconomic models, for example that high unemployment coincided with low wage inflation and vice versa, are valid until people try to exploit them.
    Such trade-offs, [Robert Lucas] argued, existed only if no one expected policymakers to exploit them. Unanticipated inflation would erode the real value of wages, making workers cheaper to hire. But if central bankers tried to engineer such a result, by systematically loosening monetary policy, then forward-looking workers would pre-empt them, raising their wage claims in anticipation of higher inflation to come. Cheap money would result in higher prices, leaving unemployment unchanged.
    – The Economist July 13th 2006, Big questions and big numbers

What does this imply for adaptive behavior? When a creature discovers a relationship, that may hold as long as it doesn’t try to exploit it.

Posted in Adaptive Behavior - Tidbits

Talking at Boston Postmortem

I’ll be giving my talk on game design, Just One More Game…, at the Boston Postmortem tomorrow. Here’s hoping it goes over well!

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Philosophy of AI

A while ago I gave a talk at the “Dangerous Ideas Seminar” at MIT’s AI Laboratory. It was called “Breaking Out of the Black Box.” It was about how people tend to create systems out of black boxes, yet systems designed by nature have more interdependence between the parts.

A little later, at the Indie A.I. seminar, I gave the talk “Taking Vague Boundaries Seriously.”

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Work on Multiple Projects at Once?

Garth Zeglin, a good friend from Grad school, was staying with me for a few days, and he mentioned that he likes to have two projects going at once.  That way, when he gets stuck on one, he can switch to the other for a while.  I wonder how this would work in practice?  How could it work at work?  And how does it interact with the advice I once heard from Bryan Adams, a grad student in Rodney Brooks' lab at MIT?  He said when you stop working for the day, you shouldn't completely finish a task, you should leave something very straight forward to do.  That way, when you're starting the next day, you can be eased back into "the zone."

Posted in Brain Rental, Process | 1 Comment