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Creation Date: 2002-04-09
Dojo Ambush guy # 14. Sheesh. You'd think it wouldn't be so hard, right? Well, it's not and this is evidence to it. It's also evidence that I'm a slacker since I should have a fully skinned model with it. But oh well, it's not that hard to make a skin from a character design like this. It's a pretty good picture too, in my humble opinion. It started as a sketch in Optics Lab and then it turned into a Corel Draw vector bitmap. Of course, I didn't have a go-between. I mean that I didn't scan the picture in and trace over it like I should. I didn't even have the yellow notepad that I drew it on out of my backpack. But my memory is pretty good. One thing that I thought of is that this model would be good to have in high resolution. Why? It'd be cool to make his beard, eyebrows, and hair shaggy on the edges. I drew it with little jaggies around the edges on paper and it looks really good. So that is our lesson for today: simple does not always mean low-tech. To make a simple, yet interesting skin of a shaggy looking character, I have to go with higher tech than a non-simple model would. That's like employing vertex shaders to do cel shading. It's putting more technology into work to make it simpler. But isn't that waste? No, if you have a case where less technology makes more complex and harder and less beautiful (see Quake), then I say gimme a GeForce2 64 DDR. Of course, the GeForce 4 came out recently. Isn't it strange how graphics cards are just flying out of the range of necessity? Looking at the GeForce 4 demos (especially the real-time fur wolfman) make me ill to my stomach. It looks like heck. Why would they try to tout their card as the maker of such a terrible looking demo? Well, it all started with a pink fur bunny, but I say that the use of fur in graphics ends there.


So, what's up with me lately? I'm kinda sickly. This morning I woke up sick to my stomach and then I walked two miles to class and back, ran two miles, and then did laundry. I feel really bad now. I'll survive, but I haven't started homework yet. To continue the slacking, I worked on an idea of hair using locks. I made a model and it is decent, but not presentable. I don't think it'd be possible to integrate it into a low-poly model, but maybe I can work something out. Or maybe I could get with the times and go for medium poly 3d modelling. I was looking around for low-poly stuff that has low requirements. For example: Duke Nukem 3d barely ran on my 486-66 with 32 MB of RAM and Windows 3.11 back in the day. It was 8-bit and 320x200 at 15 fps in DOS, but it rocked. Duke was low poly. Note how it didn't even use 3d as we know it today. It used a world of squares. Each character is a square and each wall is a square. Everything was a sprite, so that was cool. So what's my deal with Duke Nukem 3D? Well, I'm pissed off. I opened up DirectX8 samples and looked at a few of the examples. They look beautiful on my GeForce 2 64 DDR. So I put it into REFerence drivers. Screw them if they think that I'm going to stand for 4 fps for a ugly 300 triangle tiger model. I decreased the number of polygons in the model to 10 and the fps stayed put. Perhaps if I increased the polys to 1000, it'd stay at 4 fps. That would be interesting. But Duke Nukem was 15 fps software rendered on my 486-66 with 32 MB of RAM in DOS. I'm using a P3-933 with 256 MB PC-133 RAM. You would think that the software could do as well as (if not much better than) Duke Nukem 3d. Optimization? Bull. Z-Buffer? Bingo. Software z-buffer is expensive, I bet. Duke Nukem sorted it instead of doing the z-buffer thing. Z-buffer wasn't invented yet back in the day. So I would say that if I turned off z-buffer, I could get 15 fps with 400 triangles. I'll even put on culling (which we didn't have back in the day). What I'm thinking is that if DirectX cannot do better than Duke Nukem without Hardware, then we should revolt against Microsoft. Who in the OpenGL community will claim that OpenGL can out-do Duke Nukem 3d? We should not put up with collaboration against the low-end. Props to people making 32k demos. Keep up the good work and bring DX back down to the height of computer technology and innovation: the early 90s.

I have a second request that goes out to the content developers: take inspiration from passive and active forms of artistic expression to make more content-driven games. For the love of Mike, you'd think that since the technology has made it very possible, content developers would go "outside the box" and actually make a story that doesn't involve murdering everything you see. You'd probably notice that most books and movies do not center around constant genocide of peaceful aliens and zombies.

I have a class at 7 PM tonight. That'll be another two miles each way. I don't have to go, but I should. Humanities is lame. If anyone wants to question me as to why, go right ahead. Let me say this: an incomplete physics education makes college-educated people (even Humanities professors) more ignorant than laypeople. Humanities Professor: "I think of energy as little vibrations." Any person who has taken the first college-level Physics class knows that gravitational potential energy requires no vibrations. Chemical potential energy is stored in the bonds of chemicals. Kinetic energy is all about mass and velocity, specifically 0.5*m*v^2. "Vibrations" are a mix of kinetic energy and potential because they resonate between converting their energy back and forth between kinetic and potential energy. Heat is energy stored in vibrations, yes. Light is energy in waves, yes. But saying that energy is little vibrations is very misleading. If she'd like to present a Grand Unified Theory that relates the universe to waves, I'd be open to hearing her well-supported argument. We physicists don't take kindly to dogma or ignorance on the topic of energy. Physics professor: "A critically damped harmonic oscillator is like pushing your sister through molasses."

The other day, a molecular biologist in my Humanities class was defending genetic research. All the humanities majors were saying how scary and dangerous genetics research is. He presented a decent argument that I assume has been his own disallusion. Here is a paraphrase: "No one here will say, stop curing disease because it *might* cause hurt people. We can't know what effects a cure will have so we have to continue developing. If there are problems in twenty years, we say oops and work to cure that." Well, another thing about us physicists: we don't say oops after we nuke a city. The Manhattan Project did have mistakes when they were trying to develop the atomic bomb. But nuclear energy has been thoroughly tested to be safe within the boundaries of physics if proper care is given. The problems (Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Chernobyl, X-Rays, etc) have all been caused by politics and non-physicists not listening to physicists. Physicists knew darn well what would happen to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They told the politicians that the damage would be terrible. And guess who pressed the big red button? The President, of course. Physicists know the danger of nuclear reactors like Chernobyl. When correct care and manufacturing quality are not upheld, physicists understand exactly what will happen. Of course, lecturing the builders and operators of nuclear reactors has not been implemented nor has it worked when it is implemented. Physicists must deal with such limitations. I don't think it's too much to ask for molecular biologists to do the same. But perhaps they don't understand that solutions are more important than temporary fixes of symptoms. It's just worked so well for them until now. Band-aids on a dam just add to the damage. So my advice to geneticists is: splice those genes all you want, but I'm going to eat organic food until you make GMOs safe and environmentally impactless.

Okay, enough lectures. Check out this animation. If you can't see it below, go here. Also, if you aren't interested in downloading a plugin, I made a little script page to emulate an animated GIF using PNGs. You need IE 4+ or NS 4+, I suppose. Perhaps sometime soon I can integrate it into the GUI. That'd be sweet. Maybe I could even make it look like a Shockwave page. Hehe. Hi, I'm Javantea, reinventor of the wheel ten times daily.
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