Blog Archive

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Hello Kitty Suitcase goes to rest

The time has come for my companion and friend, my Hello Kitty Suitcase to go to rest in a cellar in Stockholm. She holds linens.

I got her in 2005 when I was at guest research period at Georgia Tech, in Atlanta. It wasn't possible to get items shipped from the Sanrio store in Japan to Europe, but they *would* ship to the US, so I took the opportunity.

Here is how she looked when she came to me.
Hello Kitty Suitcase - and it's MINE :)

She has been travelling a lot since then, and never gotten lost. Always there on the band when I land, and has always kept my things safe.

This is how she looks now.
Hello Kitty suitcase to rest

There is crack in her side, and it makes her limp. It is strange how heartbreaking it can be to do such a simple thing as to carry a suitcase to a cellar. Out of proportion. If I could have gotten a similar new suitcase I would have, but they are not made anymore. I don't know what's up with Sanrio these days. Before, one could get really high-quality items, like this suitcase.
I knew I couldn't just exchange my HK suitcase to just anything. It would be preposterous. I can almost hear her from the cellar, "You replaced me...with THAT?". It had to bee good. If it can't be perfect, then at least, make it as good as it gets. I did some muppety-surfing (nerdy obsessed comparison-surfing) and finally settled for Samsonite's latest line, the Cosmolite.

my new suitcase front

As you can see in the picture, I applied a few Hello Kitty Stickers on it. Favorite thick gum-stickers that I have saved for something special. I am perfectly aware that they look pathetic, but they also fall off. So I let them. I just came to Stockholm after a trip to California, and not many of the stickers are left. The new suitcase performed well. There is a pleased sigh from the cellar.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

NeuroSky Mindwave find no wave (yet)

Oh well, there goes half an afternoon.

I got this consumer variety of the NeuroSky EEG headset at the GDC expo. I thought I should try it out along with working with the Emotiv headset. Tought to look at pro's and cons which may give clues on what to use in what context.

When trying to install i got a reminiscence of installing things on a mac-classic. You know it's wrong, but you don't know why. No matter what I did with it, or in what order, it wasn't possible to pair the headset to the PC.

Now I have forced myself to stop trying, my whole evening is at risk. I shall wait for support to get back to me. I shall not obsess. not obsess not obsess not obsess.

Monday, March 14, 2011

GDC Day 1 Picture Diary AI Summit

I spent my first day at GDC 2011 in the AI summit, but first I had breakfast with Susan Gold.
OBS, in this post the text may very well be incomprehensible. I'll try to write something understandable in a post where I summarise GDC. Here I am still processing impressions.


Creating Your Building Blocks: Modular Component AI Systems
Alex Champandard (, Brett Laming (Rockstar Leeds) and Joel McGinnis (CCP Games North America)

My favorite part of the talk was the table with different entities. I also appreciated the tips and tricks.
//Note to self: consider if approach applicable as blocks in OL

AI Pr0n: Maximum Exposure of Your Debug Info!
Brian Schwab (Blizzard Entertainment), Michael Dawe (Big Huge Games/38 Studios) and Rez Graham (Electronic Arts (Sims Division))

The strenght of this talk was the various examples shown – for each arugement we were shown how it would be applied, and how. And Brian said a good thing: don't ask what is wrong – ask why. Helps to better solve the problem.

Hm, I'm not sure if I should comment on the title of this talk, it has been a matter of debate on Twitter. What they meant with the title was pr0n like in food, or handbag or headphone pr0n so... no disappointement here oh no, definitely not!

Random notes:
- meta autonomy
local autonomy (utility)
dev-tools in C#
human brain is wired to see the change, the delta, not the full state. We want to see the delta. Deterministic simulations.


Lunch with Ian Horswill

I had lunch with Ian Horsewill. He is, just as I am, interested in psychological simulations for interactive drama. (and fellow “have-to-take-photo-of-plate-before-i-eat”) We talked about eeg and noisiness, and he mentioned the P300 wave, which is surprise, and 300 comes from the time delay. Note to self: Check the emotiv sdk, and what about the neurosky? It would be great to add to the MM, since it is hard to manufacture potential situations of surprise. If detect P300 could be interesting. Hm, how measure. I can hardly surprise myself. Hmnh. Use friend, give strange gift?


Lay of the Land: Smarter AI Through Influence Maps
Damian Isla (Moonshot Games), Alex Champandard ( and Kevin Dill (Lockheed Martin)
I love talks that somehow include spreading activation networks, so yes, this was a good one.

Note to self: Noah's comment on the otherness of the unseen process. Paul S's comment on the game == inteface. This a good example of a SAN that usually is an unseen process, applied so that it is represented. (memory ref: 2nd layer of OL is representation of the low level process). AlexC using it as authorial thing, saying “distance decay” coupling the decay with a spacial property, yeah, representation.

Kevin Dill: mobs with awareness of influence of other mobs. Enities working together, or against each other. //another take on what the SAN represents – loyalty levels between entities governing enity behavior.

Damian Isla: Spacial functions.
line of sight
distance in path.
Showing a very nice illustrative series of visuals to demonstrate.


Staffing the Extras: Creating Convincing Background Character AI
Paul Kruszewski (Grip Entertainment) and Ben Sunshine-Hill (University of Pennsylvania)
Here's an AI LOD for charcter simulations. Very impressive.


Turing Tantrums: AI Developers Rant!
Dave Mark (Intrinsic Algorithm), Brian Schwab (Blizzard Entertainment), Richard Evans (Little Text People), Kevin Dill (Lockheed Martin)

This was a hilarious talk! Loved it. Anyone who has access to the GDC vault should save this for a rainy day and then use it to feel better.

After the talks several dinner-groups where formed, which then merged, and we all went together to eat mexican food.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

A week in the EIS lab, picture diary

I'm spending a few weeks at the EIS Lab at UCSC, getting started on a research project.
on my way out
I found cosy Victorian guesthouse where one can rent by the week.

I got a run-down from James S on how to get ABL (A behavior language) up and running, with example code that hooks it up to another virtual world. Perfect for me and Christoph at Pixeltamer too look at if we hook up ABL to the Pataphysic Institute Prototype. (ABL is a system which would allow the use of reactive planning.)
I've also finally gotten around to start exploring the Emotiv SDK. It would be so interesting to see how I might use EEG and data from movements of facial muscles as input data to the Mind Module.

Here is the desk i borrow, it used to be Mark Nelson's (he is at ITU now) desk , so it is imbued with genous and clarity. Perhaps that's why I was able to make a final version of a paper on game research methods that Elina Ollila and I are writing, it is to be in a special issue in the Gaming & Simulations Journal.

Ted Nelson, who coined the term Hypertext way back when, and founded project Xanadu in 1960, came to visit and give a talk. He talked about that we don't use the full potential of who information can be displayed: we are stuck copying paper and we think in squares. Fantastic speaker. He especially stressed how useful side-notes can be. I went of on a trail thinking of how many different solutions I've had for taking notes. For a while I used a slate/tablet computer which screen was a wakom (x) board, and right now i instead tend to write in ordinary books, but sometimes, if i want to keep the note, I take a photo of it and upload it to a private folder on Flickr. Evernote could be useful.

Josh working at Pergolesi
Thursday Josh and I worked at a cafe down-town instead of in the lab. We talked about the importance of AI based game design, about operational logics, and laid down some plans for fun stuff to do.

Jane Pinckard joined the lab this week, she is now the Associate Director for Center for Games and Playable Media at UCSC. We went for dinner at the Red Room, but first for a drink at Rose's. This picture is accidentally shot in the ­transition of two situations.

Emily Short came to give a gueslecture, which was awsome. What I found especially interesting is that she, in Galatea used a 2-axis matrix of moods for characters, but not for their own internal mood, but rather the mood towards each other. For example, to a certain player, and object in the world (like the statue) can be creepy – whiny, pathetic – dangerous. At lunch afterwards I asked her how that was like, to make it so in inform 7.

Here is Jane, Michael and Noah, listening to Emily.

In the end of the week everyone got busy with GDC preparations. Here's Josh, Mike and Ben making a demonstration video for Prom Week, and I'm taking the picture so Michael gets more to choose from when he makes a picture-medley to show in a GDC talk about building research studios.

Here Anne, Gillian and I are confirming when we will get together to talk about a panel that could be done at the Grace Hopper.

It is so nice to back.I didn't realize just quite how much I've missed everyone here.
(I was in the lab for a whole year 2007/2008, and we do get to meet frequently ant conferences, but thats not the same thing.)