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Michael Sittig
Works at heresy, madness, and other shenanigans
Attends University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Lived in Deerfield, IL
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Michael Sittig

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Alright, so last time, I promised a followup on E3. But... to be honest, I don't really have much to say about it. I suppose that's primarily due to the series I'm really interested in not being present. I generally focus primarily on the Nintendo conference, and Nintendo was... meh. Pikmin is spiffy, but I've only played the first one, and that was years ago. A good game, but it wasn't really an 'OMG this is my favorite game EVAR' game. The other notable things were the Mario games, and I'm not a fan of those.

On the other hand, if there were a new Metroid or Zelda announced? That I'd be interested in. Or whatever Retro is doing. Although, obviously not mutually exclusive.

(in completely unrelated non-news, I should really play DKCR sometime...)

So, instead, I'll give my thoughts on another of my favorite series, Super Smash Brothers. Only, since no announcement was made regarding that either (not surprising, given that work probably didn't even start on it until a few months ago, if it has begun at all), I can't talk about a new game... but I did happen to finally try Project M today, so I'll give my thoughts regarding that.

For those not aware, Project M is a fan-made mod for Brawl. I'm... not a big fan of Brawl. It's a good game, but it inevitably has to be compared to the other games in the series. It's slower paced, it's floaty, it's imbalanced, tripping... In general, I'd say I prefer Melee. Possibly just because that's the one I feel I'm the best at, but meh.

Project M? Very different from Brawl. A lot more like Melee, definitely. It's sort of interesting playing with the veteran characters compared to the newcomers though - veterans play a lot like how they did in Melee and the original. Ganondorf is strong, Captain Falcon is fast, etc. But the newcomers... they honestly feel out of place, like they're in some other game entirely. Which isn't bad, in my opinion. One of my favorite things about Smash Bros is how different all the characters are, and the mechanics of characters like Lucas and Lucario are certainly noticeably different from the rest.

...it's sorta interesting though how much my muscle memory is messing with me though. The characters are a lot more balanced, which means that good characters have been brought down a few notches, and bad ones are brought up. So, playing as Snake, I miss a lot of the bulk he once had. But, playing against Bowser, I'm constantly underestimating his speed, range, and power. (seriously, Bowser is scary)

Overall? Different, but good. Will need to play more.
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Michael Sittig

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Oh G+, I have been avoiding you far too much. Must... rectify... situation... Admittedly, working at Microsoft, it might be a bit silly, but meh. Such is life.

...anyway, E3! Or, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, for people who aren't paying attention. AKA one of, if not the biggest videogame news conference thingies of the year. Although, admittedly, this year it seemed to have a lot of non-videogame things as well, but meh.

Now, due to miscellaneous business, I haven't been able to actually watch all the conferences yet... I'll try to get around to that this weekend, I suppose. Overall, it seems to be... not as earthshattering, I suppose. Which seems fairly normal for E3. People always hype it up, and make wild predictions of what might be announced, but ultimately, the companies presenting have what... an hour or two? And only so many games are in production at a time, and even fewer are likely to be in a sufficiently polished state. So, revealing everything at once would be sorta silly.

Awesome, but silly.

But overall, a lot was semi-expected. Microsoft shows off Halo 4, Nintendo talks about the Wii U, Sony talks about... whatever it is that they talked about (hey, I already told you I haven't watched all the conferences yet, cut me some slack!). Some stuff looks awesome, some stuff looks stupid, and I'm sure that many things will either disappoint or impress us in the future. Time will tell.

...will make another post when I watch the conferences, I guess. ARGH, my life is far too busy... or so it seems, at least.
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Michael Sittig

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...I seem to have a fascination with antimatter. Maybe because it's such a magical concept? I'll freely admit that the presence of antimatter in significant quantities is unlikely in the near future, but it seems like it's a staple for a lot of science fiction. And, of course, it's a great substance for solving problems.

Let's see... energy crisis? Solved by antimatter. War? Solved by antimatter. Boredom? Solved by antimatter.

...admittedly, some things take a few more steps to solve than others (debt? sell antimatter, acquire money, pay off debt. or alternatively, threaten with antimatter until debt is canceled) but meh. I'm in favor of practically anything that makes reality more like science fiction.

...not grey goo though. That stuff is dangerous. Of course, since it seems like it would often have no purpose other than warfare, I suppose that's to be expected.

For the record, my interpretation of grey goo: nanomachine swarm which disassembles other things (cars, buildings, plants, people, the moon, etc) in order to produce more nanomachines. More sophisticated ones also have learning capabilities, which makes them even nastier.

...grey goo is actually a pretty cool idea though. I mean, self-replicating nanomachines are crazy convenient, right? Maybe you want to fight cancer, so you make some nanomachines that turn cancerous cells into more nanomachines, and when it's all gone, they leave the body. Promising, powerful stuff. Sort of reminds me of some efforts with modifying viruses/white blood cells/etc to fight disease. The issue is always when the replication is imperfect - the nanomachines create new machines which aren't quite as competent at distinguishing between cancerous and normal cells... and the person they're in dies a horrible death.

In truth, the learning aspect seems to be the most dangerous bit - let's say you make the original machines vulnerable to fire, or something. You light them on fire... but you don't get all of them, and next time, they're fireproof. Or, maybe they somehow become invulnerable to an EMP.

...in a lot of ways, the dangers of nanomachines mirror the dangers that already existing diseases pose. I mean, both learn - one by some sort of artificial intelligence, the other by the raw power of evolution. One becomes immune to EMPs, the other becomes immune to penicillin. Both have promising abilities and crazily lethal worst case scenarios.

...of course, both are vulnerable to antimatter. PROBLEM SOLVED!
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Michael Sittig

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My opinion of the new layout: works fine, but whitespace is annoying. Currently using shrunken window to eliminate it and the chat bar. It'll allegedly be used for something eventually, but as it is currently, maximizing just seems to divide my focus - I prefer to look at my stream in the center of the page, but with the excessive whitespace, everything is pushed to the side - stream becomes too far left, and whitespace/chat are wasting the right side.

....on an unrelated note, I think my primary complaint with G+ is the same as it has been for a while - when I scroll too far down the stream, it lags obnoxiously. Seems to have gotten a bit worse with the new layout... as I've been typing this, it keeps lagging and missing letters. Probably should've just reloaded the page... (admittedly, anyone reading this won't know that, but that's only due to my refusal to let the typos win)
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Michael Sittig

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Class schedule for next semester seems to be taking its final form at this point. Total number of classes I'd like to take, but can't, is what.... seven? Fairly obnoxious. Also greatly limits my options... meh. Hopefully I won't regret any of the ones I end up taking. Meh. I believe that all the classes I'm planning on have either been highly recommended or required, with the exception of the one crazy wildcard class, so it's not like I haven't optimized as much as possible.

...I must say though, when I actually put everything together, I literally had to laugh. Six hour block of classes on tuesdays and thursdays will be hilarious. And technically, tuesday will have another hour of class for discussion after a half-hour break, so that's actually 7.5 hours. Should be amusing. Meh. I guess I'll end up declaring war on those days. Still, no 8 AM classes, which is nice.

.....also, April Fool's day! Note to self: be slightly more paranoid than usual.
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Michael Sittig

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A surprisingly amusing read.

Nitpick: Pokemon proof isn't entirely valid because they neglected to include experience. Defeating weak trainers means that your level 1 Gastly will eventually become a level 100 Haunter... and while in gen 1-3, Alakazam outspeeds and OHKOs, gen 4/5 Haunter learns Sucker Punch, which can defeat Alakazam. So... still valid for early gens, but needs a different mon for later gens. (level 100 Shedinja would work well, for example)

via +Chris Granade
Abstract: We prove NP-hardness results for five of Nintendo's largest video game franchises: Mario, Donkey Kong, Legend of Zelda, Metroid, and Pokemon. Our results apply to Super Mario Bros. 1, 3,...
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Michael Sittig

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Well, I believe I've finished the game I was working on. Or, at least, reached the scope I was planning to reach. Could definitely use more polish/art/whatever, but meh. I'm a programmer, not an artist. Besides, everyone likes polygons, right? Athough I'm still bitter that I couldn't use the one unicode character I wanted to...

...now I'm just debating whether or not I should post a link so others can see/play it. Meh.

...also, fun fact: Java applets have some major security restrictions. Such as, for example, blocking networking. Which means that my game, being networked, doesn't work as an applet. Which is very obnoxious. There are technically ways around that limitation, but that requires making the applet signed or something, and that's sorta beyond the scope of what I'm willing to work on without a good tutorial. So, instead the applet loads forever (or never finishes initializing or something) and crashes the browser. Oh, well... The alternative would be some sort of horribly needlessly complicated system of PHP scripting, which I really don't feel like. (also, it would be slow and nom a ton of resources, I believe. And I don't know if it would even work. So bluh.)

...still, the game is pretty amusing, and could definitely be expanded to something more elaborate. Especially if I got a dedicated server somehow... but I feel like if I wanted to do something really elaborate, it would be a better idea to use a different language. (although I believe Minecraft is in Java... but Notch also had the same sentiment that if he knew how big it would get, he would've used something else)

So, to share or not to share, that is the question...
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You don't need to do anything of note, I believe. Just run it on two different computers.
Different terrains are forest, plains, field, hill, and mountain.
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Michael Sittig

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Just discovered Firefox has a 3D mode.

(more specifically, when inspecting page elements, you can view the different html layers as literal layers. moderately pointless, and I suspect chrome has something even spiffier somewhere, but meh.)

....I should go hunting for more pseudo easter eggs sometime. There's probably a flight sim buried in here somewhere...
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Michael Sittig

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Added some fractal terrain generation to a game I'm programming. Much better than the random terrain I was using before it. It's sort of interesting how much a difference it makes... random looks sloppy and, even worse, it makes the screen confusing. The terrains you'll encounter over a given path are much more uniformly distributed, so pathfinding tends to be more direct and thus less interesting.

On the other hand, the fractals are much better organized, so you can look at the map and say 'here's a forest, here's a mountain range', etc, opposed to having a bunch of unrelated tiles next to each other. And, of course, it's much more attractive, and makes the game look more polished by virtue of the whole 'realistic' terrain thing. Admittedly, realistic is a vague term, considering the limited number of terrain types, but meh. (seriously, I wonder how many different types of terrain you'd need to model the earth. I guess it partially depends on how finely you want to divide the categories... forest vs rainforest vs jungle, urban vs suburban, etc.)

...and considering that I highly doubt I'll ever get any actual art for the game, I suppose I can use all the polish I can get.

...I suspect that the non-totally-random terrain might have a few metagame issues when it comes to resource management, but meh. If a unit needs resources that don't naturally occur near each other, I'll just make it more powerful or something.
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Michael Sittig

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Registering for classes is annoying me. So many classes I'd like to take, but so few of them actually being offered, or without having conflicts. So many classes actually available, but so few of them actually being something I'd consider worth taking... I mean, I'd certainly like to take more non-cs classes, but it's difficult to get recommendations, it seems. I guess it might help if I consulted non-cs people for recommendations. Meh.
...I guess I could always go browse the philosophy/math/physics/psychology/etc sections some more...
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Michael Sittig

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Random question for any astrophysicists out there (or whoever feels like answering): What happens if you toss antimatter into a black hole?

I mean, on one hand, you have antimatter. Absurdly explosive and reactive material, reacts with matter to create massive amounts of energy, annihilating the matter and antimatter in the process. Currently creatable in only short-lived, limited quantities.

On the other hand, you have black holes. Made from stars that become too dense and collapse in on themselves. Sucks in (almost) everything, including light. Might be a singularity, an infinitely dense thing concentrated at a single point. Also, possible source of crazy time-space shenanigans.

My thinking is that the antimatter will react and make the black hole slightly less massive. Won't release any energy, since it's all sucked in... but if you throw in enough antimatter, could the black hole become not dense enough to maintain itself? Could be interesting... a black hole suddenly stops being super-dense and inflates to make a normal star... or maybe the antimatter blows it up? Or perhaps the antimatter makes it so that it loses energy faster due to Hawking radiation or whatever, and it spins itself apart, releasing massive quantities of radiation in the process?

Raises a few other possibilities, too. Let's say you have a planet you want to make habitable. You could terraform it, or drag it into a different orbit... or you could drop antimatter into its star and have it thus go into a different, habitable orbit that way. Or maybe you have a star that's about to collapse, and you decide to make it insufficiently dense to become a black hole.

...could be fun to play around with. So, mental note to self: whenever we get access to massive quantities of antimatter and stellar objects to play with, try to combine them!
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Michael Sittig

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Oh, hey. It's today. Huzzah! * confetti *
....no cake though.
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Have him in circles
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Employment
  • heresy, madness, and other shenanigans
    ..., present
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Previously
Deerfield, IL
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Tagline
time traveler (for some value of time)
Introduction
Disregard fourth wall, acquire introduction! (Hi!)

Who am I?
Currently, I'm a student studying computer science

What are my interests?
Science, fantasy, computers, time travel, magic, spaaace, webcomics, videogames, post-modernism, fractals, parallel universes, tropes, neologisms, blatant disregard for laws of physics, world domination, music, artificial intelligence, doomsday devices, technology, anything that's next-gen and/or bleeding edge, gratuitous sesquipedalian loquaciousness, 3D printing, immortality, and tasty, tasty foods.

What are my posts about?
See above. I favor walls of text over pictures, reshares, and links. Should probably change that sometime.

Anything else?
Nothing I can think of. You?

Nope.
Alright then.
Education
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    Computer Science, present
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Male