TheHunt – making progress!

The past month has been really exciting for me – please excuse my absence, but in my defense, I found an internship for the summer! Has to do with Android and security – two of the things that excite me, so I’m happy ^_^

Now on the topic – TheHunt got three cool improvements:

  • A Knife tool! Still haven’t made the cool contextual menu, but a long click now switches between Net and Knife. What does Knife do? Let me show you:

algae_cut_knife

 

  • Prey now actually chases after user-generated food with priority – this makes the idea of feeding the fish to lure it out of algae and catch it much more feasible!
  • The Net tool now interacts with the environment better and catches algae and food in it’s range. This changes the way score is calculated a bit – 10 points for a Prey, -1 points * size for Algae and -1 point for Food caught (tentative)

Finally, a playable TheHunt! But this is only the beginning. Coming soon:

  • Prey has 3 states, the way it currently is and 2 upgrades. The states change the Prey’s appearance and intelligence, and the Prey upgrades state when it eats a food from the player (explanation is, the food is GMO) and returns to normal state once caught. This way, the more you feed the fish without catching it, the more difficult it gets to catch it. Yay!
  • Zoom in/out controls, finally
  • Some animations to make it look fancier – algae shiver, GMO food shines

Once this is done, TheHunt will be much closer to release! As always, please let me know if you have cool ideas or don’t like mine – now is the best time to change stuff!

TheHunt – The Future

Recently I was struck by a few nice ideas about TheHunt and I’m in a hurry to write them down. Here we go:

  • Knife tool. Been thinking for a while how to deal with fish hiding in a huge algae and now I think I figured it out – using the knife to cut the big into small ones. Should be easy to implement, I give it half a week.
  • Contextual menu on long-click. Long press somewhere, you get a nice pop-up menu where you can change tools, maybe request info about the object picked and other undecided stuff. Navigate in it without releasing the press. Can be tricky, I give it a week.
  • Simplified interface. Just one number in the top middle, showing score. Long press for a menu, maybe pop-ups with more information if needed. After contextual menu is implemented, only pop-ups will be missing.
  • Nicer font. I will experiment, but I’m thinking of something that looks hand-drawn. Easy to implement, but may require some time to find a proper font. I give it a day.

A quick concept to show the simplified interface and the contextual menu (didn’t include the knife and the nicer font)

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In a week or two I hope to have made a visible progress towards a more playable TheHunt!

On human nature and technology

Hey!

Today, I looked at my flatmate – crouched over his laptop, phased out into the digital dimension and busy with work. “I probably look exactly like him” – my first thought was. Suddenly, I remembered something I read on the topic of embodiment:

“The environment is part of the cognitive system. The information flow between mind and world is so dense and continuous that, for scientists studying the nature of cognitive activity, the mind alone is not a meaningful unit of analysis.” This statement means that the production of cognitive activity does not come from the mind alone, but rather is a mixture of the mind and the environmental situation that we are in. These interactions become part of our cognitive systems. Our thinking, decision-making, and future are all impacted by our environmental situations.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embodied_cognition

Basically, what I get from this wiki article is that humans see the world as an extension of themselves and utilize their surroundings to fulfill their intentions (offloading tasks, for example, as in writing down notes instead of memorizing).

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Now, what does it have to do with my flatmate? Well, I think this explains why people are so immersed into computers that they spend hours a day in an unnatural pose. See, the computer is a powerful tool – it can do many of the things we find difficult (memorizing, maths, wireless communication across the globe) with ease. This is why, when presented the opportunity, we gladly accept it into our cognitive mind as a part of us, loose ourselves into it, feel no hunger, no pain. The benefits are big – we get super powers, basically (WIFI is damn close to telepathy, don’t you think?).

So all is fine, nothing wrong with us… but wait! Back pains, eyesight problems, general health issues – all result from this “pairing”, us and the computer. And that’s a problem. If we agree that everything we do is well within our nature, then the computer must be to blame. And indeed, I claim that the health issues we face are due to how inconvenient computers are… have been so far, at least. This is changing!

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Google glass is just one example of how technology is becoming more intuitive and unobtrusive. We need to wait till next year, when it comes out, to see if it will live up to the hype, but it is certainly a step in the right direction for me.

Now, I blabbered for enough. What do you think?

Robohash and website faces

Primal Pond’s Robohash Set 1 vs Set 2 vs Set 3

I didn’t like the geometric shapes (called Identicon) I had as a default Gravatar image, so did a quick look around. Turns out – surprise-surprise, many tools exit that generate a random image given string (be it an email, or IP address, or just about everything). I’m on robot wave right now (as you might have noticed from my previous post), so I was so happy to find Robohash – hashing strings to robot images.

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