Let’s Code Part 5 & 6

By Shamus Posted Friday Dec 31, 2010

Filed under: Programming 31 comments

Several people have left comments. Others have sent emails. Still others have written messages on bricks and heaved them through my window in a storm of profanity. Just a moment ago someone attached a note to an arrow, and shot it through my dear friend Concorde. The impression I’m getting from these missives is that people would like me to write more about Project Hex. I am not opposed to this suggestion in any way. In fact, I am eager to do this. I can think of few things that would be as productive and satisfying as writing about my latest programming fiasco in a way that leaves the reader with the impression that I know what I’m doing.

Unfortunately, I can’t write about Project Hex until I work on Project Hex, and I have not been able to find an ample enough supply of adjacent minutes in which to accomplish this. I could, I suppose, write a pair of long, meandering paragraphs detailing the fact that nothing has been accomplished, and if you are very observant you may notice I have just done exactly that. But I don’t anticipate this will satisfy the constant and sometimes hazardous requests I’m receiving from eager readers.


Michael Goodfellow has not been slack. In his about page he claims to have retired from work. This is obviously false. He has only retired from being paid. He is working, at a terrifying pace, on his massively multiplayer game, and if you can’t find amusement in his trials and frustrations then you are kind and empathetic to the point of defect.

In part five he talks about the many directions his project could go. Then in part 6 he has the delightfully clever idea to import the data from the Twenty Sided Minecraft server and use that as input data for his world. The stuff in part 6 is of particular interest to me. He’s working to light the world. It’s trivially easy to come up with something that is bland, but serviceable. Simple shadowless directional lighting is easy to achieve, and gives the world a bit of visual texture. But from there almost any improvement becomes mercilessly difficult, particularly when you’re dealing with a Minecraft-like world where any scenery can change at any moment.

So my advice is to save your bricks for a later date, and be pacified by Goodfellow’s writings.

If you are wondering about my archaic and gleefully unorthodox writing voice today, then I will offer the explanation that I have been reading a great deal of Jane Austen, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Oscar Wilde as of late. I’ve become enamored of the sometimes absurd ways people allowed themselves to speak. I am like a man who has suddenly fallen in love with bowler hats and resolved himself to un-ironically wearing one with his jeans and sports jersey.


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31 thoughts on “Let’s Code Part 5 & 6

  1. Sydney says:

    I’m a man who actually does wear a bowler hat in everyday life. And I approve this message.

    1. MichaelG says:

      I hear a Fez is cool too…

      1. Wolverine says:

        Fezes are SO 2010. Stetson is the thing to wear on your head in 2011.

        1. General Karthos says:

          So what about bow ties?

        2. RichVR says:

          The classic Italian Borsalino never goes out of style.

          1. Audacity says:

            Bah, LIES! Every mildly cultured gent knows that fedoras are the alpha and omega of cranial fashion.

            1. Bit says:

              Any true gentleman in such recent weather wears the ever classic and functional trenchcoat and fedora, ideal for everything from procuring your local rationing of lactose beverages from their respective male transporter, to using signs of crimson to inform drivers of automobiles that roads in various states of detritus and repair are near, to making pies for your skill respecting if sexually unfulfilled husband whilst he is out.

              1. Audacity says:

                My thoughts exactly,you must be psychic! Though let us not forget that final, most sacred, of duties: overcoming the rolling, cookie purveying Squirts of the Rainbow!

        3. Gilf says:

          You kidding? Thanks to Yahtzee, trilbys are all the rage. But only among us pretentious people. Oh, how I long to be one of the non-conformists.

  2. General Karthos says:

    I know exactly how the language thing goes. When I read some of the 19th (and early 20th) century novelists, I find myself not only writing in their style, but thinking in their style, and exerting a conscious effort not to SPEAK in their style.

    Of course, I haven’t done any of that reading lately, so I’m constructing sentences just like I normally do at the moment.

    Also, I don’t have a bowler hat. Or really any other hat. My head is too large for normal hat dimensions. If I wanted to buy a hat, I would have to get it specially made.

    1. Ingvar M says:

      But, surely, having hats made to measure is how you purchase anything but emergency hats (for when all oter hats are unreachable, but enhattedness need to ensue)?

      1. General Karthos says:

        Eh, baseball caps, cold weather hats, fencing masks, other various forms of headgear, none of them made to specific measurements, none of them really fit me very well. Can’t fit a baseball cap on my head, even on its largest setting. Cold weather hats… can’t fasten them under my chin. Fencing masks are either too short or not wide enough (too small either vertically or horizontally). Surely I would make hats to order, but the kind I (would) wear with any regularity at all are the kind you buy off the shelf at Target for 10 bucks.

    2. Mari says:

      I am so pleased to learn that it is not only myself upon whom the language works its wonderous influence. For the record I’ve read Austen, Stoker, Wilder, and Alcott this week. You can imagine for yourself how freakish my communication has become. Strangely, accents also work such miracles upon me. Viewing a marathon of New York-centric films will set me speaking in a New York accent, while Steel Magnolias produces the sounds of a Southern belle.

      Alas, I am not a bowler hat sort of woman. Rather, I have a penchant for berets of the stiff wool variety with interesting brooches nestled in the band.


        Top hats.

  3. X2-Eliah says:

    To confess in a similar experience of mine, I too have noticed how spending a considerable part of one’s day by absorbing a high-standard literary masterpiece can leave a profound, yet subtle effect on one’s structurization of a sentence and conveyance of thought.

    It is an effect I have found to come to a complete stop after a few hours, though the length of the influence does extend in some relation to the amount of written work you’ve been reading as of late. I cannot say that it is unpleasant, in fact I take delight of such a long-winded and often superfluous manner of thought, for it pleases the self-ego of one by making him think of himself as smarter than otherwise it would seem, false as such seemliness might be.. But more to the point, such style of speech/thought/writing comes across as a more elegant and refined a thing, compared to the common denominator of Internet-speak.. I must confess that I oftentimes desire for such a style to be my standard manner of speech and writing, it is but a wild fancy currently, perhaps not dissimilar to the desire of some to dress with the elegance of a 19th century English gentleman, with a hat most fancy and cane to boot; unfortunately, that might not come across so well in daily situations, such mannerisms might indeed be perceived as a mockery (which I assure you this current monologue is certainly not).

  4. David W says:

    As regards the ‘gleefully unorthodox writing style’: Sir, I approve! One must have a modicum of skill to write both creatively and intelligibly, but I assure you, you have that ability.

    That said, if you decide to go back due to time constraints and your natural voice being easier, I would grudgingly tolerate that course of action :-).

    1. porschecm2 says:

      I most heartily agree. Shamus, I rather like your new (or perhaps old?) style. Of course, I’ve been reading Sir Nigel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle this past week, and stories of that ilk and style are quite my favorite sort of book, so I suppose I’m biased.

  5. Ian says:

    Still others have written messages on bricks and heaved them through my window in a storm of profanity.

    Yep! And I’ve got half a mind to sue you. Do you realize how heavy cinder blocks are, especially to a dedicated WoW player? I think I pulled a muscle when I hurled that thing through your window.

    You at least owe me gas. After all, if you would have kept writing about the real nerdy stuff I wouldn’t have had to drive to your house in the first place. Shoot me an e-mail when you read this and we can arrange payment. I accept PayPal and Sheetz gift cards.

  6. Strangeite says:

    The “Wolves of the Calla” changed my wife and my daily language more than any other book I have read. For almost 3 months we found ourselves slipping into Callaspeak.


  7. Rosseloh says:

    It would appear that nearly everyone else suffers the same disease, Shamus!

    Including myself. Although it’s not so much simply literature, as the general culture, that I enjoy (hobby historian, etc), I too tend to speak and write in that particular manner. Although I will say that I tend to not notice it particularly. For example, I have a feeling that this comment contains exaggerated examples, somewhat, but I really can’t tell if I’m even doing it.

    I have it on good authority that I tend to be a bit archaic while talking, however.

    And, I would kill for a bowler hat.

    1. X2-Eliah says:

      In all fairness, the extent of your verbatim as portrayed by this comment seems to me of a perfectly normal and average nature. That is to say, in as much as my own ability to distinguish the amount of something being normal or not is rather limited, the exact exaggeration of examples does not seem unnatural in any way, shape of form.

      Furthermore, While I too would appreciate a fine bowler hat, I must outline that an ability to wear one without coming across as pretentious or full of oneself would be something I would yearn for to a far greater extent that the mere fact of possessing an item of aforementioned headgear.

      1. Rosseloh says:

        Touchà¨, good sir.

        1. X2-Eliah says:

          In fear of a possible misinterpretation, or failure to be as clairvoyant as would optimally be required on my part, I’d like to clarify that I did not intend to be sarcastic or anything other than thoroughly genuine in my musing..

          Moreover, my desire of such an ability (as I mentioned above) stems directly from an actual lack of it in my persona – I doubt I would, myself, seem genuine in a fancy hat – though perhaps a slight revision of my persona could be cultivated with the intent of naturally sporting a fine example of headgear in mind..

          Mayhap that would be an adequate new year’s resolution, in fact. In any case, I am just trying to say that I did not intent to come across as sarcastic or otherwise insincere, and for any misinterpretation I apologise. :)

          1. Bryan says:

            And I’m having flashbacks to Von Rutskarn’s Magical Murder Tour.

            Not that I mind, of course. That was rather entertaining — from the sidelines anyway. :-)

  8. Piflik says:

    If you want to read a book with really strange ways to say even the most mundane stuff (and I mean REALLY strange), go get ‘The Gone-Away World’ by Nick Harkaway…pure gold…the only book I could read twice in a row, just because of the language…I myself actually got it by accident…more or less…was in a bookstore and there was just nothing that jumped me, so I got the next one I found…and I am glad it was this one…it might not have the best story I ever read, but it is easily the best book I ever read…

    Need some quotes? Here you go..enjoy:

    “The tree of nonsense is watered with error, and from its branches swing the pumpkins of disaster.”

    “That’s what you get for ignoring the beauty of Tupperware.”

    “Ninjas are silly. They are the flower fairies of gong fu and karate.”

    “I have known heaven, and now I am in hell, and there are mimes.”

    Yes…there are Ninjas…and Mimes…

    Furthermore, there is paragraph about three pages in length just dealing with the behavior of sheep inside a minefield…I wont spoil that, but it cracks me up everytime I read it…

    Or this paragraph about the effect of fluorescent tube light on the hearts of shrew…

    …I could go on and on…I think I have to read it again ;)

  9. Zagzag says:

    On the subject of your minecraft server, Shamus, are you on it much at the moment? I’ve never seen you on, but I am in europe, so I wouldn’t be surprised.

  10. Kale says:

    Poor Concorde, once you’ve been shot with an arrow that’s all anyone ever notices about you.

  11. Sydney says:

    I should probably point out I once read A Clockwork Orange something along the lines of twenty times over the span of a week. It was the only book I’d packed for what was supposed to be an overnight trip, but turned out to take eight days, most of which I spent alone in a motel.

    You can imagine what I sounded like when I finally arrived and had to talk to people again. Twice a sentence, I’d have to cut myself off and self-edit.

    1. MichaelG says:

      Funny — after the first time I played Grand Theft Auto for a few days straight, I kept wanting to drive my car down steps and run over pedestrians.

  12. somecrazyfan says:

    Who are those people?I’d rather have posts related to game design, reviews of games and the like.

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