Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).

×

Comment: Re:Way too expensive for my blood... (Score 1) 56

by drinkypoo (#49173927) Attached to: Games Workshop At 40: How They Brought D&D To Britain

That's already more effort than most people want to expend for a game. Painting is not fun for many people. It doesn't matter how "easy" you want to make it seem.

Yeah, the game is not for everyone. If you're lazy, you're better off with a computer game. I resemble the remark; I've spent far more time video gaming than miniatures gaming. I may still have some battletech minis here someplace, I definitely still have a small space marines army with a couple of sidecar bikes, a couple of floaters, a land raider, a couple rhinos... Sits in a box.

Comment: Re:Uh, what? (Score 1) 55

by shaitand (#49173627) Attached to: Khronos Group Announces Vulkan To Compete Against DirectX 12
"I can't tell if you're just being obtuse, but: the developer compiles shader language to bytecode, and the graphics driver compiles bytecode to GPU native-code. Both of these stages qualify as compilation. (They're both level-reducing language-transformations.)"

Let me put this another way. Byte code is machine code for an imaginary machine, GPU native code is machine code for an actual machine. There is no level reduction occurring when interpreting byte code, both are already machine code, there is a translation from one instruction set to another compatible instruction set. Interpreters are a form of compiler designed to run at runtime rather than well in advance, modern interpreters are JIT compilers. The JVM for instance is an interpreter.

If you start confusing the typical convention of referring to compiled vs interpreted with the fact that technically in all cases the things you are referring to are all compilers it gets confusing. There is greater specificity in saying that bytecode in this case is run through an interpreter and even more specificity in saying that the design of that interpreter is one of JIT compilation (although the term mostly exists as a form of geek marketing to avoid negative stigma of using the word interpret).

"building native execution of the bytecode would be fastest

Why not call this what it is? It's compilation."

I'm not avoiding calling the translation compilation, as I clarified above, this is runtime compilation aka interpretation. I'm proposing that it would be faster to make the imaginary machines instruction set the instruction set physically implemented on the chip. As an intermediate but still ridiculously fast step they could add a handful of gates and perform the translation on the chip. The compiler would then be part of the SDK rather than part of the driver and you'd have compile once run everywhere shader code with the ability to hand optimize available to every developer.

It represents an excellent bit of bait to eventually get all GPU's to implement a standards based shader instruction set, much like Intel and AMD both target the same cpu instruction set.

Comment: Re:Uh, what? (Score 1) 55

by shaitand (#49173355) Attached to: Khronos Group Announces Vulkan To Compete Against DirectX 12
"No. There's no way in hell that anyone's seriously suggesting running graphics code in an interpreter. Again, it will be compiled by the graphics driver. (We could call this 'JIT compilation', but this term doesn't seem to have caught on in the context of graphics.)"

JIT compilation, An interpreter is a run time compiler, nothing more, nothing less. JIT compilation is a form of interpretation. No modern interpreter sits and converts to native code line by line during execution, they COMPILE to native code at runtime and then execute that. The only performance benefit of compilation vs interpretation is start-up time once executing compiled code is not necessarily faster. The perl interpreter is a good example. People tend to suck at writing fast perl code but someone who actually understands the language can write a perl solution that will rival or beat a C implementation for most solutions. You can compile perl implementations to native binaries and the interpreter typically compiles to an intermediate byte code, you can compile to that byte code in advance as well and run that with the interpreter in the same way you run java byte code on it's interpreter aka the java virtual machine. The only reason we do the byte code thing at all is that it's a machine code for an imaginary machine that is extremely efficient to interpret.

"Why not call this what it is? It's compilation."

Bytecode is the native machine code language of an imaginary machine, when I say native execution I mean alter the GPU to speak that machine code as it's native instruction set... in the silicon.

An interpreter is a form of compiler that is runs at runtime rather than in advance, JIT compiler is a form of interpreter design, and cloud computing is just the current evolution of clustered computing plugged into an internet connection and clusters in turn are nothing more than the distributed computing platforms built before them. You can make up new words all day long but lets stop pretending these things are NEW are not just the progressive realization of computing concepts that were invented in the 50's. Now get off my lawn.

Comment: History lesson for you non-technicals. (Score 1) 288

by Medievalist (#49173231) Attached to: Why We Should Stop Hiding File-Name Extensions

File extensions were originally something that humans put on files to tell each other what they were. Around 1974, for example, I might have a file called "phlist.txt" on an PDP-11 and my cow-orkers would know that was a phone list in raw ASCII format. The OS did not care, labels were for humans. If you wanted to tell the OS to execute a program, you typed "run filename" and if it wasn't an executable you'd get an error message.

Then unix and friends came along, and put an "executable bit" in the metadata for each file, so that you didn't have to type "run" any more. If you typed the name of a file, and it had the executable bit set, the system treated that as if you'd run it. Saved some ink on the teletype, don't you know.

Well, 8-bit micro computers running CP/M and DOS came along, and they sort of half-assed the concept. They still didn't have very much metadata on files, but the extensions .exe and... hmmm... something else I forget right now... were designated as "special". If you typed a word that the system did not recognize, it would look for a file with that name followed by .exe, and try to execute it.

But then Apple came along and built resource forks into their file system metadata, so they were able to associate information about what applications and/or utilities were used to create a file, and give some recommendations on what should be done if a user simply clicked the file. A really significant advance for filesystems, at least in theory.

Now, Microsoft wanted to make people believe that their OS and file system were as capable as the early Apple Macintoshes (pre-OSX) so they faked up a sort of back-alley version of the resource fork using file extensions. They were already checking for that .exe extension anyway, so most of the infrastructure to do this was already in place, they just jammed some hacks in to generalize the mechanism for all file extensions. And then they hid the extensions, so that to a clueless end-user it looked exactly like an Apple mac - you clicked on a file named "phone list" and the phone list application opened up.

This hare-brained scheme doesn't really work like Apple's, of course, because instead of including extra information about the file in the file metadata, instead they have built a separate list of file "types", designated by extension, and actions to associate with those types. In terms of the required slashdot car analogy, this is the difference between having the name of your state or country blazoned on your license plate, or having a giant book where you can look up the number of a car's license and see what state the car was registered in. Obviously the latter is inefficient and scales poorly as well as being fundamentally less capable and having no consistency across individual machines. Using the Apple method, if someone gives me a file with a resource fork, I get the resource metadata with the file. Using the Microsoft method, somebody gives me a file and maybe - if I'm lucky, and have the same applications installed - I will have the same resources associated with the file extension that the person giving me the file had on their machine.

But people who grew up after all this was invented can rarely see how stupid this all is, and always has been. It's like the idiocy of having the label of the volume MFD being the same as the subfolder separator character - nearly all of you young folks think that actually makes sense, in the same way that people brought up in the Westboro Baptist Church think raving bigotry makes sense. You've been conditioned to accept it.

This is only one of several giant steps backwards in computer technology. We used to have automatic file versioning but now programmers are so thoroughly conditioned they don't even seem capable of understanding why that was so awesome.

Now get off my damn lawn, you whippersnappers!

Comment: Re:Way too expensive for my blood... (Score 1) 56

by drinkypoo (#49172795) Attached to: Games Workshop At 40: How They Brought D&D To Britain

Well, considering to compete in a tournament you MUST paint the figures, that already excludes people like me who have NO artistic skill, Or even just fine painting skills.

Look, you only need three paint colors, and primer counts. So you base coat them in either white or black, paint helmets and shoulders in another color, and paint weapons either in gray (or gunmetal, fancy!) for models with black primer, or in black for models with any other color of primer. Now you're done. You don't even have to paint your bases green.

This is not really an arduous requirement. The level of fine motor skill necessary for this level of painting is pretty low, it takes a fair amount just to position your models on any kind of decent playing field, take your measurements and so on. If you can handle that, you should be able to handle the paintwork.

I can understand side tournaments where people compete based on their artistic skill that's unrelated to the main event, but tying the two together means someone like me who can't paint worth a damn won't even bother trying to enter.

Well, that's a valid reason why they're going away. Another is that video gaming now makes the more rules-and-dice tabletop gaming obsolete. The computer now manages all that annoying fiddly stuff. It's really put the boot into warhammer, battletech, and all the other miniatures-heavy games with rulers and protractors and shit-tons of dice, even if they are all D6.

Comment: Re:I hesitate to comment (Score 1) 137

by drinkypoo (#49172613) Attached to: What Would Minecraft 2 Look Like Under Microsoft?

Microsoft is pretty good at buying games and not ruining them, the original Halo aside. I actually think that was a great game in every way except for the monotonous level design in the end, and the lack of cross-platform support. You can't rush greatness, and you shouldn't force your operating system on people. That's kind of what they do, though, so it's not much of a surprise.

Microsoft has their hits, but they also have their significant misses. Where's our Freelancer 2? Handing that franchise to anyone competent and telling them to support capships and not ruin the control scheme would have permitted them to simply print money.

I've bought quite a few Microsoft games, it's one of the things I think they do best in fact, mostly by virtue of not doing it themselves. I hope they don't totally bone it, but I won't be surprised if they do. And if they do, someone will surely replace it.

Anyway, off the topic of Microsoft, and to join in talking about what would be cool for Minecraft, it absolutely must have functioning boats. Along with more realistic water, specifically ocean that fills in to level on its own, it would add a new dimension that would probably give the series a whole new kick in the pants. Ninjas vs. Pirates, anyone?

And with that said, anyone know of any minecraft clones which are capable of doing something like that? You build a ship, and then either roll it into the sea or dig the land out from beneath it? It seems like rather an obvious thing to have wanted to support from the beginning. A one-block boat doesn't do it for me.

Comment: What about the public? (Score 4, Interesting) 76

by Jodka (#49172593) Attached to: Supreme Court Gives Tacit Approval To Warrantless DNA Collection

So does this ruling apply to the public or only to government?

For example, could I legally collect Elizabeth Warren's "inadvertently shed" DNA and have it tested to find out if she really has a Native American ancestor?

If this is something only the government can do legally, then what law gives them but not me the right to collect other people's DNA and have it analyzed without their permission?

More to the point, is there any law preventing me or anyone else from doing this right now? I can see James O'Keefe with a cotton swab and vial chasing Elizabeth Warren across the Harvard campus.

Comment: Re:Here's hoping they bought it to close it down. (Score 1) 137

by drinkypoo (#49172473) Attached to: What Would Minecraft 2 Look Like Under Microsoft?

Oh, come on. D&D players were not outcasts

Tee hee. Maybe not all of them.

There was cross-branding; cartoons and wood burning kits, for cryin' out loud.

Yeah, look at the other cartoons which were competing with D&D. They were simply handed a complete franchise for a great deal, of course they took it. And it was a flop.

Wood-burning kits are kind of a reasonable crossover, because that was a dying hobby, too.

Comment: Re:We all know what we expect is not what we want (Score 1) 137

by drinkypoo (#49172451) Attached to: What Would Minecraft 2 Look Like Under Microsoft?

I would expect the PC game to cost slightly more than the Xbox 180 version, and not have a subscription fee. I presume your other predictions will actually come true. I could also see it being a free-to-pay game, though. Given Windows 10 is going to be free for Windows 7 and 8 users, it might make sense to give MC2 away to Windows 10 users as well, and charge a small fee to other players. Use some lame excuse about having to support older versions of DirectX.

"Who alone has reason to *lie himself out* of actuality? He who *suffers* from it." -- Friedrich Nietzsche

Working...