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Comment: Re:Several simple reasons. (Score 1) 768

by x4000 (#43951715) Attached to: Seeking Fifth Amendment Defenders
Good god preview failed on my mobile device. Here are line breaks.

Originally I was fairly swayed by the OP. Then lots of posts pointed out the whole"shades of gray" thing in terms of the legal system not being black and white. Easy to forget for us programmers. Still others pointed out downward spirals like the Salem witch trials. Hmm, perhaps a weaker point, but still good. I get the feeling the OP is still not convinced, however. So here are a couple of simple things I thought of after reflection.

Not in the form of a scenario, so fail0 me if you wish, but in this case I think clarity is not best served by a rambling scenario.

Basic premise: people so not ask simple questions that are yes/no when trying to extract information. They ask questions that are convoluted and complex, trying to catch someone in a lie. This is fine on tv, and acceptable when the party is guilty.

But you can't know the party is guilty. Many people get triples up under stress. Many are not articulate. Many (by definition) have below average intelligence. A goodly number do not speak English as well as the general public would hope. A goodly number have hearing problems, mental illness, senility, or other issues that prevent coherence under time-pressing pressure situations. There are even people, believe it or not, who have not grown up in a hostile or debate-heavy environment, and thus may fall into all sorts of verbal traps simply out of being an ingenue (or the male equivalent).

Oh, that reminds me: the point someone else made about all of the crazy statutes around, plus the vague nature of many of them, means that all of us, no exceptions, are lawbreakers. If that sounds silly or melodramatic, I'm not sure why. Look up crazy laws on the Internet, they are funny and concerning both. Also not known to the public or law enforcement in general, and thus not enforced.

Which really brings me to my main point, which is the need for counsel: many people don't know all of the rules of the "game" they have just been thrust into when they are entering the legal system. Many are petrified by fear and will make egregious mistakes. All are in violation of frivolous laws not material to the case. Potentially a majority are likely to be caught in verbal traps laid by experienced interrogators. Forget torture, it's hardly needed.

As for benefitting the guilty more often than the innocent: NO. This actually benefits the innocent more than the guilty (on a case by case basis, not in overall percentages that include the disproportionate number of guilty interrogatees). Repeat offenders are more familiar with the system. So are those from a culture of crime. Those with high intelligence and a taste for crime have an excellent incentive to study up. Those who come from hostile environments (not all of which are crime prone, but certainly many are) may be used to hostility and this on average less likely to get shaken and thus fall into certain kinds of verbal traps.

In other words, the right to remain silent is the same as the right to have counsel speak for you for many practical purposes.

Comment: Several simple reasons. (Score 1) 768

by x4000 (#43951703) Attached to: Seeking Fifth Amendment Defenders
Originally I was fairly swayed by the OP. Then lots of posts pointed out the whole"shades of gray" thing in terms of the legal system not being black and white. Easy to forget for us programmers. Still others pointed out downward spirals like the Salem witch trials. Hmm, perhaps a weaker point, but still good. I get the feeling the OP is still not convinced, however. So here are a couple of simple things I thought of after reflection. Not in the form of a scenario, so fail0 me if you wish, but in this case I think clarity is not best served by a rambling scenario. Basic premise: people so not ask simple questions that are yes/no when trying to extract information. They ask questions that are convoluted and complex, trying to catch someone in a lie. This is fine on tv, and acceptable when the party is guilty. But you can't know the party is guilty. Many people get triples up under stress. Many are not articulate. Many (by definition) have below average intelligence. A goodly number do not speak English as well as the general public would hope. A goodly number have hearing problems, mental illness, senility, or other issues that prevent coherence under time-pressing pressure situations. There are even people, believe it or not, who have not grown up in a hostile or debate-heavy environment, and thus may fall into all sorts of verbal traps simply out of being an ingenue (or the male equivalent). Oh, that reminds me: the point someone else made about all of the crazy statutes around, plus the vague nature of many of them, means that all of us, no exceptions, are lawbreakers. If that sounds silly or melodramatic, I'm not sure why. Look up crazy laws on the Internet, they are funny and concerning both. Also not known to the public or law enforcement in general, and thus not enforced. Which really brings me to my main point, which is the need for counsel: many people don't know all of the rules of the "game" they have just been thrust into when they are entering the legal system. Many are petrified by fear and will make egregious mistakes. All are in violation of frivolous laws not material to the case. Potentially a majority are likely to be caught in verbal traps laid by experienced interrogators. Forget torture, it's hardly needed. As for benefitting the guilty more often than the innocent: NO. This actually benefits the innocent more than the guilty (on a case by case basis, not in overall percentages that include the disproportionate number of guilty interrogatees). Repeat offenders are more familiar with the system. So are those from a culture of crime. Those with high intelligence and a taste for crime have an excellent incentive to study up. Those who come from hostile environments (not all of which are crime prone, but certainly many are) may be used to hostility and this on average less likely to get shaken and thus fall into certain kinds of verbal traps. In other words, the right to remain silent is the same as the right to have counsel speak for you for many practical purposes.
Games

+ - Wearing Multiple Hats, PR, And Success As An Indie

Submitted by x4000
x4000 (1568105) writes "I've written a couple of new articles today targeted at new or aspiring indie developers.

The first about the challenges of wearing multiple hats as well as some PR-related stuff. Essentially, many indie developers seem to struggle with balancing the business side of their work with the game-development side of their work. I know I do, and this post breaks down some of why this might be, as well as reasons and goals for overcoming these challenges.

Case in point: by any objective measure, I really messed up the PR for the release of Tidalis. We had far too little PR, and now that awesome reviews are coming in it's still too late for the actual launch of the game. This has led to sales being about ten times lower than my minimum expectation for the game, even though the game has still been very successful compared to most indie games in its first two weeks. It certainly beats the pants off of what AI War did at first, and AI War went on to sell around 30,000 copies of itself and its expansion.

So what does that mean for Tidalis? Is it to be permanently harmed due to the lack of advanced press before initial release? Short answer: No. That certainly wasn't the case for AI War, and the reviews are even more positive for Tidalis than they were for AI War. Longer answer: I wrote a second article about the secrets of Arcen's success as an indie company, which outlines how we took AI War from a complete unknown to a cult classic. It's worked for us, I suspect this is what worked for Dwarf Fortress, and I know this is what worked for the likes of Doodle Jump and similar on the iPhone. And best of all, it's the sort of thing that big companies by and large would never do for their customers."

Comment: Re:"Truer" AI suggestion (Score 2, Informative) 146

by x4000 (#28202003) Attached to: Emergent AI In an Indie RTS Game
Thanks for the added explanation -- and I'm glad you found the second article more interesting. It has only one audience (programmers), which makes it easier to write. The other perhaps has too many target audiences. Switching up the relative weights of the preferences, and having the AI retain information and learn over time, is quite interesting. Beyond the scope of what I can probably accomplish in this game simply because of data size issues and such in a networked game (unless the AI had a permanent local database, and each computer's version of the game would thus have different intelligence). But very interesting, and I suspect I will probably try something more advanced along those lines in the future.

Comment: Re:All their art is stolen. (Score 1) 146

by x4000 (#28201835) Attached to: Emergent AI In an Indie RTS Game
That's under discussion, but the game is coded in C# .NET 3.5, which currently isn't supported by mono. As mono progresses, we'll be looking at porting it -- aside from the .NET 3.5 support, assuming that performance in Mono holds steady with the main .NET Framework for things like LINQ, there should be a Linux/Mac port sometime in the future.

Comment: Re:"Truer" AI suggestion (Score 3, Informative) 146

by x4000 (#28195729) Attached to: Emergent AI In an Indie RTS Game
This is a really interesting post, and some of it goes a little bit over my head. Like I've said, I'm a database programmer, not an AI programmer. I might experiment with things like neural networks and such in the future, but right now the AI is doing as well as I could possibly hope for. That was a big part of the point of my article: using the fancier techniques is not even always needed for something like an RTS game, because you can get surprisingly good results with comparably little code.

I'm sure I will experiment around with this more in the future, but I bet you somebody else builds on my approach and does something more impressive before I even can. Anyway, future articles in my aI series will go more in-depth and will also include relevant code snippets to help illustrate my points. Feel free to use and abuse them, and expand away.

The second article is now up, to appease those hungry for some source code and a bit more of an in-depth discussion on a couple of sub-topics: Designing Emergent AI, Part 2: Queries and Code.

Comment: Re:Like to see.... (Score 5, Informative) 146

by x4000 (#28195657) Attached to: Emergent AI In an Indie RTS Game
I'm not going to release the game for free, given that if I'm to be able to continue to pursue game development it can't continue to be in my hobby time forever. For similar reasons, I'm not going to release the entire code as open source. However, I've already open-sourced a lot of smaller things from my code (force feedback code from my other game, fixed-int math from this game, etc). Also, I've now added a second part to the article which has some partial AI code from the game, and people are free to use the ideas there and build off of them as much as they want. I don't want people to make AI War clones, but rather to think about the ideas that I am presenting and implement them in their own way. The AI War code is not the only way to approach this general design philosophy, not by a long shot. Here's part 2 of the article, with the added code and such: Designing Emergent AI, Part 2: Queries and Code

Comment: Re:Summary useless (Score 5, Informative) 146

by x4000 (#28194027) Attached to: Emergent AI In an Indie RTS Game
Quite valid -- intelligent agents are not a new idea (I'm the dev from the article). However, the vast majority of RTS games are still using decision trees, I guess because the prevailing wisdom is that such is needed because of the complexity of RTS play. Is it so surprising that industry lags behind academia? But, even my approach is not purely an intelligent agent approach, but rather combines in a bit of global logic as well (for reinforcements, choosing global attack targets, etc). I think that a hybridized sort of approach is really needed for RTS games, since they do have so many levels at once.

Comment: Re:player mimicry (Score 1) 146

by x4000 (#28194005) Attached to: Emergent AI In an Indie RTS Game
Hi there -- I'm actually the dev from the article. This is a very interesting suggestion, and I'm sure that people will try this at some point. My main issue with that approach is that it requires a huge amount of ongoing data, which I'm not sure quite how to deal with at this stage. But like I've said, I'm fundamentally a database programmer and not an AI programmer. With my approach, what I wanted to do was have basically a "stateless" set of AI logic, which could look at any given situation and make a decision based on what it sees. Kind of how an expert chess player can look at any chess board and tell you the best (or at least a very good) next move. They don't need to historically see what the other player was doing. I think there's room for both approaches, but I went with what I know (naturally).
Real Time Strategy (Games)

+ - Emergent AI in an indie RTS game.->

Submitted by
x4000
x4000 writes "My recent RTS game uses a new style of AI that hybridizes rules-based AI with emergent AI logic. As a disclaimer, I'm really not an AI programmer at all — my background is in databases, financial modeling, etc. But it just so happens that database experience, which often involved distilling data points from multiple sources and then combining them into suggested decisions for executives, also makes a great foundation for certain styles of AI. The approach I came up with leans heavily on my database background, and what concepts I am familiar with from reading a bit about AI theory (emergent behavior, fuzzy logic, etc). The results are startlingly good.

Total development time on the AI was less than 3 months, and its use of tactics is some of the best in the RTS genre. I'm very open to talking about anything and everything to do with the design I used, as I think it's a viable new approach to AI to explore in games, and I'd like to see other developers potentially carry it even further. Here's an overview of how the AI in AI War: Fleet Command works."

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