Chosen links

Links - 26th November 2017

Profiling and data analysis resources

Looking at software from a different angle as done during profiling and data analysis has numerous benefits. It requires and increases our understanding of the problems being solved by the software. It exposes us to unexpected discoveries and insights. It allows us to suggest improvements.

Since there is a great element of skills involved, and it is rarely taught in Computer Science degrees, the role of practice is very important to gain the necessary skills.

Funky Fantasy IV: a machine-translated video game experiment

“Funky Fantasy IV” is a 100% machine-translated version of Final Fantasy IV for the Japanese Super Famicom. There are still little bits and pieces of untranslated menu text, but all of the main and important text has been run through Google Translate.

What’s especially interesting is that I did this project just as Google was updating its translation system to use advanced neural network A.I. So, by sheer luck, I wound up with two different translations: one before the switch and one after. The differences were so astounding and the online response was so great that I decided to write an entire book about the project!

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“How Dark Souls II” revels in the horror of repetition

The game’s plot, which has the player searching for the powerful King Vendrick, reaches its culmination when we find him in a dark tomb. He’s gone hollow, and his mind has completely left him; he’s a husk, and we find out that it is precisely because he realized that he was in a sequel. He was living in the after, and after him there will be more, more game, more time. In response to that, he gave up, and had no interest in continuing.

The Dark Souls franchise, of course, continued to march forward. The third game in the series is supposedly the last. But it is hard to play that sequel, or any sequel, with the knowledge that we are all King Vendrick in some way. We’re locked in the tomb of repetition, playing cycle after cycle, open world after open world, monetization strategy after monetization strategy, spiraling further down a drain of negotiated consumption. We are chasing the same gameplay experiences again and again, all of which are designed by an industry of that is doing the same, and I often wonder when you or I will finally give up, exhausted, unable to fork over any more attention to the grist mill.