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The Goodly Mist
A Workingblog for Rob Sherman
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⚞ notes?

Dendrocybernetics

I’m working on some prototypes for a (hopefully) upcoming computational project which concerns the growth rings of trees, and simulating them in code – their accretion, the environmental factors which influence their shape, colour, distribution, width and so on – is proving to be an interesting little challenge. I’ve been using Processing (which is essentially a […]

“Is a democracy, such as we know it, the last improvement possible in government? Is it not possible to take a step further towards recognizing and organizing the rights of man? Here will never be a really free and enlightened State until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, […]

A diverting thing to do, when putting off the next set of reps at the gym, is to look at each machine arrayed about the walls and try to think of them as a set of individual glyphs; an international script repeated in evil-smelling rooms across the world, and legible to anybody who has passed […]

One of the things that it would certainly illustrate is that thought outstrips the number of atoms in the universe very quickly. Apparently we’re used to dealing intelligently with astronomically large combinatoria. I calculate that we take in somewhere between 360 and 480 mb/second in our visual, auditory, and tactile senses (combined). We probably don’t […]

I’ve always found it interesting, and a little mystifying, why many archetypal stories from across human culture – the sort that Vladimir Propp and Michelle Sugiyama spent and spend their lives researching – are so often about lone heroes and heroines, disjunctive from their communities, striking out into some abyssal wilderness. If we agree (as […]

Empathy Games

When we meet for our monthly catch-ups, Bath Spa’s Empathy Research Group resembles a boardroom meeting for the world’s most nervous, and self-deprecating, security firm. Imagine such a thing. Believe me, we know better than any how difficult that is. With members from the fields of literary criticism, creative writing, psychology, neuroscience, developmental psychology and […]

knole Prototypes #2 & #3 Functioning Speech Recognition & Text Input

I completed two prototypes this week. Compared to previous efforts they were trivial to put together, but they represent a developmental milestone. For the first time my godlets can receive, interpret and process human language, albeit to a primitive degree. As the plural suggests, however, my attempts have bifurcated my project into two separate branches; […]

knole Prototype #1a – The BOD Architecture

[ link to prototype (.exe) ]   [ github repo ] I’ve just released another prototype of knole’s titular landscape god, but there is nothing new for you to see. It still just sits on its own neck and watches, breathing and blinking slowly, and I still question whether or not a god even should breathe. My […]

knole Prototype #1 – Encoding A Pregnancy

[link to prototype]   [github repo] I am now just getting on with it and making a start on the actual coding of my virtual godlet. This is something which, historically, has been completely beyond my grasp; I find it usually very difficult to begin making anything until I’ve spied some sort of syzygy happening in my […]

Said Horror To Hearer

Now that I am starting to grope into my PhD in great fistfuls, and work out exactly how I might start to build my digital godlet, I think it’s time to focus on specifics. At the moment I don’t have many of those; my notebooks are filled with misty calls to ’empathy’ between the human […]

A Startling Realisation

Though there is a lot of academic writing and positivist chicanery to come in regards to my PhD project, diminutively named

The Princess Of Kavos

This painting was a bigger challenge for me. I had not worked with acrylics at such a large scale before; goodness, until six months ago I had not painted anything longer than my finger. The canvas is nearly two feet high and nearly a foot wide, and I think it has come out fairly striking. […]

Another Ghibli Painting

This one did not take quite as long as the last one. The canvas is about the size of an envelope, and was a gift from my girlfriend when I gave her the Totoro painting. I have a couple of plans for my own paintings in the future, but there was another Ghibli character that […]

Mappa Mundi Dissected 3

A ship is a dreadful, dreadful reaction to the problem of ocean. I say this with all the fullness of respect for beautiful shipwrighting, ingenious seamanship, and my own memories of lying in the strung netting of a catamaran with my brother, treading lightly over the waves of the Caribbean sea. I love ships. I […]

Mappa Mundi Dissected 2

Mappa Mundi is not a card game. It is most definitely a board game; look upon it (you can’t, yet), it has a board. The randomly-generated board (accomplished, I suppose, through the drawing of cards) is a mechanic I am proud of, as its incubator. However, the game does use cards – and a lot […]

Mappa Mundi Dissected

So. Writing and designing a boardgame is hard if you are very intelligent. I am such a person. I cannot speak for the experience from the perspective of a stupid person, but I imagine that it would present its own problems. I started designing Mappa Mundi,  a boardgame set during the European Age of Discovery […]

Mappa Mundi

This is the first in a series, where I painfully and hatefully analyse concepts and portions of the boardgame that I am currently developing, and will no doubt be developing in fits and starts for some time. Expect my prose to become hairier and more rage-filled every time I write an entry. I’m part of […]

Pan Troglodytes Troglodytes

I have been tucking into Raph Koster’s A Theory Of Fun In Game Design, and realise that my own writing, whilst dense and perhaps texturally sound, is particularly bad at expressing complex pieces of information. Koster has no such limitation. The first few chapters of A Theory… plunge the tent pegs in rather hard, laying […]

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