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Ants, ants everywhere, not a drop to dr..ewww -
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Oh, I got hot sause all over my bazito!

You know what this is? It's a brain sucker. You know what it's doing? Filing its tax return

If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent apple pie

The Adventures of Little Ed Brave

Tell airport security your name is McCannister because you can hide anything in a cannister.

You know what? Nobody notices when this changes anyway.

There are 10 types of people in the world: Those who understand binary, and STFU

What happens in a black hole stays in a black hole

The black hole draws you inexorably inward. Time slows. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.

I'd diddle little umdidlie... if she weren't my half-sister.

Abortion prevents pedophilia. In more ways than one!
Get Firefox!
I wrote a haiku

which I was about to share,

but then I thought, "screw it."
Level 1

Notice to all users of the Holodeck:

There are safety protocols in place that cannot be deactivated without the approval of two commanding officers or the captain to protect users of the Holodeck from potential harm. However, every time the Holodeck is ever used in a nontrivial manner, no matter what the safety protocols say, the Holodeck turns into a deathtrap.

Unless you believe yourself to be adept at constructing a forcefield from your communicator and 19th century Earth tools, or you're at the very least not wearing a red shirt, you are strongly advised not to attempt to use the Holodeck until a designer comes up with a safety protocol that doesn't kill you whenever somebody looks at it funny. Even when you're not on the holodeck. Or in the same quadrant. Or time period.

In fact, if you are wearing a red shirt, Starfleet may not be the job for you

Ed
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Ants, ants everywhere, not a drop to dr..ewww

Permalink 01/24/09 at 07:18:03 am, by Ed, 819 words   English (US)
Categories: Programming

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Have you ever heard of Koi Pond? Not the thing you do for fun in Japan-copied culture, but the app on your iPhone.

There's really not much to it. There's a pond, and there are koi fish swimming around in it. You give your iPhone a shake, and fish food sprinkles down and they rush up to eat it. You tap it, and it makes ripples in the pond and the fish scurry away. Then if you leave your finger there long enough, they return to investigate, apprehensive at first, but like a new castle or spaceman that blows bubbles, they get used to it.

Can they even do that? Scurry I mean. And not just koi, but fish in general. Does that word apply to... what... fins? Yeah. Does that apply to fins? I mean, scurry sounds like something a mouse would do. With its legs. Or maybe a really quick spicy dinner. Neither of which fish have mind you.

I mean, it doesn't apply to legs in general either. You don't see an elephant scurrying, do you? A koi is more likely scurry away when you invade its space than an elephant. Which I do not recommend. Invading an elephant's space, I mean. It's kind of hard for you to get in there in the first place, what with all the fences, and then you don't spend five minutes in there before the guards came and took me away anyway, so what's the point? Trespassing on elephant property isn't really one of the things they tell you about, but apparently it's illegal. Like the twelfth amendment or something.

And you definitely don't see fish-elephants scurrying about. Mostly because you don't see fish-elephants. But even if you did. Maybe, like, a manatee. They sure as heck don't scurry. Even if they wanted to, I think their sheer surface area against the water creates too much... water resistance. Like, whatever the word for wind resistance under water is.

So there's this koi pond application, which as I previously explained, is nothing but watching, feeding, and invading the privacy of fish. They've added updates, like "Holiday Mode". And nibble vibration! When they nibble your finger, it vibrates the phone! You distinctly do not get your jugular torn out.

A few days ago, I got an email from my boss, where the subject was "Ant hill images". I often get emails about images, because the image tracker sends out emails to everybody any time anybody requests new graphics for an application. So I thought he was requesting graphics for one of our games for some new distribution website that decided to call itself Ant Hill. We get lots of those funny websites, and everybody has their own requirements for how the images should look, be formatted, etc. I didn't happen to actually look at the email before my boss called me into his office to tell me about what I'd be working on next.

Since I'd finished working on my other applications, I would be moving on to my next project. We'd be basing it on Koi Pond. Except there are ants. I was told to make an ant hill application. And that was all I was told. He sent me some pictures of ant hills. For... inspiration? I guess? Can you call it that? I mean... it's just a picture of an ant hill.

So he showed me Koi Pond, and said we want to make something like that, except with ants. And it'll be graphically interesting rather than productively useful or something that you can make progress in while "playing". The extent of his instructions were along the lines of, "we want it to be interactive. We don't just want it to be a video that you watch. Maybe when you shake it, they can all fly off or something."

Well, that's not a whole lot of direction, but I figured I'd start out with the basics. I got some sweet ant AI running. They can walk, stop, turn left, or even turn right! Once they're done taking one of those actions, they pick a new action semi-randomly, and pick a semi-random amount of time to do that action. Now I've got ants scurrying about the screen... well, not really scurrying. I mean, ants could definitely scurry if they wanted to, but I slowed these guys down, so they look like ants just crawling around.

I've moved on to make it a little bit interactive since then. Right now, you can feed them, or burn them to a crisp with a magnifying glass. I'm sure more will come of it eventually. Mostly I've just been spending my time burning ants to near-death, then replenishing their health by feeding them, only to almost kill them off again once they're all grouped around the food. Bwahahaha!

Also, I thought that they should allow more than one contraction per word. Like, "We'dn't've".

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