Making AI Go, and Playing in the Snow

We’re approaching the end of January, and this year is already gearing up to be a whirlwind. The last two weeks have been up and down, both in the #EgoOffice and out of it. We’ll focus on the former, as the latter is being pretty well documented everywhere else.

At the end of last year, things were decidedly slowing down on the Horde front. I had been achieving less and less with the time I had. I reckon a lot of that was down to end of year burnout, and a healthy dose of Christmas might well have done me wonders. However a couple of friends and I hatched a scheme over the holidays. In an effort to restore some of that feeling of being in an office workplace that so many of us I am sure feel is lacking, we decided to allocate one day a week where we can be on a group call for most of the day. It’s drop in/out, but it means we can have a bit of the back and forth I for one have really been missing from my previous job, and for the other guys, the pre-COVID days.

As a result, though it is by no means a fair test yet, I’ve already seen a significant improvement in the amount I get done on the Friday (our allotted day). Last week for example, I re-added movement into the AI code, as at some point during the refactor it disappeared from the codebase… Entirely. I had to write it from scratch, which was enough of an annoyance that I suspect I might have put it off and procrastinated if left to my own devices. But with the passive encouragement of a couple of friends I knew were also working, I got down to it, and even used them for a bit of old-fashioned rubber-ducking on an issue i was having!

Background for non-techies: Rubber ducking is a term used in programming (though presumably it could be used elsewhere, I’ve just not heard about it), that refers to the process of talking out a problem with someone to try and find a solution. The catch is, this involves the person with the problem talking at someone, figuring out the solution while talking, and not needing any actual help at all. The logic behind the name is that you could achieve the exact same thing by talking to a rubber duck, and get the same result.

Sadly, the logic falls apart when you actually try to use a rubber duck, as the originator of the theory neglected to take into account that A) You feel silly talking to a rubber duck and B) When you are talking to someone, you are more likely to think of a solution; you are trying to make the problem sound simple enough to understand, and you also want to sound intelligent. You aren’t going to worry that Lord Quackington the Fifth will think less of you if you don’t figure it out.

Sorry guys, you weren’t that useful in the end…

So finally, I can give you guys a more up to date look at the game in action. It’s entirely possible that, to the more eagle eyed readers, it will not look too dissimilar to previous videos/gifs I’ve added to this blog, but hey, I’m literally redoing work that went walkabout!

My next task is probably to stop different humans targeting the same zombie, as it makes steamrolling incredibly easy. Plus it doesn’t look great when the humans, in perfect sync, target the same zombie and fire perfectly in time with each other. I need to add the err that is to make them human.

Oh hey, we had the first real snow of the year here in Sheffield last week! It was lovely! I live on the top of a hill, which meant that using my car was basically a no go (my car doesn’t even like hills in the dry – something I should probably have thought through before moving here). However we went out for a couple of walks in the snow, which was very enjoyable, and naturally, I had to leave our mark somewhere:

It did lead me to an important question. Do you guys eat snow? As a child I remember eating snow, but as with my desire to watch the Tweenies and to slap stickers on every surface in reach, that desire faded. For Suzie, it seems it did not. Is this normal? Answers in the comments! Anyway, that probably wraps it up for this post. Hope you guys have had a great fortnight too, I’ll see y’all next time!
Matt out.

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