AI Research

A lot of what I do outside of work is relegated to the various branches of AI research. I could wax poetically in tirades about things that I won't in this post, but Cyberpunk 2077 has been an inspiration in several regards. Truth be told, it's been a catalyst for a lot of software development since I've bought the game. In many cases unrelated to Artificial Intelligence. However, I've seen things in the game, and even by playing the game that's made me rethink a lot of things as it relates to the mechanics of "mind", even in digital spaces such as the game. Lately, I've been looking at AI hurdles, both for players and for avatar traversal in 3D worlds. Not in how you may think.

Usually, when I'm playing the game "my way" completely abandoning the story to get into and onto every place that I can imagine, I've thought about how an "imagination" would work if an Ai was to try and do some of the crazy stuff that I do with the system. One of the hurdles that I've noticed is monocular vision. One of the ways that I've worked around being limited to a proverbial single eye in gameplay has been photo mode. Photo mode allows vision in a way that can't be performed due to the game not being VR. HOWEVER, the more prescient thing that I've looked at is that it supplements imagination.

In the real world, our human faculties are optimized for various intuitions about how the world works due to physique and a brain that can simulate by predication the probabilities of success for any action. Without those intuitions, our traversal in "meat space" would be very different. Lately, I've been looking at situations that are precarious, (like building-climbing and leaping to other buildings) some of what makes jumping around corners and then up a building safe is first going into photo mode, casing the geometry for probable success, and then executing. This doesn't discount that a lot of the mechanics of the game require a bunch of knowledge about the micromechanics of the system. But, my point is that photo mode supplements imagination. It's an addition to human intuition.

It's weird what can be relaxed about the fear of heights, falling, and dying when you know that you can try again. Even considering "that", the human mind is generally wired against failure and any kind, especially in a relationship with an unwanted death. Jumping up these buildings, even jumping across the street to other buildings tends to make me reevaluate a bunch of things about the human intuition about physics.

What's interesting is that the game defies, sometimes unintentionally, one's natural intuition about the physics of an object in the game. You might see a bevel or ledge, but that doesn't mean it's available to perch on, and vice versa. I'm usually laughing about how many places I'm trying to get into and onto in the game that is available but unintended for use by the developers. Realistically, I've even thought about better use of that space for people that are so far past the story of the game that the adventures and challenges of parkour outweigh the interest of another playthrough of the storyline. The various solid portions of the game would be great for "follow the leader", "hide and go seek", "chicken", and a host of other combat and non-combat adventures and mini-games. So many opportunities for maze running, parkour, and Easter egg hunting as it relates to the game world beyond the intended and story-related versions of those concepts.

Devils in these details. . . Oh, so many, for the hunters!

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About a month ago, I reviewed Quake 3 and Quake 3 Arena with my son to show him what is like a grandparent for modern 3D FPS TPS shooters. I looked at a bunch of crazy stuff like the jumping and running around that the agents of the system do. My first thought, as it related to CP77. Multiplayer is going to be fucking NUTS! My second thought, if the agents of this game had the ability to do most of the stuff that players can and will do, it'll feel like a terrorist utopia with all the ways one can snipe, brain hack, and variously manipulate the lives of other players LMFAO!!!! Also, considering how many 2B circles I've found among other nooks and crannies to hide in the game, I can imagine that it's very difficult for the developers to resolve any conclusive version of multiplayer without a bunch of constraints that will further cause complaints by a persistently complaining gamer community. I think CDPR's biggest problem with this game is that it IS so freaking huge that it's opened thousands of opportunities to improve and expand. The game is a monster of possibilities. Every time I play I'm in awe and I've exclaimed loudly, this $60 dollar investment has paid for itself in multiples! It ain't perfect, but it's encapsulated at least 20 years of gameplay in one system. I recently watched some gameplay of old Nintendo games that I used to play as a kid. Everything that was good is in Cyberpunk 2077. Mega Man, Rambo, The Legend of Zelda, Ninja Gaiden, Super Mario Bros., etc... Double jump, Dash Jump, Dive Jump, Uppercuts and Hooks, even useful glitches.

For a bunch of features that have been changed or removed from the game, even some that I didn't use, I've found other things to replace what was lost. Usually, I don't say anything about them because of the fear that the developers will patch them out. My opinion is that in some instances they penalize players for being smart. In other instances, I think that they've given better alternatives. for instance the loss and or complications of what players have called the "super Raiden jump", "Katana flight", and others. Ironically, I have names for some of the stuff that I found, but I can't tell anybody because the developers may break the cool parts. Like covering up access to the police on top of the world. Literally, nobody but the most explorative players would ever find something like that. To take it away without giving more lore/novelties of the "world", exclusive of the story, takes away from the specialness of finding the unexpected. They probably need some people on the team to screen for "acceptable curiosities".
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I've bought every game in CDPR's catalog (except Thronebreaker (I'll catch it on sale)) because of Cyberpunk 2077 with no intentions or interest in playing them (yet) just because of how good Cyberpunkk 2077 is. I was like, "This is so good their whole catalog needs a tip!" maybe 86% of a perfect game "for me!". It damned near replaces all other entertainment, like movies and other games. Usually, I have to force myself to play my other games and I have a HUGE catalog of videogames. It's set a bunch of precedents and fulfilled a bunch of what I wanted out of a host of games over the decades. Realistically, a significant sequel to the game would require everybody in the game to be a questline. Why, because the game set that as a trajectory for the future of viable and successful RPGs. That's how far they've pushed the envelope on simulated life-like drama. A few years ago, something like that would be considered impossible. But NOW, with the advent of facilities like GPT-3 and beyond, the idea of that will be STANDARD and cheap within the same 8-year development cycle that was allotted for Cyberpunk 2077. Just a thought. A serious one.
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I had actually just finished playing the game before writing all of this. And honestly, it crashed is why I stopped, but that's not a complaint at the moment. I honestly thought it crashed because of what I was doing in the game. Here's why:

I kinda believe that the developers probably wonder why some players are doing everything in the game except playing it as intended. I think there are a BUNCH of answers for that. I'll start with, when something looks like real life and it allows you to do things you can't do in real life, everything that works like what you'd like to do is more interesting than everything intended for you to do. Another reason is the game is episodic. Some parts of the game is mentally deep that a player might just want to enjoy the world while trying to digest everything that just happened and plot the next move. This is true for me after several playthroughs. Also, in the first playthrough I'd tell my coworker about what I was doing in the game, and even he noticed, it sounded like a sequel to the game within the game due to how many way the story sequenced. He'd ask me stuff about the game like, "what's happened since that one part you told me about?", "What happened with the races?", "You're helping a police officer rescue his kidnapped nephew, what kinda game is THIS". I scrolled through maybe a gig of images of the game pointing stuff out to him about the breadth and depth of what he was looking at. He said, "Yeah, it's definitely on my bucket list" (an apparent lie), the game is way over his head, but if it was a show on TV he'd probably watch every episode. I'd watch his face as he'd look astonished by how many unique faces I captured. He'd scratch his head as I showed him pictures of the landscape, at different levels of zoom then show him pics of the places at street level. He couldn't comprehend that it was not just a pic and window dressing, but I could walk to everything he was looking at from a distance and interact with it. The span of his videogaming experience is stuff like Turbo Grafx 16 and Bomberman. A novice at best. I'm well aware that there are several people in the world that like the idea and videos of the game, but the thought in effort to be proficient in it in anyway is mind boggling!
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Nowadays, people treat video games like they used to treat albums and movies. Fashion statements and fashion garments. Status symbols. I backtrack and play with some of my other RPGs thinking, "I bought Divinity 2 a while back on GOG. Nowhere close to finishing it. I thought, each of these games stretching back to my oldest RPGs increase with slots of inventory and otherwise". Cyberpunk 2077 has like 1000 slots to manage and finagle with. I thought, between work and 900+ source code files of personal Java Code that I do for my personal projects I'm playing this humongous game. The human mind is incomprehensible. I'll watch the gossip about the game, its lore, and the company on YouTube and wonder about the multidimensional way people talk about the game and its related material. For $60 I got politics in and out of the game, business talk, a bunch of sophisticated gameplay, philosophical musings, and people in the peanut gallery (such as myself) casting opinions about the direction of the canon.

Meanwhile, wrestling with Bugs in the Java Generics implementation, trying to decide whether to port my codebase over to C# or to C/C++, thinking about the wiles of being a dad, and a computer professional. But my video gaming hobby is running around shooting people in the face. Sorting through, buying, and selling a bunch of clothing and weapons, just to see if I can change the outcome of the story a little bit to determine how I feel about it. I have a pencil and a spiral in front of me with matrices and geometries scribbled on it, VS Code with 19 errors staring at me, and I'm waxing poetically, about my favorite work of fiction. . . .Selah
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Take a long look at Rust before deciding - with Go as a similar and reasonable second.
I've just started considering Rust. At this point, I'm afraid of learning high-level language skills just to be pissed off that I can't cross certain thresholds based on the limitations or bad implementation of language features. Java is an atrocity in Generics. I've considered C# because it's underrated as far as data science features. The only other choice is going back into the junkyard that is C/C++. Incredibly scatter-brained "flexibility".
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I think my biggest issue with C# is that it has weird gaps in comparison with Java. The String library is vastly incomplete in comparison. Ultimately forcing me to have to build a bunch of functionality from scratch. I've been trying to plot out how to do a porting expedition without the severe headache already experienced by the breakdown I've witnessed in Java Generics. A bunch of good tools, but stuck looking at the compiler lying or breaking its own rules at certain levels of complexity. Even the most severely restrictive linter, SonarLint either gives passes for things the compiler refuses or is completely blind to what the compiler refuses. Worse, when even it shows an Array object as a single object, completely acknowledging that the language doesn't see the array. I'm frustrated right now. . . .
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I played Crysis 2, and 3: Multiplayer on my 40 inch 3D-television, with the goggles that go with it. I'm not shure it's relevant, but... yeah: That :)
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