Isla: Link roundup 5/1/17

For submissions, suggestions, or things to add, send ’em my way: @isla_es.

Video of the Week: Why your Nostalgic Reboot Musically Sucks” from Sideways (@Sideways440)

Song of the week: Yasunori Mitsuda – Guardia Millennial Fair [Chrono Trigger]” by PPF (@CrapCrapToot)

Reading Material: Phase-Functioned Neural Networks for Character Control” by  Daniel Holden (@anorangeduck), Taku Komura, and Jun Saito

Abstract: “We present a real-time character control mechanism using a novel neural network architecture called a Phase-Functioned Neural Network. In this network structure, the weights are computed via a cyclic function which uses the phase as an input. Along with the phase, our system takes as input user controls, the previous state of the character, the geometry of the scene, and automatically produces high quality motions that achieve the desired user control. The entire network is trained in an end-to-end fashion on a large dataset composed of locomotion such as walking, running, jumping, and climbing movements fitted into virtual environments. Our system can therefore automatically produce motions where the character adapts to different geometric environments such as walking and running over rough terrain, climbing over large rocks, jumping over obstacles, and crouching under low ceilings. Our network architecture produces higher quality results than time-series autoregressive models such as LSTMs as it deals explicitly with the latent variable of motion relating to the phase. Once trained, our system is also extremely fast and compact, requiring only milliseconds of execution time and a few megabytes of memory, even when trained on gigabytes of motion data. Our work is most appropriate for controlling characters in interactive scenes such as computer games and virtual reality systems.”

Reddit thread of the week: Shadow Warrior 2 understands why people play on “Easy”” by /u/Black_Day

Selected Responses:

  • “In most games the harder difficulties unfortunately don’t really provide a more interesting challenge, but just give the enemies more health and damage to the point where most of the game’s mechanics break down.

    Like if you’re playing Skyrim in Legendary mode, the enemies do such obnoxious amounts of damage that trying to actually catch a blow with a shield becomes downright suicidal, and they have so much health that destruction magic can be more accurately described as slow torture magic.

    Most games work best on normal mode, just because they rarely ever ever raise the difficulty by making enemies faster or more accurate, but usually just by tweaking their health and damage, which often makes game systems no longer work as intended.” – /u/Aetrion

  • “We should also appreciate that it lists what is actually different about that difficulty mode. ” – /u/zoffman
  • “thats actually such a huge deal. If a game just said “enemies just become bullet sponges and you get less health” nope.. balance your game properly, dont just tack more HP on and call it a day.” – /u/TONKAHANAH

Artist of the Week:  Jess aka. Hunty Draws (@HuntyDraws)

Random Link of the Week: Click it if you dare