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GMTK GameJam 2021 - Cold Weld

1 min. read Submitted 14/06/2021 #2021 #programming #gamedev

This weekend, I did the GMTK Game Jame. It's a 48 hour event where people make games matching a theme. This year's theme was "Joined Together". I made a game called "Cold Weld". I used the little Unity tool I've been tinkering with that I just wrote a post about, voxul.

If you like it and you're reading this before the 21st of June 2021, you can vote on this game here. If you didn't like it, er... forget that last sentence. Play it below:

Utility & Utilitarianism

4 min. read Submitted 10/06/2021 #writing #philosophy

Utilitarianism is an ethical system based upon maximising or minimising some utility function. A utility function, in this sense, is some operation on a set of information that produces a value. In other words, it is a function that makes statements like "state A of the universe is less desirable than state B". In conversations around human ethics, this utilitarian utility function is often vaguely expressed in terms of "well-being" or "happiness". On occasion, I've been called a utilitarian because of my discussions of heuristics, ethical systems as any systems which rank the future, and "maximizing" or "minimizing" things, but I'm not quite sure I understand what it means to be one.

It seems to me that all ethical systems contain utility functions, by their very nature of being information systems which rank future states of the universe. Someone driven by a religious ethical system might take their utility function from an ancient holy text. Someone driven by egoism centers their utility function entirely on their own pleasures and desires. A nihilist may choose to implement an entirely random utility function. All of these ethical choices are driven by some concept of utility. What then distinguishes these systems from the label of utilitarianism?

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1 min. read Submitted 07/06/2021 #programming #gamedev #unity

Introducing voxul, a voxel system and editor tool for Unity 3D. Use it to build voxel meshes, objects and levels.

The best way to demonstrate this tool is through showing its use. Unfortunately, I'm a much worse voxel artist than I am a tools programmer, and so the demonstration is but a shadow of its potential in my hands. I'd love to get it in the hands of someone a little more artistically talented and get some feedback. This is open source, and there is still plenty of optimization, polish and work to be done.

How Would Aliens Know A Dog Isn't A Robot?

4 min. read Submitted 20/05/2021 #writing #aliens #question

An alien civilization is testing out their magical matter transporter, which is able to transport random sections of the universe into their lab. One day while testing, they press the button and a dog from Earth appears in the transporter in front of them. The aliens are shocked and overjoyed. This is by far the most interesting thing to ever come out of their transporter. But due to the random nature of the technology, they cannot keep transporting bits of the Earth to them to learn more. All they have is a 6-year old golden retriever named Charlie.

Pretty much exactly like this.

The Perils of Parables

3 min. read Submitted 15/05/2021 Last Edited 28/05/2021 #writing #philosophy

Occasionally, I read LessWrong. People on LessWrong often describe themselves as "rationalists". It's a little tricky to pin the term down beyond "users of LW", though many have tried. I won't try to define a community that I don't identify with and that isn't the point of this post. I wouldn't describe myself as a rationalist for reasons that should be obvious if you read more of my writing, though to be honest if you did ask me what intellectual labels I identify with I'd probably just say "dumbass". Rather, I'd like to examine what I think is the community's overuse of parable as a deceptively irrational rhetorical tool for explaining epistemic and empirical concepts.

A parable is a story meant to convey some sort of lesson to the reader. Many religions and schools of philosophical thought are packed with parables meant to convey moral or logical ideas. It is, quite evidently, a fantastic way to get people to think about a certain thing and to retain their interest. It's also, unfortunately, a deeply flawed one if our intention is truly for the reader to rationally and objectively evaluate our ideas.