Sleepless Night

It’s one of those nights again. A night I am tired enough to sleep, but I just don’t want to for a reason that evades me. Instead, I’m staying up watching bad movies and wasting time. One way, I thought, to waste time would be to write some nonsense in my blog.

My life is pretty busy right now, in a way that would be judged by someone else to be completely the opposite. When I’m not staring at my computer, I’m playing the piano. But inside I know that the aforementioned someone else doesn’t know what he is talking about. Here’s some of the interesting stuff I’m working on:

I have a very powerful incarnation of FRP with well-defined (but occasionally spooky) semantics. The world is broken up into signals (values that vary over time) and events (somewhat spooky). It has a nice referential transparency-like property which I painstakingly maintained in my design (which was not entirely easy since Event is isomorphic to IO (or rather, a transformer thereof)). It was very tempting to allow things like writing files and allocating names for objects inside events. But I thought it through, and the property I want to maintain disallows those things. Anyway, I programmed a little shoot-em-up in the FRP library I wrote, and it’s quite encouraging. I still am not sure quite how to think in FRP, but the abstraction abilities are amazing (as expected). The only problem is that it is quite slow at the moment, but there are abundant opportunities for optimization in the library, which I just haven’t had the inspiration to implement.

I’m also working on several games. The first is the linguistic magic game that I’ve been talking about here on and off for several years. I have the simulation, and even a rough spec for the language (which is reminiscent of the aborted child of Esperanto and Finnish). I can’t say much about it without going into a lot of detail, so I’ll just put that off until later.

The other game I’m working on is a music and rhythm game, which has hopes of transcending the sight-reading trend. I have tried to design an improvisation game before, and it was never too promising. But this one is promising, and I have it basically fully specced out in my head. I’m going back the other direction towards sightreading, but not all the way. It’s a hybrid of sightreading and improvisation, where the game is serving as the conductor (remember my founding idea for SNW?) and you, the player, are serving as the musician. As an example flow, the computer would give you a drum beat and might start you off with a Guitar Hero style sightreading thing as a bassline; i.e. “play this line verbatim”. You repeat that 6 times, and then the computer takes over: the bassline continues, but your fingers do not. Then maybe it gives you a line to play, but it just tells you the notes and the order, not the rhythm. You are in charge of inventing the rhythm for that line. And so on. There are soloesque line sections where it gives you a set of notes, and you just have to play all the notes in the set, but the order and rhythm is up to you. There are invent-your-own-bassline sections, where you play any bassline you like, but then you’ve got to repeat it (and keep coming back to it throughout the song). The key, tempo, drum part, and song structure are dictated by configuration files, but the exact incarnation of the song is up to the player.

I’m also learning Hungarian Rhapsody no. 2 by Liszt on the piano, which is the second most rediculously difficult song I’ve ever attempted (the first being—*snicker*—Rachmaninoff’s 3rd Piano Concerto, which, needless to say, I did not get very far into).

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One thought on “Sleepless Night

  1. Your FRP work sounds very interesting. Please write more about it; better yet, show the code to a wider cognoscenti.

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