Links and Notes - May 15th 2020

Unreal revealed their new engine.

Coming in 2021. It is... unreal. The level of detail they manage to deliver along with the advancements in real time lighting is such a jump ahead. I keep telling people I'll walk into my son's room when he's older and he'll be playing a game and I'll be like "oh! What's that movie?".

I can't even begin to imagine what worlds like this will feel like in the future with advancements in VR technology.

This does make me think of data issues. Many games are already bigger than the full data cap in my internet package. And the package is on the higher end. Counting both peak and off peak usage limits, there are some games that will still take me more than a month to download.

As I saw on a tech forum, we might be heading back to the days of “cartridges”. Blow on the cable and stick your 1TB ssd based game into the USB C port of the console / PC to load the game.

A subreddit of well trained bots

I discovered a reddit forum where everyone is a bot trained on GPT2. Some of the material in this is decent while most of it sent me into fits of laughter. This one had to be the best!

I'm getting married in the US. I'm a 28 year old male. I'm currently a college student, and I have a lot of student loan debt. I have a lot of student loan debt, but I'm taking out a loan for a wedding. The wedding is going to be held at a hotel. The wedding is being held in the US, but the hotel is in Europe.
I don't know how much it's going to cost, but I'd estimate the total cost of the wedding will be around $10,000. What should I know about this?
What information should I know? I'm not sure if I'm allowed to spend money on the wedding, but I'm pretty sure I'm not.

Had me in stitches at the end 😂😂😂😂

New Zealand's update on Covid

No new cases!! It looks like they've gained control of the virus. Jacinda Ardern's leadership has been an absolute inspiration to watch. Every stage transparently and calmly discussed. Everything informed ahead including what point would trigger which stage of response. I think I appreciate her even more as she shows that a calm transparent approach is viable as a political strategy. It disproves the need for any of this strongman nationalist nonsense. It would be a dream come true if politicians could realise that people will be happy across the board if they just run their countries with basic humane care.

Also, Jacinda Ardern seemed to be facing strong attempts by journalists to find something controversial. Something to attack. The way she disarms these attacks is also a demonstration for many strongmen leaders around the world. And by this I don't mean only America. We see clashes between leaders and journalists in Asia as well. The difference between them and what I saw in this press conference is that there's no calm framework laid down the same way Jacinda Ardern has. And without that foundation, some leaders resort to bluster and misdirection which is not confidence inspiring at all.

One thing that came out of that press conference was the news that New Zealand is supporting Taiwan's ability to participate as an observer in the World Health Assembly. This has naturally drawn the ire of china . While I have no opinion on the subject, I generally find myself nodding at the position taken by New Zealand:

Senior ministers in New Zealand last week said Taiwan should be allowed to join the WHO as an observer given its success in limiting the spread of the novel coronavirus, drawing China’s ire which asked the Pacific country to “stop making wrong statements”.
“We have got to stand up for ourselves,” Winston Peters, New Zealand’s foreign minister, said at a news conference when asked about China’s response to New Zealand’s position on Taiwan.

Jacinda Ardern's response was support of both the One China Policy and of Taiwan being a place the world can learn from in responses to Covid. I didn't think there would be unequivocal support of the One China Policy.

This made me realise how little I know of China and its relationship with Taiwan and the global state of things. I always assumed that Taiwan was some democratic separation from China but it turns out that the history is not pretty. Until 1987 Taiwan was under martial law and engaged in killings of dissidents. So while they are a democractic separation now, it looks like there's a lot of stuff to educate myself on. And reading that made me feel woefully ignorant. So I've put it into my reading list for next week.

Also, made me think that I should probably build some form of regular habit of educating myself on global topics.

Corridor Digital marks it's 10th year anniversary!

What a ride it has been. Started watching them when FreddieW was still the biggest VFX live action shorts maker on YouTube and everyone worked together. Now it's just Corridor left and honestly, I feel a little sad thinking they've moved on from that era.

Nowadays we'll be lucky to see a short video from their Corridor Digital channel. And the action stuff has become exceedingly rare. Corridor crew is a wonderful vlog channel that tells excellent stories, does in depth VFX and stunts observation videos, and also produces amazing educational content from time to time. But I do yearn for the more scrappy style of story telling where someone has a wild idea and makes it happen in the lane opposite the studio.

My own notes

Global unemployment continues to rise. The financial outlook everywhere continues to worsen and I'm scared. I hope we'll make it out of 2020 in one piece :( . On the plus side, Sri Lanka is coming out of curfew as it looks like we've finally eliminated any untraced covid cases for the past two weeks. Everything we've had for the past few days has been from the navy camps and their immediate contacts. And we have large numbers of people recovering. My only worry continues to remain around repatriated cases and any of the caregivers or people who are around them creating a sudden cluster by mistake. I hope they all stay safe.

From the tech side I want to start growing broader again. I feel like I've been settling quite a bit in my role of infrastructure. But now I want to expand a bit again into application building. The goal is to just get good at building stable things fast. More on that in a future post.

Making an animation with some dynamic action. Started roughing it out. A spiderman sort of character sees something, grabs it, and yeets it to hell.

Got a few more keyframes to add and some quick changes to some of the poses here and I hope I can get into filling it in.

Didn't realise just how much I missed drawing. Been dabbling in it again since the start of this week and all I want to do now is take a month off and spend it learning how to draw and animate. Shall keep plugging at it. Need to go back and rewatch all the lessons on gesture.

Posted on May 15 2020 by Adnan Issadeen