So, in my last post I remarked that for procedurally generated landscapes to be interesting, they would need features. But what sort of features was I talking about? Population centres, in particular, tend to to be found close to certain kinds of... things. The first of these which always comes to my mind is the "defensible position." Something like, say, Edinburgh Castle. A lot of the truly great cities in Europe tend to centre around castles, but you don't tend to find castles just plonked anywhere on the landscape. Edinburgh Castle is a good example because: I think…Nick Johnson
Which is to say: I am a software engineer. I studied computer science at university, I write software for a living, and I even sometimes code for fun in my free time. Here, I talk about it.
If you know when I started my PhD you'll be aware that it took quite some time for me to finish it. There are various reasons for this. One is that I spent quite a bit of time working and getting industrial experience during it. The other is that it took me something in the region of 18 months to figure out what it was I was actually going to do. This happens quite a bit at the Ocean Systems Laboratory, you don't actually start working on a particular project or problem, you just sort of find something which seems…Nick Johnson
Since I haven't been able to do any actual work on my Clockwork Aphid project as of late, I suppose I may as well talk about the background behind it a little more. Those who talk about it the most are the ones doing it the least, and all that. I've spoken a little about virtual worlds before and focussed almost entirely on World of Warcraft, because it's a the big one. It's not the only MMORPG, and it definitely wasn't the first. It is the one that I have most experience with, and statistically the one most other people…Nick Johnson
If you're reading this blog and don't actually know me in the real world then you might be wondering "who actually is this guy?" and possibly even "what is it that he actually does, aside from starting to talk about procedural landscape generation, and then falling suddenly silent?" Well, clearly I'm a person who is currently coming to the end of a PhD, and I have a full time job. But doing what, exactly? If in fact you do know me in the real world, you still might be wondering about that. For the most part,…Nick Johnson
That important thing I was talking about before? It was my PhD viva, and it happened last Friday. Remember, remember, the fifth of November, indeed. It's possibile that given time I'll look back upon it as a positive experience (as many others do), but right now I'm still reeling a little. The closest thing I can compare it to is a really intense job interview. A job interview which lasted four and a half hours. One which is comparable in intensity to... say... one of the boardroom sessions at the end of each episode of The Apprentice. Okay, it's possible…Nick Johnson
For a while there it really looked as though I was on top of this whole blogging lark, didn't it? The problem is that writing this blog (and to an even greater extent, working on the Clockwork Aphid project) doesn't feel like procrastinating. It feels like doing something. Not working exactly, but definitely making an active contribution. As a result, if there's something else I'm supposed to be doing with my time, I have a really hard time working on either without the guilt setting in (it's happening right now). This doesn't stop me from dicking around on the web,…Nick Johnson