Linked List: September 2023

Red Blob Games

Interactive visual explanations of math and algorithms, using motivating examples from computer games.

My favorite so far is Mapgen4, which I think I’ll use to draw a map to help us orienteer in our coop Valheim playthrough!

Check out Amit’s tech and game dev blogs, too, including this post on map generation.

ISO 8601 Date and Time Format

I was having trouble with links and articles appearing out of order when published here due to a missing ZULU time offset in post date metadata.

This led me into a rabbit hole where I found there is an inconsistency in macOS’ current Unix date command, with a colon missing in the UTC Coordinated Universal Time offset.

Anyways, here’s the platform-independent (Linux/Mac/Windows), almost fully ISO 8601 date compliant code, which made things work:

date +%Y-%m-%d\T%H:%M:%S%z

Thank you, interwebs hivemind.

Color Vision

Part of Richard Feynman’s wonderful series of lectures:

There are many interesting phenomena associated with vision which involve a mixture of physical phenomena and physiological processes, and the full appreciation of natural phenomena, as we see them, must go beyond physics in the usual sense. We make no apologies for making these excursions into other fields, because the separation of fields, as we have emphasized, is merely a human convenience, and an unnatural thing. Nature is not interested in our separations, and many of the interesting phenomena bridge the gaps between fields.

Todd and Ted Talk Starfield

Two game designers discussing the design systems in Starfield.

Ted Price:

Well okay, one more question about systems. I know there are designers who are listening and watching who probably spend a lot of time designing systems.

If you had to give them one piece of advice for how to design a deep but accessible system, what would it be?

Todd Howard:

Hmm, I have a lot. I mean, there are main rules of game development advice to find the experience. How do you want it to feel? What’s the end result?

Don’t start with a list of specific features, because you’re going to get yourself into some traps that might not take you down the right roads.

The other thing is, every time, keep it as simple as you can because you’re going to start adding complexity and you need a good base to build on.

In terms of: This is a simple, elegant system that people can understand, and then as you add other, I’ll call them simpler elegant systems, when they…if the player understands the rules of those, when those start colliding, that’s where you’re getting some really good gameplay that, the player is the one who figured it out. The player is the one who expressed their creativity, and they’re feeling this moment, of, they did this. You didn’t do it as a designer. The player did.

This style of design, building several simple systems that interact with each other and form emergent gameplay reminds me of the Unix philosophy, favoring composability as opposed to monolithic design.

Via Graham Smith at RPS.

Warren Spector Writes a Blog Post

The guy hasn’t worked on that many good games. Only Wing Commander, Ultima Underworld, System Shock, Deus Ex, Thief…oh, wait.

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is that if your game doesn’t have a clear vision, and you can’t express and “sell” it and if you don’t hire people better than you are, you’re likely to fail.

We’ve developed an entirely new art form. We’re the only medium in the history of humankind that can turn every consumer into a creator and, astonishingly, we do that through the power of play. Think about that!

I’m looking forward to the next game Warren is working on, whatever it may be, and I think System Shock did introduce environmental storytelling to video games, which reminds me I must play the recent remake.


This site is a register of pilots who have flown around the world in light aircraft (maximum weight 7000 kg). It records the pilots and their aircraft in chronological order, and aims to inspire others who have similar flying dreams.

Here is the list of single-engine airplanes that made the trip. I love that there are photos of many of the aircraft.

Microsoft Flight Simulator Feel of Flight

Best “feel-of-flight” planes in MSFS for me, probably because their sounds and flight physics “match up” to make the machines feel weighty and real:

  1. PT-17 Stearman by DC Designs
  2. Spitfire Mk. IX by Flying Iron Simulations
  3. The default C-152

I’d add Ant’s Airplanes’ Tiger Moth to this list, but the sound is not there (no Wwise 3D sound it seems, unless it has been updated. Been a while since I’ve flown it).

The lack of a damage model does make the sim feel flat. If damage modelling was there for at least landing gears, propellers, and control surfaces, with accompanying sounds, no big fireballs necessary, I think it’d go a long way to making the sim feel better.

One of IL-2 Great Battles’ lead developers is working on MSFS now, so I’m looking forward to next year’s update.

Zelda Breath of the Wild Stream Links

Kaysa, Zelda Breath of the Wild.

Kaysa in Zelda Breath of the Wild. ❤️❤️❤️ I’m updating my videos with episode numbers in the thumbnails and you can find links to the ongoing, if somewhat haphazard Zelda BotW playthrough there.

♫ Bloom

Thom Yorke live from Electric Lady Studios. Also listen to Suspirium, from the same session.


Happy equal day and night length everywhere on Earth day!

I went to a stadium where folks wearing helmets and shoulder pads chased an oddly-shaped ball and each other in brief bursts, then stopped to chat for long periods while a boss-type yelled at them.

My favorite part was the musician from New Orleans’ performance with an oboe, or was it a clarinet? Beautiful and full of soul.

More images are coming here along with text and hypertext, and custom merchandise that will designed on and off the stream.

Cyberpunk 2077 Out of Phantom Early Access

Time to try it again?

What is Procedural Generation?

Procedural generation is two big words for one simple thing: the creation of data by computers. Procedural generation is usually used to create content for video games or animated movies, such as landscapes, 3D objects, character designs, animations, or non-player character dialogue.

KISS Principle

Keep it simple stupid.

Nvidia Noise Suppression in OBS

Have an Nvidia card and want to try their noise suppression tech?

  1. Download the Audio Effects for your Nvidia card from the above link and install the package.
  2. In OBS open Filters for your mic, then add “Noise Suppression” and choose the Nvidia option from the drop down menu.

Be advised that I tried it and didn’t think it did any better than OBS’ regular Speex method, so I uninstalled it.

♫ I Walk On Guilded Splinters

♫ Dr. John with Promise of the Real.

♫ Come Again

♫ Banjo and distorted electric guitar.

Play Pong

Several versions of the classic video game playable in your web browser.

Keep Starfield Running With Music Playing in the Background When Not in Focus
  1. Start Starfield, wait for the main menu to appear.

  2. Open the Console by pressing ~ located above the Tab key.

  3. Copy and paste the following into the console and press Enter:

    SetINISetting "bAlwaysActive:General" "1"

  4. Copy and paste this text into the console and press Enter:


  5. Close the Console by pressing Esc and restart the game.

Thanks to forgenvash in the above thread for this!

Retro Achievements

Achievements for classic games for consoles such as Atari 2600, NES, and SNES/Super Famicom, played through supported emulators like the open source, cross-platform Retroarch.

The process to add achievements to a game is fascinating.

Elite Todo List

Elite is often on the back of mind when playing Starfield or other space games.

Noita and Other Game Articles

Unless you start, it is difficult to finish something, so I’m publishing in-progress articles for each game I stream with notes that’ll eventually become full reviews. Links to past streams of each game are also being added to each post. Here are the pages for Noita and Elden Ring.

Happy Birthday to Steam

Valve is an employee-owned company with a boss who thus far understands and cares about their customers and employees, which is why Steam is so successful.

Much respect for helping video gamers be free from Windows with Proton, and for making it easier for game makers to help us play with our friends with Steam’s transport layer.

Bravo! And onward to another 20 years during which I hope to experience video game artform changes brought by artificial intelligence and ridiculous hardware power.

Text to ASCII Art Generator

Lovely tool by Patrick Gillespie.

Omega: The Last Days of the World

A book with beautiful illustrations by the “French Carl Sagan”, long lost in my reading list, was brought to mind’s surface again through Starfield!

0-G Combat 💫 Starfield #9, #10, #11

The simulation of gravity is one of the oldest and funnest things in video games! Recent streams:

We can also decorate our Starfield starship cockpits :-D

The Nature of Code

How can we capture the unpredictable evolutionary and emergent properties of nature in software? How can understanding the mathematical principles behind our physical world help us to create digital worlds? This book focuses on the programming strategies and techniques behind computer simulations of natural systems using Processing.

Procedural Content Generation in Games

A textbook for people interested in making or understanding computer-generated video game content.

Into The Unknown, Zealots, Narion and Olympus Systems 💫 Starfield #8

Continuing the main quest line and meeting more of Constellation’s crew. Encounters with laser blaster-equipped Va’ruun Zealots in toxic, rainy Niira in the Narion system while chatting about Baldur’s Gate 3 with Schippah, who commented that angry barbarians are a fun class as long as they rage:

You have to become angry again to reinitiate your rage.

Thanks to streamers Futura_Light and Niborius for visiting, too!

Neptune, SysDef Stop, Venus Borrowed Ship, Constellation 💫 Starfield #7

Now a full member of Constellation after being stopped by space NATO after I forgot there was a valise with contraband on board.

I managed to jump out and drop the thing elsewhere before heading back, but they seemingly remembered me!

Also, new ship, somehow “borrowed” by Sarah.

Venus, Moon Luna, Stations 💫 Starfield #6

On the track of another artifact with stops at space stations, ships, and surface outposts.

Mars Abandoned Facility, Sol System 💫 Starfield #5

“Abandoned” usually means infested by pirates. Headed to Venus next, which should be interesting.

Abandoned Listening Post then off to Sol 💫 Starfield #4

It is nice to go to Sol early on in a video game.

Earth is… …seemingly uninhabitable, but visitable. Found out by finding A Tale of Two Cities by Dickens and got notification to visit London.
To Alpha Centauri Jemison 💫 Starfield #3

Nice hat-tip to Elite in the planet name, my first Earth-like. Needed to lower the Render Resolution Scale graphics setting to 50% for increased Frames Per Second and continued enjoyement.

Abandoned Facilities 💫 Starfield #2

On the first moon and wandering off already.

Weathering Software Winter

Devine Lu Linvega:

I work with a little studio called Hundred Rabbits, it is a small collective of two which operates from a small solar-powered sailboat. All of our devices are donated, discarded devices. Our philosophy is that to make fast software, you need slow computers, and we’ve tried to espouse this as much as we could. We spend our time sailing around, and doing experiments with resilience, that covers computers, but we also touch on food security, preservation, and on studying past technologies that could be used today in times of crisis.

Start 💫 Starfield #1

Joan Rambo is a wanted ex-chef who’s most comfortable alone in space.

How to Do Stealth Kills in Jagged Allliance 3
  1. Press “H” to hide your merc, preferably one with high agility and Stealthy perk.
  2. Equip knife in main weapon slot.
  3. Click on an enemy thug, then select target area. Torso is good.
  4. A knife icon appears above the enemy indicating he is marked for takedown.
  5. Command your merc to move next to the marked enemy, approaching from behind him, and once nearby your merc will automatically take the enemy down with no further clicking needed.