Wealth of Nations: Thoughts on the initial few chapters

January 31, 2015 at 1:00 pm (Rant, Thinking) (, , , , )

One of the books I’ve recently been reading is Adam Smith’s An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. It’s a book first published in the late 1700’s on classifical economics. It’s a very large book that’s divided into sections and chapters, but the first area has been dealing with the division of labour. Essentially it is a discussion on how each household produces commodities and services (food, clothing, carpentry, etc), but also has needs that aren’t fully met by their own production. These needs can be met by other households through the exchange of goods and services that are produced beyond what the originating household consumes.

In simpler┬áterms: People don’t use everything they make, but other people may have a need for that extra “stuff”.

The discussion moves onto the idea of division of labour, where instead of each household trying to produce iron nails for building things, you could have one skilled source that is the expert at producing nails. So, instead of each household producing 20 nails a day, you could have one guy that can put out 1000 a day because that’s all he does. He can then exchange his product with other households to fulfill his needs. This way, he is efficient in his production and doesn’t have to be his own butcher, baker, carpenter, etc.

The way that Smith discusses these things and describes the breakdown of production was actually pretty effective; however, it is something that made me reflect on my own thinking. He took a concept of a product, say, a an article of wool clothing, and broke it down into things like: the shepherd raising the sheep, the guy sheering them, the people washing the wool, and so on. Sometimes these jobs were done by different people, sometimes not. Certainly when you get into the actual production of producing the threads and the cloth itself, it is handled by different outfits.

Getting back to my point, his breakdown of this topic is very similar to my natural line of thinking. It’s possible that somebody who doesn’t think this way could be surprised to otherwise informed about the matter, but to me it was just reading about things that I had already been thinking about (as a side note, I don’t actually have any formal education in economics or wool production).

It then made me think about other well known authors I had been reading lately and my conclusion is that many of them are just writing about common things they think about. Some of them write about topics to simplify the information so it can be processed easier for others, but many are just writing about their final musings. I don’t imply that it didn’t take a considerable amount of effort to process the topic or research it, but just that it doesn’t seem as hard as I would’ve imagined to produce work of interest to others.

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Zombie Mansion with shaders and post-processing

January 22, 2015 at 9:03 am (Game Development, Graphics, Java, Processing) (, , )

Update: Full project description here

I finally got around to retrofitting my older projects with the new hotness. I am now rendering the scenes with shader programs, which gives me a lot of nice options for how the scenes look. I can do lots of fancy stuff with them including doing neat things to the screen after the scene has been drawn. Here’s a quick example of one of the things I’ve already tried. It’s a ripple effect I applied to the screen; it looked awful, but I was getting 60 frames per second with it (which is good).

jan17_2015_screen effect gone wrong1

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Project: DarkWolf2D (2D Dungeon Crawler)

January 10, 2015 at 4:30 pm (Game Development, Games, Graphics, Java, Processing, Programming, Rant, Uncategorized, Video games) (, , , , , , , , )

Over the holidays, I had some time to upgrade the core┬ácode for my game engine. I’ve upgraded the version of Processing that I use as well, which means I can use shaders for rendering along with some of the nicer JSON loading features. While I have a “version 2” of my engine working though, I haven’t yet retro-fitted it into my Zombie Mansion yet. This is coming in the future, but for “proof” that my code works, I’ve been putting together a small game based on a design I had in a dream. It’s the “basic” version of the idea, which means no multiplayer and no nice graphics.

The idea is for a dungeon crawler action game that takes ideas from the MOBA genre. I know how it sounds, but it’s actually a very basic idea and it’s already half built. It’s a player-vs-environment game right now where the player begins at level 1 for each dungeon and has to level up as they progress to bosses. The theme for it is an alternate history WW2 where the characters are different classes such as “US Medic”, “Russian Sniper”, or “French Resistance Fighter”. Each class has a basic attack and a list of abilities they can level up and use. I’m keeping the XP system as simple as I can (although I’ve never built one before), and I’m not using any items for the game right now.

For rendering, it’s a 2D game with no character animations; just a static side-shot image. This should keep the dev cycle pretty low for now. I also have a feature backlog that I’m considering making public, but for now I’ll only do that if I have anyone comment that they actually care to look at it. It’s a list of all the features that I plan on implementing (some are basic things like “add audio to the game”, and it functions as my “todo” list. As I build in features, I mark them as “Complete” and they shuffle to the bottom of the list for storage.

Edit: Added a screenshot. It’s very basic and you can’t really see anything worthwhile. Just showing that I can at least render the player in a level. I’ll make a video later.

First screenshot of DarkWolf2D

First screenshot of DarkWolf2D


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