New violence media "study"
Thursday, 29 November 2007

There is a new study that was recently published over at Journal of Adolescent Health about the impact of media violence.  As usual, there are all kinds of problems with the study.  I'm not going to cover all of them though, that would take forever. :)

The first major problem is that this study didn't actually bother to do any new research.  It is a meta study - basically a study of other studies.  A meta study isn't necessarily bad or anything, but considering I've never seen a well thought out study on the effects of media on violence, I would guess that most of these studies were probably flawed.  A meta study based on other flawed studies doesn't really mean very much.

Second, it mostly focuses on children and says very little about adults except for the conclusions.  Children are basically sponges.  They absorb just about everything and will repeat just about anything until they learn better.  Parents don't really need a study to figure this out.  This is where responsible parenting comes in of course.  Anyways, what does this have to do with adults?  Adults actually have the capabilities to view or play something violent and not repeat it in the real world.  Even if they were primed, aroused, and desensitized as the study suggests, the average adult is quite capable of making a choice not to be violent.  This being a big difference between an adult and a child.

Third, them implying that media violence is the 2nd worst thing when it comes to public health is pretty flat out stupid.  Let's see if I can think of something worse, how about overeating?

I'm still not buying this desensitization part anyways.  I've played many violent video games, seen many violent movies and tv shows, and watched a lot of news.  That doesn't really mean that I'm not going to be effected if I ever saw a real dead person.  It sure doesn't mean I can kill someone without some major emotional response.

Personally, I think the people that did the study started out trying to prove that violent media is bad, not trying to do an objective study.  There are just too many quotes from the study that are things like "playing video games, most of which contain violence".  Really, where is the proof of this?  Of course, I'm guilty of the opposite, but I didn't perform a study and submit a writeup to a scientific journal.


Open Source is scary
Wednesday, 28 November 2007

There is a story over on Slashdot today about the PS2 game ICO supposedly using some GPL code.  I don't know if it really is true or even if it is true I have no idea if it was an accident or intentional.

Anyways, the point I want to make is that this is one of the things that makes open source very scary for many companies and thus is one of the things that is holding back the open source movement.  For those that don't know, at least for GPL, the general idea is that you are allowed to use other people's code that is under the GPL license as long as you release your modified source code. 

That's sounds pretty reasonable, but what if you use 1000 lines of GPL code in your game that has 400,000 lines of code?  Is that fair that you might be forced to release the source code to your entire game because you included a few GPLed procedures?  This actually might be the case with ICO.  In my opinion, this makes no sense whatsoever.  It does make sense that you would have to release your source code for those 1000 lines again and any changes you made directly to them.  Now if I remember correctly there are ways around some of this like using dlls, but that just causes other problems like needing a bunch of dlls or having porting problems.

Now I could have some of these details wrong, but that's another part of the problem.  Unless you use the GPLed code perfectly, the open source community tends to jump up and down, make lots of noise, and then demand that you release ALL of your source code.  For most companies this is much scarier than the actual benefit of using and contributing to GPLed code.


How to agitate programmers
Tuesday, 27 November 2007

One of the quickest ways to agitate programmers is to break the build because usually they are the ones that have to figure out why it is broken.  Well I'm the only programmer here, so if anything breaks guess who gets to fix it? :)  Don't worry nothing really is broken, but yesterday I started some large changes in the game that breaks my build temporarily.  These are voluntary changes and I've done changes like this many times before, but it still makes me nervous when I break the build.  I guess it's just ingrained now.

Just so I'm not too cryptic, I'm actually adding Unicode support.  Most of you probably have no idea what that is, but it should make translating Depths of Peril into other languages much easier.


Monday, 26 November 2007

As I'm watching one of the Firefly episodes during lunch, I start wondering as usual why it seems that network tv seems to kill off any show that I actually like.  Unfortunately, I don't have any real insight about this.  It just seems to be too common.  With all of the crap on tv these days, I really wonder how great shows like this get cancelled.

If you have never watched Firefly or Serenity and like SciFi shows especially ones with a good bit of comedy, you really are missing out.  Firefly was the actual tv show and only lasted one season. :(  Serenity is a full length movie they made after the series.


Back from holiday
Monday, 26 November 2007

I'm not really a big holiday fan, mostly because I have pretty much no social needs, but one of the nice things is it forces me to take some time off.  So for Thanksgiving I took 5 days off.  I don't think I have taken off more than a day of work in a row since last summer when we went to North Carolina for vacation.  Breaks are good, I think my brain is functioning normally again. :)

Other than Thanksgiving meals at two different places, I watched a bunch of movies, watched a little football, and played lots of Civ 4.


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