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Mar 26, 2006
Mar 26, 2006: The two closest cloud layers are done and done as fast as I expected - just 4 days. I've almost got a BMP to GIF batch converter, but still have a few things to work out yet. The kitchen sink has finally been installed after a month without it! The FAQ has also been updated (sections 2.1 and 5.10). 6 new dreams added, now with 360 available.
#1 2 closest cloud layers done: My old technique would've taken at least 20 days to do the two closest cloud layers with at least 80% of the time spent on the closest layer. After an hour's worth in testing the new technique, I worked out just how it could be done. I did the second-closest cloud layer in just one day and the closest layer, taking 4 times the area, in 3 days. The only clouds left now are those behind the mountains and those are smaller than the first ones I did. I could do like 2 of these cloud layers in one day. There happens to be a strange twist though to making the clouds. My old technique works well for the far cloud layers but fails for the close cloud layers. My new technique works well for the close cloud layers and fails for the far cloud layers. Since the screenshots have a rather large file size (200 KB), I'm no longer putting the images in my blog, but I'm using links instead. Here's an updated screenshot showing the clouds from about 700 feet below them.
Screenshot #1: I went to the extreme doing a time synchronization test to be sure the frame rate I had was right on what it needs to be, 60 fps. Since I had nothing better to do than wait, I figured I'd just go set a record. Yep, that's 6 billion coordinate units out and a distanced moved greater than a trip around the world. 64x time helps in this case. You can clearly see the closest cloud layers in this screenshot. Just look how massive the closest clouds are to the first ones I did. They're over 20 times higher! You can also see a mist effect if you look closely enough, especially at the closest cloud layer. The faint black streak across the screen is the horizon indicator. To see how 3D the scene is, compare how the clouds look here and in the other posted screenshots and note the horizon indicator. This is how the horizon indicator looks in the free edition, the only choice you get.
I also tried calculating the field of view used to higher precision than an estimate and my estimates aren't all that far off. I don't know which trig function to use (sine, cosine, or tangent; I never learned them), so accuracy to 5 decimal places or so is not possible, but I do know that, at a 1:1 slope ratio, it's exactly 45°, of which I used as a baseline. From there, I could work out the field of view to within 1/2% accuracy or 1/4°. That's more than enough precision anyway. I updated the document to allow for this. I also noticed that I forgot to update the quick comparison chart between the editions so I updated that as well. #2 So close to a BMP to GIF batch converter: Through downloading 70 programs and waiting 2 years for it, I'm now getting much closer to a working BMP to GIF batch converter. I only have one further obstacle to figure out to getting it - a strange error when executing the batch command with GIMP. It's an error saying that script-fu.exe couldn't be found, even though it's there. I don't even know yet if the script works though but if it does, then I'd finally, after 2 years of searching, found a working BMP to GIF batch converter. Someone from the 3DGS forums helped me get pointed to yet another forum I knew nothing about. I'd like to thank him/her for this. #3 MP3 player bit rates and battery life: Okay, so 16 Kbps isn't the best as I can hear minor distortions, so I tried 32 Kbps and at 32 Kbps, I can't tell any difference from the original. 32Kbps, however, is the equivelent of 256Kbps at CD quality (mathematically*). This wasn't my main intent, however. My main intent was to find out what effect bit rates had on the battery life. I tested 16, 32, and 64 using the exact same conditions, even the same song and speed and I had no difference at all in the battery life. It seems like I should go with 24 Kbps instead of 16, as 24 Kbps is the same as 192 Kbps at CD quality. My next test is to see if WAV has any impact since no decompression is needed. Rather than the odd sample rates I tend to use, I'm using what I use for MP3 - 16-bit, mono, 11,025 Hz. Since MP3 needs decompression and WAV doesn't, I suspect I should get a longer battery life. Too bad WAV doesn't have seemless looping otherwise I'd use it instead whenever possible. #4 Sink finally available: It's been a whole month that there was no kitchen sink. The reason was due to remodelling (the "housework" as I refer to it as). With my parents working so much being too tired to do anything when they came home, the only time progress could be made was during the weekends. On Saturdays, I tend to go grocery shopping leaving only Sunday to really do anything with. The sink has now finally been installed and it's bigger and deeper than the previous one. After it was installed, the drain got plugged and a regular plunger couldn't unplug it so it had to be snaked out. Getting dishes done sure was tough without the sink.... #5 Small update to the FAQ: Ever wonder how precise my estimates are on the different types of estimates (such as estimating weight, distance, or loudness)? I made an update to the FAQ to include this. Another update I made is that I updated section 2.1 to further explain in better detail how to process math formulas, including what my 3D formula is. If you can multiply fractions, you can draw in 3D. That's how simple it is! In addition, since the other formula I had that was worked out was disproven, I used a different formula, one that I run across often. I chose the formula to find the impact on neutral given a compatibility value. In my case, not only did I work it out, but I also simplified it. #6 6 new dreams recalled - 360 total: It's been only 8 days since the update and I've had 6 dreams recalled, but no case of 2 dreams recalled in one night. I had one case where I had a recalled dream 4 nights in a row! Only one dream is moderately well-recalled, but not well enough for another story. This means that I now have 360 dreams in all.
* This is based on the degree of distortions due to the lossy compression MP3 uses. Rather than stereo at 44,100 Hz, I'm using mono at 11,025 Hz which takes 8 times less data so a lower bit rate is acceptable on this. It takes twice as much information for a 2-channel stereo sound than a 1-channel mono sound. It takes 4 times as much information for a 44,100 Hz sample rate (44,100 samples are played every second) than it does for a 11,025 Hz sample rate (where 11,025 samples are played per second). With 8 times less data to use, I can use a much lower bit rate without any loss. This is where I get the CD quality eqivelent from.
Mar 16, 2006
Mar 16, 2006: 2D game report updated as well as 3 more cloud layers being completed and updating game mechanics for more accurate acceleration. I've now passed the 350 dreams mark for my dream journal as well as added a new FAQ section to it and 6 new dreams, including one that is very well-recalled. I've also installed more memory as I had planned, 1.5 gigs worth. More MP3 player battery longevity experiments have been done as well.
#1 2D game progress and updated report: I updated and uploaded the 2D game's report on Mar 11. Not only have the images been updated, practically the entire document has been updated. The part about the game's features has been rewritten from scratch and has been organized into categories. Since the last screenshots shown in the blog, 3 more cloud layers have been completed. 3 may not seem like much compared to 7, but, given how big the layers are, it's actually significantly more progress, in terms of pixels anyway, but not in actual time spent at doing it. For the 7 previous layers, I did about 57,000 pixels worth. The next 3 layers have about 82,000 pixels. In the next two closer layers, the closest ones (of which I'm getting anxious to finish), total slightly over 475,000 pixels, over triple that of that I've already done, or a little over 2/3 of the total. That may seem like it'll be a month, however, I happen to have some tricks to make it take about the same amount of time. Once I finish the clouds, likely by the start of April, it'll likely be the cars or hills that I do next. In addition to doing more cloud layers, I've updated the game mechanics for much more realistic acceleration than I had before. Normally, on a regular jump, I'd have 91 2/3 feet of height, not 92.28 as I was getting. This, also, not only fixes the accuracy of movement, but it also means that I have to modify the challenges and tutorial slightly to accommidate for this. At least it'll give me another round of bug fixing. Put together, my amount of progress seems to be a little slower than it was (at an average) compared to that from the last update, but still, the progress does add up. Here are two more screenshots showing the latest updates to the clouds:
Screenshot #1: 3800 feet above the cloudtops. At 800 mph, the clouds can be seen whizzing by. The line across the view is the horizon indicator. The clouds are 1877 1/3 feet high from bottom to top, a little over 1/3 of a mile or about 572 meters. I'm already amazed how good the clouds are coming out, hopefully I can finish the two closer layers for better-looking results as this indeed would be the best screenshot.
Screenshot #2: One jump high from the ground. Where the clouds meet up at the top of the screen here is as far as I've gone. Although the gap at the top seems a bit much, this is indeed mathematically correct. The clouds are spaced 4000 feet apart from each other so the closer of the ones I've done already are just short of two miles away. The height of 91 2/3 (91.67 rounded off) should be familiar to you if you know me and my mind game.
#2 1.5 gigabytes of memory: I had it planned since even November of 2005 or so. Windows 98 doesn't support that much memory (it has a bug in it when exceeding 512 MB). Since I now had XP Pro (for about 40 days now), I don't have this limitation, but only limited by the motherboard (2 GB). Why 1.5 GB instead of 2? Cost. For 2 GB, it would've costed about the same I paid for to get XP Pro (about $213 before shipping, $222 after). For 1.5 GB, since my motherboard doesn't support dual-channel mode, it was $170 after shipping. It may seem high-priced, but the memory I got is high-quality memory with high-speed 2-3-2-5 timings. To you, those who don't know much about computers, lower timings mean faster memory, but it doesn't neccessarily mean a significant performance boost, maybe about 2 to 5% increase on average (more around 15% for memory-intensive programs).
#3 MP3 player battery longevity tests: Before, I was seemingly getting a mix of 17 and 18 hours of battery life for my MP3 player. I'm now frequently getting past 18 hours, with 18 hours 17 minutes the longest so far. Other tests I've done found out what effect the equalizer had, and what effect the speed of the song had (as from the frequencies used. So far, it seems that the only way to get below the 14 hours maximum the websites claim (from 5 total sources, 4 said 14 hours, the oddball said 15 1/2 hours) is to enable the equalizer. The equalizer has 4 frequency bands: 100, 800, 3000, and 12000. If set to +2, +6, +6, -6 for these in the same order, the battery lasted 13 hours 15 minutes. If set to +4, +12, +12, +0, the time drops to 12 hours, 10 minutes. Disable the equalizer, I'm back at the 18 hours stuff again. From playing the song at double the speed (see the article on how I process my music for details on this), there was no noticable difference between the two speeds. Playing at double the speed uses half the file size and memory and requires double the number of times to load. However, I don't really need the equalizer. Audacity has a neat feature that functions as a 1500-channel equalizer with far greater precision. 1500 seems crazy, but if you went to effect > equalization, you'll know what I mean (and it helps if you resize the window and run at 1600x1200 resolution). This way, I can just save battery usage and go for the 18 hours stuff I've been getting anyway. Since the equalizer in the MP3 player is very limited anyway, (far more limited than that of Winamp) and that I have Audacity to make use of this, I practically have no need for it. I theorize I can get past 19 hours of battery life (provided I use the earphones instead of the small speakers), possibly even peaking 20 hours, far above the advertised 14 hours.
#4 My next computer upgrade plans: Okay, so I've got my memory now, now what? Currently, I don't have any definite plans or any real need for upgrades. A few things do come to mind though. One would be replacing my monitor with an even bigger CRT monitor, one capable of running truly at 2048x1536 resolution or at least 1920x1440. To most, that's ridiculously high, but I have many uses for higher resolutions. Heh, if I could, I'd even use 4096x3072 if I could, but no modern video card or monitor supports it. Why CRT instead of the flatscreens? Cost, resolution availability, and a few other factors. Even for 1600x1200, I'd have to pay more than my spending limit allows (about $480 or so, before shipping) and 1280x1024 won't work either as that's too low for me. Plus, no flatscreens even support 2048x1536 resolution anyway, let alone costing even more. A CRT monitor would likely cost more around $220 after shipping ($180 before). Even with the hefty shipping fee, and massive weight, the CRT monitor is still 1/3 the price of the flatscreen equivelent. If it isn't the monitor, of which would be the most likely upgrade, it'd be upgrading my motherboard so I can upgrade my video card later on. Why upgrade the motherboard? Currently, AGP is no longer supported by the newer video cards and newer video cards use PCI-express, of which my current motherboard doesn't have at all. To get the PCI-express means having to replace my current motherboard, of which isn't even a year old yet. Swapping out the motherboard means a high chance of having to upgrade the processor as well. Radeon 9600 XT isn't all that old, however. To upgrade my video card means having to spend a lot to upgrade my motherboard and likely the CPU in addition to the video card itself. Between the video card/motherboard and the monitor, the most likely would be the monitor, of which is now passing a year old. #5 New simple animation: To explain fog, both natural and classic game style, I made a simple 5-frame animated GIF. Without the BMP to GIF batch converter, I'm no longer going to be doing the more complex animations I've done before. Simple ones are okay, however. It's also a first as I used my 3D formula to calculate the positions of the vertices and indeed, it is a 90° field of view just as I expected. You can tell by the design - the 45° turns that are viewed parallel on the far sides of the image.
The first frame is an unfogged view. The second frame is a view of natural fog. The third is fog from a classic game. The fourth frame shows the vertices placed on the scene, of which were used to draw the 3D scene and were calculated using my 3D formula. Making the fog a checkerboard pattern to make it more easily visible is the last frame.
#6 Now passing 350 dreams with dream journal update: Still on track with the 500 dreams by the end of this year prediction, I've managed to recall another 6 dreams putting me at 354 dreams. One of the dreams is so detailed that it became another dream story, much of it being minor details. The others aren't as well-recalled, but still have sufficient detail. Not only were new dreams added, but also the main document has been changed in several ways. The first is that the links have been moved to the top so it's easier to find the newest dreams listed. The second is that, instead of page numbers for the dreams, the dream numbers are used instead. Third, a new section has been added involving frequently asked questions (or potential ones) related to my dream journal. Also, I added a simple graphic to explain the difference between natural and classic game fog from a dream I added in the update before this, the Spyro one. Although not certain, I probably have one of the largest online dream journals by a single individual that I know of. Now passing 350 dreams, I'm often amazed just how many dreams I actually have and how much disk space is takes just for the text alone, now passing 710,000 bytes (or 710,000 characters, the title for this header before the colon, without the formatting takes 52 characters (88 with the formatting) just to give you an idea on how big that is). This, however, doesn't take in account very long, well-recalled dreams that are summarized and put into the stories category, of which adds another 30,000 characters.
#7 First time I've ever seen HDTV: This may seem strange, but, during a shopping trip on March 4, I stopped by BestBuy, a new store in town, and just looked at what they had. First it was digital cameras, nothing exciting. After that, I continued through the store. According to a sign above a flatscreen monitor, it was an HDTV I saw. For all the time HDTV has been around, this, oddly enough, was the first time I've actually ever seen it. It just seemed like another monitor, but the pixels were much bigger than I thought for a 20x13-inch TV or something, as they're twice as big as those on my monitor (4 times as big by area). I don't know if it really even was an HDTV or just another monitor up for display, so this isn't actually confirmed yet. I have seen flatscreens, but very rarely. #8 X "minus-squiggles" Y, semicolon: In relation to computer programming, I have a silly case involving one particular simple arithmetic calculation. Compare the top and bottom lines:
X -= 3; // ex minus-equals 3, semicolon
X -~ 3; // ex minus-squiggles 3, semicolon
I'd use the official symbol for "is approximately equal to", but using that character is only possible through using an image. This subtracts 3 from the variable, X. The -~ (minus-squiggles as I refer to it as) relates to subtracting approximately 3 from X. I found this as somewhat funny as what would the computer return?
Mar 3, 2006
Mar 3, 2006: Back at my 2D game at last having processed 7 cloud layers (new screenshots!). The concept was taken after a recent dream and was surprisingly close to my dream. Ran experiments to test the battery life of my new MP3 player, which has another unexpected positive surprise. 6 more dreams have been added, 3 of which recalled with great detail.
#1 Back to my 2D game: Since early December of 2005, I lost motive for doing my 2D game and I since have had hardly any progress on it. Only recently it seems that my motive came back and it was due to a dream I had recently that gave me a splendid idea. In my dream, the scene was empty and the clouds were mist-like and about the only thing shown besides the player. In the actual 2D game, the clouds are clearly distinguishable and otherwise exactly mimic the dream, so closely it's almost like I took a screenshot of my dream. Although in the dream there were probably 25 or so cloud layers, what I have so far is just 7 layers. I happen to have 27 layers planned (spaced 4000 feet apart from each other), close to what my dream depicted. 27 takes you out to the very edge of visibility where objects will be so fogged out, you couldn't tell if they were even there, short of a taking a screenshot and zooming in closely. Here are some screenshots of the latest updates (showing the 7 cloud layers):
Screenshot #1: Clouds near ground level. The clouds are clearly visible flowing gently across the view. They disappear behind the buildings as the clouds are more distant than the buildings.
Screenshot #2: Slightly below the clouds. Here, I'm just 1000 feet below the bottom of the clouds. This most closely resembles what I saw in my dream.
Screenshot #3: From twice the height of the clouds. This is a view that only those who've flown in an airplane would ever see.
Screenshot #4: Clouds as if seen from an airline. If you were in an airline in this scene flying around the usual 35,000 feet. Although I've never been in an airline, the scene strongly mimics what I see in my mind game. The white streaks are due to the flare effect, one of the many special effects in my game.
The clouds aren't finished yet, but when all 27 layers are done, then the scene will look even better and more realistic rather than just stopping at the mountains. #2 MP3 player battery life - another surprise: The website says "up to 14 hours". Wrong! Four times in a row I've exceeded 17 hours, two of which even reaching 18 hours. Of course, a small variation such as 30 minutes over or below that doesn't matter, but 4 hours over is a extremely considerable difference. A small margin of error such as 14:30 doesn't make that much of a difference, but a whole 3 1/2 hours off!? That makes "up to 14 hours" a false statement. Weird.... I'm going from fully charged and playing it in loop play constantly and no matter what I try throwing at it (higher frequencies and louder/softer), I always seem to pass 17 hours. It seems like companies underestimate things. Creative's MuVo2 player (4 GB model) is expected to last 14 hours for the battery. Don't think so. A similar thing happens with those companies providing high-speed dial-up. They say up to 5 times faster. Uh, try 40 times faster (possibly even more). Don't believe it? Try uploading a 24-bit all-white 640x480 BMP image somewhere once on such a connection. That 921,654-byte image should upload in only a few seconds and download in only a few seconds. Such a thing would otherwise take 3 minutes to download (180 seconds, 36 seconds if 5x maximum). Of course, one normally wouldn't be doing this, but their ads say "load webpages up to 5 times faster" which means that it cannot exceed 5 times the speed, even with such a BMP file used used on a webpage. Webpages do include graphics, even BMP files, although BMP is highly not recommended due to their huge file sizes. #3 A spec is a dot (.): Lately, along with the t-tails and the "screwed up" lower case G's, I seem to frequently call a dot, whether from the lower case i or j, the thing at the end of all sentences (some sentences have an "attachment"), or the decimal when roots or division don't come out evenly. I'd say the sentence "My mind game is fun." like "My mind game is fun, spec." or say the number 3.1416 (pi rounded to 4 decimal places), as "three spec one four one six" instead of "three dot one four one six" as I usually do. After all, the small dot does look like a spec on the screen. #4 6 new dreams, 3 well-recalled: My dream journal just keeps getting bigger now with 349 dreams. I managed to recall 6 new dreams. 3 of these are well-recalled taking at least a page in writing for details, and 2 of the 6 were recalled in one night. Since January 2006, I need to average one recalled dream at least every 2 days to meet my prediction of 500 by the end of this year. So far I'm right on the mark (305 days left, 153 more dreams to go). The main page of the dream journal has also been updated, only a few minor things here and there though, mainly sections 2.1 and 3.1. I'd like to add a new section: dreams FAQ. I'm now also thinking of a small change to the style of the dream journal. Rather than the noteworthy dreams being on the first page, I should have them on all pages. SHTML once again comes in handy.
Mar 1: Yet another dream, a Spyro dream. The battery from my experiment lasted longer than expected, 17 1/2 hours. I finished the 7th cloud layer but didn't do any others. I looked into memory as well as it's about that time. Also, I utilized my math skills to compute the color of something transparent through nothing more than 3 screenshots. This was something I've never done before and the result was sheer amazement - I otherwise worked it out with very high precision. The process turned out to be simpler than I thought it would, of which I didn't know at the start. It took 50 minutes for me to figure it out. After another 25 minutes or so, I created a side graphic to cancel out the transparency so the transparent object that someone couldn't get rid of would disappear. It's all from my strong math skills and all those color-related formulas I've got. It's so close, only a screenshot could show the object. Much of the day was spent on the forums, however, mainly waiting for a reply to what compatibility (mainly performance-related) issues there are when I don't follow the power-of-2 rule. Woke up at 6:47 AM and went to bed at 9:58 PM. Mar 2: Another dream - a basketball game in Scotland. Took a whole page in details. The battery lasted 18 1/6 hours that time, the longest yet. I'm now hooked with "Battle Zone" (the battle music from Final Fantasy 9). Watched an hour-long car chase on CNN Headline News while eating. Began updating my website completing the headlines and the the dreams. I have yet to process the daily events and my other plans, mainly fixing a mistake in the formula for finding the "times better than neutral" for a compatibility rating as I left out a set of parentheses, and to update the FAQ with two new questions. I didn't make any progress on my 2D game, however. Much of the day was spent on the forums. At 8:00 PM, for two hours, I watched things related to UFOs. Woke up at 8:25 AM and went to bed at 1:00 AM. Mar 3: No dream this time. Yet again, I got 18 hours, 10 minutes for the battery life. I updated my website finally. I didn't add the mind game report addition, but got a small start on it. The intended style doesn't match what I have so it sort of needs to be redone anyway. I also thought of a way to cause GIMP to crash. Load an image, go to file > save as, close the image, and try saving the image. I haven't bothered doing this though. Still going strong with "Battle Zone". I also have plans on updating the 2D game's feature screenshots. Nothing else worth noting occurred. Woke up at 10:30 AM and went to bed at 12:47 AM. Mar 4: No dream this time either. I got 18 hours battery run time again! I took a shower then went grocery shopping. Before going grocery shopping, I looked at BestBuy since it was nearby and it was a new store in town. For the part about the HDTV, see news item #7. I about made an attempt to get memory there, but not only were the prices 50% higher than what I could get at Newegg, they didn't have the 1 GB memory modules I was after and 512's were the highest they had. I paid just as much for my memory from Newegg, getting 50% more memory, as I would've gotten at BestBuy, of which was even less in the amount of memory. Which sounds better, $170 for 1 gigabyte of memory or $170 for 1.5 gigabytes of memory? This is very obvious. It was $150-something there, but putting on 7% sales tax, it gets to about $170. I got my memory from Newegg as it was a much better deal. I got a 1 GB and a 512 MB memory module. For details on the new memory, see news item #2 above. I didn't do anything in my 2D game, however. I, however, made an animation, of just 5 frames, telling about different kinds of fog, including a 3D view of classic game fog, of which I used my 3D formula to calculate the design. For details, see news item #5. Woke up at 11:42 AM and went to bed at 3:10 AM. Mar 5: Another dream to add. Just one more needed to make 350. This day had 3 major events. At the start, lasting 8 hours, I was heavily involved with semi-expected housework, mainly kitchen remodelling as we still don't have a sink. The old cabinets had to be emptied and tossed out. The fridge, stove, and other kitchen appliances had to be moved. From there, linoleum (sp.?) was laid down and cut to allow spaces for pipes, heat ducts, and other such things. The second thing is that I began updating my 2D game's core components to fix the inaccuracies of acceleration posed. I currently have two bugs to fix, both are related. One is from the fall-glide ability, and the other is with the glide ability and only noticed in frame advance mode. The third was playing XP's pinball game, Space Cadet that I didn't realize was there. I frequently scored over 4 million points, sometimes even past 6 million (hint: pause the game to help with reaction times). The pinball episode lasted for 4 hours or so total. Woke up at 12:41 PM (±2 minutes) and went to bed at 5:02 AM. Mar 6: The first part of the day was spent cleaning up my inbox for my E-mail, which had over 250 messages in it dating back even 15 months ago. Of course, sorting through 270+ spam messages isn't worth it, considering that, just 5 days later, I'll be getting it back again. I played that pinball game as well, once getting over 12 million points. There are two major hazards: the side pits and the unsavable ball (of which is headed for the drain between the flippers of which the flippers cannot reach. I found some tricks - make use of the redeploy function, avoid skill shots and go for the bumpers instead. Enable replay, and, most especially, pause the game repeatedly to seriously help with timing and aiming. For high scores, go for the missions as they're worth a lot, and keep to the bumper area as much as possible, including choosing missions for the bumper area. I also went on to fixing some bugs with the position and began working on the horizontal axis. I'm unsure how to do a "high precision mode" for more realistic timing effects. I currently have an unexplained bug with the distance moved indicator. I should be getting exactly 3300 feet for aerial acceleration to 150 and back to stopped (calculated with the calculator), but I'm getting slightly more than that, more around 3300.6xx. Accuracy is key. Woke up at 2:59 PM and went to bed at 6:20 AM. Mar 7: The battery lasted 18 hours, 20 minutes, the longest. I also managed to fix the bug I had and began working on the 8th cloud layer. The game mechanics have been updated and all known bugs have been fixed. However, high-precision mode has yet to be implemented. I did another cloud layer (layer 8) and finished 1/6 of the 9th cloud layer. As expected, the scene looks better. Although a big chunk of the day at the start was spent on the forums, I didn't play that pinball game. 97 days to go until the special predicted event on Jun 13, 2006, of which I predicted nearly ten years earlier. Now doing battery longevity tests with the contrast at 50% rather than 20% as I've had before. 18 hours, 10 minutes seems to be the norm. I theorize I can pass 19 hours. Woke up at 5:40 PM and went to bed at 7:17 AM, almost an exact split down the center. Mar 9: Couldn't get back to sleep when I woke up. My new memory arrived, of which I nearly forgot I even ordered. For details on the memory, see news item #2. I ran backup before installing it, however, just in case something happens. Much of the day was spent on the forums. It took three hours to run backup (zip up everything and burn the DVD data disks). It took an additional 20 minutes to install the memory. I mainly did about another 1/5 of the 9th cloud layer for my 2D game, but that's about it. I seem to have a firm, fast technique for making the clouds. I'm still going moderately strong with Battle Zone with clear signs of getting bored of it. As to the battery test, I failed to take note, but even with a 40 minutes margin of error, there doesn't seem to be any obvious difference. I'm otherwise redoing my experiment to get my usual 5 minutes margin of error. Woke up at 4:58 AM (±5 minutes) and went to bed at 6:20 AM. Mar 10: A 3-part dream was recalled. The battery test gave me 18 hours 17 minutes, the longest yet (Although I had 18 hours 20 minutes earlier, there's an intersection with the margin of errors). I finished the 9th cloud layer. At the end of the day, I spent at least 5 hours at rewriting almost the entire document for my 2D game as it is for my website. Adding in the 9th layer, of course, made the scene look better. Even the screenshots were updated as they seriously needed to be updated. For details on the 2D game's webpage document update, see news item #1. While writing the document, I realized that my 2D game is more complex than I thought it was. I also realized that I was using the wrong fog color for the clouds. Next up for the battery longevity tests is to find out what effect the equalizer has. I'm testing (2, 6, 6, -6) - see news item #2 for details on this. Woke up at 5:38 PM and went to bed at 10:21 AM (±1 minute). Mar 11: 13 hours 15 minutes!? Given this, I wonder if those battery life statements are based on the fact that the equalizer was enabled. I'm next going to try (4, 12, 12, 0). It was too loud so I had to use filters, in the same fashion as I did at least 5 years ago. I fixed the clouds' fog colors due to the fact that I indeed used the wrong fog color. I uploaded my rewritten document for my 2D game, of which I spent at least 5 hours working on yesterday. I didn't update the graphics, however, for the fixed fog colors. I showered so I could go grocery shopping. I first had to wait in the car outside since my parents stopped at Wal-mart. Due to the mirrors, I can't get 4 feet past the entrance so I have to wait in the car outside, even though it could be 10°F outside. I haven't been inside Wal-mart for at least 15 months now due to this, which was about the time they installed the extra mirrors. It's been so long, I practically forgot the layout of the store or even what the interior looks like. Last time I was there, the store manager said it was for security reasons. That I understand, and I told them to use cameras, of which I don't mind at all. They didn't, so I never returned since. A Wal-mart supercenter is being built in my area and I wonder how that is going to go, if I'll even be able to get inside. Other than that, it was the grocery store, of which I have 70% access to (fruits and vegetables are offlimits, of which I have little interest in, except flavors). Other than this, I was on the forums for a big chunk of the day. Woke up at 8:30 PM and went to bed at 11:48 AM (±2 minutes). Mar 12: 12 hours, 10 minutes, the lowest yet. Another well-recalled dream, of which is so long, it was moved as a story. After spending nearly an hour writing details on dream, I watched TV for some time then cleaned out the forums. I then ate, watching TV (mainly CNN Headline News), then recleaned the forums. After recleaning the forums, I worked on the third-closest layer. I finished one cloud with still several more to go. I was cut short due to having to do housework, the kitchen remodelling stuff again. From about 9:00 AM, I was at it nonstop. I mainly did sanding corners with a mechanical (electrical) sander, of which is at the edge of loudness I'm comfortable with and it's the quietest of the 3 we have (not including manual sanding). Funny thing with scripting thought of, "X -~ 3;". See news item #8 for details on this. My sister came over. She, skilled at art, was amazed on how realistic my 2D game was and she especially liked the clouds. My sister tends to think of moderate violence in addition such as a tornado. My goal for the game is for it to be 100% violence-free. Since I forgot to get a baseline in my last battery longevity experiment, since I switched songs, I'm playing the same song again, only with the equalizer disabled. I expect at least 17 hours this time like all other equalizer-disabled tests have had, possibly even 18 hours long. Woke up at 2:48 AM (±2 minutes) and went to bed at 4:27 PM. Mar 13: Another recalled dream to add. Seems like since I hit 350, I've suddenly got a spike of new dreams.... I've also found that, when the last marker on the battery indicator (of 3) disappears, 10% of the battery remains. For the middle mark to disappear, 30% of the battery remains. I don't know, however, about the first mark as I'm sleeping during the time, but given the pattern, 1, 3, 6, 10, I'd say it's 60%. A big chunk of the day was spent on the forums. Despite that, I managed to complete 3 more clouds, 2 big ones and a smaller one. The layer is now 1/3 finished as a total. When it gets to the final two closest layers, that's when my current techniques will fail as the graphics used are just too big and would take at least a month to do. Added two more FAQ questions to the 2D game report, both of which are resolution-related. Ran another experiment to find out what effect higher song speeds have, double in this case under the same conditions. I'm now getting intentions on updating my site as it's been ten days, my usual point of update. Got past 18 hours again, just as I expected. Woke up at 2:48 AM (±2 minutes) and went to bed at 4:27 PM. Mar 14: Another dream, both fun and scary, an odd combination. I'm back at Battle Zone again, of which I stopped for about 3 days or so. I practically didn't watch TV, except while eating. The rest of the day was spent on the forums. When nothing was going on, I worked on the third-closest layer. Currently, 2/3 of the image is done. It has been taking longer than expected, mainly due to a major error in one of the clouds that made me nearly redo the whole thing. So far, my intent is, once I finish this cloud layer, I'll update my website. I did, however, add the new FAQ section to my dream journal main page as I intended on earlier. 18 questions were added to it. I'd also like to change the format for the links. Instead of page numbers, use the dream counts. So far, ever since I turned off the equalizer, I'm back at 17+ hours. I ended up with 17 hours 50 minutes, still far above the claimed expectancy. I've been pondering what this June 13, 2006 prediction I made nearly ten years ago will be. It's now less than 3 months away, still about 7 million-some seconds. Woke up at 3:30 AM and went to bed at 5:50 PM. Mar 15: Yet another dream recalled. That's 3 in a row! I began updating my website, the headlines and half of my dreams have been processed. I finished the third-closest cloud layer and tested another technique for the two closest cloud layers, of which seems to work, but needs more testing. Much of the day was spent on the forums, however. Still going strong on Battle Zone. My MP3 player, over the night, has the 20-lap edition of Desert Zone playing, mainly to see what effect different songs have, if any. Once I update my website, I plan on not only doing the next-closest set of clouds, but trying my new technique. It's only effective for the very closest layers. Woke up at 5:30 AM and went to bed at 7:58 PM. Mar 16: This time, no dream recalled. 18 hours, 9 minutes battery life - different song, same scenario. I updated my website as I had intended, but it took longer than expected. Even without doing the two graphics, maps, along with it, I didn't get anything done with the 2D game, except a new idea - bounce mode, of which can be used to bounce to a stop. This more closely matches my mind game as it is today. Tomorrow, my main intension, after cleaning out the forums, is to try out my new cloud-making technique for the second-closest layer. Either that, or I modify the glide ability to allow for deceleration, of which is not currently available. No MP3 player battery life tests going on though. Woke up at 5:36 AM and went to bed at 8:25 PM. Mar 17: Another dream to add featuring a hurricane hitting my area. Today was St. Patrick's Day, nothing special to me. Much of the first half of the day was spent on the forums and watching CNN Headline News. I did, however, more thoroughly test my new technique. I had to make quite a few changes to the original concept. Two changes have yet to be tested. But, overall, the new method is at least 5 times faster than my old method. For details on the new cloud-making method for my 2D game, see news item #1. Other than this, I tried setting the memory timings as advertised, but, even though I double-checked by inputted values, my system would no longer start up so I had to clear CMOS, of which took 30 minutes to do, much of which figuring out how to do it. I didn't lose anything though, except the old CMOS/BIOS settings I had before. It seems that I cannot get anything higher than 2.5-4-3-6 for the timings, the actual, as that's seemingly the highest my motherboard can handle. The item on Newegg and written in the product manual and on the memory itself say 2-3-2-5. But then again, my knowledge with memory isn't high. I'm also going to run another test to see what effect the bit rate has on the battery life. I only have 16's so I'll need to transfer. Woke up at 7:35 AM and went to bed at 12:15 AM. Mar 18: Went grocery shopping and got Pizza Hut to use up the last of the gift card I got for Christmas. After that, I was involved with doing housework, mainly to install the sink. This lasted 3 hours. I then also finished the second layer of clouds only an hour later. I have another bug to fix - the descent with the glide ability is 1/12 mph faster than it should be. I haven't figured out what the cause is yet. I barely had time to clean out the forums. It also seems like someone is spamming my guestbook with something of what seems to be illegal - fake ID's. I've deleted these entries as, even if legal, they're still spam. First it was some housework, then shopping, eating when I came home (to degrease the pizza), doing more housework, cleaning out the forums, and watching TV. During the housework parts at uneven intervals, I worked on my clouds. Only the closest layer remains along with those behind the mountains. Woke up at 10:18 AM and went to bed at 1:00 AM. Mar 19: Another dream, but a vaguely recalled one. This is something I haven't had in a while. I woke up and began watching Mythbusters for 2 hours. Then it was off to working on the kitchen stuff. After another 5 hours at it, the sink was finally available. Then, at 7:00 PM, I began watching TV, two hours spent watching "The perfect disaster", a new series I had an interest in since I first heard/watched the ads for it. At the end of this, I cleaned out the forums. I began trying to fix the bug with the glide ability's descent rate bug. I did eventually fix it after 20 minutes of pondering over my long list of clues I had. I didn't get anything else done though. I do, however, plan on starting the closest cloud layer tomorrow. Woke up at 10:46 AM and went to bed at 2:08 AM. Mar 20: Another dream! Started my bit rate experiment. For details on the results, see news item #3. First to test 16 Kbps to establish a baseline. I expect 18 hours as I've had before. Next is 64 Kbps. Between TV, a whining, annoying dog, and the forums, I didn't get much done with my 2D game. I did, however, work out the field of view to higher precision. My original estimates were rather close. I also got started on the closest layer of clouds. The method done with the second-closest layer had to be slightly modified for the huge layer for the closest. Woke up at 12:07 PM and went to bed at 1:20 AM. Mar 21: Another dream recalled, 3 in a row! 18 to 18 1/3 hours, right where I expected it. Now to test 64 Kbps.... The bulk of the day was spent processing the closest cloud layer. It's so big, it's taken 7 hours out of my day. Hardly any TV was involved, or even the forums. I'm either 60 or 40% done. I'm thinking I should go with 2048 wide instead of the current 1536. I expected this cloud layer to take 20 or so days. It's already been just 2 and I'm far ahead of my previous expectations. Woke up at 1:17 PM and went to bed at 3:16 AM. Mar 22: 4th dream in a row recalled! No considerable change - 17 hours 40 minutes. Now I'm going to test 32 Kbps. Much of the day was spent on the forums and watching TV. Besides that, I finished another 5% of the closest cloud layer now at 65% done. I rejected a wider version - disk space and poor compression reasons. Woke up at 2:18 PM and went to bed at 3:37 AM. Mar 23: Woke up and went back to bed several times. I didn't get any recalled dream, however. I got 18 hours 9 minutes battery life, giving me a safe conclusion that bitrate has no effect on battery life. I finished the closest cloud layer. I also did a time-synchronization test to see how much time was lost or gained in my 2D game. It turns out to be 110 seconds on the hour, 3 1/3% faster. At the end of the day, I went through the game manual to check for mistakes, missing details, etc.. I added a version history update to include version 2.3, the current beta. My only intent is to finish the graphics as I have planned - graphics, challenge updates, getting the free edition limitations, fixing the challenges to account for the change in game mechanics, and a few other minor things. Woke up at 2:41 PM and went to bed at 6:08 AM. Mar 25: Another dream recalled, the 360th one. This dream is quite well recalled taking a whole page in details. Now testing the impact of WAV on my MP3 player's battery life. I expect it to last longer as WAV doesn't need decompression like MP3 does. I began updating my site. The dreams have been added and the headlines in my blog have been added, but not the daily entries. Woke up at 4:43 PM and went to bed at 9:08 AM. Mar 26: No dream recalled this time. The test WAV files had gave 14:27, right next to the expected battery life. If I was getting this in the bulk of my tests, I'd accept the battery life notices as mentioned on the websites that claim 14 hours. I managed to update my website as well. However, it too much longer than expected, taking 3 hours figuring out why my COMP formula wasn't working out right as I had a subtraction error. But, in the end, I ended up with a simplified version of the formula. I didn't spend much time on the forums. I made a few modifications to the screen data, fixing the location of the height stat as it was shifted 8 pixels to the left for some unknown reason. Woke up at 7:42 PM and went to bed at 8:46 AM. Mar 27: 18 hours, 27 minutes, the longest yet! Much of the day was spent on the forums or watching TV. While on the forums, especially at the end of the days, I did two more cloud layers, now doing those behind the mountains. It took about 4 hours to do them. Woke up at 8:20 PM and went to bed at 9:20 AM. Mar 28: Another dream recalled, lots of scenes, but hardly any story. 18 hours 29 minutes, another super long one! With hardly any TV (mainly just Crash Test Human for two hours), Practically the entire day was spent either on the forums or doing additional cloud layers. Two more have been processed with now 16 out of 27 completed. At this rate, it'll be another 5 or 6 days before all layers are done. Removing the mountains makes the scene look even better. When all 27 cloud layers are done, that's the best preview. By then, it'll be time to update my website. There's only finishing touches after that. Woke up at 8:51 PM and went to bed at 10:30 AM. Mar 29: Another 18 hours, 27 minutes. First it was TV and forums (including Assignment Discovery), then the rest of the day was spent on the forums. While waiting for anything new, I worked on the clouds, of which two more layers are done. 18 done, 9 more to go. I'm now just cruisin' along! I'm also going crazy with Winter Land again. I also found a way to get even higher than I could before, another 200 feet higher. Woke up at 10:32 PM and went to bed at 1:24 PM. Mar 30: Ever since I woke up, I watched TV (Assignment Discovery included) clear until 4:57 AM, 6 hours! The battery lasted for 18 hours, 26 minutes. Despite all that, I still managed to finish 2 more cloud layers, go on the forums as I usually do, and, at the end, compiling a full list of duties for mom's work place, intersecting the content of 5 lists. I now have 20 cloud layers done with just 7 to go. The 3D effect seems stunningly realistic. It also rained today. Woke up at 10:56 PM and went to bed at 1:18 PM. Mar 31: Another dream recalled! I'm also now ever-so-close to a working BMP to GIF batch converter. For details on this, see the April 5, 2006 blog entry and news item number 2. Along with that, two more cloud layers have been done leaving just 5 to go. Much of the day was spent on the forums. At first, it was TV, including Assignment Discovery (which covered the Lanthanide series (elements 57 to, I think, 71), something I never learned about in school). So far, I've only seen Chemistry-related stuff, no space stuff, physics stuff, but I have, through DirecTV's guide only, seen history-related stuff. April is next, one of my 4 favorite months, of which is where my luck is a little above average. Woke up at 12:46 AM and went to bed at 3:55 PM.
The news entry headlines in bold are color-coded for a reason. They tell how big the event was for the headlines and how good my day was for the daily entries. From May 2006 onward, a slightly different system is used, of which has triple the precision. For dates prior to this that use color coding, from the white color, skipping two to red and so on is used. Here's what each color represents (for updates to before May of 2006):